Saturday, December 4, 2010

Thanksgiving in Vacationland (2)

Day 2 - Manhattan to Massachusetts

We awoke the next morning, collected our stuff, and drove North to Manhattan. Our plan was to attend Liturgy at the Synodal Cathedral, because a recent seminary grad, Sergio Silva, was being ordained a deacon.

Parking in Manhattan, even on a Sunday, seems to be very hard to find. Even the paid parking lot that Big Jack frequently uses was full. So, we resorted to appealing to divine intervention. And the heavenly answer was not long in coming–we found a parking space just two blocks away from Synod, right on 5th Avenue next to Central Park.

If one didn't notice the sign saying "Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia" one could easily mistake the building for any common mansion, which it basically was. We entered rather awkwardly through the kliros, which was in an adjoining space next to the nave, which was actually a converted ballroom. We sang with the choir. I was happy to sing with Anatoly Ivanovich Panchoshny, who was my vocal teacher in the music summer school.

After the liturgy, we congratulated Fr. Sergio (who, as of this writing, has just been ordained a priest) and then proceeded to the trapeza, where we sat and listened to speeches about Metropolitan Philaret.

It was soon time to get going, so we went back to the car and put away our podryasniks. Jack taught me a special way to fold a cassock, which will make for a good post. Then, we started walking through Central Park.

It was my first time in Central Park, not to mention Manhattan. I was completely bowled over by the sheer scale of the park, as well as how accommodating it was to all the people walking therein. It was a nice, sunny afternoon, and we got to see all sorts of talented individuals on our walk. There were some black street performers who called themselves the “Afrobats” as well as a very talented young boy who could juggle while riding a unicycle.

It was getting late, so we had to start hitting the road again. Big Jack got invited by a Russian family in Massachusetts, the Donskoys, to have Thanksgiving dinner with them. Jack graciously declined, but asked if we could stay the night. So, we started the four-hour drive. This time, we took the scenic route, making sure the GPS had us avoid toll roads. It turned out to be a rather nice drive. On the way, we listened to Glenn Gould play Bach's French Suites. Pretty soon, we were in Concord.

Fr. and Mrs. Donskoy welcomed us with open arms. Over a steaming hot bowl of chili, Fr. Alex regaled us with various stories, including the tale of how "Silent Night" came to be written in a secluded Alpine town. I was becoming very exhausted, so he lent me his arm to lean on. I took a shower, got ready for bed, and went to sleep a little after 11:30 pm.

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