At the age of 15, my first published piece was in the Barry Manilow fan club newsletter. And so, it was his song "Weekend in New England" that played in my head as I made my trip to Connecticut for the conference of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists.

In my mind, New England is a place of romance, natural beauty, and charming history. It is the historical aspect of our oldest states that evokes the most romanticized notions. I picture colonial homes with candles lit to welcome passersby, men riding horses through cobblestone streets, and little old ladies wearing lace-edged caps while knitting socks, mending breeches, and darning flags.

It must have been a group of these women who got together and created the large banner hanging from the spire of a beautiful church that was built in 1763. The church building is an anomaly against a backdrop of modern skyscrapers, but the banner attempts to pull it from antiquity and prove that the people inside are not outdated.

can hear them now, during ladies' fellowship time, brainstorming to come up with a clever way to note the milestone that 2013 represents.

"We need a catchy phrase. What are the young people saying these days?"

"Church is a real blast!' That's what my daughter would say."

"Your daughter is sixty-three, Edna."

"Members of our CB club always said, 'Right on!'"

"Thank you, Geraldine. When was the last time your CB club met?"

"Any other suggestions? Hazel? Deloris? Betty Jean?"

"I was at my great-grandchild's birthday party the other day, and each time she opened a present she would scream, 'OMG! I love it!'"

The ladies fellowship let it slowly roll from their tongues, "Ohh Mmm Geee."

Not only was it catchy, it didn't escape anyone's attention that with only three letters, the embroidery work would be quite simple.

And so they laid out the design. The banner is long instead of wide, so it could be draped down the church spire. The letters OMG, with an exclamation point for extra punch, are ten feet tall. A smaller five foot font underneath reads, "250 YEARS OF FAITHFUL SERVICE!"

Their enthusiasm is to be commended. And any organization that can stay in business two hundred and fifty years is obviously doing something right. But when I saw that banner, I found myself taking a few steps back, just in case lightning was about to strike.

Last time I checked, and I check fairly often to see how many I've screwed up, one of the Ten Commandments was, "Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain."

I don't know, maybe God overlooks us taking his name in vain as long as it is text speak. Perhaps Heaven is current in their use of technology, and the angels are texting each other:

"OMG! Did u c her crooked halo?"

"I know, right? LOL!"

I wasn't sure what type of excitement New England might offer. Nothing like this was mentioned in the Barry Manilow song. But I had high expectations, and Connecticut did not let me down. It makes me eager to visit Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island. Eager, and slightly leery.