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earlier burfling | later burfling

S-T-A-R! S-T-A-R!

I'm back from my vacation on Star Island, a conference center run jointly by the UUA and the UCC off the New Hampshire coast. The weather was beautiful - no rain (except for the briefest of sprinkles on Wednesday), easterly winds the first few days (which brought fog, but also let the harbor warm up all the way to 68 degrees Fahrenheit) and westerlies the last few (which brought low humidity and tremendous visibility).

There's a lot of music at All-Star II. Many of the conferees bring guitars and other instruments. Two folks (one a player with the Boston Pops, if I heard right; the other a member of the Marine Corps Band) brought trombones. We also had a fiddler (who also brought a set of harmonicas), a ukulele, a couple of flutes, and a lot of singers. So there were lots of impromptu singalongs on the rocks, or on the Oceanic Hotel porch, or in one or another of the smaller buildings - in addition to the "organized" singing as part of chapel services and the various talent shows. Not to mention the many musical talents among the summer staff, affectionately known as "Pelicans" or "Pels."

Another highlight, for me, was a tour of neighboring Appledore Island, home of the Shoals Marine Laboratory. The tour was led by Sarah O'Connor, the curator of the Vaughn Museum (a small museum on Star) - who, it appears, is better known to the LJ world as hakerh. (waves)

The downside, alas, was that I knew almost nobody in the conference. This was my first time at All-Star II, and most of the other folks there had been going for years if not generations. However, those same folks know full well how out-of-place "new Shoalers" can feel, and several folks made sure they took me under their wings (so to speak).

One of the traditions that all Star conferences have is an one-size-fits-all-occasions chant. You hear it as the first boat arrives at the island dock; you hear it when the conferees beat the Pels at softball (or the other way around), you hear it whenever the spirit calls forth the need to cheer. The first three lines are always the same - the last line varies to fit the occasion. The last time you'll hear it - as the boat pulls away from the pier, taking the conferees back to the mainland - it goes like this:

S-T-A-R! S-T-A-R!
Oceanic! Oceanic!
Rah! Rah! Rah!
You will come back! You will come back! You will come back!

I'm thinking there's some truth in that last line ...