It's Still Better This Than Purgatory (or Worse!) in 2008, part 1
by Thomas A. Droleskey
Although the season of Lent is over, a Catholic recognizes that he is called to live penitentially at all times. Each cross that is sent our way has been fashioned for us perfectly from all eternity by the very hand of God Himself. The graces He won for us by the shedding of every single drop of His Most Precious Blood on the wood of the Holy Cross and that flow into our hearts and souls through the loving hands of Our Lady, the Mediatrix of All Graces, are more than sufficient for us to handle whatever difficulties we encounter on a daily basis. And it is so very important to remember that nothing--and I mean absolutely nothing--we suffer is the equal of the suffering that one of our very least Venial Sins caused Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ to suffer in His Sacred Humanity during His Passion and Death and that nothing we suffer can approach the suffering our sins caused Our Lady to endure as those Seven Swords of Sorrow were thrust through and through her Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart.
Thus it is that each of us is called to carry the cross, whether in big ways or small ways, on a daily basis. Every moment of our lives is an opportunity sent to us to make reparation for our sins and those of the whole world by bearing crosses with love, bearing wrongs patiently, saying our prayers with promptness and fervor, spreading devotion to Eucharistic piety and to total Marian Consecration and to Our Lady's Most Holy Rosary, seeking at all times to be charitable with one and all in the midst of the difficulties of ordinary living, giving all to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus through the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary. Nothing other than the possession of the Beatific Vision of God--Father, Son, and Holy Ghost--awaits those who can bear the cross in this passing, mortal vale of tears, lifting high in the midst of our unbelieving world of naturalism and semi-Pelagianism.
Ever the Problem With Water
As noted in the last chapter in this intermittent series of travelogues,
It's Still Better This Than Purgatory (or Worse!), part 7, the leak that was sprung in our fresh water tank made it very difficult to keep a flow of water into the motor home as the weather got colder in Connecticut. The "city water" connection works only when the air temperatures are above freezing. This caused us to seek refuge at a campground in Florida, New York, some ninety miles away from Monroe, Connecticut, for three straight days before a winter snowstorm on Friday, December 7, 2007, forced us to take refuge on the grounds of Our Lady of the Rosary Chapel in Monroe after an accident on Connecticut 25 in Newtown, Connecticut. We were able to return to the property on which we had been parked after a new hydrant was installed for our use. There were still a few problems, however, problems that would not be abated until a new fresh water tank (a replacement tank that was to be installed at Tag Motors in Medford, New York, on Friday, November 23, 2007, turned out to be the wrong tank for our motor home--and it was shipped by the clowns who manufactured the motor home!) was installed three months ago.
One of the penances, therefore, that I had to embrace during this period was to hook up a connection of hoses each morning, if the temperature was above freezing, that is, from the motor home to the hydrant, which is located near a chicken coop about one hundred twenty-five feet away from the space where the motor home is parked. One of the connecting hoses, a heavy duty, insulated thick rubber hose that belongs to the owners of the property on which we are parked, froze on Friday, December 14, 2007, making life once again a bit more penitential, as will be discussed in a moment or two. This occurred on the same day that we had to do a "propane run," something that we had to do on a weekly basis during the winter basis. Indeed, we have, at this writing on April 9, 2008, gone for the first time since we left Florida six months ago a period of four weeks without having to get our propane tank, which is built-in to the motor home, filled up.
Having completed our "propane run" to Danbury, Connecticut, a distance of about twenty-five miles from where we are parked, I discovered upon our return that the "basement door" of the motor home would not open. The compartment's outside door latch was broken, flipping up and down without engaging the inside latch mechanism. This meant that it would not be possible to get water for the evening--or possible to do a waste water dump, something that we have to do once a week--and has been another bane of our existence while parked here on a property without a sewer dump. All to thee, Blessed Mother. All to thy Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. Jesus, Mary and Joseph, we love you. Save souls.
We had to schedule emergency service at a place called Dave's R.V. Center in Danbury for the next day, Saturday, December 15, 2007, to repair the door latch, driving there after 7:00 a.m. Holy Mass at Our Lady of the Rosary Chapel that day. We occupied ourselves for a few hours before picking up the motor home, ransoming it for the nifty price of $216.00, mostly for labor, to make it possible for us to have access to the water and sewer connections while there. We also paid some $47.50 to use the center's sewer dump so that we could empty our waste water tanks. As there have been no available dump sites open during the winter months here in Connecticut, we had to avail ourselves of the dump site at Dave's R. V. Center on almost weekly basis, the cost having gone up recently to $52.50 (the charge for a half hour of labor service).
As the water hose that belonged to the good people who host us on their property was unusable, I had to purchase a seventy-five foot hose to connect to one of our fifty foot hoses so as to reach the hydrant. This was accomplished upon our return to the property on December 15, 2007, making it possible for us to have running water yet again, well, at least until it got colder at night. When it did turn colder at night, therefore, I had to trek down the hill to near the chicken coop to detach the hose and to store it for the evening so that it would not freeze. Things turned a little interesting at this point.
None of our hoses seem to "fit" properly onto the connections of hydrants (no, not even with washers, thanks for the suggestion, however), thus resulting in a good deal of "spraying" of water while connected to hydrants operating with the water running. The ground around the hydrant, therefore, which is nothing other than sand (now covered by a good deal of bluestone gravel), was rather soggy, shall we say. My left foot sunk deep, deep into the ground as I approached the hydrant. It was almost as though I had gone into quicksand. I couldn't extricate my foot for at least five minutes or so. I was stuck, having to work my out with care while holding onto the hydrant, making sure as well that my shoe was not buried in the hole in perpetuity. "All to thee, Blessed Mother. All to thy Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. Jesus, Mary and Joseph, we love you. Save Souls" is what I said over and over again as I tried to extricate my left leg from the sinkhole.
Having extricated myself after a considerable effort, I then situated myself on a drier patch of land around the hydrant to detach the recently purchased hose. As I did so, however, I braced myself on the hydrant and on the nearby fence of the chicken coop. Zap!!!! Zap!!! Zap!!! The chicken coop's fence was electrified! I took a few volts as I touched the fence and the hydrant simultaneously. Zap!!! Zap!!! Zap!!! "This is sure interesting," I said to myself, as I offered this up to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus through the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary. Such a thing had never happened before in my fifty-six years, three weeks of life prior to that time. What a shocking experience.
Detaching the hose and hauling it back up the hill to place in the back of the Trail Blazer overnight, I informed my family as to what had happened. This would prompt Lucy to say for several days thereafter, "Dada, you better not get electrocuted this time," whenever I would go to hook up or to detach the hoses from the hydrant.
Here is a visual of what my shoe looked like upon my return to the motor home on the evening of Saturday, December 15, 2007:
Not a pretty sight. Alas, that's why there are dry cleaners, right?
Two days later, Monday, December 17, 2007, while doing my morning chores of attaching the hoses, I wound up slipping and sliding on the ice around the motor home, coming perilously close to landing completely under the motor home. "See you in the Spring, Dada," Sharon said to me as I went down. Having heard me go thud on the ice, Sharon very compassionately came out not with a helping help but with a camera to provide you out there in cyberspace with the following documentation of my inability to stay upright on the ice:
Boots? What are they?
Laughing at my own inability to stay upright on ice.
Checking the time as I arise from the snow and ice
"That thing is going south in a hurry! It's coming down!"
Prior to our departing for Christmas Midnight Mass at Saint Gertrude the Great Church on Monday, December 24, 2007, we attended on Friday, December 21, 2007, a very well-produced, directed and acted adaptation of Charles Dickens's "A Christmas Carol" by the students of Lucy's school. Lucy had a non-speaking role in the play. She did, however, win a prize for her depiction of the Nativity, choosing to take a statue of the Immaculate Heart of Mary as her prize:
Lucy receiving her award from the principal of her school.
Lucy's first grade award winning depiction of the Nativity. (Note bene: there were two contestants, the other being the only other first grader enrolled at the school she is attending.)
The next day, Saturday, December 22, 2007, saw us drive down to the Borough of Manhattan in the City of New York, New York, to meet up with our friends the Colgans to pay our respects to Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini on her feast day. I provided a few photographs of our visit to the Shrine, which is located near the Cloisters in the Washington Heights section of Manhattan, in
Mother Cabrini's Shrine: A Pictorial Essay. As God's Holy Providence would have it, a group was visiting at the same time from a Motu parish, which will not be otherwise identified. One of the priests escorting the group of mostly young people had told us nearly eleven months before--when we had seen him at a reception following Sharon's father's death--that he had no responsibility to oppose error, which prompted me to make reference to the following passage from Pope Pius VI's Inscrutabile, December 25, 1775:
The affair is of the greatest importance since it concerns the Catholic faith, the purity of the Church, the teaching of the saints, the peace of the empire, and the safety of nations. Since it concerns the entire body of the Church, it is a special concern of yours because you are called to share in Our pastoral concern, and the purity of the faith is particularly entrusted to your watchfulness. "Now therefore, Brothers, since you are overseers among God's people and their soul depends on you, raise their hearts to your utterance," that they may stand fast in faith and achieve the rest which is prepared for believers only. Beseech, accuse, correct, rebuke and fear not: for ill-judged silence leaves in their error those who could be taught, and this is most harmful both to them and to you who should have dispelled the error. The holy Church is powerfully refreshed in the truth as it struggles zealously for the truth. In this divine work you should not fear either the force or favor of your enemies. The bishop should not fear since the anointing of the Holy Spirit has strengthened him: the shepherd should not be afraid since the prince of pastors has taught him by his own example to despise life itself for the safety of his flock: the cowardice and depression of the hireling should not dwell in a bishop's heart. Our great predecessor Gregory, in instructing the heads of the churches, said with his usual excellence: "Often imprudent guides in their fear of losing human favor are afraid to speak the right freely. As the word of truth has it, they guard their flock not with a shepherd's zeal but as hirelings do, since they flee when the wolf approaches by hiding themselves in silence.... A shepherd fearing to speak the right is simply a man retreating by keeping silent." But if the wicked enemy of the human race, the better to frustrate your efforts, ever brings it about that a plague of epidemic proportions is hidden from the religious powers of the world, please do not be terrified but walk in God's house in harmony, with prayer, and in truth, the three arms of our service. Remember that when the people of Juda were defiled, the best means of purification was the public reading to all, from the least to the greatest, of the book of the law lately found by the priest Helcias in the Lord's temple; at once the whole people agreed to destroy the abominations and seal a covenant in the Lord's presence to follow after the Lord and observe His precepts, testimonies and ceremonies with their whole heart and soul." For the same reason Josaphat sent priests and Levites to bring the book of the law throughout the cities of Juda and to teach the people. The proclamation of the divine word has been entrusted to your faith by divine, not human, authority. So assemble your people and preach to them the gospel of Jesus Christ. From that divine source and heavenly teaching draw draughts of true philosophy for your flock. Persuade them that subjects ought to keep faith and show obedience to those who by God's ordering lead and rule them. To those who are devoted to the ministry of the Church, give proofs of faith, continence, sobriety, knowledge, and liberality, that they may please Him to whom they have proved themselves and boast only of what is serious, moderate, and religious. But above all kindle in the minds of everyone that love for one another which Christ the Lord so often and so specifically praised. For this is the one sign of Christians and the bond of perfection. . . .
We thought it useful to speak to you lovingly on these matters in order to strengthen your excellent resolve. But a much more serious subject demands that We speak of it, or rather mourn over it. We refer to the pestilent disease which the wickedness of our times brings forth. We must unite our minds and strength in treating this plague before it grows rife and becomes incurable in the Church through Our oversight. For in recent days, the dangerous times foretold by the Apostle Paul have clearly arrived, when there will be "men who love themselves, who are lifted up, proud, blasphemous, traitors, lovers of pleasure instead of God, men who are always learning but never arriving at the knowledge of truth, possessing indeed the appearance of piety but denying its power, corrupt in mind, reprobate about the faith." These men raise themselves up into "lying" teachers, as they are called by Peter the prince of the Apostles, and bring in sects of perdition. They deny the Lord who bought them and bring upon themselves swift destruction. They say they are wise and they have become fools, and their uncomprehending heart is darkened.
You yourselves, established as scouts in the house of Israel, see clearly the many victories claimed by a philosophy full of deceit. You see the ease with which it attracts to itself a great host of peoples, concealing its impiety with the honorable name of philosophy. Who could express in words or call to mind the wickedness of the tenets and evil madness which it imparts? While such men apparently intend to search out wisdom, "they fail because they do not search in the proper way. . . and they fall into errors which lead them astray from ordinary wisdom."They have come to such a height of impiety that they make out that God does not exist, or if He does that He is idle and uncaring, making no revelation to men. Consequently it is not surprising that they assert that everything holy and divine is the product of the minds of inexperienced men smitten with empty fear of the future and seduced by a vain hope of immortality. But those deceitful sages soften and conceal the wickedness of their doctrine with seductive words and statements; in this way, they attract and wretchedly ensnare many of the weak into rejecting their faith or allowing it to be greatly shaken. While they pursue a remarkable knowledge, they open their eyes to behold a false light which is worse than the very darkness. Naturally our enemy, desirous of harming us and skilled in doing so, just as he made use of the serpent to deceive the first human beings, has armed the tongues of those men with the poison of his deceitfulness in order to lead astray the minds of the faithful. The prophet prays that his soul may be delivered from such deceitful tongues. In this way these men by their speech "enter in lowliness, capture mildly, softly bind and kill in secret." This results in great moral corruption, in license of thought and speech, in arrogance and rashness in every enterprise.
When they have spread this darkness abroad and torn religion out of men's hearts, these accursed philosophers proceed to destroy the bonds of union among men, both those which unite them to their rulers, and those which urge them to their duty. They keep proclaiming that man is born free and subject to no one, that society accordingly is a crowd of foolish men who stupidly yield to priests who deceive them and to kings who oppress them, so that the harmony of priest and ruler is only a monstrous conspiracy against the innate liberty of man.
Everyone must understand that such ravings and others like them, concealed in many deceitful guises, cause greater ruin to public calm the longer their impious originators are unrestrained. They cause a serious loss of souls redeemed by Christ's blood wherever their teaching spreads, like a cancer; it forces its way into public academies, into the houses of the great, into the palaces of kings, and even enters the sanctuary, shocking as it is to say so.
Suffice to say that we are forever grateful to Our Lady for leading us to true bishops and true priests who make no concessions to conciliarism whatsoever and who make no concessions to the nonexistent legitimacy of its false shepherds who "esteem" false religions, who accept the symbols of false religions with equanimity and respect, and who go so far as to smoke a "peace pipe" with heretics and schismatics, as happened recently in Australia. None of this--absolutely none of this--can come from the Catholic Church. While we pray for those whom we know who are attached to the conciliar structures and who think that they have achieved quite a "victory" with Summorum Pontificum, which is based on false premises and is designed to effect the "reform of the reform," realizing, of course, that we are not one whit better than they, we are grateful for having discovered the truth of the fact that the Catholic Church cannot give us defective liturgies and that those who defect from one thing in the Faith defect from the Faith in its entirety.
There was an interesting story told us to by one of the workers at the Mother Cabrini Shrine while we visited on Saturday, December 22, 2007.
It is the custom at the Mother Cabrini Shrine for there to be a play once a year about the great saint's life. The play, performed by students from Mother Cabrini High School on the grounds of the shrine, features one student dressed up as Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini. It was during one recent performance that the young student who was playing Mother Cabrini was walking around the grounds of the Shrine. Some students, mostly of parents who hailed from the Dominican Republic, from another conciliar school were visiting at the same time. Upon seeing the young actress walking around the shrine after having seen the saint's sarcophagus, which is displayed in glass under the Cranmer table in the shrine's chapel, one of the students yelled out in fright, "She's up! She's up! Let's get out of here!"
"That thing is going south in a hurry! It's coming down!"
Although we had thought about driving out to Ohio on Sunday, December 23, 2007, fatigue and a great deal of rain prompted me to delay our departure until Christmas Eve morning. We left Monroe, Connecticut, after the 7:00 a.m. Mass at Our Lady of the Rosary Chapel, saying our goodbyes to His Excellency Bishop Robert F. McKenna, O.P.
As we were driving westbound on Interstate 84 in Orange County, New York, however, I noticed that the cabinet holding the Daewoo television set that came with the motor home (which television never worked properly--and which we have not even attempted to use since we gave up television for good in 2003) was separating more and more from the ceiling of the motor home above the dashboard. "That thing is going south in a hurry! It's coming down!" I told Sharon and Lucy. With a stop at the Tri-States R.V. Park in Matamoras, Pennsylvania, just across the Delaware River from Orange County, New York, on the agenda so that we could dump our waste water and get liquefied propane gas (LPG), I told Sharon to work on removing the television as I dealt with the dump and the propane once we had stopped at the campground, which is open year-round but is just too far (ninety-eight miles) from Monroe to consider stationing ourselves there in order to have the conveniences of an on-site sewer dump and readily available propane.
Sharon did indeed work assiduously to remove the television as I dealt with the outside matters (learning while in the campground's office of the death of the thirty-third degree Mason who was born as Leslie Lynch King, Jr., but who had been given the name of his step-father, Gerald Rudolph Ford, Jr.). The television and the weight of printed matter in a cabinet directly above the steering wheel were going to bring down the whole cabinet assembly right onto my head as I drove. You see, a motor home undergoes the equivalent of a Richter scale seven earthquake as it drives along the poorly maintained and ever deteriorating interstate highway system of the United States of America. Everything shakes all the time. This causes pipes to come loose and electrical connections to go haywire now and again. The net effect of all of the shaking and vibration had been to make the cabinet the next thing to fall off of its perches, so to speak.
Asking permission from the campground's owners to throw the television into the dumpster (we did not want the responsibility of making the set available to others so that they could waste time and ruin their immortal souls by watching the indecent fare on network and cable television programs), I took the thing from Sharon once she had detached it and did indeed throw it into the campground's dumpster. There is now a big hole in the cabinet where there was the television, which had been plastered over for a long time with a huge portrait of Saint Lucy, who is the patroness saint of both Sharon and Lucy:
Here is the hole in the cabinet. You can see that the screws holding the cabinet to the ceiling were not in a "good way," shall we say.
We did not have to wait long for the next adventure to befall us.
There is only one gasoline station off of Exit 53 on Interstate 84 in Pennsylvania that accommodates large vehicles. It is, however, difficult to access. Finding it impossible to enter from a side street, I chanced on turning the motor home and Trail Blazer combination into the rear of the gasoline station so that I could swing around to the pumps in front. This would have worked just swell if there had not been a height barrier preventing large vehicles from doing precisely what I wanted to do with the motor home.
Having entered the side driveway at an angle and unable to back up as this would cause the motor home to jack knife straight into the Trail Blazer, I had to detach the Trail Blazer from the motor home, a process that takes about ten minutes normally but took longer this time as the Blue Ox Aventa II tow bars would not detach right away. It took about twenty minutes to detach the car, which I had to attach again after I had filled up the motor home's gasoline tank in really, really freezing weather. All to thee, Blessed Mother. All to thy Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. Jesus, Mary and Joseph, we love you. Save souls!
Here is the height barrier, shown from the front, that prevent me from turning the motor home around at a gasoline station in Matamoras, Pennsylvania.
Three Hundred Fifty-Four Miles
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is a long, long state through which to drive. We have to drive just about three hundred fifty-four miles in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania each time we pass through it on our way from Connecticut to Ohio. Indeed, a little over half of the entire trip, which is 694 miles from Our Lady of the Rosary Chapel in Monroe, Connecticut, to The Olive Branch Campground in Oregonia, Ohio, is made in Pennsylvania. Lots of time to pray Rosaries as we drive! One of the quite literal "highpoints" of the trip through Pennsylvania is the highest point on Interstate 80 east of the Mississippi, which is located a mile marker 111 at an elevation of 2250 feet. Oh, there are some steep climbs in Orange Country, New York, and in the Poconos in Pennsylvania on Interstates 84 and 81, which slows us down rather considerably in the motor home as vehicles of all sorts just whiz past us. The climb up to the peak of the Allegheny Mountains in western Pennsylvania is a bit more gradual. It does get a lot steeper in the twenty or thirty miles leading up to the summit. That's one of the reasons, I suppose, that the motor home's transmission got ground down over the course of time.
All right, all right. It's really blurry. I've sharpened it up as much as a software program will permit. I've seen this sign--and its predecessor signs--hundreds upon hundreds of times in the past thirty-five years.
I have always considered driving through western Pennsylvania to be quite a penance. Although the scenery is beautiful, breathtaking even in spots, Interstate 80 cuts through a long stretch of no major metropolis. You just drive and drive and drive and drive and drive through the wilderness. We did discover, however, that there is something of an oasis in Du Bois, Pennsylvania, a place called Luigi's, a restaurant that advertises on Interstate 80 but never interested us really until the motor home's transmission died on Saturday, March 15, 2008. We are usually in a rush to drive from "Mass to Mass," and there is simply no time to stop in Pennsylvania as there is no Mass offered in that state that is not una cum the false pontiff, which we accept as penance handed to us from God Himself and a chastisement for our sins and those of the whole world. He has known from all eternity that the sacraments would be taken away from us. We must simply accept this chastisement and to cleave to true bishops and true priests in the catacombs who make no concessions to conciliarism or to the nonexistent legitimacy of its false shepherds.
This Will Not Stand!
We arrived at The Olive Branch Campground in Oregonia, Ohio, around 9:20 p.m. on Christmas Eve, giving me just enough time to detach the Trail Blazer from the motor home before backing the coach into the narrow space to which we had been assigned. Water was running even though it was very cold, permitting us the use of warm water with which we could freshen up for Midnight Mass.
We left the campground in Oregonia, which is a distance of almost exactly thirty miles to Saint Gertrude the Great Church in West Chester, Ohio, at 10:15 p.m., arriving in the parking lot just before His Excellency Bishop Daniel L. Dolan was to enter the church with a statue of the Baby Jesus to place in a Nativity scene near the very altar of Our Lady where Lucy would receive her first Holy Communion three months, two and one-half days later. I was absolutely beyond exhausted, nearly on the verge of total physical collapse, having not slept well the previous few nights before driving to Ohio. Indeed, I nearly did collapse just before the singing of the Gospel at the Pontifical High Mass. All to thee, Blessed Mother. All to thy Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. Jesus, Mary and Joseph, we love you. Save souls!
The Christmas Midnight Mass was glorious. Bishop Dolan's sermon was, as usual, most edifying.
(Pawning Your Soul.) It was certainly worth the long drive to have the privilege of assisting at a Mass where such glories are given to God. Such glories are given to God daily at Saint Gertrude's, where the liturgical life of the Church comes alive. The Baby Jesus had been born for us to make it possible for us to have eternal life with Him in Heaven--but only if we cleave to His Most Blessed Mother, who brought Him to birth painlessly in Bethlehem and brought us to spiritual rebirth in great pain as she stood so valiantly by the foot of His Most Holy Cross on Mount Calvary on Good Friday, at which she stands at every valid offering of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the unbloody re-presentation of that same Sacrifice of Calvary in which we are fed the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of the Divine Redeemer Himself.
Christmas is our dear Lucy's favorite feast, and not because she looks forward to presents. There has been no talk in our household of the commercialized concept known as "Santa Claus" in our household. She did not even know the name of the "silly man" she had seen dressed up in red suit until the son of a friend of ours asked Lucy if she knew about him. She looks forward to the celebration of the Birth of the God-Man in Bethlehem. Faults our little daughter certainly has, taking after her father, of course! A pure love of the Faith is also hers, a love of the Faith that is a pure, gratuitous gift that has been given to her by God Himself and which Sharon has fostered so very well in the years of homeschooling prior to Lucy starting first grade seven months ago now.
We returned to Saint Gertrude's for Christmas Mass during the day, spending a quiet day back at the motor home thereafter. It was on Christmas night, however, that the first of two epic battles with mice, who are, as Bishop Dolan reminded me, symbols of the devil himself, began.
Battle One began when I was trying to get to sleep on Christmas night. I heard a scampering noise in the main part of the motor home. Turning on the lights, I saw a field mouse running up and down and all over the place. Mice, as symbols of the devil, do not like the light, of course. (It's no wonder that the thirty-third degree Mason named Walt Disney chose a mouse as the symbol of his enterprises.) I ran after him as best I could, armed with a hammer to try to bludgeon the varmint to death if I could find him. Unsuccessful in my efforts to destroy this invader, I had to go out on Christmas night, not certain that I could find mouse traps at a gasoline station/convenience store some five miles from the campground. I asked Sharon to pray to Saint Anthony so that I could be successful in my quest for the mouse traps. I was prepared to drive to Bigg's superstore in Deerfield Township, Ohio, some eighteen miles from the campground, if I had to do so. Christmas night was not going to be spent with my sharing any space with a mouse.
As I drove to the gasoline station/convenience store off of Exit 32 of Interstate 71 in Ohio, I recalled past battles I had had with mice, including one on the evening of Friday, December 9, 1977, as I typed up a final examination for the American National Government course that I was teaching at the time at Illinois State University in Normal, Illinois. Living on the third floor, mind you, of an apartment house at 505 3 S.E. Greenbriar Drive, I heard a rustling in the kitchen. Sure enough, it was a mouse. Although I had seen one in my office at Illinois State University about six weeks before after I had hosted a conference on the then pending Panama Canal treaties (the critter scared a former professor/colleague of mine from Saint John's University in Jamaica, Queens, New York, who had been one of the presenters, half to death--and he's ten years older than I am), the mouse in the house on December 9, 1977, was the first one I had seen in any of our residences since I was a little boy living above my father's veterinary hospital at 222-40 Jamaica Avenue in Queens Village, New York. Our dachsund Stupsie, who lived to be seventeen and one-half years old (being put to sleep by my father on the same day that the aforementioned Mason Disney died, Thursday, December 15, 1966), killed one and my father killed another with a miniature Brooklyn Dodgers baseball bat.
My battle with that mouse in the house in Illinois in 1977 necessitated my going out of the house on a cold and snowy night to go to an Albertson's store about two miles away to get mouse traps, devices I had never used before and took a bit of figuring out how to use before I deployed them. (I had tried turning the gas burners of the stove top on in order to singe the little fellow before I went out to get the mouse traps.) Soon enough, however, I heard a snap in the kitchen as I sat in my much missed La-Z-Boy recliner chair typing up my final examination on Smith-Corona Coronamatic typewriter (replete with carbon paper for mimeographing.) The pest had gotten his tail caught in the trap, looking at me a though to plead for mercy. I gave him none. He was put, trap and all, into a brown paper bag and placed into a dumpster outside of the apartment house, "Squeak, squeak, squeak, yourself, Mighty Mouse," I said to him. "Your days are over." I know. I know. Heartless. Look, mice are symbols of the devil. Out the door they go! (This is just a sneak preview of material to be included in Volume 2 of There is No Cure for This Condition if an and when I ever get around to typing it up. There are sheaves of old "adventures" that I used to send to out to friends and former students back in the days I was teaching at Illinois State University on a three day a week schedule.)
Lo and behold, there was one package containing two mouse traps at the gasoline station/convenience store off of Exit 32 of Interstate 71 on Christmas Night a little over three months ago now. Picking up some bait (Velveeta "cheese," of all things--does anyone really know the ingredients of Velveeta?), I purchased the traps and proceeded back to the motor home, whereupon I set up them up quite nicely in different places. It was not too long after I had turned off the lights and assumed the horizontal position that I heard a loud SNAP sound. The invader had met his end. He was dead, no more, gone, finished, through, whacked but good. I thanked Saint Michael the Archangel and my Guardian Angel for the victory over the evil varmint, content that we could rest well that night.
The mouse did, however, have long term plans for the motor home. Sharon discovered a stash of acorns on Thursday, December 27, 2007, the Feast of Saint John the Evangelist. She found more upon our return from Ohio in early January. Here is the evidence:
This stash of acorns was found on Thursday, December 27, 2007, underneath the bench where Lucy sits in her car seat as we drive.
Another stash of acorns, found in a pair of sneakers on Tuesday, January 8, 2008.
That little mouse had BIG plans for the motor home over the winter, it appears. The mouse had not heard, evidently, of this parable told by Our Lord as recounted in the Gospel According to Saint Luke:
And he spoke a similitude to them, saying: The land of a certain rich man brought forth plenty of fruits. And he thought within himself, saying: What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? And he said: This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and will build greater; and into them will I gather all things that are grown to me, and my goods. And I will say to my soul: Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years take thy rest; eat, drink, make good cheer. But God said to him: Thou fool, this night do they require thy soul of thee: and whose shall those things be which thou hast provided? (Luke 12: 16-20.)
Yet another stash of acorns was found in the closet where the sneakers were found filled with acorns. He was a busy little mouse.
An Engine Light That Won't Go Off
Have you ever had an engine light on your car that won't go off? We have one on the Trail Blazer at the present time. Oh, we've tried to get the problem diagnosed, taking the car into a very reliable Goodyear dealership in Newport, Kentucky, on Saturday, December 29, 2007, the Feast of Saint Thomas a Becket, as we took Lucy Mary Norma to the Newport Aquarium once again. The mechanics there ran "diagnostics" on the engine, coming up with nothing other than a possibilityof an oxygen sensor being defective. However, they could not tell for sure. Sharon's mother had to pay over $350 for a problem with the engine light on her car to be diagnosed and then another $350 to have the problem repaired! That's not within our budget, thank you very much. Thus, we live with an engine light that simply won't go off, something that may or may not be causing the Trail Blazer to smoke and smell (the smoke and the smell might be the result of the wheel bearings and/or the transmission differential case that needs to be replaced).
Our time at Saint Gertrude the Great Church at Christmas time was all-too-brief. We did enjoy our time. Lucy had a marvelous time on Friday, December 28, 2007, the Feast of the Holy Innocents, as His Excellency Bishop Dolan read stories and poems to children gathered for the annual Holy Innocents party. His Excellency has the pastoral approach to children of Pope Saint Pius X, full of great zeal to teach the little ones their catechism and to inspire them to know about and to imitate the virtues of the saints. In imitation of the patroness saint of the parish, Saint Gertrude the Great, Bishop Dolan has a deep and abiding commitment to spread devotion to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, teaching about the fact that the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary truly beat as one. We have been most edified by our association and friendship with His Excellency, who has taught us many things, including in 2006 of the importance of not associating with una cum Masses. And it was during our Christmas visit to West Chester that His Excellency invited Lucy to make her First Holy Communion, which took place on her sixth birthday, March 27, 2008, Easter Thursday this year and the Commemoration of Saint John Damascene, a saint who is quite appropriate for our daughter, whose most prized possessions are the statues of the saints! (See:
Images to Last For All Eternity.)
Travails With Tow bars, Tires and a Transmission
Our trip back to Connecticut involved a stop off of the beaten track, in Millersburg, Ohio, in order to get a set of six entirely new tires installed on the motor home. A very generous family from northwestern Wisconsin made the arrangements in the middle of December to fund the purchase for us, for which we are very grateful. The tire dealership selected had the cheapest price (nearly a thousand dollars cheaper than a Goodyear dealership in Sharonville, Ohio), thus the drive off of the beaten track, which will be described shortly.
Our plans as to when to get to Millersburg, which is located about forty miles east of Mansfield, Ohio, and about fifty-five miles southwest of Akron, Ohio, on Ohio Highway 39, kept changing. We had thought about driving up to Millersburg on New Year's Day after Mass on the Feast of the Circumcision at Saint Gertrude the Great Church in West Chester, Ohio, in order to park overnight at the tire store, getting ourselves to Holy Mass the next morning at Sacred Heart Church, which is administered by the Congregation of Mary Immaculate Queen, on January 2, 2008, the Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus. Heavy snows on New Year's Day, however, scuttled those plans. I had no intention of driving in heavy snows on tires that were about to say, "Who loves ya, baby?"
The next thought was to get up in time for 6:30 a.m. Mass at Saint Gertrude the Great Church on the Feast of the Holy Name and then driving the 210 miles to Millersburg from West Chester. That was a nice thought. I just couldn't bring myself to get Sharon and Lucy up from a deep sleep to make the 6:30 a.m. Mass. I used to an early-riser. No more. We have to get up early for His Excellency Bishop Robert F. McKenna, O.P.'s 7:00 a.m. Mass five days a week (there is a Friday morning school Mass; the Sunday Mass is at 10:00 a.m.) and to get Lucy to school. Alas, as a former friend of ours in the conciliar priesthood who left his diocese a few years ago to join the "resist and recognize" movement said to us in his diocesan days, "It's rest in peace, not before." Indeed. Indeed.
Anyhow, we did not make the 6:30 a.m. Mass at Saint Gertrude the Great Church on the Feast of the Holy Name. Our goal after that was to make the 11:25 a.m. High Mass and then get ourselves to Millersburg for the installation of the new tires before the shop closed for the day. That goal, too, was a lofty one. Permit me to explain
The Olive Branch Campground in Oregonia, Ohio, is located in quite a little snow/rain band near the shores of the Little Miami River. It snowed very heavily on New Year's Day into the morning of the Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus. This caused a little bit of a delay in our getting our of the campground as I had to clear the snow off of the Trail Blazer and get the water hoses up from under the snow. Indeed, it took about fifteen mintues to find the spigot where the hose connected to the campground's fresh water supply as the spigot, which was buried in a hole and covered with much insulation to prevent the water line from freezing, was simply undiscoverable. This added a few delays to our departure from the campground.
Our departure from the campground was further delayed by the fact that a full-time camper who had been assigned the task of manning the propane tank for fill-ups was a little slow in responding to my request to meet us at the propane tank on our way out of the campground and to Saint Gertrude's. More delays. Yes, I know, each delay was within the Providence of God. I know. Further delays were encountered with the full-time camper, a gentleman who had retired from his chosen line of work, had difficulties finding the correct connection to use from the campground's propane tank to our motor home's propane tank. Time was ticking steadily. It wasn't looking good to make the 11:25 a.m. High Mass at Saint Gertrude the Great Church, a distance of thirty miles from the campground
Here are a few photographs of the scene by the propane tank:
Surveying the situation at hand!
A snowplow to clear a path for to us to exit Olive Branch Campground.
Sharon used one of our space heaters to defrost the inside of the windshield panes. Remember, our dashboard heating and air conditioning systems have not worked since a little man removed fuses from the front of the motor home on September 7, 2005, at a KOA Kampground in San Antonio, Texas. No one has yet to figure out how to restore the air conditioning or the heat or the radio, which would be useful to have for traffic reports now and again.
Ah, a connection at last! Liquefied propane gas was being delivered to our motor home!
Reporting back to the troops inside as the process of filling the propane tank dragged on and on and on.
I attached the Trail Blazer to the motor home by means of the Blue Ox Aventa II tow bar system while the propane tank was being filled up, checking in every once in a while to see what was happening with the propane fill up (as you can see above). One of the most critical things in the process of attaching the car to the motor home is to make sure that the Blue Ox tow bar arms "lock" into position. This is accomplished normally by placing the car into reverse once it has been hooked up (two bolts lock the tow bar arms onto the base plate connections on the car; a coiled cable to provide electricity from the car to the motor home for purposes of running and brake lights is attached; two "safety chains" are attached, although the chains don't provide much in the way of additional security to prevent a breakaway) and accelerating in the reverse position until the tow bar arms "lock" into place. It is sometimes the case that one arm locks and the other doesn't. The remedy for this, a tow bar dealer in California told me in January of 2006, is to drive the motor home from side to side slowly to make it possible for the unlocked tow bar arm to lock into place.
As the snow on the ground did not give the Trail Blazer a good deal of traction with which to back up rapidly, it appeared that one of the tow bars was not locked into position properly, I exited the campground by moving the motor home from side to side, hoping that the unlocked arm would lock itself into place. Upon turning onto the entrance ramp to Interstate 71 southbound from Wilmington Road, however, I could see that we had a problem. The Trail Blazer was visible in the driver's side sideview mirror. That, as you will learn in the second or third installment of this travelogue, is not a good thing. This meant that I had to stop the motor home at a rest hour three miles south of Exit 36 in order to detach the Trail Blazer and attempt to attach it so that both tow bar arms would lock properly.
The temperature was bitter cold that day, the Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus. Bitterly cold. I had difficulty getting the locked tow bar arm to unlock, having to resort to the use of a hammer to bang and bang and bang on it to get it to collapse into the "down" position. This took a good deal of time. (The hammer, which was a good one, was left on the ground at the rest area. I forgot it was there after the two efforts I made to get the car attached properly.) I was shivering from head to toe. All to thee, Blessed Mother. All to thy Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. Jesus, Mary and Joseph, we love you. Save souls!
Two tries were necessary to get the Trail Blazer attached to the motor home properly. It appeared as though both tow bar arms were locked into place. That appearance was illusory. Yes, we discovered upon leaving the rest area that the car was moving from side to side and moving in the direction of the motor home when the motor home stopped and away from the motor home when we were going a bit faster. Not good. Not good at all. I had to get off of Interstate 71 at Exit 25, the King's Island exit (why would anyone in his right mind want to go to an "amusement" park to have his senses assault by rock "music" while at the same time risking brain damage, if not a heart attack, on those demonic "rides"?), driving to a Kroger's west of the interstate highway to try to get the attachment right once and for all. It was no less cold then than it had been a few moments before. All to thee, Blessed Mother. All to thy Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. Jesus, Mary and Joseph, we love you. Save souls!
About a half hour was needed to get the attachment done so that both tow bar arms were locked into position. We could not get to the 11:25 a.m. Mass, leaving us with the option of spending the day in the motor home prior to the 5:30 p.m. Mass at Saint Gertrude's, pushing the installation of the tires back another day and causing Lucy to miss the first day of school following the Christmas break. Although the top priority of our family is to get ourselves to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass every single day of our lives, we do recognize that there will be times when events and our duties-of-state might prevent us from doing so. This was one of those rare times, which God had known from all eternity would occur. It was more prudent to continue to Millersburg in order to get the new tires, which we needed very desperately, installed and to try to get Lucy to school on time the next morning.
With sadness in our hearts at not being able to get to Holy Mass on the Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus, therefore, we left the Kroger's parking lot in Kings Mill, Ohio, and drove 148 miles northeast on Interstate 71 to Exit 173 in order to head eastbound on Ohio Highway 39 to Millersburg. What a drive that turned out to be, up and down hilly, snow-covered roads on a two-lane highway! I thought I could hear the motor home's transmission grinding a bit as we climbed some of the steep hills with our bad tires. I put that thought aside, contenting myself with offering up the long, long drive through little middle Ohio communities to get to Millersburg before the tire store closed for the evening.
Here are a few photographs of what we saw as we drove on Ohio Highway 39:
We saw a lot of this sort of scene on Ohio Highway 39 en route from Exit 173 on Interstate 71 to Millersburg, Ohio.
What did I just say? We saw a lot of this kind of scene on Ohio Highway 39 from Exit 173 of Interstate 71 to Millersburg, Ohio.
Entering a small community, Lucas, Ohio, I believe, on Ohio Highway 39.
A scene from Middle America on Ohio Highway 39.
You got it! Another shot of Ohio Highway 39!
Well, a change of pace, huh? Saint Lucy is still in the same place, relatively speaking, where she was when she was plastered over the television that was removed on thrown out on Monday, December 24, 2007. Sharon figured you needed a bit of a break from the Ohio Highway 39 photographs, which is why she took this one during our drive to Millersburg, Ohio, on January 2, 2008.
Downtown Millersburg, Ohio. Looks a little like Lucas, Ohio, doesn't it?
It took the better part of seventy-five minutes to drive the the thirty-five miles or so from Exit 173 of Interstate 71 to Holmes Tire in Millersburg, Ohio. Yes, seventy-five minutes to go thirty-five miles on hilly, snow-covered highways through little communities featuring radar patrol cars every nine feet. All to thee, Blessed Mother. All to thy Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. Jesus, Mary and Joseph, we love you. Save souls!
Once in Millersburg, Ohio, I overshot the location of Holmes Tire on 450 Railroad Street, which I thought intersected directly with Ohio 39. It did not. We passed right through Millersburg, forcing me to make a U-turn through a hospital/medical center east of the town. I called for directions from the owner of the store, who could not have been more cooperative or friendly. We arrived at Holmes Tire at around 4:10 p.m. on Wednesday, January 2, 2008.
The men at Holmes Tire were quite competent. They installed six tires in about two hours and fifteen minutes. We had to move the motor home several times to make it possible for them to have proper access to the wheels. Thanks be to God and by the intercession of His Most Blessed Mother, however, I did not have to detach the Trail Blazer from the motor home. I had had quite enough of that for one day, thank you very, very much!
At Holmes Tire, finally! Oh, our benefactors arranged for us to get Toyo Tires installed on the motor home.
The owner, Joe, checking out a detail as I waited in the cold.
A view of the neighborhood around Holmes Tire in Millersburg, Ohio.
A sideview mirror view of the left rear tires being installed. And, yes, there's the Trail Blazer, visible only because the motor home was turned at an angle, not because the car was ready to detach itself without my help.
Daytime was turning into dusk as we awaited the tires to be installed at Holmes Tire in Millersburg, Ohio.
We got off on our way from Holmes Tire in Millersburg, Ohio, to Monroe, Connecticut, a distance of 556 miles, around 6:15 p.m., on the evening of Wednesday, January 2, 2008. Having missed Mass on the Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus, I did not want to miss Mass the next day, January 3, 2008. Thus, I decided to do an all-nighter, something that has become increasingly more difficult for me as I have gotten older. I may have a six year old daughter who keeps me acting me young and silly on lots of occasions. There are times, though, when the frailties of the dying process (euphemistically called the "aging" process) manifest themselves. It is not possible to do with impunity the sorts of things I could do in my twenties and thirties as I drove up to thirty-nine hours non-stop on many occasions, especially in long drives from Troy, New York, to Harlingen, Texas, when I was pursuing my doctorate at the State University of New York at Albany in 1974 and 1975 and my late parents, who were then very much alive, were living in the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas, where my father, Dr. Albert Henry Martin Droleskey, was the regional director of veterinary public health for the Texas Department of Public Health (a career change from the twenty-six years he spent as a small animal practitioner at his veterinary hospital, the Queens Village Dog and Cat Hospital, from 1946 to 1972). Those days of marathon, non-stop driving are long gone. Although I can still "push" myself to do a thousand miles in one shot, it's all I can do these days to drive the 700 miles between Monroe, Connecticut, and Olive Branch Campground in twelve hours.
We proceeded north on Ohio Highway 83 to Wooster, Ohio, taking Ohio Highway 585 out of Wooster to connect to Ohio Highway 21 south of Akron, driving north to connect with the terrible Interstate 76 and the always unpleasant drive through Akron, Ohio. Why is it unpleasant? Well, Interstate 76 takes several twists and sharp turns that really slows the progress of one driving a motor home. There is no "center of gravity" in a motor home. Ours, a low-end-of-the-scale unit, is just piece of plastic with a hollow cavity in the center. Although our motor home has been blown around by gusts of wind pretty fiercely from time to time, we have not come close to turning over, not even when the left front tire blew out as we were driving in 107 degree heat in the Mojave Desert on Sunday, September 26, 2004. The twists and sharp turns on Interstate 76 in Akron just force a motor home drive to go very, very slowly, something that cuts into one's overall average speed considerably. All to thee, Blessed Mother. All to thy Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. Jesus, Mary and Joseph, we love you. Save souls!
A gasoline fill-up was necessary around mile marker forty-seven of Interstate 76. Such fill-ups can take a great deal of time, especially if the motor home's tank, which has an eighty-two gallon capacity, is nearly empty, as it was in this particular instance at around 8:00 p.m. on January 2, 2008. Having filled up the tank in terribly cold weather, I got back into the motor home, knowing that we had about eleven hours to drive a little under 500 miles to get ourselves to Bishop McKenna's 7:00 a.m. Mass at Our Lady of the Rosary Chapel. There was little margin for error. Enter error!
Oh, yes, for it was just about two miles after we got back on Interstate 76 heading east in the direction of Interstate 80 that the motor home refused to, how shall we put this, ah, yes, drive! It was clear to me that we had some sort of transmission trouble. The oil light had come on in the process. Indeed, that oil light had come on throughout the trip that day, prompting me to ask the very good men at Holmes Tire to see if the motor home was low on engine oil It was not, down only by a quarter of a quart of oil. There was no way for me to know that the oil light also referred to the level of transmission fluid! No way to know, that is, until the motor home just plum stopped running on Interstate 76 around 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, January 2, 2008.
Praying very fervently to keep the motor home moving, I was able to drive into a rest area at mile marker forty-five so that I could check out the problem. It was dark. It was cold. It was very dark and bitterly cold. God had known from all eternity that we would have this problem. The graces He won for us by the shedding of every single drop of His Most Precious Blood on the wood of the Holy Cross and that flow into our hearts and souls through the loving hands of Our Lady, the Mediatrix of All Graces, were sufficient for us to handle this unexpected cross--and to give whatever merit we could earn by its patient endurance back to His own Most Sacred Heart through the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary.
A thousand questions went through my mind as scoured for a flash light to check the transmission fluid. "How are we going to raise the money for a new transmission?" "Are we going to be stuck in Akron for days on end, forcing Lucy to miss school?" "Would we have to drive the Trail Blazer back to Connecticut in order for Lucy to get to school?" "Where would we stay if we had to do this?" "Where would stay in Akron if the motor home had to be repaired there (as my old 1985 Honda Civic, which I purchased in December of 1993, had to have a new engine installed at a dealership there after it blew a head casket on the Ohio Turnpike in Streetsboro, Ohio, on Saturday, March 11, 1995)?" "How long would we have to wait for a tow truck?" "Where would the motor home be towed?" "Would I have to detach the car and go purchase more transmission fluid to get us going again, if it was possible to get us going again?"
Steeling myself for the task-at-hand by asking Our Lady's intervention in our behalf, I went outside to check under the hood of the motor home. The transmission fluid stick is located in a very awkward, inaccessible position under the hood. It was easy enough, however, to ascertain that I had to add transmission fluid. What would not be so easy--indeed, what we prove to be so very difficult--was to find a way to get transmission fluid into the itsy-bitsy little hole that the geniuses at the Ford Motor Company designed for the purpose of refilling the transmission fluid.
Lacking a funnel that would fit into the itsy-bitsy little hole, Sharon, who is quite creative in these kinds of matters, took two pieces of printing/copy paper and rolled them into a funnel shape, connecting them with duct tape. I had to search in our "basement" compartments to find the only remaining quart container of transmission fluid that we had left over from all of the problems with our power steering last year. There was a smidgeon--and I mean a small smidgeon--of fluid remaining in the container.
Taking the home-made funnel and the container that contained a smidgeon of transmission fluid to the hood of the motor home, I inserted the funnel, holding it with my left hand as I poured the contents of the container into the itsy-bitsy little hole, trying not to waste any of the transmission fluid. Some fluid did spill. Most of the smidgeon got itself into the itsy-bitsy little hole. Was it enough to get the motor home moving again? I did not know. I did not know.
Saying a Hail Mary as I started up the motor home's engine, I was relieved to find that that yes, the "oil light" had gone off. The motor home was drivable. I kept praying to Our Lady that I would make the Flying J station in Hubbard, Ohio, some thirty-three miles east of the rest area where I had used Sharon's home-made funnel to add a smidgeon of transmission fluid through the itsy-bitsy little hole, to purchase more transmission fluid and a funnel that would fit into the itsy-bitsy little hole and be able to bend under the top of the hood to prevent more fluid from spilling out than got into the itsy-bitsy little hole.
None of the funnels I purchased fit into the hole and/or were able to provide enough clearance between the top of the hood area and the itsy-bitsy little hole without spilling more fluid than got into the hole. I had to use a "Dixie cup funnel" provided by the Flying J people to manage to get the fluid into the transmission through the itsy-bitsy little hole. I will give you a visual of this in the next installment of this travelogue as the radiator fluid gave us some problem of its own on the day we finally got the motor home's new fresh water tank installed at Tag Motors in Medford, New York, on Monday, January 7, 2008. There's not a lot of "clearance" "under the hood" of the motor home.
It took about half an hour to deal with the transmission fluid issues, by which time the thick work gloves I was wearing were completely saturated with transmission fluid. Enough fluid got itself in through the itsy-bitsy little hole, however, to get us back the 448 miles to Monroe, Connecticut. Thank you, dear Lord. Thank you, dear Blessed Mother. Thank you, our Guardian Angels and Patron Saints. Thank you, Poor Souls.
The remainder of the drive was simply long. I had to pull over for about a ninety minute nap at a rest area along Interstate 80 in Pennsylvania. It was tough to get up. Real tough. Up I got, however, by the graces sent me by Our Lady. Up I got. Off we went for the rest of the trip, arriving at Our Lady of the Rosary Chapel with about five minutes to spare prior to the 7:00 a.m. Mass on Wednesday, January 3, 2008, the Feast of the Octave of Saint John the Evangelist in the Dominican Rite calendar (and in the calendar of the Roman Rite as it was observed prior to the machinations of Annibale Bugnini and Ferdinando Antonelli). The Droleskey family was able to get to Holy Mass. Lucy Mary Norma was able to get to school, having been given breakfast in the motor home before we arrived at the chapel (Lucy is now bound, of course, to observe the Eucharistic fast now that she has received her First Communion).
Detaching the Trail Blazer in the cold, cold weather of Thursday, January 3, 2008, proved as difficult as attaching it had been back in Ohio some twenty-one hours before. I had to use a wrench to get one of the locks on the tow bar arms to unlock, succeeding quite nicely in detaching the lock from the tow bar arm entirely (it was re-attached at Tag Motors four days later). That same wrench had to be used to pry off one of the bolts that attach the Blue Ox Aventa II tow bar arms to the Trail Blazer's base plate. The trip back was penitential from beginning to end. Deo gratias! Penance is good. It is all from God, Who is all good. It is really, really better this than Purgatory--or worse, whether in 2008 or any other year. Indeed, Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ gives us just enough time here as members of the Church Militant on earth so that we might begin to appreciate, to accept and even to pray for penances so that we can help Him redeem the world as His consecrated slaves through the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of His Most Blessed Mother, praying as many Rosaries as our states-in-life permit. Penances are sign of God's Provident love and care for us. They are a sign of the ineffable Mercy that He wishes to extend to us. Penances are wonderful, each and every single one of them, and I mean that from the bottom of my sin-stained heart!
Speaking of stained, this is what the Trail Blazer looked like immediately after we got back to Connecticut on January 3, 2008:
That's the residue of salt and sand from the snow covered roads.
Another view of our beaten up jalopy. The towing, it appears, has taken its toll on the thing.
Mounds of sand and salt on the passenger's sideview mirror.
The hour is late. Sleep beckons on the evening of April 9, 2008. This travelogue will be resumed in another day or so. The next installment will cover the misadventures of finding waste water dump sites in the colder weather, as well as further problems with the motor home prior to our trips out to Ohio at the end of February and on March 15, 2008, when the transmission died for good at mile marker 139 of the westbound lanes of Interstate 80 in Pennsylvania.
All to thee, Blessed Mother. All to thy Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. Jesus, Mary and Joseph, we love you. Save souls!
Sincerely yours in Christ the King and Mary our Immaculate Queen, Thomas A. Droleskey.
Viva Cristo Rey! Vivat Christus Rex!
Our Lady of Prompt Succor, pray for us.
Saint Joseph, pray for us.
Saints Peter and Paul, pray for us.
Saint John the Baptist, pray for us.
Saint John the Evangelist, pray for us.
Saint Michael the Archangel, pray for us.
Saint Gabriel the Archangel, pray for us.
Saint Raphael the Archangel, pray for us.
Saints Joachim and Anne, pray for us.
Saints Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar, pray for us.
Pope Saint Leo the Great, pray for us.
See also: A Litany of Saints