Residents of the village of Rockport can be easily protracted into three distinct groupings. There are those members of the community whose roots extend back to Rockport's earliest days... even its founding. Then there are those "summer people"- folks like the Hargett and Sherman families, representative of the many who arrive back in the Thousand Islands (as predictably as the Canada Geese)... as soon as possible after the winter ice leaves the River to wile away the warmth and relaxation of seemingly endless summers here. The last group are the "nouveau" residents who are in retirement from successful careers and businesses... and who choose to (exclusively) cloister themselves in retirement "summer" houses just beyond the din and noise of the hordes of tourists. They share private golf... boating and cocktail hours and then most head south to the warmer climes to escape the harsh winter cold in these parts. This is Rockport... the way it has always been.
Ann and Bill Hargett after their missionary work in Japan... chose to bring their family to Rockport more than fifty years ago and that Charlotte, South Carolina to Rockport and the Thousand Islands annual summer odyssey continues to this day. Sadly... Bill passed away a little more than a year ago... leaving "the flock" without their Shepherd. It has been an extremely difficult task for Ann and the family of three lovely girls (now beautiful... inside and out women with their own lambs) to return to their summer playground of old... and to feel his absence... yet at the same time presence in their summer lives.
Last summer Ann and her daughter came to visit our Gallery and upon seeing Deb's remarkably beautiful stained glass work... queried the possibility of her accepting a commission to create a stained glass window of remembrance in honour of Bill. It was decided that Deb would mull over the "idea" and that she would attempt to create a design which reflected the church... the village and Bill in a simple, colourful, yet respectful iconography embracing all elements. She would submit the "cartoon" for the commission idea that she came up with for Ann to view and consider. Then she could go forward with the actual creation of the window... taking it to completion ... ready for dedication... when the Hargett "flock" would return in early summer.
Let us fast forward past the "Creation"... or "In the beginning part of the story to Sunday, July7th... the "Let there be Light" ending to the "Genesis" of this window's creation. I will not attempt to describe the ceremony in words. That act could never be achieved through words alone. There are not enough words in my desk side dictionary writing partner to adequately describe the solemnity... nor the beautiful power of love that filled that tiny church to its rafters during the entire service and into the luncheon served afterward. Suffice it to say... the The Church of the Redeemer had its "church" status raised to that of the holiest of cathedrals during this community communion!
Let these pictures that I have taken... along with a few expletives suffice to humbly describe the solemn occasion:
"Let there be Light.... and there was Light. And God was pleased."
Two women visionaries responsible for the window's creation... Ann and Deb
The Hargett flock... and their window gift to Rockport
The "simply" eloquent and inviting Reverend Christine Downey welcoming the celebrants
"Another Hargett" reading scripture from the Redeemer's pulpit... Bill can never be gone!
The window being dedicated in the presence of the Hargett Family
A high point in the service for me personally... when I truly felt the total presence of Bill at the ceremony was this soulful moment when his granddaughter and friend "Princess" ... cued by their electronic devices and in confident... soul- uplifting nightingale fashion... offered Leonard Cohen's religious anthem "Hallelujah"... acapella. It was an extraordinary and transcending moment I won't quickly forget. The final verse of this fav of mine most appropriately for this occasion rejoices:
I did my best, it wasn't much
I couldn't feel, so I tried to touch
I've told the truth,
I didn't come to fool you
And even though it all went wrong
I'll stand before the Lord of Song
With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah
More Music and Joy from the talented mind and hands of pianist/organist octogenarian, George Shaw... constant presence and dedication to his church and music. Despite personal challenges and adversity, George continues to add his own personal Truth ... and Hallelujah.... and we are blessed!
"There is beauty all around... when there's love at home." See it here? Very special!
Ever... "The Hargett Gals from Charlotte and Rockport"... or...wherever life takes us!
My beautiful wife... and artisan extraordinaire Deb with friend Grace..."The Garden Lady" Hallyburton
And smile you should... it will always mark your presence in Rockport... and a place where your own family and special grand gals shall be able to return to... to remember their special Gramma! I am so very proud of "You" Deb!
It was a very special day for our two Thousand Island families. We share so many similarities and common values... most especially, the love of our children and our community we have chosen to return to... after too many years of being away. Our hearts truly belong to the St Lawrence River and the Thousand Islands. We both well realize and savour that fact with every sunrise cup o' java we share... as the current of Time tugs us along. In closing... we say thank you to The Hargett Family and the Family of Rockport for the honour we have enjoyed by being included in your lives.
"We" feel greatly blessed!.... to be "Home"!