Linda & I hope you all had a blessed Easter. We were joined by our son, Kaz and his friend, Sarah, and still have ham coming out our ears.
It was on Easter Sunday that Capt. Phillips of Underhill, VT was released from captivity near Somalia, thanks to the expertise of the Navy Seals. The cable news stations were ecstatic, saying how joyful his family must have been on hearing the news of Phillips' rescue after he had so heroically offered himself as ransom in lieu of his merchant marine crew.
Yes, that certainly was cause for rejoicing, but then I thought of what Easter Sunday is all about. Capt. Jesus had offered his life to save his crew (i.e. us), and he was rescued not by his Navy Seals (i.e. apostles), but by the divine power that raised him from the dead. No, this latter ransom and rescue was not something in the distant past, no longer relevant. It is as relevant today as it was 2,000 years ago when the Apostles St. Peter and St. John scratched their heads, staring at the burial wraps left behind in the empty tomb, wondering still just what "resurrection" meant, as they had first wondered as they descended the mount of Transfiguration. The whole good news was two-fold: Capt. Phillips was rescued and Capt. Jesus rescued us from death itself.
Well, that's all my preaching for now.
We moved back to the big house in Westfield on Christmas Eve and have been advertising Carmel Cottage (former Bunkhouse) as a vacation rental, fully furnished and equipped. Linda regretted leaving it because we finally had a really decent place to live, only to move before spending a single night in the finished project. You can see photos and descriptions at:www.vermontproperty.com
Search for rental #1142. Also see photos and description at: www.jimccunningham.com
NLI PROPERTY BACK ON MARKET?
The 93 acres with Lady Slipper Lodge and Fr. Jim G. Dodge Memorial Pool is still technically under a mortgage contract, but its status is very iffy of late. If any of you are interested in possibly making overtures regarding an offer, now may be the time to tune your instruments. As you know, the location has views to the sunrise and is very private. A couple of landowners have access to their lots along the right-of-way (Carmel Rd.) that runs past, but they all respect the naturist lifestyle.
The pool seems to need at least some liner repair, and the grounds could use some serious cleanup after winter, but all is in rather good shape.
My health is probably the biggest news. My kidney transplant died last December after 16 years of good service. Since August I have been jumping through seemingly dozens of hoops to qualify for a pancreas-kidney double transplant. I succeeded and have now been on the cadaver organ donor waiting list for two months, but those hoops practically killed me first. If I could survive what the doctors have already put me through, then I feel confident I can handle the transplant operation. The average double organ wait here is about one year, so I will probably have several months to wait yet. Meanwhile, the name of the game is just to keep myself duct-taped together enough to make it onto that operation table. Back in 1992 I wanted a transplant so I could have life to finish rearing our five children. They have long flown the coop and now my motive is to have life so as to continue helping Linda and not leave her a widow sooner than might be.
Linda still works as an LNA full time as well as being my sole caregiver, dialyzing me 24/7 on a peritoneal dialysis machine. It seems to be doing the job. But both these jobs have naturally been very taxing on her, and we are looking into getting her some help at least once a week. One of our NLI supporters has even offered to pay someone out of pocket to help her. We are most grateful to him, as we are to all our many former benefactors. Thanks to you all! I myself try to help her as much as I can find strength, but often that is only deskwork and cooking.
Kaz still lives in the area but has joined the Vermont Air Guard and will be leaving for boot camp in May. That makes three Cunningham children who have served their country in the military!
Maureen is in No. Carolina and is about to birth an apparently healthy daughter. God bless them!
Zeke plans to graduate from the Citadel in So. Carolina as a commissioned Marines lieutenant in August. His ambition is still to go on to helicopter flight school.
Therese manages a restaurant in Aspen, Colorado and sometimes still teaches snowboarding and skiing.
Kate is busy rearing her precocious daughter, Indalee, in Arizona. She hopes to have another child.
Linda is overwhelmed by work, much of which is handyman stuff that takes her a long time. She could sure use help doing spring yard cleanup and preparing the gardens, etc. There are also some projects such as building a few steps on our back door, mounting a storm door there, cutting, splitting and stacking wood and putting the nightmare tool shed back in order. As you know, one of the joys of volunteering here is being able to do it clothes-free. That is not possible everywhere, so it is fun to be able to experience it here. (Yes, I did learn this ploy from Tom Sawyer.) It is still possible to stay overnight in a tent, vehicle or trailer. There is no water/sewer hookup, but you can plug your rig into electricity. The sauna is still in good shape, and there is still an out-house.
There are also plenty of rainy day inside projects such as removing the basement ceiling so the heat can rise up better. Volunteers can still join us for dinner, though we usually have this at 1:00 PM, after which I need quiet for a nap.
I doubt we will be gracing the beach at Willoughby with our divine reflections until I am successfully transplanted. Till then, my outings pretty much consist of sunbathing in our south yard. If I have the energy to do any gardening, I will help Linda there. We have reinherited our original, big garden, and I am looking forward to planting it and reaping its fruits. Every year we get better at gardening, learning from mistakes. Now we will have more room than ever, and the temptation to squish everything in will not be there. Maybe someone has a tiller and can volunteer to turn our winter rye over and prepare for new planting?We used to rig up a foot valve in the brook and water the old garden from there. Our old spring can also be used for this as we now have an artesian well for both the house and Cottage. If anyone knows about such things, it would be wonderful if they could rig something up for us which would be easy for Linda to use.
Some gutters leading to rain barrels for watering also need some repairing.
NEW ON-LINE STORE
NLI used to pay Godaddy through the nose for its Quick Shopping Cart service and secure certificate. The NLI cash flow is lately so dismal that this can no longer be justified. If you go to http://naturistlife.com it will point you to: http://www.jimccunningham.com where I intend to create my own catalog of both in-print and out-of-print (CDs) publications and even resurrect the old NLI Giftshop. But my energy level is so low that I may proceed at a turtle's pace. If someone out there is web site savvy and can volunteer to help with his, please let me know.
Your patronage is very much appreciated, so please order whatever publications you do not yet own. Thanks!
VERMONT ANTI-NUDE BILL
Someone in the Vermont House in Montpelier proposed a bill that would ban all public nudity in Vermont. I put in my two cents with the committee dealing with this, and the chairman answered me, stating not to worry because the bill would die in committee. The consensus is that we should leave well enough alone, following Senator Patrick Leahy's famous 1971 memo when he was Chittenden County's State's Attorney and had to advise police departments how to handle the sudden explosion of skinny-dipping back in those good ole days. Basically, his advice was to leave skinny-dippers alone if they were not flaunting their nudity on a public beach. Beaches such as the southwest cove at Lake Willoughby are ideal for clothing-optional use because they are out of the way, on State land, and the clothing-optional custom has long been established.
God bless your spring and summer!
Jim C. Cunningham