Dear Parishioners and Friends,
One of the interesting things about being a parish priest is that one never knows who might pop in. I recently received a phone call from Beryl (I'll leave her last name out for privacy, but old-timers will remember her). She was in the area and wanted to attend our Wednesday service and meet with me afterward. Well, she got lost and didn't make it to the service, but showed up immediately afterward.
After changing out of my vestments, we went to my office for a chat. She just turned 80, and as it turns out, grew up in the Park in the 40's and 50's. Her family lived in the gardener's cottage of the Poor House, and she attended TPS there before it moved to its current location. Like others of her generation, she fondly remembers frolicking in abandoned mansions with her childhood friends. What a playground that must have been! She and her family were very active at St. Mary's, and she shared some memories with me, including one of how her brother once overturned a huge silver vase full of lilies during the Easter service. "Water gushed down the chancel steps," she said with a tinge of glee in her voice.
She was married at St. Mary's in 1964 and soon moved with her husband to the Boston area, where she still lives today. I greatly enjoyed learning about her family history here, but the most interesting thing to me was learning that the very last stained glass window to be placed in St. Mary's was donated by her mother in memory of her father. It is located close to the main entrance of the church, and features the child Jesus at Tuxedo Lake, surrounded by the flora and fauna (minus the bears) of the area. It was made by an artist in Suffern.
I have always found this window intriguing, and especially love to show it to children. One animal who is prominently featured is clearly not a part of the local wildlife--a big, black dog. When she finished telling me about the making of the window, I said, "I am so glad to know this, and and even more interested to know---this is your dog, isn't it?" "Oh, yes," she said, "that's Sargey... though he never looked as good in real life."
God bless, Sargey, wherever you are.