Monday, June 16, 2014
Our gathering place was the Painters Hall Cafe on the grounds of the Pringle Creek Community in Salem. It was a warm spring day and lunch on the deck was delightful. We did the usual reminiscing, toasting of departed brethren and sharing of old man ailment stories while eating wood-fired pizza and sipping hibuscus tea and lemonade. The company and the food were worth the trip from Portland and Eugene. (And yes, this is a shameless plug for the Pringle Creek Community. http://www.pringlecreek.com/ Our classmate from New York is related to the developer of Pringle Creek. Just helping out the older brother as best we can.)
After two hours of lunch and reminiscing we were heading over to the family homestead for a tour. But first, being old men, a couple of us needed to take a tour of the facilities inside Painters Hall. Coming out of the hall into the sunshine, we stepped onto the deck and I noticed two gentlemen down by the parked cars. My first thought was, "There's a couple of old guys. They could be with us." Then I realized, "They are with us!"
Suddenly I was very aware of what happened to the class of '68. We got old. Sixty-five and Social Security are mere months away.
With all due respect to Pogo, "We Have Met The Enemy and He Is Us". In a few years, the class of '68 will be 68!
Wednesday, May 8, 2013
Early Saturday morning I am sitting at my computer going through my email when a chat message comes up. It’s my daughter, “goodmorning”
Oh, good. Someone to chat with at 6:41 in the morning. “Good Morning!”
“what are your plans this morning? I was thinking of coming over but wanted to make sure people were actually home :)”
“Mom is going to First Communion retreat till 12. I am home. Probably doing exciting things like housecleaning.”
“ok, well how about I come over and do exciting things like yard work?”
“Can I help?"
“ahuh. see you in a bit then!”
About thirty minutes later I am sitting with my daughter having breakfast and sipping coffee.
My daughter is a landscape architect/designer. Our backyard is her laboratory where she discovers which plants work best in our clay soil. It is her canvas where she paints the ideas of her imaginative soul. She comes by this artistic bent naturally. One great-grandfather was a farmer who loved the land, another was a master gardener/caretaker, and a third was a florist. Throw in a distant cousin who was an artist along with a favorite uncle who showed her the imaginative soul of his art and you have a woman who was born to paint the landscape.
Over the last few years our backyard has been painted with a variety of trees, bushes and flowers. Mother Nature does her best to make things grow and the time had come for some sculpting and trimming, some clipping and pruning. Breakfast was over; on to exciting things.
We have a good system worked out, my daughter and I. She prunes and trims, snips and clips, tossing branches and such on the ground behind her. I pick up the debris and put it into the recycle bin. For this I get a hearty, “Thanks, Dad!” This is much better than when I do the trimming and clipping and I hear, “Oh, Dad! You really pruned that bush!”
It is better for my daughter, better for me and better for the plants if my daughter clips and I pick up the clippings. She knows how to do it right. She has the touch.
This is why, after the yard work was done, I asked her to give me a haircut. I don’t have a lot of hair to begin with so not much damage can be done. So when I run the hair clippers over my head the result is not particularly good. Though I may have saved a few bucks on a trip to the barbershop, my daughter, after surveying the final product, has been heard to say, “Oh, Dad! You really...”
So, just like with our yard work, we have a system, my daughter and I. She snips and clips and I do the clean up.
At the end of the morning, the yard looked good and my hair looked good.
Saturday, March 23, 2013
Not really. It is just “Habemus Papem!”
We have one pope, Pope Francis. We have a Pope Emeritus, Benedict XVI, but we have only one boss and he is the first pope to take the name of Francis. Lots of folks are calling him Pope Francis I or Pope Francis the First. There is no need to do so.
He is Pope Francis, the one and only. He doesn’t need a Roman numeral after his name until such time as there is a second pope to take the name of Francis. Pope John Paul I was just Pope John Paul until Karol Józef Wojtyła took the name of John Paul and became John Paul II.
There were 266 popes before Pope Francis. Of that number, forty-two fall into the one and only category with Pope Francis. With names like Pope Evaristus, Eleutherius, and Silverius it is not surprising that some papal names will never be repeated. There is only one pope named Peter and it is not likely that someone would choose to become Peter II. “And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock…” Some things are too sacred to change.
The first pope to leave the one and only category was our seventh pope, St. Sixtus I. He was pope from 115 to 125. In 257, St. Sixtus II began his reign as pope and thus made Pope Sixtus I the first pope to be able to say, “Sum numerus unus! Sum numerus unus!”
Before Pope Francis, the last pope without a Roman numeral after his name was Pope Lando. He was a native of Sabina and was elected pope in July or August of 913 and died in February or March of 914, a reign lasting a little over six months. We do not know much about him except that he was a worthy man, granted a privilege to a church in his native land and went on to play a crucial role in Star Wars V: The Empire Strikes Back in 1977 and Star Wars VI: Return of the Jedi in 1983. At the time, we thought the movies were Star Wars II and III, part of the one and only Star Wars trilogy which turned out to be the sequel trilogy even though it was made before the prequel trilogy, Star Wars I, II and III. All of these Roman numerals get to be too much, even for Lando Calrissian.
So we have a new pope who is the first Jesuit to become pope, the first pope from the Americas, the first Latin American pope, the first pope from Argentina. Pope Francis, the one and only, is leading the way.
Monday, March 11, 2013
We have a pope!
Not as of today, the 11th of March, 2013. Maybe on March 12th when the cardinals meet and the conclave to elect a new pope begins. Some folks say the white smoke will billow out that day, others predict by the end of week and others expect a longer wait. Only God knows.
Ever since Pope Benedict XVI announced his resignation, the rumors have been flying. Speculation runs amok with the choosing of a new pope. I thoroughly enjoy watching it all; the Catholics who understand the process, the Catholics who don't have a clue about the process and the secular press folk who don't have a clue about anything. They all have something to add to the event.
A friend in Illinois says, “I love the way that the media outlets cover it. CBS said that while the cardinals like the faithful to believe that the Holy Spirit directs the selection of the pope, the “horse trading” has already begun.”
I saw the ABC version of that story. They show two cardinals talking to each other, as if they are whispering about something. “The politicking has begun.", says the reporter. My wife says, "They could be talking about their golf game!" Being an ex-seminarian, I thought they might be telling a dirty joke.
Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights thinks The Vatican should tap Italy’s Archbishop of Milan as the successor to Pope Benedict. Cardinal Angelo Scola is a safe bet.
Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana has been on a number of lists but talked with a reporter about the chance of being elected pope. This is almost a guarantee of not being elected pope. No politicking allowed. At least not out loud.
We Catholics in the pews are having fun with this election of a new pope. Someone tied into March Madness and created a bracket system for choosing your favorite cardinal for pope. “Sweet Sistine” they called it. I made my choices but haven’t checked back to see who is winning. Chances are good that the new pope won’t have even been in the original sixteen.
Bill Donohue’s personal pick for pope would be New York’s Cardinal Dolan. I am rooting for Cardinal Seán Patrick O’Malley, O.F.M. Cap., of Boston. Why? Probably the same reason as many a Red Sox fan, “Damn Yankees!”
A friend from high school says, “I'm going with the Black guy...soul Masses, Stevie Wonder music, etc.” That makes me wonder if it was really Jesus who first said, "I just called to say I love you!"
Our archbishop, who is retiring next month, wrote an article about this period of time from Benedict XVI’s resignation to the election of the new pope. “Sede Vacante” is the subject and the archbishop explains the process and gently calls to task the uninformed secular press and the not so schooled Catholics. Sede Vacante I think it is worth reading.
The coming days will tell us how The Holy Spirit has led the cardinals to vote. It is all really in God’s hands, as are we.
Sunday, February 3, 2013
There is a wonderful song from the movie Casablanca called As Time Goes By, a most appropriate song for Valentine’s Day. The song was written by Herman Hupfeld in 1931 but became famous in the 1942 movie when Sam (Dooley Wilson), the piano player in Rick’s Café, sang it for Miss Ilsa (Ingrid Bergman). “Play it, Sam. Play As Time Goes By.”
You must remember thisIt is a wonderfully romantic song that has been performed by many artists over the years but my favorite is by Jimmy Durante. That not so perfect voice first sang the song on his 1965 album, Jimmy Durante's Way of Life. This rendition was included on the soundtrack of another romantic drama, Sleepless in Seattle. While not quite as dramatic as Casablanca, Sleepless is certainly romantic and a great date movie. You can bring your flowers, candy and popcorn to the couch and cuddle up with your beloved and kiss the night away while watching Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan recreate An Affair to Remember.
A kiss is just a kiss,
a sigh is just a sigh.
The fundamental things apply
As time goes by.
There is another song about kissing that I think is appropriate for Valentine’s Day. A bit more light-hearted than As Time Goes By, John Hartford’s Mouth to Mouth Resuscitation does get to the essence of kissing.
Mouth to mouth resuscitationBut that is a song for the baby boomers. For their children there is a somewhat more innocent tune from Disney’s animated version of The Little Mermaid. Sebastian, the crab, sings, Kiss the Girl. It is an ideal song to listen to while dining at your favorite seafood restaurant.
Good for the country; good for the nation
Nothing to quicken the respiration
Like a little bit of that good sensation
That mouth to mouth (breath) resuscitation
There you see herWhile all that aura, ambience and romance of those kissing songs is wonderful, it took on a different feel the other day when I read the following post from Easy Health Options.
Sitting there across the way
She don't got a lot to say
But there's something about her
And you don't know why
But you're dying to try
You wanna kiss the girl
An intense kiss is more than a mere sign of affection. It’s also an exchange of mucus, bacteria and… a whole lot more, according to Slovakian research. A study at Comenius University shows that saliva in your mouth retains DNA evidence of whom you’ve been smooching. That DNA could, theoretically, be used as proof of assault or, perhaps, infidelity under certain circumstances. In the study, researchers had participants lock lips for two minutes or more. They found that evidence of DNA transference from mouth to mouth was still detectable for at least an hour.
In the words of every second grader in the country, “Eew, Yuck!”
Save your lengthy kisses for your beloved. Everyone else gets a peck on the cheek.
The moral of this story? The candy and flowers, the dinner and movie, the romance and cuddling were all meant to be shared with your one true love as the two of you find some quiet time together alone in this crazy world.
“Good night, Mrs. Calabash, wherever you are.”