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Family valued - 5.31.06 

Catching Spirits, dreaming Dreams

The Lion King has left town, but the vibrant music and movement of Africa is alive and well year-round at Bush Mango Drum and Dance. With their spring production, Spirit and Dreams, Bush Mango offers the exuberance of West Africa to all of Rochester.

Located at 34 Elton Street, Bush Mango celebrates the community and culture of West Africa through weekly classes, school performances, and community events. Come and discover the power and nuance of a tradition different from our own, yet one that nourishes what we all value: family and community.

On a recent Tuesday night, drummers sat in a half circle, djembes between knees. The intricate rhythms pulsed through the dancers --- men and women, black and white, teens and 50somethings --- whose movements connect earth to sky, all that's basic to all that's infinite. I was transported 20 years back to the Peace Corps in Senegal; heard the muezzin call the faithful to prayer; saw the displays of vegetables, rice, and beans for sale, protected from the sizzling sun by makeshift canopies; smelled the chalk from the schoolrooms; tasted the strong, sweet tea shared with Senegalese friends during sieste.

Don't miss this opportunity to welcome a little bit of Africa into your life. Show times for Spirit and Dreams are Thursday through Saturday, June 1-3, at 8 p.m. at the Elton Street studio. A special sneak preview for VIP supporters, followed by a wine and cheese reception, is scheduled for Wednesday, May 31, at 8 p.m. For ticket information and directions to the studio, pay a virtual visit to

--- Marjorie Sangster Rolleston

Death lessons

As if we could kill time without injuring eternity. --- Thoreau, Walden

I have a three-legged, 12-year-old golden retriever and a 600-foot driveway. Every morning that dog insists on hobbling down to meet the school bus with my son and me. We're often a bit rushed, so we walk ahead and she usually catches up as the bus pulls in. Once the boy is safely on his way, my dog and I return to the house at her pace, stopping to rest occasionally. Sometimes I carry her.

Zoe is dying. My son sees it with every excruciating hop each morning. My daughter recognizes it when I'm the only one who can coax or lift our pup down the stairs. Time is short.

As pastor's kids, my children know death. They've said goodbye to a number of surrogate grandparents and doting friends in our faith community. We have not insulated them against these passings. My wife and I don't speak in hushed whispers in other rooms about matters they, too, must process. We answer their questions gently but frankly, and share as much as they want to explore, including our own tears. They intuitively pick up what they can handle and leave the rest to mull another day.

Recently, walking down the drive, my son and I did the dog-years math and figured that Zoe turns 84 this summer. The following weekend we visited spry, tough-as-nails, 83-year-old grandpa. Only my wife and I caught it as we said our goodbyes at the end of the day: At the door to the minivan, my boy buried himself in his grandfather's chest and inhaled deeply, a most profound expression of love on his nine-year-old face. Sacred lesson learned.

Living means dying. Loving means loss. If we savor the moments, they're worth the cost.

--- Rev. Corey Keyes


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