"Never be in a hurry; do everything quietly and in a calm spirit. Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever, even if your whole world seems upset." Saint Francis De Sales

Friday, November 17, 2017

Veterans Day, Sam & Leaves

1. I graduated in 1965. My plans were to enlist in the Navy, but God had other plans. I dislocated my elbow in a toboggan accident and was given a 1-Y classification. ( Available for military service only in the event of war or national emergency.) I watched as my friends went off to Vietnam. So, I chose the following poem for Veterans Day.

Vietnam Tears

I stood and I watched as a mother cried, 
when she had heard that her son had died.
He didn't die because he was sick, 
or he didn't die because he was in a wreck.
He died doing what he felt was right. 

I watched a father try to hold back his tears,
His son had lived only a scant 19 years. 
His son had died nine thousand miles away,
And what was there left for a father to say? 
He got down on his knees and said a prayer,
His brave son knows his father did care. 

I stood and watched as a little girl cried. 
She didn't understand why her brother had passed on;
Why he never again played with her on the lawn. 
Looking at the little girl's tears I knew,
That her big brother died fighting for you and me.
~ Author Unknown ~

2. The Richmond Spiders are now at 5-5 after their loss against James Madison last Saturday. Miami controlled last Saturdays game against the Irish Lads, dropping them to an 8-2 record. This Saturday is the annual U.S. Navy game which is always a good game no matter who wins.

3. I watched the movie “Casablanca,” (released in 1943) last Sunday evening. A movie that should be viewed at least once a year because it’s so good. I love the plot, the characters, the music and the lines. 
“Round up the usual suspects,” spoken by Claude Rains as Captain Louis Renault.
“Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine,” spoken by Humphrey Bogart as Rick Blaine.
“Play it Sam. Play ‘As Time Goes By,” spoken by Ingrid Bergman as IIsa Lund.
If you enjoy the “old flicks,” it is worth taking the time to watch.

4. Leaves were piled up last weekend so I spent Saturday picking them up. On Thursday I was able to mow the lawn without worrying about additional leaves. We’ll see how next week goes.

5. The History channel has produced a new program entitled “The Warfighters.” It is a series using “first-person accounts, the un-narrated series chronicles recent U.S. Special Operations Forces missions in the global war on terror, giving viewers an inside and candid look at the realities of war. Over 90 veterans participated in the production.” It is an excellent series and worth watching.

7. Don McLean - “And I Love You So.”

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Friday, November 10, 2017

Travels, Wine & Ampersand

1. Dee and I were traveling with our friends Pam and Tony last week. Attended the LaRue wedding in Hadley, MA then headed to Buffalo, NY to visit family. My nephew Chris and his wife Adrienne provided a place for us to stay while we were there. We enjoyed their hospitality,  listen to ghost stores on halloween night and learned about Adrian's school, Nardin Academy. 

2. In Massachusetts, we visited Mineral Hills Winery. Did some wine tasting and bought wine and gift items. Tony had Sue autograph the wine bottles. It was the first time anyone had made such a request. 

Photo By Dee
Photo By Me

3. Canada has some great wineries along Lake Ontario. We showed Pam and Tony Niagara Falls then drove to “Niagara On The Lake.” In addition to some shopping, we had lunch at Caroline Cellars Winery and completed some wine tasting there. Keeping with Tony’s new wine tradition, we had Linda sign our wine bottles.

Photo By Me
4. Season 5, of the History Channel series Vikings, starts November 29th.

Bjorn, Lagertha & Ragnar (Season 2 Episode 1)

5. Our son Eric sent me some information on the “History of the Ampersand.” A great article.

“As with a lot of aspects of typography, the history of the ampersand begins with our triumphant and progressive friends, the Ancient Romans.

Roman scribes would write in cursive so as to increase the speed of their transcription, often combining letters into one form to save time while also increasing legibility, where certain characters overlap in a visually discordant mannerthis was the birth of the ligature. The ampersand is simply a ligature of the letters E and T (et being the latin word for and).” 

6. "The soldiers did go away and their towns were torn down; and in the Moon of Falling Leaves (November), they made a treaty with Red Cloud that said our country would be ours as long as grass should grow and water flow."           Black Hawk

7. Willie Nelson - “On the Road Again.”   

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Friday, October 20, 2017

Granddaughters and Friendship

1. Our granddaughters Hailey and Eryn came over Sunday after Church. They hadn’t seen me with the stitches and swollen face. So I thought it would be a good idea to ease their anxiety by wearing a halloween mask when they arrived. It worked, they were laughing at my mask and it allowed me to let them know I wasn’t in any pain. I just didn’t look as handsome as I usually do.


2. The Spiders had a win against Towson moving them to 4-2. They face Delaware, in Newark, on Saturday.
The Irish Lads had a “bye” last weekend. USC is traveling to Indiana this Saturday. This will be a great game.

3. I started watching the Shannara Chronicles, season 2. It’s okay, but, “it is an adaptation” of the Terry Brooks novels. I’m disappointed. Expected better. Perhaps it will improve. 

4. Snoopy, writing the next Dr. Who episode.

5. Since I’ve been recovering from my Mohs Surgery, family and friends have stepped forward in support. First and foremost is Dee, who manages to fit in other things while taking care of me. Our son Stephen is mowing our lawn. Lou brought over a bottle of Spanish wine one evening. Maureen brought homemade chicken soup with fresh Rosemary bread. Pam sent homemade pumpkin bread and Tony drove me to the Doctor when my stitches had to be removed. In addition, there have been prayers by more people than I can list here. Thank you Lord.
Now I ask for prayers for Susan and Dave, both are in the hospital. Susan will be coming home today. Dave still has a few more tests.

6. “A tree is known by its fruit; a man by his deeds. A good deed is never lost; he who sows courtesy reaps friendship, and he who plants kindness gathers love.”      Saint Basil

7. Joni Mitchell - “Urge For Going.”

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Friday, October 13, 2017

The Frog, Ed and Merton

1. I found this little fellow trying to hitch a ride to morning Mass on Sunday. He was gently removed and placed in the garden. 

2. The Spiders moved to 3-2 after an exciting overtime game against Albany.
The Irish Lads were victorious in Chapel Hill against North Carolina. They are now 5-1.

3. On Sunday evening my good friend and miniature gamer Ed Backer, died in his sleep. He was affectionally know as the “Wookie” within our group. He had a big heart and a wonderful contagious and boisterous laugh. I will miss you my friend. Please pray for his soul and for his family.

Russ, Ed and Bob at Historicon 1983
4. I had “Mohs” surgery for Basal Cell Carcinoma this week. The cancer was completely removed and now I’m recovering from the process. There is some swelling from the stitches, a little black and blue around the area and soreness from the stretching of the skin. The stitches will be removed next week and then everything will return to normal. At this point I could add some makeup to the other side of my face and then be ready for Halloween. 

5. Beth DeCristofaro provided some thought on Malachi 3:19-20 in her, “You Will Be Given More” blog on Thursday. 

“God’s message, delivered through Malachi, is chilling.  He warns of the arrogant and those who turn from God being punished.  This is a description of the isolation and dread we feel when we let our loved ones down, is it not?  When we place ourselves and our own wants at the center of our being rather than placing God, the source of Life and Joy we experience incompleteness, futility, barrenness.  We don’t really need God’s thunderbolts to punish us if we close ourselves off from God’s compassionate presence.  It is as if we choose the lightning which strikes too closely.”

Life is not easy, but God provides the tools that we need to get through. 

6. “October is a fine and dangerous season in America. a wonderful time to begin anything at all. You go to college, and every course in the catalogue looks wonderful.” 
                Thomas Merton

7. Gillian Welch - “I’ll Fly Away”

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Friday, October 6, 2017

Michael, Sir Winton & Harry

1. My cousin Michael was buried in Waco, Texas on Monday, October 2, 2017. His body was found on September 19th in Detroit, Michigan. He was killed by gunshots. The crime is currently being investigated by local police as a homicide. Please pray for the soul of my cousin and for our family. 

A very close friend of Michael’s, Chris, wrote about him on “Notablog.” It is a beautiful story about Michael. Thank you Chris.

2. The Spiders are at 2-2 and face Albany at the Robins Center October 7.
The Irish Lads are moving along at 4-1. On Saturday they will be in Chapel Hill, playing against North Carolina.

3. My good friend Dan provided this video on Sir Nicholas Winton. It is worth the minute and a half to watch. Thank you for sharing Dan.

4. “Death is Nothing At All”

“Death is nothing at all. 
It does not count. 
I have only slipped away into the next room. 
Nothing has happened.

Everything remains exactly as it was. 
I am I, and you are you, 
and the old life that we lived so fondly together is untouched, unchanged. 
Whatever we were to each other, that we are still.

Call me by the old familiar name. 
Speak of me in the easy way which you always used. 
Put no difference into your tone. 
Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.

Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes that we enjoyed together.
Play, smile, think of me, pray for me. 
Let my name be ever the household word that it always was. 
Let it be spoken without an effort, without the ghost of a shadow upon it.

Life means all that it ever meant. 
It is the same as it ever was. 
There is absolute and unbroken continuity. 
What is this death but a negligible accident?

Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight? 
I am but waiting for you, for an interval, 
somewhere very near, 
just round the corner.

All is well. 
Nothing is hurt; nothing is lost. 
One brief moment and all will be as it was before. 

How we shall laugh at the trouble of parting when we meet again!”

5. He who has gone, so we but cherish his memory, abides with us, more potent, nay, more present than the living man.
                                            Antoine de Saint-Exupery

6. September has been dreary, both this year and last.

7. Bob Dylan - “Blowing in The Wind”

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Friday, September 15, 2017

Football, Photos and Alan

1. It’s College Football Season again. As always, I’ll be keeping everyone up to date on my two favorite teams. 
The Richmond Spiders are at 1-1 as they head into game three of the season. Their opponent is Howard Bison who will be playing here in Robins Stadium.
The Fighting Irish are also at 1-1. They face Boston College this weekend as they travel to Chestnut Hill, Mass.

2. Dee and I were in the Outer Banks last week enjoying the sun, the food, the wine and being with friends. On Sunday we went to Holy Redeemer By The Sea Catholic Church. We were blessed to listen to a homily by Father Brian Zumbrum. He was visiting from the Oblates of Saint Francis de Sales in Philadelphia, PA.

3. On Thursday evening we joined our friends for dinner at the Colington Cafe.

4. The Church of Epiphany held it’s annual picnic on Sunday. We brought our two granddaughters Eryn and Hailey. There was plenty of food, games for the children and music for all.

My buddy Dennis and I
5. “Too often we underestimate the power of touch. A smile. A kind word. A listening ear. An honest compliment.Or the smallest act of caring. All of which have the potential to turn a life around.” -Leo Buscaglia

6. Budweiser 9/11 Tribute Commercial - It was only aired once.

7. Alan Jackson - “Where Were You When The World Stopped Turning.”

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Friday, September 1, 2017

Thankful Thoughts for Today

1. I’m thankful for the knowledge of God’s love.

2. I’m thankful for my “Earth Angel” Dee. Her love provides my strength to guide me through whatever we encounter. She keeps me laughing and teaches me about the little things in life that are important.

3. I’m thankful for our family. We all love, share, laugh and support each other.

4. I’m thankful for our friends. People who, like family, are always there to support and love me.

5. I’m thankful for Saint Frances De Sales. He is there when I’m writing. He reminds me to keep an open mind, to be patient and not to criticize.

6. I’m thankful for each day. I don’t know how many more I have, but I do my best to enjoy each one.

7. I’m thankful for those who write about their faith, their families, their likes and dislikes. The blogs have enriched my life and support me to continue writing.

7A. I’m thankful to Kelly for hosting our blogs.

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Friday, August 25, 2017

Fr. Jude, Disorder & Snoopy

1. Sunday’s Gospel is not an easy one to fully understand. I’ve always wondered if Jesus was testing the Canaanite woman, or teaching the Apostles a lesson in faith. Deacon Arthur provided some insight to the Gospel, referencing this from Fr. Jude Siciliano’s, “First Impressions.” 

“From this second perspective we might say that when Jesus encountered the woman and heard her request, he was expressing his first intention: to preach his message to "the lost sheep of the house of Israel." But when he saw the woman’s strong faith in him, especially after just being rejected by those who should have known better, the religious leaders, he then modified his mission plan.

The woman was a clear sign to Jesus that God’s salvation was meant for all people and all nations – not just for the Jews. Today’s encounter with the Canaanite woman shows a change in Jesus’ human consciousness and his human understanding of God’s plan for humanity. How does this change take place? By the woman’s persistence and unwillingness to accept a narrow and restrictive view of God. She realized birth and religious origins cannot hold back the outpouring of God’s love on all people. If we make God too small and puny in love we have not heard the gospel.

Thus, we have two general paths of entry into this story. One, with stress on Jesus’ divinity, seeing his behavior as the all-knowing Lord who draws out of a Gentile the faith that will be preached "to the ends of the earth." The other approach views the human Jesus in an exchange that helps him grow in his mission towards all nations.”

2. The eclipse of the sun brought people together last week. It took our minds off the violence and hatred. Perhaps God figured we needed a break.

3. We have had a large amount of rain over the past week. Probably too much because my grass is growing really fast. But, I’m not complaining because rain is good … I don’t have to water the lawn when it rains.

4. Brother Mike send me some quotes from a book, “Disorder in the Courts.” One of the quotes that I though was the funnest;

ATTORNEY: Doctor, before you performed the autopsy, did you check for a pulse?
ATTORNEY: Did you check for blood pressure?
ATTORNEY: Did you check for breathing?
ATTORNEY: So, then it is possible that the patient was alive when you began the autopsy?
ATTORNEY: How can you be so sure, Doctor?
WITNESS: Because his brain was sitting on my desk in a jar.
ATTORNEY: I see, but could the patient have still been alive, nevertheless?
WITNESS: Yes, it is possible that he could have been alive and practicing law.


6. “First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out— 
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out— 
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”

7. Toby Keith - “Should’ve Been A Cowboy.”

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