January 2000 Archives

Ode to Teapot Valley

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O happy vale - you loved us well!

Your doctor welcomed us - smiling warmly

Wearing shorts, extending his hand

"I'm Tony - how can we help you?"


Your cafe brought us gourmet chicken salad and steaming cappuccino

(unheard of in our small farming towns)

Rusted machines dot the fields of your "Steam Museum"

Steep hills overlook your sunny valley.


Our son longed for a bike

Your bikeshop owner looked in the shed

"Well this just came in and I've

Not had time to fix it up

Take this - No: there'll be no charge

If you bring it back in good shape."


Vineyards line your slopes.

Cheerful vintners fill our glasses and

Confess their favorites.

Stones skip across the surface of your river.

We ride screaming down your "flying fox"

Ian conquers your confidence course

(Fashioned for much larger bodies)

A bevy of small Friends try hard to drown me - giggling.


Your dining room defeats us, so

A table is set - with flowers

Where we can dine quietly alone

And breathe - and heal.

Young girls bring a chain of flowers

To Annie's sickroom bedside.


May you always turn death boats from your shores

May you always lend your cars bravely to near strangers

From across the sea

May you welcome travelers and singers into your homes - and hearts

May you trust - and forgive

May you be a beacon of slower pace and

Easy-going spirit in a

Too busy cluttered world

May you teach the great nations the ways of




-   Peter Blood-Patterson, Brightwater, New Zealand (13 January, 2000)


Written at the New Zealand/Aotearoa Yearly Meeting summer gathering held at Teapot Valley Christian Camp. We were invited by New Zeland Yearly Meeting to spend about five weeks traveling among Friends doing music ministry from December 1999 through the end of January 2000.  New Zealand had refused to allow U.S. warships with nuclear weapons dock at their ports not long before.