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May 24th, 2012


The day before our trip to Puerto Rico, I mentioned to a friend that I was having some misgivings about going. “Why is that?” he asked. I explained that we were going with my son, Dan, his wife, Martha, and Martha’s mother, Idalia (who was born in Puerto Rico.) Idalia is 76, has a defibrillator and a cane, and doesn’t walk too well. I am two months shy of 89 and also don’t walk too well. I’ve been in airports before and it has been my experience that they often make you walk much more than you want to. It was my friend’s thought that I needn’t be concerned, airports have experience dealing with such problems, wheelchairs are available, and my son and his wife were good, caring, competent people. Not to worry.


I set my alarm for 4 AM because we planned to leave for the airport at 6 AM. Of course, being me, I was up at 2:30. When we arrived at Kennedy we headed for long term parking and found a spot fairly close to the Air Train. We dragged our luggage onto the Air Train. Our stop at Jet Blue terminal was next to the last one. Once you’re in the terminal it is an unbelieveable distance to the check-in counter with several moving walkways and then some. We checked in, provide IDs, and then off to the inspection lines. Not too bad, take off shoes, scan with hands over head, a special line for Idalia’s defribrillator. then off to the gate for departure. Plane is on time and we are soon in our seats, ready for take-off. A sign of relief that we’ve made it this far.

It’s less than four hours to San Juan airport in Puerto Rico. We deplane, eventually luggage arrives at the carousel, and we head for ground transportation, looking for the Hertz rent-a-car shuttle. In due time we arrive at the Hertz place and are provided with a blue Ford Focus and we’re off again, on our way to Rincon, Puerto Rico. I had no idea Rincon was at the other end of the island. In fact, I had expected to spend the night in a hotel bed in San Juan! Nevertheless, we drive and drive and drive and drive (with a stop at Wendy’s for sustenance) and I am thinking we will never get where we are going and I have never been so exhausted in my life. What gave me hope were the two people in the front seat who did not bicker or lose patience as we proceeded in the dark and the rain while Garmin “recalculated and recalculated.” Finally, after 13 hours on the move, we arrive at our lodging, a nice little three room apartment — with, thank God, a bed! I slept – well.

The next morning I peeked through the blinds and behold!

Rincon, Puerto Rico

OMG – we are on the beach! It is so beautiful and the day is clear and I explore and take pics with my cell phone for Facebook and am totally delighted. I had been told the plan was to stay here for a week, making side trips to eat out, see sights, and visit relatives, eventually ending up with a visit to the rain forest.

We are staying at the Villa San Antonio and this is our unit. A song has returned to my heart and I am feeling blessed to be in such a beautiful place with such good-hearted people.

Rincon, Puerto Rico

The next day, a Sunday, I managed to break a rib on a pineapple. We had a nice ripe genuine Puerto Rican pineapple and I thought I’d cut it up for snacking. Holding it tightly to my chest I tried to wrest the top off as I’d done many times back in the “States.” The next thing you know I felt a rib “give.” It didn’t hurt much at the time but continued to hurt whenever it was moved for weeks thereafter. Read the rest of this entry »

May 22nd, 2012


This arrived by email today – perfect for this blog. Unfortunately it came with photos of old cars and such to illustrate the various points. The pictures did not copy and paste for me along with the text. What to do? Post it anyway and plead senility!

How Old is Grandma?

Stay with this — the answer is at the end. It will blow you away.

One evening a grandson was talking to his grandmother about current events.
The grandson asked his grandmother what she thought about the shootings at schools, the computer age, and just things in general.

The Grandmother replied, “Well, let me think a minute, I was born before:
‘ television
‘ penicillin
‘ polio shots
‘ frozen foods
‘ Xerox
‘ contact lenses
‘ Frisbees and
‘ the pill

There were no:
‘ credit cards
‘ laser beams or
‘ ball-point pens
Man had not yet invented:
‘ pantyhose
‘ air conditioners
‘ dishwashers
‘ clothes dryers
‘ and the clothes were hung out to dry in the fresh air and
‘ man hadn’t yet walked on the moon

Your Grandfather and I got married first, and then lived together. Every family had a father and a mother.
Until I was 25, I called every man older than me, “Sir.”
And after I turned 25, I still called policemen and every man with a title, “Sir.”
We were before gay-rights, computer-dating, dual careers, daycare centers, and group therapy.
Our lives were governed by the Ten Commandments, good judgment, and common sense.
We were taught to know the difference between right and wrong and to stand up and take responsibility for our actions.
Serving your country was a privilege; living in this country was a bigger privilege.
We thought fast food was what people ate during Lent.
Having a meaningful relationship meant getting along with your cousins.
Draft dodgers were those who closed front doors as the evening breeze started.
Time-sharing meant time the family spent together in the evenings and weekends -not purchasing condominiums.

We never heard of FM radios, tape decks, CD’s, electric typewriters, yogurt, or guys wearing earrings.
We listened to Big Bands, Jack Benny, and the President’s speeches on our radios.
And I don’t ever remember any kid blowing his brains out listening to Tommy Dorsey.
If you saw anything with ‘Made in Japan ‘ on it, it was junk.
The term ‘making out’ referred to how you did on your school exam.
Pizza Hut, McDonald’s, and instant coffee were unheard of.
We had 5 &10-cent stores where you could actually buy things for 5 and 10 cents.
Ice-cream cones, phone calls, rides on a streetcar, and a Pepsi were all a nickel.
And if you didn’t want to splurge, you could spend your nickel on enough stamps to mail 1 letter and 2 postcards.
You could buy a new Ford Coupe for $600, but who could afford one?
Too bad, because gas was 11 cents a gallon.
In my day:
‘ “grass” was mowed,
‘ “coke” was a cold drink,
‘ “pot” was something your mother cooked in and
‘ “rock music” was your grandmother’s lullaby.
‘ “Aids” were helpers in the Principal’s office,
‘ “chip” meant a piece of wood,
‘ “hardware” was found in a hardware store and.
‘ “software” wasn’t even a word.

And we were the last generation to actually believe that a lady needed a husband to have a baby.
No wonder people call us “old and confused” and say there is a generation gap.
How old do you think I am?
I bet you have this old lady in mind. You are in for a shock!
Read on to see — pretty scary if you think about it and pretty sad at the same time.

Are you ready?????

This woman would be only 59 years old, Born in 1953.

May 20th, 2012


Jack was a older man who always sat four seats in front of me at daily mass.   He was usually already there when I arrived.  If he chanced to arrive after I did, he would nod hello.   He would nod again at the “sign of peace.”   After mass, Jack would stay behind, a long time, maybe an hour or so.   I used to wonder what went on between him and God, and wonder why I wasn’t drawn to stay in church an hour after mass.

Jack sometimes had a cane and it seemed that he might have had some kind of pain that interfered with his rising and sitting.   I loved Jack in the way that you love the other folks at daily mass, who are always there, part of your particular “family of God” at 7 AM.  I prayed for him as well as for the others.  We were a small part of each other’s lives for years.

About a month ago Jack stopped coming and the rest of us wondered why.  About a week later I ran into Jack’s sister-in-law at the Divine Mercy service the Sunday after Easter.   She stopped to tell me that Jack had suffered some kind of “event” and had almost died.  “Pray for Jack,”  she pleaded. “They ‘coded’ him and brought him back.  He’s suffering terribly.  They should have let him go.”

I prayed for him, of course, but also told my family that if it seemed the Lord wanted to take me, let me go.  At almost 89, I should be about due.  Then I went to Puerto Rico, a whole story in itself.  Some three weeks later, back at morning mass, I noted once again that Jack wasn’t there.  Had he died while I was gone?   Looking into the News-Times obituaries  I found him.  Jack had died the day I left for Puerto Rico.  He was 82.  I wish I could have gone to his funeral mass.

Jack, I don’t know how those folks who have “passed on” keep track of those of us  whom they have left behind.  But I believe there is some sort of “communion of saints.”   Father Scott gave a splendid homily at mass this morning about how we are to be in the world but not of it.  Even now we are all united in the Kingdom of God.  Please pray for us who are still in the church militant  as we await the final “reveal.”

I am reminded of an old hymn my Daddy’s spiritualist family used to sing:
We shall know as we are known,
Never more to walk alone,
In the dawning of the morning
On that bright and happy day
We shall know each other better
When the mist has passed away.






May 14th, 2012


From my son, on Mother’s Day. He knows me. This brought the first tears of the day.

Mother o’ Mine by Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936) If I were hanged on the highest hill, Mother o’ mine, O mother o’ mine! I know whose love would follow me still, Mother o’ mine, O mother o’ mine! If I were drowned in the deepest sea, Mother o’ mine, O mother o’ mine! I know whose tears would come down to me, Mother o’ mine, O mother o’ mine! If I were damned of body and soul, I know whose prayers would make me whole, Mother o’ mine, O mother o’ mine!