Thursday, December 2, 2010

Thanksgiving in Vacationland (1)

Note: In keeping with my personal blogging philosophy, I have changed some of the names to protect the innocent...and the guilty!

Day 1 - Jordanville to JFK

The air was crisp, the day was fine, and I woke up way too early for my own good. I was excited because we were going to embark on an epic road trip across several states along the eastern seaboard. Our final destination was somewhere in Southern Maine, but first we had to go South in order to drop off our friend Tom Woodlawn, who was going to give a presentation on Pushkin somewhere in the frozen side of Europe.

So, we set off: Tom, Big Jack (a fifth-year), and me. We drove five hours, through quaint Upstate New York towns, and into the heart of New York City. The tension level increased accordingly, especially because we were having difficulties finding a place to stay, and it was starting to get dark. I resigned myself to the fate of having to go back to Jordanville, at least for that night. Meanwhile, Big Jack and I dropped off Tom at JFK International, and prayed that he would travel safely, and that they would not make Minsk-meat out of him.

Living on a prayer, we started South, to New Jersey, where a priest-friend of Jack's lived. After some lively back-and-forth before and after we dropped off Tom at the airport, Jack's friend, Fr. Seraphim, got us some accomodations at his parish in Howell. So, about an hour and a half after we dropped off Anthony we arrived at St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral.

Finally, I thought, time to get some rest! After nearly eight hours of sitting in a car, I was ready to crash. But then, I checked the time: it was six o'clock. Time for Vigil!

We went up to the choir loft of the beautifully-frescoed church, and stood and sang for about two-and-a-half hours, which actually gave some remedy to all the sitting we did. After the Vigil, Fr. Valery, the venerable protopresbyter and rector of the parish, had us do a pannikhida for Metropolitan Philaret, whose 25th anniversary of his repose was the following day.

That night, we ate supper at Fr. Seraphim's, and met his amiable family. His sister-in-law Tanya served us a very delicious meal, and we spent our evening chatting about seminary life. In particular, Tanya told us about some marital advice she recieved from one of our protodeacons:

Tanya: He told me to line up all the guys I'm interested in, and pick the one with the shined shoes.
Jack: But how are you going to line up all those guys?
Me: Call the police!

When it was time for Big Jack and I to rest, we were shown to our guest rooms in the Russian School with some bedding. The first day was eventful, but it was merely the beginning of our saga.

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