Saturday, April 9, 2016

Three Beautiful Things 04/08/16: Betty Wood's Committal, Yes to No Cook Pasta Sauce, Epic Facebook Thread

1.  Back in March, St. Mary's Episcopal Church's priest Father Bingham Powell made a business trip from Eugene to Virginia Theological Seminary and we had dinner at the seminary. He mentioned he'd be returning to Virginia for an April 8 committal/burial of Michelle Wood's mother, Betty, at Arlington National Cemetery where Betty's husband already rests in peace. Without thinking, I asked Bingham if he thought it would be all right if I attended the committal, as a show of support for Michelle, whom I never really got to know at St. Mary's, but whom I felt kinship with because we both had been at St. Mary's together for many years.  Bingham secured Michelle's permission and then he asked me if I would read Matthew 11:28-30 at the service. I happily said I would.

So, today, I took the train to the Archives station, enjoyed a chocolate croissant and a cup of dark roast coffee at Paul Bakery and Cafe, and then walked leisurely about a mile to the Smithsonian station on the National Mall where I caught a train to Arlington National Cemetery and met up with Michelle and rest of the small group of us who would be present for the committal.

Pam Birrell made the trip from Eugene with her daughter, Hope, and I enjoyed meeting Hope and being able to have some great conversation with Pam, especially at lunch after the committal and on the Metro from Crystal City to Gallery Place afterward.

I'm grateful I got to attend the committal of Betty Wood. Despite having left Eugene, I will always want to participate in the life of St. Mary's Church and support those I knew there, whether really well or only a little bit, in any way I can.  It's a river that runs deep inside of me.

2.  That no cook pasta sauce I didn't make last night? I combined chopped tomatoes, chopped mint leaves, oregano, crumbled feta cheese, shredded Parmesan cheese, sliced green onions, Kalamata olives, and olive oil with cooked spaghetti and the Deke and I had a delicious meal.

3. Sister Carol and her husband, Paul, took Mom to the Shoshone County Court House so Mom could submit her Circuit Breaker papers and earn a property tax reduction.  Neither Carol's friends, April and Kellee, nor I, had heard of the Circuit Breaker Tax Reduction Program and, on Facebook, we tried and tried and tried to pry an answer out of Carol as to what this program is and why it's called Circuit Breaker.  Carol didn't respond. And she didn't respond. And she didn't respond some more. So, April, Kellee, and I piled wiseacre comment upon wiseacre comment on Carol's original Circuit Breaker post, making the best possible use of the magic of Facebook to entertain ourselves, give Carol a bad time, and create an epic thread.  Carol finally returned to her computer/smart phone and when confronted by the longest and funniest string of Facebook comments ever written, finally succeeded in helping us see that the circuit breaker metaphor treats taxes like residential electricity. Here's one website's explanation of how the metaphor works:

One increasingly popular type of targeted property tax relief program is called a “circuit breaker” because it protects taxpayers from a property tax “overload”just like an electric circuit breaker: when a property tax bill exceeds a certain percentage of a taxpayer’s income, the circuit breaker reduces property taxes in excess of this “overload” level. 

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