A tribute to Georgann Eubanks / January 26, 2023 / RCWMS Zoom book reading for 1104 Broad Street

I was invited to give a Zoom Reading by Jeannette Stokes, founder of the Resource Center for Women and Ministry in the South. My long-time friend, Georgann Eubanks, was asked to be the moderator. We were to introduce each other at the beginning. These were the remarks that I prepared. Of course, in the real time and space I didn't stay on script or even cover all the bases! So, here is what I intended to say:  

Georgann Eubanks is a writer of non-fiction, poetry, and songs. She calls herself a “writer for hire.” She has a long and distinguished resume of Showing Up for the Arts. 

I have known her quite a while – since the mid-seventies. First as a performer on the stage of Somethyme, then as a faithful customer and generous contributor to our sense of ourselves. The line on our advertisement “Sunday and the Thymes” I believe is attributable to her and her poem “A Place to Come To” was printed on one of our menus. 

I say, with some shame, that our association has primarily been a benefit to me. My attendance at the yearly Wildacres Retreat, to which I go for songwriting, accustomed me to writers and their world, paving the way for my own writing. As far as songs go, I can’t tell you how many songs I and others have written based on her prompts. And then, there was the Murphey School Radio Show which introduced me to many seriously talented singers and musicians, actors, play writers, and poets as we shared the stage all the while raising money for Durham and Orange County non-profits. 

From my close association and friendship (which I am privileged to have) I have discerned that Georgann has an extraordinary curiosity about people and places, a deep-seeded appreciation for their gifts or uniqueness, and a determination to create spaces that support those gifts and qualities within the construct of community. 

In her bio for her current job as Executive Director of the Paul Green Foundation she has made a list of ten things she must have – one of them is space for a garden. 

I am here to tell you that WE are her garden, and with the love and attention she bestows, we are thriving. 

Thank you, Georgann.      

Click HERE for the link to the zoom reading.

 

The Women's Singing Circle Old Christmas Concert January 6, 2023 Introductory remarks

Other than selecting a new calendar based on the pictures, a calendar is something we rarely think about. It’s something we take for granted. We don’t, consider that a calendar is a mathematical and cultural construct. But, know this, we are in a kind of time warp tonight. We are, right now, straddling two calendars, three millenniums, and two liturgical seasons: Christmas and Epiphany. We are both the shepherds in the fields hearing the angels sing and we are the magi following the star. 

It might seem odd to us now but Christmas Day was not given a place on the church calendar until the year 336. Easter and Pentecost were earlier placed. And, back then there was not an overly marked distinction between the birth of Christ, Christmas, and the manifestation of Christ, Epiphany. 

In the 4th century, the Julian calendar, which was established in 46 BC, was the calendar in use. The calculations on which it was based were close but not close enough. It was 11 minutes too long per year. That doesn’t seem like much but over time it was getting out of sync with the natural order: the spring and autumn equinox, the summer and winter solstice. Something had to be done. And so, in 1582 under Pope Gregory XIII, the Gregorian calendar was introduced to correct the misalignment. To accomplish this ten days had to be eliminated: a hard sell in a world distrustful of Papal authority. It would not be until 1752 that England adopted the calendar and those intervening two centuries now required the elimination of eleven days rather than ten. Since 1752 is the year that Orange County and the Parish of St. Matthew’s were established, it is not implausible to think that we, ourselves, had not yet heard the news from England about the calendar switch and may have celebrated Christmas according to the Julian Calendar (Old Christmas) rather than the Gregorian (New Christmas).  

Tonight we celebrate Christmas as if we were still using the Julian calendar like our brothers and sisters of the Coptic Church in Egypt and the members of The Eastern Orthodox Church and like some who live deep in the heart of Appalachia. The folk lore and wisdom of Old Christmas tell us that it is a night when the Holy Spirit manifests itself upon the earth in many strange and wondrous ways. Elderberry bushes may sprout up out of the frozen ground, animals may kneel upon the stroke of midnight and pray. Tonight we are giving homage to the old ways: serenading each other in song, gathering with friends, family, and neighbors, sharing the old stories. In her book Fair and Tender Ladies, Lee Smith’s character Ivy Rowe remarks: “Daddy allus said Old Christmas was a time to stay home and think on what will last.” 

Think on what will last. Let this be a gentle reminder, because how quickly we forget. But have the elderberry and the animals, be they tame or wild, forgotten? Maybe, maybe not. So walk outside tonight at midnight and see for yourself . . . look for signs and wonders . . . see how the earth, the natural world, moved and stirred by the Spirit of God is remembering and celebrating a babe, a star, angels, dreams, visions, God with us and God revealed. 

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and a Glory-filled Epiphany.

1104 Broad Street: a memoir

In 1973, freshly graduated from Duke University, I along with two people I barely knew, opened a vegetarian restaurant in Durham, NC: Somethyme at 1104 Broad Street. This book is both my story and the history of the restaurant and the one that would follow, Seventh Street. It is also an attempt to look back and try to make sense of what we did and did not accomplish. While the food was central it was never just about food, it was also art and politics, culture and community and, it was 18 years of my life.

June 25, 2022: Post Roe v. Wade

When six Justices of the Supreme Court tell you that the federal government does not have the authority to guarantee your right to end an unwanted pregnancy, but that the state in which you lives now does, I am dismayed. I live in a state in which 36% of voters are Democrats vs. 30% who are Republican. In our state assembly, there are 28 Republican senators vs. 22 Democrat senators; in the house there are 69 Republican representatives vs. 51 Democrat representatives.  Beyond the gerrymandering which protects Republican voters and produces an unbalanced and erroneous reflection of the body politic, there are efforts to restrict voting which will affect more Democrats than Republicans. How does this represent the wishes of the voters in North Carolina? It doesn't. It's a farce. It is false and they know that. 

Abortion should always be on the table as part of the health care a woman receives throughout the reproductive portion of her life.

Faith & Arts Concert: April 28, 2022

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I retired from my position as Parish Administrator at the end of December 2021. I had held this position since June 2006. This concert was one of the many ways St. Matthew's honored my work. I was joined by Charlie Ebel and Lew Wardell. It was the first concert Faith & Arts sponsored since COVID. 

Ocracoke Musings 

Ocracoke is not a place I come to to be entertained or which provides distractions from my life. Ocracoke is a place that extends an invitation to rest, lean back, lean into, and embrace life. It has offers me the opportunity to live my life more fully.

When I come I bring my notebook and guitar for song writing, an in-progress-quilt, embroidery projects, and books I’ve been wanting to read, hardback books (this year: In the Fall by Jeffrey Lent and Lila by Marilynne Robinson).

My husband and I walk…

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With Bread: Thoughts on Bread Baking - based on a presentation I did at St. Matthew's for our Faith Formation Class 

Bread Baking

Baking helps me remember my past.  My great grandmother, Fiddy who was born the year the Civil War ended, would come every Thursday and she and my Mom would bake the bread we would eat the following week. Often I was given a small amount of dough to knead into a roll but more often than not I would take that dough, go hide in a closet and eat it unbaked.

I have been baking bread since I was in college. I found that when I left home I missed the bread my Mom and Fiddy made, so when I was…

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My remarks before the Women's Singing Circle concert 11/15/15 

(for context: The concert in celebration of our CD "Homecoming" took place shortly after the Paris bombing attach)

Homecoming:

I feel I need to acknowledge that the events of this week have put the concept of Homecoming under a certain pale.  Home itself feels threatened: homes are no longer safe nor are the neighborhood cafes and other places were friends congregate.  Millions of people are fleeing their homes no longer even dreaming of returning.

And so we dedicate this concert to those who have lost…

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The St. Matthew’s Women’s Singing Circle Celebrates a Birthday 

The Women’s Singing Circle has turned five! Who knew that a group formed to provide music for the 2009 St. Mary’s Homecoming would endure, even thrive, this long? We’ve sung at every Homecoming since then; held 60 compline services; produced 2 CDs; performed concerts with Lee Smith, Sheila Kay Adams, and The Gospel Jubilators; been invited as guests at other churches and civic events; and created a song book containing over 100 songs . . . we’ve come a long way baby!! We continue to draw inspiration from…

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Murphey School Radio Show 

I was asked to be a regular performer at the Murphey School Radio Show!!! Last time I sang the show song and did a number of jingles for the sponsors of the show along with Women's Singing Circle buddy Cindy Stevens. See more about the Murphey School Radio Show from the links page.

St. Matthew's Women's Singing Circle going back into the studio 

We are working on a Christmas CD which will be out December 2013. We'll be partnering up with John Plymale of Overdub Lane Studio I expect the singing circle to be some 20-strong when we record the 17th & 18th of this month Andrea Moore, Claire Wright, Megan Whitted, Lise Uyanik, and myself will have some solo pieces. Ericka Patillo will bring her golden harp, Bob Mutter his booming djembe. The working title: "Venite Adoremus" which goes beautifully with the art work that Ebeth Scott Sinclair is…

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Oleander 

I wrote Oleander at Ocracoke a couple of years ago. This year at the OcraFolk Festival in early June they had a songwriter circle at one of the coffee shops. I played it when it was my turn: giving it back to the island. It felt good. All that oleander, all those mourning doves . . .

Don’t you hear the lonesome call of the mourning dove
It’s a common sound I don’t think much of
Heard it all my life, more’s the shame
I’d rather hear the warble of the whippoorwill
If I hadn’t run away I would be there still

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Little Chicken Stories 

I have collected my stories about our backyard chicken flock and self-published them through Lulu.com (go to links to others to get to the site from here). I'm so excited about this - I've been working on them for about three years. It's been a totally enjoyable project. Anyone who knows me knows I always have a new chicken story to tell. They are fascinating to me. I want to give a shout out to April Higgins for helping me by designing the book. Thanks April.

Christmas Eve 2010 

I can now put on my resume that I have stood in for Andrea Edith Moore. Andrea was to have sung "O Holy Night" at the 9:00 Christmas Eve service at St. Matthew's but she has a strained vocal chord and is on three months of voice rest. So, now I will sing my "Twas on a night" which is perfect for Christmas Eve.

"Twas in the dead of winter the angels did proclaim
To sleepy-eyed poor shepherd boys who with their flocks remained
They were not praying for a sign When they gazed up in the sky
The stars ascended…

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The Wood Thrush Returned Today 

I've been waiting for the return of this song bird to our area. This morning I heard the distinctive voice: Sunday, May 2. Two years ago it was April 19. I remember because I announced it at a house concert I did that evening. So, I've been waiting with some anxiety since mid-April for the sound of the glorious song. Did you know the wood thrush achieves their sound because they have two vocal chords so they can sing harmony with themselves. (I learned this, as most everything else interesting, by listening…

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