Whereabouts 3.8-3.15

Monday – Raleigh day trip on 3.8
Cotuit balance of the week
Back to Raleigh the following week

First Lutheran Church of West Barnstable – 52 Churches

There has been a small Finnish community on Cape Cod since the 19th century and I am too lazy to do the research to plausibly explain why in this entry in the 52Church series, but they apparently, according to one local history, had a penchant for drinking and so a temperance society was formed at the turn of the century to quell their dipsomania. That society eventually became a place of worship and since Finns — and many people of the Nordic and Teutonic countries — tend to be Lutheran, so West Barnstable became home to the first Lutheran church on Cape Cod, the Suomi, or Finnish Lutheran synod to be precise. According to Marion Rawson Vuilleumier’s Churches on Cape Cod, services were conducted only in Finnish until 1943, when a second English service was added and the church congregation grew.

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Barry Hannah – Geronimo RIP

My father accidentally introduced me to Barry Hannah in the mid-70s when he bought Hannah’s first novel, the Faulkner award winning Geronimo Rex. For some random reason I read it — we never discussed the book, my father never recommended it or even mentioned it, it just appeared on a shelf in the bookcase and I read it.

It is one of a few books which makes me laugh out loud, a book I push on people to read over and over as one of the most wickedly funny examples of Southern American writing ever penned.  A tale of coming of age in 1960s Mississippi, it actually more like Animal House on paper — a very sophomoric story of three misfits rooming together off campus at Ole Miss.

In 1977 I was accepted into a writing class taught by Gordon Lish, fiction editor at Knopf and short story editor at Esquire. He championed the new wave of post-modern writers like Don DeLillo, Raymond Carver, and Hannah. In one of the first classes he handed out copies of Hannah’s amazing short story anthology, Airships and read out loud the extremely short story, “Coming Close to Donna.” I was captivated.

Barry Hannah never broke out as a best selling author, nor did he go on to achieve great things like others of his generation. But he did write beautifully, crafting his sentences with the precision of a Haiku. He was earthy, his humor was located south of his belt, but he was entertaining as could be. I loved his writing.

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