Journal

Author: Mason Winfield Created: Friday, February 26, 2010
Journal

 Those of us brought up as Christians were likely taught to see Christ as a pacifist, a saint or a victim. Our most familiar images of Him are pale and halo-crowned; we envision Him as a defenseless infant, a pastoral priest or a noble sufferer. Patient, enduring, borne by angels and resurrected by God, Jesus is hardly an action-figure in contemporary imaginations. He might not always have looked so timid. And Christmas may not always have been Jesus’ season.

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 I lost a friend yesterday, as did the Roycrofters, the town of East Aurora, the Arts & Crafts Movement community, and a broad network of sympathizers around the world. I refer to Edythe Turgeon – the omnipresent “Kitty” – one of the grand characters in Western New York and the spiritual mother of the Roycroft Campus in East Aurora. 

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  Legends of haunted bays, blighted islands and cursed regions have developed on each of the Great Lakes. The reader would be surprised to hear about the portable and vehicle ghosts: “Flying Dutchmen,” in other words, ghost ships. The two most famous–the Edmund Fitzgerald of Gordon Lightfoot’s 1975 ballad and French explorer LaSalle’s 1679 Griffon–are not associated with Lake Ontario, but a number of other reports are, and they may have roots in local history. In deference to my soon to be published book, Spirits of the Niagara Wine Trail, let’s revisit one of them. 


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 People who know me only from the winter of 2014 must think I write about nothing but death, moving, or cats. I wish the last few days could have slowed down, or spread their events thinner over a longer time. I hate having to write these little elegies, and so quickly, but I feel a sense of urgency with this one.


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 In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, let’s recycle a couple accounts from my files. I'd have gotten to this before yesterday, but... Too much activity on the day I moved into my new home.

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 For Peter Christian Andersen, 1955-2014

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  That this bereaving stroke

Be sanctified to me

That my hard heart of stone be broke,
And from this world may flee.
“Death of a Mr. Job Hoisington,” by Elder Turner (1814)

 

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2012, 2013, and 2014 are 200th anniversary years for major events in the War of 1812. The war’s only sustained land fighting was on the Niagara, and the citizens on both sides of that river lived that war. It's especially important to commemorate it here. 

Every time the 200th anniversary of something of local significance comes up, I've written an article for the Buffalo magazine Artvoice. Someone who follows that worthy publication will develop a good understanding of the Niagara war by the time the three year cycle is over. I would guess that twenty of them have appeared by now. 

I have presumed those articles were getting enough exposure, but I realize that I should have been putting them on this website. A bit of me rebels against it, since they are straight history and nothing paranormal. But as always, the reader is free to read or not. I will put the whole cycle in at leisure. 

 

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