In previous posts I said that I would explain our recent flurry of cleaning and other preparations. Now, I am going to tell you the background story on all this activity. But, before I do that, let me explain ‘ruffles & flourishes’:
Ruffles and Flourishes are sounded to render personal honors and precede prescribed music for personnel being honored. Ruffles (played by the drums) and Flourishes (played by bugle or selected brass instruments) are played simultaneously.
(To learn more about ‘ruffles & flourishes’ and to hear what they sound like, click here.)
Background Story: In October 1973, I discovered I was married to an ‘Admiral’. It was during the Navy Day Ball at Goodfellow Air Base in San Angelo, Texas. I was just a lowly Petty Officer and the events of that night caused me to think that I would never be promoted again. It’s a great story, but for brevity’s sake, I will spare you the details.
As I was saying, it was at that Navy Day Ball that I realized that I was married to an ‘Admiral’. To be sure, she’s never been in the Navy – yet, in terms of ‘authority’ my sweet wife is, indeed, the equivalent to any ‘Admiral’. Although I retired at a relatively high enlisted rank, the fact remains – I will never outrank my wife.
Yesterday, my wife’s sister arrived for a visit to Serendipity Farmhouse. Experience has shown me that my sister-in-law is also an ‘Admiral’. Her date of rank is earlier than my wife’s. That technically means she has precedence over my wife. Consequently, her arrival was observed with full honors and proper protocol. The official SFH marching band rendered the traditional four ruffles and flourishes. (In case you were wondering, our Maine Coon cat, Mr. Monte, is the band leader and the chief of the ceremonial guard. It is my job to carry out his instructions immediately and precisely during these ceremonial events.)
Now, there is another, far more important factor that motivates us to greet visitors to SFH with ‘ruffles & flourishes’. As we said when we started this blog, we are Oblates of St. Benedict and, to the extent to which it is possible in our married state of life, we try to live according to the Rule of St. Benedict.
Achieving true Benedictine hospitality as it is described in Chapter 53 of the Rule is a lofty but worthwhile goal. (See: Chapter 53 On the Reception of Guests.) Two quotes from that chapter sum up what we are really trying to do:
Let all guests who arrive be received like Christ, for He is going to say,
“I came as a guest, and you received Me” (Matt. 25:35). And to all let due honor be shown, especially to the domestics of the faith and to pilgrims.
In the salutation of all guests, whether arriving or departing, let all humility be shown. Let the head be bowed or the whole body prostrated on the ground
in adoration of Christ, who indeed is received in their persons.
So, if you are a guest coming to visit at Serendipity Farmhouse, you can expect us to greet you with open arms and prayers of welcome in our hearts, just as we did my sister-in-law. Yes, you can expect to be greeted with what we would call a series of spiritual “ruffles and flourishes”.