The Way It Is

In preparing for a presentation next week about our trip around the world in 2015, I came upon this blog post, which you probably have read before but I could not help posting again….

To fully appreciate the dynamics involved in the “Big Trip Around The World Without Flying,” you need to know two things and only two things about us: Embry is a Presbyterian and I am an Episcopalian. (Yes, we both are active members of All Souls EPISCOPAL Church in DC, but Embry was brought up Presbyterian and insists on identifying herself as such.)

First a word on Presbyterians. Presbyterians are earnest, hardworking and serious. Because they are hardworking and serious, they make money and they save money. The fundamental principle, however, which governs behavior by Presbyterians is inconspicuous consumption, which is to say that they do not ever want to do anything that would let on that they have money or are anything other than the God fearing, simple-living people that they are. This fact is important for a number of reasons, the most important being that Embry is financing this trip.

Episcopalians on the other hand are polar opposites. Because of our obsession with self-indulgence and pursuing the good life, we spend what little money we have on ourselves and have little left over for savings or anything else. The driving principle behind our behavior, however, is to create the illusion that we are successful and wealthy, and for the most part we succeed in this—in some cases thanks in part to an industrialist grandfather or rich uncle , who being a good Episcopalian. did not give his fortune away to worthwhile charities as would surely have been the case were he a Presbyterian . The whole idea of understated elegance was invented by Episcopalians because we have good taste but can’t afford to buy anything. An Episcopalian friend of mine once commented that anything requiring hard work was not worth doing. That pretty much sums it up. This fact is important also for a number of reasons, the most important being that without an Episcopalian involved, Embry would be staying exclusively in third class hotels and taking buses across Africa. That would not be a good thing. And were not a Presbyterian involved, this Episcopalian would be glued in front of the TV watching the NCAA basketball tournament and complaining about the weather and the Republicans in Congress. This also would not be a good thing—at least compared to this alternative.

So for the record: Presbyterians and Episcopalians are a good fit as has been our marriage of almost 55 years.

 

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