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“You enter the extraordinary by way of the ordinary.” ~Frederick Buechner

Thursday, October 6, 2011


It’s interesting how a metaphor can contain a number of meanings, and that even when it has the same meaning it may also carry a variety of perspectives. Over the past year I’ve watched several ‘period piece’ series from Britain. Downton Abbey and Lark Rise to Candleford top the list with their quality of actors and setting. However all have phrases, metaphors, and references to common historical threads that don’t necessarily transfer over to other heritages.

For example, the central importance of the manor and all that it implies. “To the manor born” reflects an inheritance to prestige and wealth. Or it also means a personality is well suited to manor living. But in many circumstances it’s not only the titled families that are born and raised into the manor, but also many servants can trace their heritage back decades to a life style bound to the manor.

Tenant families considered a position tied to the estate, or in the manor itself, as the highest possible opportunity for their children. Both segments of the societal hierarchy took their position and privilege seriously. Newcomers to the manor though often saw it simply as a job and sometimes with disdain. Not all inheritance manor families accepted their position as a responsibility but took it as a right and misused their power.

Using the word manor, even literally as a location, has the potential to create emotional tensions, questions and perspectives. One word alone can open up multiple threads of possibilities.

Journal Prompt

Choose an expensive dinner celebration, such as an anniversary or graduation. Choose four people involved in the actual meal and write a few sentences for each showing their feelings. Suggestions: guest of honor, family member attending, a staff person in the restaurant, a server or cook in the kitchen, a passerby, another diner close enough to overheard pieces of conversation.

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