….Evening in Dedham, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church…
It was raining as we all left the center of Old Boston, in two separate carriages, in two separate directions, to return to the comforting environs of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, in Dedham. The Troop had all come back in the carriage with Teamster Judi, while I traveled alone in the darkness, my thoughts racing wild in the night. The traffic on the byways was almost beyond my comprehension, particularly at night, the carriage lanterns reflecting off of every water drop on the wind screen, the detritus from the road thrown in the air by the carriage’s spinning wheels, for all to travel through.
We had the occasional communication to make sure that we were all headed in the right direction. At some point, perhaps 45 minutes later, I arrived at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church of Dedham, it was still raining, the wipers on the window working hard, click’clack, to keep the sight available to me. I pulled into the carriage yard of the Church, the Vicary on the left of the drive, the Church proper on the right. As I departed my carriage, I note that the lanterns of the 2nd carraige, carrying the Troop, has lit up the door yard. We are all together, safe now, after a hazardous journey from the center of Old Boston. It is still a bit chilly, we are almost immediately welcomed by the Vicar, Michael Collins and Family, and eventually Nick Spada, both offering a most welcome warm embrace, with the doors open to us…just how amazing is that…? the doors are open, we are on our own, truly, you have touched our hearts.
Ah, this church, so stately, from a different time…the colonial time in America, as was Old Town, in North Attleborough. This church also has a most interesting history that we can only lightly cover here. There is a comprehensive Church history, of which I have a copy, courtesy of the Vicar. Perhaps we will have some time, soon, to devote to that.
In the mean time, it is time for us to get our camp gear, out of the carriages and into the church room proper…and we do so in the rain and chill, bringing in the cots, and personal gear for a night in this most august place.
Having not eaten or taken any refreshment since sometime early in the afternoon, it certainly was time to do so.
We took the small carriage into the town center, only but a couple of blocks from the church. Mike and I settled on a comfortable looking cafe, and a bottle of wine, with a sandwich. David, Dave and Judi opted for another inn more to their liking. We stayed a short while and recapped the events of the last couple of days, then, t’was time to return to the church. It was about 8:30 of the Clock in the Evening. Judi and Dave, as is their wont, move on to lodging in a different place, one of the local inns. We say our ado’s and they are off, to return in the morning.
The church, warm and inviting, offers a comfortable evening. We have access to a full kitchen, a water closet, a sitting area, and perhaps the most beautiful sleeping area we have encoutered on this trip…no, I should say it IS the most beautiful sleeping area, large, warm, with rugs on the hardwood floor, large eclesiastical windows of leaded stained glass, beautiful woodworking, a piano…and a large panel with which to control the lighting.
There is one caveat, however, as explained by the good Reverend…apparently the alarm system will sound off after 11:00 of the Clock in the Evening, if it is disturbed. We are shown where the sentinel check is and the code is explained…with assurances that the good Reverend will be back in time, just in case, to take of that little detail. Again, we bid all a good evening as we get ready to retire for a good night’s rest.
David is first to lay out his cot, Mike and I quickly follow…and then it is remembered that there is a bounty of the King’s spirits, within the carriage, that perhaps we might take advantage of, to ward off the chill, and perhaps a small celebration of the task accomplished. The ration is rescued from a night in the damps, we find serving cups, and help ourselves to a bit of congratulatory cheer, a toast to the French Army, a toast to the good Reverend, a toast to our mates… at this point David has decided it is time for him to recline, we douse the evening lamps and he retires. Mike and retire to the sitting area, to chat some and catch up on old adventures. We had not seen other much in the years intervening the 225th Anniversary March to Yorktown, and this 230th Anniversary of the March from Providence to Boston, of that same French Army, under count Rochambeau, that assured the independence of this country.
The stories came long and fast, catching up as old friends are wont to do. First this event, and then another, then catching up on history, personal and otherwise. The King’s spirit lighting our way…we had found a treasure of cola in the ice box of the church, therefore, with cold drink and warm affection, we prated on long into the evening. It was not too long before the witching hour… the alarm sentry would sound off, so we gathered about the sentinel box, awaiting the final minute before the sentry would sound.
Oh my, at that very moment, who should announce himself but the good Reverend himself. He managed to persuade the Sentinel to not alarm, we thought. We shared niceties with the Reverend ,for a minute or so, and just as he was about to turn on his heel and leave…the entire Church erupted in alarms, sirens and bells. We all looked at each other aghast…
The good Reverend explains that all is well, he will chat with the sentry people and explain the situation, he leaves and Mike and I are left in the sitting area, David asleep in the Great Room. I note that there is a wee bit of spirit left and offer to make a ‘last round’ for us, Mike agrees… I am in the kitchen when I hear an unfamiliar voice asking us what we were doing…
I won’t bother to go into all the details, but apparently the sentry had sounded the alarm after all, and these two uniformed gentlemen were sent to see what was amiss…of course there was nothing amiss, but there we were, finally, in the Great Room, with the two uniformed sentry personnel, and the Reverend who had returned pronto to explain, and Mike and myself…the lights are all on, the alarm had sounded, mush discussion was had, greeting given, offered, and accepted…. finally the sentries, satisfied that we were not miscreants, left, as did the Reverend… we turned out the lights…finished that last bit of the King’s spirits, and went to bed ourselves, sleeping as if possessed by the Sand Man
In the morning, I took the time to explain to David what had happened the night before, and why the King’s spirits were missing… you see, he had slept through the entire episode…!
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