It so happened that on Friday, the day of the funeral in Charleston, I was driving through the state. As we crossed the Savannah River on I-95 and entered the Palmetto State, we passed the American flag flying at half-staff. It was rather stunning to behold. There was no Confederate flag; in all the years I have made this trip, I can't remember ever seeing one at the state line.
We continued on toward Columbia SC in temperatures over 100, and north of the state capital we found that all the public radio stations were covering the pastor's funeral and the President's eulogy. Then as we approached Charlotte the other news stories started coming in succession: the Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage, terrorist attacks, the shooting of one of the escapees up in northern New York.
Late in the afternoon we arrived for the night in Wytheville, VA, a venerable town in the Shenandoah where about five major interstates share a valley of convenience, so to speak. We arrived in time to catch the 6:30 TV news and see pictures of the day's events for the first time. Between the fatigue of driving and the incredible amount of events to digest, we were happy to crash in an Applebee's for supper. This particular restaurant had just installed those little table computers, and we decided to compete in a silly game until I caught the small print: "...$0.99 will be added to your bill for each game." Be advised. A day full of surprises.
No surprise on Saturday as we pushed on to the Hudson Valley, 590 miles or thereabouts. If you live in the Northeast you know what the driving conditions were like. A hard rain from mid-Virginia to the Tappan Zee Bridge across the Hudson where we encamped at the historic village of Tarrytown. There are two Catholic Churches here, one staffed by a religious order. We are heading over to this latter church for Mass shortly.
Naturally there is a lot to reflect upon from the events of this week. Last night my in-laws asked my reaction to the pope's encyclical on the environment. I had to chuckle and back off, as I have not read the document, and have had no chance to read the Supreme Court ruling, for that matter.
I am looking forward to talking about these weighty matters; for the moment I will be visiting a number of local church communities with an eye for jewels for the ministry.