Saturday, November 28, 2015

Left in the Dust

On 16 November about 4 am Mitch left us all in the dust.That thought came to my mind this morning as I was reading a gospel text on Thanksgiving--
In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus
So I am trying to give thanks in the circumstances of my grief for a dear friend who died -- I am grateful for his life, his friendship, his wit, his kindness and his shining example. Not born in the bucket, living in nearby Seekonk, Mitch spent years of Saturdays downtown at the movies and attended school but that was before we met. He married another friend of mine from Pawtucket, Maureen. Our three lives converged in the cafeteria of RIC where we all landed to complete our Senior year of college. I introduced Mitch an Maureen and they fell instantly in love. That love never flagged in 50 years of marriage. A week ago on Friday the 20th Mitch was buried at Swan Point.The Deacon at the graveside ritual broke tradition and said that he believed that Mitch was already in heaven. I agree. I believe too that Mitch has won his race. He has left us all behind to complete ours. Mitch's long and slow death--three years in hospice at home did not look like a victory lap---but it was.
He was racing into eternity at full throttle. Things seen from this side are not what they seem. We have that dark glass between us and the dazzling Light.
We live in a hall of mirrors, where the evil are lionized, the ravenous lions are praised, and the Daniels are "rebuked and scorned"
So today I pray that Mitch looking down on us remains my faithful friend. And though he often shook his head over my foolish ways, he never lost sight of the pilgrim soul within. May he help all of us follow the promptings of that divine part of us---and like him pick up our pace, drop the excess baggage of self-love, and take up this baton he handed on to us and sprint to Victory.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Memories of St Joseph's School

When I was in the second grade, I began my first year of Catholic education in the parish school, Saint Joseph's on Walcott St. For me the nuns, Sisters of Mercy, were women who encouraged my growth and liberation. It was love at first sight. I admired them, and I was grateful to them because they were kind and befriended me. I loved the funny rituals relating to the nuns. Their convent was on a block long campus with the school, and they walked down a path between the two buildings. We, grade school students, could wait at the start of the school yard and offer to carry their books. I did this as often as possible for my favorites. Also the nuns, many of whom I now realize were very young, shared little secrets like—what was engraved inside their wedding rings--"Amor sine modo"--love without measure-- --or they would show us the colorful cloths they used to line their special pockets--the only color in their black and white clothing..

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Out of the Bucket and Into the Superbowl

I need a new roof on the house that my mother and my aunt bought in 1968. They put one on in the 80s but the fact of a newly painted ceiling peeling plaster in the front room alerted me to problems on the roof. So I called three roofers and yesterday I signed with one. Since he had a Patriot's jacket on and I was looking forward to the Pats-Dolphin game that night, we started to talk about football. Turns out that he had tickets to the Thursday Night game. We started to speculate about the Super Bowl and suddenly a name came back to me from 60 years ago. Gerry Philbin. I asked the roofer if he had heard of Philbin--he said no. And for a few minutes I told him the few facts that I could recall about Philbin's career. Mostly I remembered him vividly as my classmate at Saint Joseph's School on Walcott Street. After the roofer left, I checked with Google to make sure that I had not just made Gerry up--but NO. My memory is still accurate and I am amazed when living back here in Pawtucket has brought back to my mind. IN this the year of the 50th SUPERBOWL we might remember and maybe give some attention to the life and career of Gerald Philbin. He played for the Jets and he went to the THIRD SUPERBOWL. IN the old articles that surfaced when I Googled him he is described repeatedly as "A ferocious rusher."