Cathedral From Home: Jim, Harry, and Phil
In this edition of Cathedral From Home, we catch up with Jim, Harry, and Phil St. John, the Cathedral peacocks, on life on the Close during the coronavirus pandemic.
Rebecca Merrill: Hi Jim, Harry, and Phil! As you know, my name is Rebecca –
Jim St. John: Do you have kale for me?
Harry St. John: Almonds! Almonds! I want almonds!
RM: Shhhh guys, I promised you those after we get through the interview.
Phil St. John: I’m so sorry for their rudeness, Rebecca, please go on.
RM: Thank you, Phil. As I was saying, my name is Rebecca and I manage all things digital at the Cathedral. In this Cathedral From Home series, I catch up with some of my colleagues to see how they are faring in the pandemic and today I wanted to see how you all, our resident peacocks were doing. Hi all!
Phil: Thank you so much for having us, Rebecca, it’s great to be here.
RM: First of all, how are you all doing?
Harry: Good! Good! Is it over? Can we have the almonds?
Phil: Harry, we talked about this! We’re doing as well as can be. We miss our friends who aren’t able to come visit us right now but we’re happy the grounds are still open and for the people who can come see us, while wearing a mask and keeping a safe distance of course.
RM: You all have lived on the Close for almost 20 years! What has that been like?
Jim: Great food! Yeah, yeah, great food.
Phil: Since we were gifted to the Cathedral by The Cathedral School in 2002, we’ve loved roaming the 11 acres of the Cathedral Close.
Harry: And more!
Phil: Back in our younger days, we would venture a little farther, sometimes crossing the street into Morningside Park.
Harry: Those were the days! Not a care in the world…
Phil: Well, we also saw how a-flutter our friends like on the facilities staff got when they had to come get us, so we eventually decided between us all that it was smartest to stay on the Close.
Young Phil was blessed by Dean Kowalski shortly after arriving on the Close in 2002.
RM: I know you were named after Cathedral employees. Do you know much about your namesakes?
Harry: Dean Pritchett!
Jim: Dean Kowlaski!
Phil: Yes, Harry was named after the Very Rev. Harry Pritchett, Eighth Dean of the Cathedral and Jim after the Very Rev. James Kowalski, Ninth Dean of the Cathedral, who was Dean when we get here. And I was named after Phillip Foote, former Head of The Cathedral School.
RM: What is it like to live on the Close in the middle of this pandemic?
Jim: Our friends! We miss our friends!
Phil: Yes, we miss all of our friends that aren’t able to come visit us, though we are 100% supportive of measures to stay at home. We see the news of death tolls rising and we’re so sad for all the people who have lost loved ones, lost their jobs, or lost their sense of purpose. One small nice part is that we get more quality time with Dean Daniel --
Harry: He always has almonds!
Phil: But we’re also preparing ourselves for the reality of the people we might not see again.
Jim: It’s true, it’s true.
Phil: There is deep weariness and sadness in the eyes of the people that we do see. We know we’re sheltered from it on our little oasis right now, but when more people are able to return, we know there will be some regular faces that we’ve seen the last of and we had no idea.
Harry: It makes me so sad.
Harry and Jim patrol the Close.
RM: How are you maintaining a routine or sense of normalcy?
Phil: While many of the Cathedral employees are working from home, our friends in facilities and security are still here and are constantly checking in on us to see how we’re doing, make sure we have what we need and --
Jim: They feed us! Yeah! Feed us!
RM: And last but not least –
Harry: Wait! We wanted to say something! Phil, remember?
Phil: Thanks, Harry. Yes, we wanted to say a huge thank you to Elijah, Peter, Tony, DeJesus, Krystyna, Junior, Chris, Randolph, Radames, Edwin, Jim, Patrick, Eddie, Jerzy, and Maurice, the facilities team that has been taking care us for years, even through the pandemic.
RM: That’s very sweet. They are great. So lastly, what are you most looking forward to when the Cathedral reopens?
Phil: Take it away, Jim and Harry.
Jim: The people! I miss the people!
Phil: Wait, I thought you were going to say food?
Harry: You think all we think about is food?
Jim: That’s, like, so stereotypical. We’re well-rounded birds with varied interests and ideas. I’m looking forward to all of the services and events returning to the Cathedral so I can listen in to the thought-provoking sermons and talks.
Harry: Yeah and I can’t wait for the return of Great Music in a Great space. Those choral music concerts bring me so much peace.
Jim: And the organ concerts!
Harry: Yes, the organ! How lucky we are to have such amazing organists to listen to. What about you Phil? What are you looking forward to?
Phil: Getting more beings to interact with than you two!