Yes, yes, yes. I know. I know. I have been reminded several times of late that I have not posted for a while. Well, okay -- it has been a year and two days. That is a bit long between posts, so one of my resolutions for this year is to post at least once a month. How does that sound?
This year has started off in a rather lovely manner. My cousins Jerry and Mary Hilton are spending a few days with me (Jerry's dad and mine were first cousins). They are experiencing a Scottish winter so that when they go home to Wimberley, Texas, they will appreciate the heat there even more. After worship yesterday, we took a driving tour of the Winchburgh, Kingscavil and Abercorn areas of West Lothian before winding our way down to the Corstorphine area of Edinburgh. Those of you who have read my previous posts will know that these are the places I served during my year of familiarization.
Today we ventured in a northerly direction, to Stirling. The castle awaited our presence in the wind and rain (and nearly snow). It was my first chance to see the refurbished palace area and wow! It is marvelous -- a definite must-see if you want to get a sense of royal living in the 17th Century.
2011 ended with a quiet night for us all. We had thought about going into Edinburgh for the Hogmanay festivities, but decided that we were old enough to know better than to stand out in cold rain. Yeah -- that's what we will call it -- old enough to know better.
So what is it like in Armadale now? We have managed to avoid the depth of snow that we had at the end of 2010. A couple of flurries have come in, but they have disappeared. I had ten baptisms, three weddings, and more than 50 funerals (I think it was 56, but I haven't done the final count). The balance is still a bit off there, but it is life in Armadale Parish. The most difficult funeral I have had was a 21 year old woman who had a six-week-old baby. There are no answers to the painful questions that arise from this kind of situation, no words to say that can adequately plumb or assuage the depths of the pain. One can only walk alongside and offer a hand or a shoulder.
What does this year bring? Who knows? Whatever it is, the adventure will continue. My brother and sister-in-law will visit in the summertime and I am already excited about that. In between now and then, I am sure that I will continue to "match'em, hatch'em, and dispatch'em," as I have heard it said through many years. We will hope for a heavier concentration of the first two.....