• martinemptybowls

Lord Resideth in Donut Shop

Updated: Nov 15, 2020

I am borrowing the title for tonight's post from the poem - God Visits the Maine Coast by Maine's Poet Laureate, Stuart Kestenbaum. Stuart was the Director of Haystack Mountain School of Crafts in Deer Isle, Maine for many years and still resides in Deer Isle.


Life presents us with religious moments when we least expect it. Each time I climb into the driver's seat of my truck I say a little prayer. Oh that reminds me of a favored song we played in middle school jazz band - the Burt Bacharach/Hal David song - I Say a Little Prayer for You. That is why writing is important, I hadn't thought about that song in years. Ok, so back to the truck; my 2000 Ford F250 superduty, crew cab was two years old with 32,000 miles when we bought it. Now 18 years later the odometer reads 517,678 miles, yes the original engine. A few summers ago I was taking trash to the town dump and the truck was acting up. Ultimately, I limped the truck along to the auto shop I use up there. It quit in the middle of the street in front of the auto center. Two days and several hundred dollars later, as I thanked the service manager for getting me back on the road, he remarked - "you know, that truck doesn't owe you anything." I concurred but silently thought, "but I need it to get me back to Martin next week".


Last spring, in the early days of quarantine/sheltering in place, there we were, the first Sunday of the month and communion at Trinity Presbyterian Church. I was struck by the awareness that this quarantine stuff may not be all bad - there I was, church by way of Facebook Live -in my pajamas complete with fresh from the oven homemade blueberry donuts (see the picture above) and hot coffee for communion. God was at work, helping us find ways to get through this pandemic.


I have on too many occassions remarked that I was not going to church because it is Empty Bowls Season and I need to be in the studio making bowls and that was ok, because making bowls is God's work. Seems like a plausible excuse, but an excuse nontheless. So now, thanks to the pandemic again, I can be "at church" and in the studio at the same time. But more to the point, making the bowls isn't God's Work, making bowls is setting the stage for all of you to do the Lord's Work - donate to We Care, through the Empty Bowls Project and we will give you a bowl for every $15 donation. Over the past 16 years you have donated, collectively, rough $100,000 to We Care. For that we are all blessed.


God Visits the Maine Coast

I am sitting in the main street donut shop

the one with the orange and blue greased décor.

The place where they serve

liquid cremora and have no bathroom.

The place where the old boys

who no longer work at the iron works

hang out coughing cigarette smoke.

The vent fan is relentless

but the grease doesn’t exit.

On the radio, there is a voice

almost drowned by the whir,

George Harrison singing about

wanting to see the Lord.

Lord resideth in donut shop

Lord resideth in waitress’ orthopedic white shoes,

in well-used mop, in gold flecked formica table.

Lord resideth in calendar furnished by the insurance agent

with idyllic reproduction of ships

which is obscured by 3 dying plants on the cigarette machine.

Lord resideth in salt and pepper,

in the old lady gumming a donut

in the greasy world

of the forlorn juice machine.

The old men leave

the waitress wheels

and serves another coffee.

Stuart Kestenbaum

from Pilgrimage, pg 25

Coyote Love Press (December 1990)

ISBN-10: 0913341134


Bowl Count: Before I left the studio this evening, I counted just shy of 600 bowls in some form of completeness or another. It will be a busy 10 days but we will have at least 1000 bowls ready by pick-up day.


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