Merrily We Roll Along, part one
Thomas A. Droleskey
Back by popular demand, here is another installment in what used to be called thirty years ago as "The Amazing Adventures of Droleskey," which were single-spaced typewritten missives, sometimes up to seventy-two pages in length (without margins), that were sent to friends and former students hither and yon across the country, especially during the time that I taught at Illinois State University from July of 1977 to May of 1979. Some of those "chapters" ran up to seventy-two pages in length and will be incorporated into the second volume of There's No Cure for This Condition, which will probably be published electronically on its own website later this year. My Tuesday-Thursday teaching schedule at Illinois State University, located in Normal, Illinois, gave me plenty of time to write those chapters. Only a few episodes were written up between 1979 and 2001, at which point I used the printed pages of Christ or Chaos to start recounting adventures now and again, including those that occurred prior to marrying Sharon on June 7, 2001 ("When You Least Expect It"). A few sketches from those intervening years have been included in Motoring for Christ the King and Tradition and Deny Reality, Live in Anger.
Our Lord expects us to learn with the passing of years, giving us the exact amount of time that we need to grow in His graces by giving all that we experience, good and bad, to Him through the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of His Most Blessed Mother. It would be the height of intellectual dishonesty for me to claim that my earlier misadventures, which included several car fires and several instances of automobile transmissions falling out of vehicles onto the highway, were given to Our Lady's Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart as her consecrated slave. Although I was going to daily Mass (yes, the Novus Ordo) and learning how to spend time before the Blessed Sacrament in prayer, I had much yet to learn about accepting the sufferings that came my way with a spirit of equanimity, giving all to Our Lady by saying, "All to you, Blessed Mother. All to your Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, we love you. Save souls." There was a lot of wasted suffering, to be honest, in the 1970s. Indeed, God preserved me from being a father until I was fifty years of age precisely as I had a lot to learn about about accepting crosses and offering them freely to Him through Our Lady's Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. I had a lot to learn about the importance of restoring the Mass of Tradition as normative in the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church and much to learn about shaking loose from my own Americanist misconceptions about the compatibility of the founding of this nation with the Catholic Faith.
Thus, in His ineffable Mercy, God has permitted me many opportunities in the past twenty-five years or so to "get it right" with respect to the patient endurance of crosses. One of the chief ways I have been asked to make reparation for many sins and offenses and bad examples, both in word and in deed, is through the infernal device known as the internal combustion engine. That is, even though I did not fully offer up my automotive misadventures in the 1970s, God has seen fit to visit me with continued challenges in the realm of automotive travel so as to make it more possible for me to travel successfully to Him through His Blessed Mother's Immaculate Heart as a member of the Catholic Church. Those of you who read Better This Than Purgatory (Or Worse) know that we have had a series of vehicular problems in the past few years as we have traveled the nation in our motor home. Lucy Mary Norma is learning at an early age what I did not learn in my youth from my own parents: that the Cross is the only to path to salvation, that we must accept everything that happens within the Providence of God, and that nothing we suffer is the equal of what one of our least venial sins caused Our Lord to suffer in His Sacred Humanity during His fearful Passion and Death.
Smoking Engines are Generally Not a Good Sign
We arrived in northeastern Wisconsin on November 20, 2005, exactly two months after our Trail Blazer broke away from from our motor home on US-59 near Splendora, Texas. We spent a great deal of money to get the flatbed trailer that had been sold to us with rotted boards and dry rotted tires refurbished so as to transport the 1994 Dodge Grand Caravan van that was given to us from the Turpins (four years after we had sold it to them) from Orange County, New York, to the frigidly cold, snowy climes of northern Marinette County, Wisconsin. As it turned out, however, the old Dodge, which has more than 205,000 miles on it, was not as reliable as we hoped it would be. Thus, it was entirely Providential that we were unable to sell the Trail Blazer (see Inventive Ways to Steal), especially since I noticed that smoke was emanating from the Grand Caravan's engine one morning in late-December after Mass offered by Father Lawrence C. Smith in Silver Cliff, Wisconsin.
"Uh-oh," I said to Sharon. "Looks like we are going to have to go back to New Jersey and pick up the Trail Blazer. We can't afford to keep pouring money into this van if it breaks down over and over again."
As much as even the thought of further travel prior to our then pending five week speaking tour to California and back dismayed me, the thought of the van breaking down in the middle of sub-zero weather with Sharon and Lucy aboard was also not very enticing. Those who have read There is No Cure for This Condition will remember that my infamous Dodge Charger, which had about 269,000 miles on it when it died on the Pennsylvania Turnpike in July of 1985 as it lost a wheel and a transmission at the same time, got stuck in a snowbank outside of Amsterdam, New York, in a raging blizzard on January 28, 1977. A yet to be chronicled adventure took place on Good Friday in 1986 when a junker of 1968 Dodge Dart caught fire. I saw smoke coming out of the vents (I have no sense of smell) and said to myself, "This is either an electrical fire or Barbara Eden is coming out of the dashboard." It was the former, not the latter. The New York City Fire Department arrived on the scene after the flames, that erupted soon after I stopped the car at a gasoline station in Rego Park, Queens, near the car's gasoline tank area. Thus, to be play it on the safe side, I decided not to take any chances with a smoking vehicle in the snow. We had to go back to New Jersey to retrieve the Trail Blazer. We just could not afford to rent cars at every stop along our itinerary. We were meant to keep the Trail Blazer and just trust that we can continue to make the monthly payments.
Able to secure very inexpensive tickets out of Chicago Midway Airport on Southwest Airlines ($40 per person), we drove off in the van, trusting that it would last the 300 mile trip to Chicago, from Silver Cliff, Wisconsin, after Father Smith's 6:45 a.m. Mass on Tuesday, January 3, 2006. The preceding few weeks had been very productive insofar as producing articles for this site. That production would, necessarily, have to decline while we were away, although I was able to complete eleven articles in the five-week span encompassing our speaking tour from January 15, 2006, to February 20, 2006. However, we had to go back and get the Trail Blazer so that we could have a vehicle in which to drive once we parked our motor home during that speaking tour. Driving solo in the motor home to Colorado proved to be a challenge insofar as "getting about town" was concerned, especially when we parked on the street in Sioux City, Iowa, on December 7, 2005. Talk about parallel parking!
The drive down to Chicago from Silver Cliff, Wisconsin, was a bit challenging, especially in the Green Bay area, which is about eighty miles southeast of Silver Cliff, where dense fog was the rule of the day. Visibility was very reduced. We had a limited window in which to get to Chicago Midway in time for our 3:00 p.m. flight to Long Island/MacArthur Airport. The fog lasted for a good 120-140 miles, not clearing until we approached the Milwaukee area. All to you, Blessed Mother. All to you Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, we love you. Save souls.
Our plan was to park the van at Midway Airport and to pick it up when we drove the Trail Blazer back from New Jersey. The long-term parking at Midway was reasonable ($12 a day). Sharon would drive the Trail Blazer, the reliable vehicle, and I would drive the van up to Wisconsin from Chicago on our return trip, probably no later than Sunday, January 8, 2006, five days later.
In the meantime, however, we had to get ourselves from the long-term parking lot on January 3, 2006, on a bitterly cold day, standing under the intermittent heat lamp of a shuttle bus stop in the long-term parking lot off of 55th Street, just west of Cicero Boulevard. One woman who was standing with us was complaining about the cold and about the long wait for the shuttle bus. I told her, "God has known from all eternity that it would be this cold today. We simply offer up the discomfort to Him through His Blessed Mother's Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart for His greater honor and glory, in reparation for our sins and those of the whole world, for the happy repose of the Poor Souls in Purgatory, in reparation for our sins and those of the whole world, for the consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, for the restoration of the Traditional Mass and the Social Reign of Christ King, and for the needs of the Sovereign Pontiff, Pope Benedict XVI." The woman made a point of going out into the cold after I got through with that explanation. She sat a long way away from us on the shuttle bus.
As tiring as our long-distance drives are, and they are becoming more tiring as I reach my mid-fifties, flying the unfriendly skies is not exactly a thrilling experience one would choose volitionally on a regular basis. Naturally, I was singled out for a thorough hand-patting inspection by the geniuses who are employed by the Transportation Security Agency (TSA), which is part of the Department of Homeland Security. My suspenders, which I took to wearing last July while we were in New Orleans, set off the alarm. The search took about ten minutes. Any thought of lecturing the poor fellow who was searching me about the "politically correct" nature of these searches was dismissed for fear that I would never see Sharon or Lucy for many hours. I just offered it all up. "All to you, Blessed Mother. All to your Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, we love you. Save souls."
Rejoining my family for the walk to the gate area, we spent a king's ransom on a hot dog and a few other items so as to provide our daughter some nutrition prior to the flight. As most of you are aware, airport food is notoriously expensive. The reason for this is quite simple: concessionaires must pay a fee to the authorities that run the airport. Those fees help to pay the exorbitant salaries of the officials employed by the airport authorities. Most of the executive positions in these authorities, such as the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the agency that runs the three major airports in the New York City area, are superfluous, providing political sinecures for well-connected individuals to burnish their credentials before returning to the private sector. The people who pay for those sinecures are the flying public, especially in the fees they pay for parking their cars and for the "food" offered in airport food courts. Ever try buying a small bottle of water at a stand near an airport gate? Such a purchase can be as high as $2.50 or $3.00 for sixteen ounces of water. Swallow hard.
The flight itself was uneventful. Lucy is such an excellent traveler. She was looking forward to seeing her beloved cousins, the Turpin children, in New Jersey, on Wednesday, January 4, 2006. And although I know I can never live on Long Island again for a variety of reasons outlined in By Way of Amplification, it will always be what I consider my home in this land of exile from our true home, Heaven itself. I was looking forward to a brief visit to my native place in order to re-register the Trail Blazer and thence go to New Jersey to pick it up prior to our return to Wisconsin.
We rented a car from Enterprise Rent-A-Car in Bohemia, New York, after arriving late on January 3, 2006, driving about thirty-five miles to a familiar haunt, Major's Steakhouse, in Woodbury, New York. New Yorkers take a lot of knocks from those who aren't familiar with our natural gregariousness. However, the particular nature of a New Yorker is precisely that: gregarious and outgoing. Sure, there's a little bit of an edge to our humor and a small (cough, cough) dash of impatience in the face of incompetence. However, New Yorkers have a genuine desire to serve others, part of the residual Catholicism of a place that became, especially in the latter part of the Nineteenth Century, a very Catholic area. Thus, it was delightful to see the staff at Major's again and to be greeted very sincerely with a sense of joy that old customers had returned. Lucy, who wolfed down the pickles served at Major's when she was just a small baby, said, "Where's the pickles?" as soon as we were seated. No impatience there, obviously.
From there it was onto a dreadfully dumpy motel in Hicksville, New York, to spend the night. As dumpy as that motel was, however, it would make the place we stayed two nights later in Sussex, New Jersey, out to be a veritable Waldorf-Astoria Sharon sprinkled blessed salt throughout the room as I asperged it with holy water. All to you, Blessed Mother. All to your Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, we love you. Save souls. The dumpy motel, which used to be called the Astro Inn when Grumman's was located across the way in Bethpage, New York, provided us a night of sleep before we arose to assist at Mass at Saint Michael the Archangel Chapel in Farmingville, New York, the next morning, January 4, 2006.
We went about the business of getting the Trail Blazer re-registered that next morning following Mass, a process that was relatively painless at the Bethpage office of the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles. Armed with new license plates, we drove past our old residence at 259 North 9th Street in Bethpage, where I had lived from April 1, 1999, to July 14, 2003, and thence up to Oyster Bay to take Lucy to one of her favorite parks in the whole country: Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Park. Lucy loves to throw clam shells into Oyster Bay and to watch the Long Island Rail Road trains pull into and out of the terminus of the rail road's Oyster Bay branch. It was good to be back in my old home community, where I had spent my high school and undergraduate college years. And just as we had experienced the previous night at Major's in Woodbury, the staff at Taby's restaurant in Oyster Bay gave us a warm welcome, something that surprised me very much as we had not been there in over two years at that point.
Alas, the time came to leave Long Island to traverse to Sussex, New Jersey, to pick up the Trail Blazer, a distance of about 105 miles. Eschewing some additional penance by driving on New Jersey 23, we took the New York State Thruway to Florida, New York, stopping in Pine Island, the epicenter of Christ or Chaos, Inc., to pick up our mail, finding a generous contribution from a kind woman in California that kept this work going for the month of January. There were other contributions there, for which we are very grateful. The one particularly generous contribution, however, made it possible to forestall any transition to a "subscription-based" website, at least for the time being, something that I am loathe to do. We do want to continue providing free access to the people who are "surfing" the internet and come across the site for the first time. We are still on tender hooks, which is where Our Lady wants to keep us. We were--and remain--very grateful to those who responded to the December 18, 2005, appeal. We can stay afloat through the end of March, possibly, without trying to remind those who support the work of this site and are able to make a donation to do so.
Our visit on January 4 with the Turpins was short-lived. We had to return the rental car to an office in Goshen, New York, and then drive to Ridgefield, Connecticut, where Father Geraldo Zendejas had agreed so graciously to provide us with overnight quarters at Saint Ignatius Retreat House. I put the new license plates on the Trail Blazer, rallied my wife and daughter back to the car, and had Sharon drive the Trail Blazer as I drove the rental car to Goshen, a site with which we became very familiar when our 2000 Saturn station wagon was broadsided by a young driver who had run a red light in Middletown, New York, on November 23, 2004. We got to the rental agency just before it closed for the night at 6:00 p.m., making a beeline in the Trail Blazer for Ridgefield, about sixty-five miles east of Goshen.
By the time we got to Ridgefield after a stop at one of Lucy's favorite places, the Cracker Barrel, Father Zendejas was giving his Wednesday catechism class after the 6:20 p.m. evening Mass. Not wanting to interrupt the conference, I tried finding out where it was we were supposed to stay, not being familiar with where the notices for guests are posted. We drove around for a bit in Ridgefield, returning to the retreat house to find that the conference was still going on. Knowing that Sharon and Lucy were very tired and that we would have to get up very early in the morning for 7:15 a.m. Mass, I called directory assistance on my cellular phone to find a motel in the Brewster, New York. It took us a while to find the motel, which was north of Brewster on US-22. However, we found it: another dive. All to you, Blessed Mother. All to your Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, we love you. Save souls.
Actually, there was a bit of delay before we got into the room of this, er, establishment. The desk clerk was a young man who had questions about the Catholic Church.
"Why is there so much gold used in the Catholic Mass?" he inquired of me.
"Sir, gold was presented to the King of Kings at the Epiphany, which we commemorate in just two days, as a sign of His Kingship over men and their nations. Golden vessels used in Mass symbolize offer the King of Kings a pure dwelling place when He is made incarnate under the appearance of bread and wine when a priest says, "Hoc est enim Corpus Meum. . . . Hic est enim Calix Sanguinis Mei. . . ."
This went on for several minutes before the clerk said, "Why is there so much gold used in the Catholic Mass?"
Realizing that there are times when my communications skills are deficient, I simply said, "Sir, my family is tired. I have explained this to you. You need the grace to realize that the Catholic Church is true Church, outside of which there is no salvation. You need to be fed with the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of the King of Kings honored by the Three Kings from the Orient at the Epiphany. Now give me the room key, please." He did.
All I will say about the overnight stay is that it was another offering to Our Lady's Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. The room was cold on a bitterly cold night. The towels were throwbacks to the sort used in physical education class when I was at Oyster Bay High School. They couldn't have dried a newborn baby frog completely. Better this than Purgatory, or worse. And we were doing all of this so as to have a vehicle to use for the [as of then] upcoming speaking tour. Thus, once again, as always, we said, "All to you, Blessed Mother. All to your Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. Jesus, mary, and Joseph, we love you. Save souls."
Lucy was finally able to visit with her cousins at length the next day, January 5, 2006, after we drove to Sussex, New Jersey, from Ridgefield, Connecticut following Holy Mass at Saint Ignatius Retreat House. I set about the business of picking up the remaining stock of the second edition of G.I.R.M. Warfare and volume one of Restoring Christ as the King of All Nations from the printer in Unionville, New York, thereupon taking the Trail Blazer to be inspected in Warwick, New York, before registering at the absolutely, first-class dumperoo that made the dump on Long Island look so exquisite in comparison. Sharon sprinkled plenty of blessed salt in that horrible place. Once again, all was given to the Immaculate Heart of Mary to be used as she saw fit.
The great feast of the Epiphany, January 6, saw us assist at the Immemorial Mass of Tradition in the catacombs. As we had to attend to some business at our bank in Pine Island, we got a later start on our trip back to Wisconsin than we had planned. I was dog-tired. Thus, it was necessary for me to stop in Scranton, Pennsylvania, around 6:00 p.m. that night. Although I usually have difficulty in getting to sleep, I was so tired that I went out like the proverbial light soon after I assumed the horizontal position in bed at the Clarion Hotel off of Interstate 81. I heard none of the infernal commotion caused by scores of unsupervised, undisciplined school-children, in Scranton from some place in New Jersey for a Police Athletic League conference. These savages were banging on hotel room doors, including our own, and yelling and screaming as they ran up and down the hallways, oblivious to a little concept called consideration of the need of others to sleep. Sharon and Lucy were kept up most of the night as a result of the ruckus, which I did not learn about until the next morning, January 7. Sharon kept saying the Saint Michael the Archangel Prayer and the August Queen of Heaven Prayer all night long (August Queen of Heaven, Sovereign Mistress of the Angels, Thou who from the beginning hast received from God the power and mission to crush the head of Satan, we humbly implore Thee to send Thy holy legion so that under thy command and by Thy power they may drive the devils away, everywhere fight them, subduing their boldness, and thrust them down into the abyss. Who is like unto God? O good and tender Mother, Thou wilst always be our love and hour hope. O Divine Mother, send Thy holy angels to defend me drive far away from me the cruel enemy. Holy Angels and Archangels, defend us and protect us. Amen.)
As God's Providence would have had, I encountered one of chaperones for the group of savages that kept my wife and daughter awake all of the night as we were checking out the next morning. I made it clear to this woman that she had the responsibility to see to it that the children in her charge behaved decently and that they were considerate of the needs of others. Well, the woman was defiant and indignant:
"I don't cage young people. They had a long ride. They had to let off some steam. No one has the right to curb their desire to have some fun."
I responded that her attitude was precisely what was wrong with the anti-Incarnational thrust of Modernity, that those who live for the honor and glory of God and who are mindful of the fact that each one of their actions has an eternal dimension to it at the moment of their Particular Judgments do not behave indecently and inconsiderately, that they go to great lengths to show consideration to others in public places. Her attitude, I said, was just representation of the Masonic and Rousseuean selfism that has given us the destruction of innocent human life in the womb and widespread violence and disarray in every aspect of our popular culture. Outraged by such a lecture, the woman promised never "to cage my children" as she walked away in a huff. The hotel manager did, however, apologize and "adjusted" our bill by twenty-five dollars.
The rest of January 7 was spent on the road on the Trail Blazer, traversing our trusty-friend, Interstate 80, through the long-expanse of Pennsylvania, into Ohio and thence into Indiana. We drove about 615 miles before stopping at a Howard Johnson's motel in South Bend, Indiana, finding myself in South Bend just about thirty-three years to the day that I had arrived there to take up residence as I began my Master's studies in political science at the University of Notre Dame. This was the longest we had driven in a car outside of the motor home since Lucy was born on March 27, 2002. It was an adjustment, let me tell you, to have to stop for necessary breaks. It was a throwback to all those years that I drove up to 2,200 miles nonstop from Troy, New York, to Harlingen, Texas, when I was pursuing my doctorate at the State University of New York at Albany from 1974-1976 in order to visit my parents, who had moved to Texas at the same time I arrived in South Bend in 1973.
We drove early the next morning, January 8, 2006, to Oak Park, Illinois, to assist at Holy Mass offered by Father Steven McDonald at Our Lady Immaculate Church, driving the Trail Blazer immediately thereafter to Chicago Midway Airport to retrieve the van from where it had been reposing for just about five days. Sharon and Lucy remained in the Trail Blazer. I drove the van, as per our original plan, reuniting for dinner with the family in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, whereupon we continued on our way the rest of the 140 miles north to our rental home. Although we had encountered only a little bit of snow on the Ohio Turnpike on Saturday, January 7, there was no snow at all anywhere until we got about five miles north of Crivitz, Wisconsin. I called Sharon on my cellular phone to say, "Welcome home, honey!" She laughed. Yes, we were back in the snowbelt, to which we have settled, at least for the moment, in order to have access to the daily offering of the Immemorial Mass of Tradition and to keep Lucy as far as is possible from the harm of our popular culture. Although being here is a penance for me in many ways, I will tell you this: there are only trees, no horrific billboards, on our sixteen mile trip early each morning from our rental house to Silver Cliff. It is a very scenically delightful area.
Our return to our rental house in northeast Wisconsin would last a little over seven and one-half days. A bit more writing was done in that time prior to starting a lecture program on January 15, 2006, at Saint Michael's Church in De Pere Wisconsin, that has now resumed and will continue every Sunday, save for Easter Sunday, through April 30, 2006. And Mr. Chris Lexow, who for many years was the heart and soul of the Auriesville Pilgrimage for Restoration, installed a new Blue Ox base plate on the Trail Blazer and a new tow bar to connect the motor home to the Trail Blazer. Mr. Lexow, on whose property Father Lawrence C. Smith offers the Mass of the ages every day, had earlier repaired a major problem with the motor home: our propane gas, which provides us heat and cooking gas, had failed to work because of a failed connection. It would have been awfully cold in the motor home had not Mr. Lexow done those repairs for us.
On the Road Again
It was quite a chore for Sharon to pack up everything that we needed to take in the motor home on our five week trip. One of the advantages to living in the motor home full-time was that we never really had to pack or unpack. We were home all of the time. A lot of work, therefore, had to be done to pack up for a five week trip. Sharon packed up the belongings. I carried them out to the motor home, a process that took several hours. Lucy Mary Norma loves the rental house. However, she loves to ride in the motor home, which was her home for such a long time. She was excited about going on the trip, especially to return to Our Lady Help of Christians Church in Garden Grove, California, and to see Father Patrick Perez and Father Paul Sretenovic once again.
The time came for me to insert the new towbar into receiving towbar on the motor home and thence to "hook up" the Trail Blazer for the first time since September 20, 2005, when we left Adventure Out R.V. Park in Dickinson, Texas, for our adventurous drive in advance of Hurricane Rita. It felt like old times again, except for the fact that I needed to get new "safety chains" and a new cable to provide electricity from the motor home to the Trail Blazer for the purpose of making its signal lights and brake lights work as it was being towed. We had to stop at a recreational vehicle dealership in Green Bay, Wisconsin, to purchase those items while en route to my first stop on the speaking tour that day, January 16, 2006, at Saint Pius V Church in Mukwonago, Wisconsin, a distance of about 210 miles from our rental home. We had a wonderful turnout of people for the talk on a Monday night, and are grateful to Father Thomas Scott for having permitted me to speak to his flock.
As there are no open campgrounds in Wisconsin during the winter, we had to drive another ninety minutes or so after the talk to Garden Prairie, Illinois, to camp out for the night. Although all of the water and sewer lines were frozen solid when we left on our journey, they thawed out pretty quickly as we traveled to Mukwonago, Wisconsin, during unusually mild temperatures. It was nice to have running water back in the motor home for the first time since we had left Watkins, Colorado, on December 5, 2005.
Another adventure awaited us when we were ready to leave the next day, January 17, 2006, for our next stop, Davenport, Iowa, I discovered that our ever-recalcitrant compartment door to our water and sewer hoses would not close. The latch on the bottom of the compartment was broken beyond repair. The maintenance man at the campground came along, saying that he could jury-rig something that might work. After a bit of worrisome drilling into the compartment door, the man found a screw-type device that could be inserted into a small space. Well, the thing work for about ten days or so before it came off as we were driving somewhere in California. I gave the man forty dollars for his trouble. It was possible to keep the compartment door closed while we were driving, and to access it when we needed it.
Getting a later start than I had expected, we got into Davenport, Iowa, about 129 miles from Garden Prairie, Illinois, about thirty minutes before my talk at a community facility in Father Lawrence Smith's hometown. I was, uncharacteristically, late, however, for the talk as I did not realize that a street I was on made a left turn instead of proceeding straight ahead. This placed me about twenty minutes behind schedule. However, the good people there waited patiently and I gave the same talk I had given the night before in Mukwonago, "No Other Name by Which Men Can be Saved," an explanation of the horrors of the novelties of ecumenism. Lucy had fallen asleep on the way from the campground to the community center, called The Friendly House. I did not see my wonderful family until after the talk, which I was happy to have given to people who live in a spiritual and liturgical and doctrinal wasteland, the Diocese of Davenport. We collapsed after we got back to the motor home. All to you, Blessed Mother. All to your Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, we love you. Save souls."
One of the realities of Church in her human elements these days is that it is no longer possible for Catholics desirous of assisting exclusively at the Mass of Tradition to do so without driving many miles, sometimes hundreds of miles. As we had no Mass in the Davenport, Iowa, area on the Feast of the Chair of Saint Peter, January 18, we drove to the Chicago, Illinois, area in the hopes of finding one. Such a diversion would not have been necessary years ago. However, such are the times in which we live. We must make the sacrifices that we need to make and then give them to Our Lady's Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart.
How blessed we were, therefore, to return to Saint Louis, Missouri, the next day, January 19, 2006, in order to assist at Holy Mass at that tremendous oasis of the Catholic Faith, Saint Mary's Assumption Church. To our great surprise, Father Gregory Post, who is based at Queen of Angels Church in Dickinson, Texas, offered Mass that night as he was visiting in Saint Louis. We had not seen him since we had been in Memphis, Tennessee, on Sunday, September 25, 2005, the night that the Trail Blazer crashed through the rotted wood of the old flatbed trailer that had been palmed off on us by those dirt-racing "country boys" in New Caney, Texas, when we were escaping Hurricane Rita. Once again, a nice turnout of people showed up for the same talk I had given given in Mukwonago and Davenport. We are very grateful to Father Stephen Soos, the pastor of Saint Mary's Assumption, for his graciousness in accommodating us. It is always good to see our friends in St. Louis, which is a sort of second home to us.
We went to Mass the next morning, January 20, at the school, Queen of the Most Holy Rosary Academy, run by the Society of Saint Pius X in the St. Louis, Missouri, area, taking Lucy Mary Norma to one of her favorite places in the whole country shortly thereafter, the St. Louis Zoo, where, of course, I reprised my usual discourses about God having created the world exactly as is recorded in The Book of Genesis. It was a balmy day for late-January in the St. Louis area, thus just a perfect day for letting Lucy stretch her legs after several straight days of drives in the motor home. And the supposedly "free" zoo, which isn't free if you have to pay the $10 parking fee, was really free that day. For the first time in our twelve visits since October of 2003 we found parking on the street in front of the zoo.
We took Lucy to the Gateway Arch the next day, January 21, we did not go on the tram that takes visitors to the top of the arch, deciding that there would be too much of a chance for not nice language with other visitors. We thus confined ourselves to the "exhibit" on the exploration of the West at the base of the arch. Not seeing any references to Father DeSmet or the other Jesuits who catechized the Indians, I ask a woman at the information desk why there were no such references. Not getting a satisfactory answer, I said, "Because the Freemasons who funded this archway have re-written history, making it believe as though Catholicism had no role to play in the Western part of what is now the United States of America. This is a lie from liars." Several others were listening intently as I told Lucy that we had to pray for the re-conversion of the people of St. Louis to the true Faith.
Lucy, though, became very sick with some sort of stomach or intestinal virus by the time we left Saint Charles, Missouri, where we were camped out at a campground, on Sunday, January 22, 2006. It was my original intention to go to Mass at Saint Mary's Assumption on Sunday and then drive the 225 miles to Springfield, Missouri, where I was to give my "Restoring Christ as the King of All Nations" lecture at a hotel prior to the 5:00 p.m. Mass offered by Father Kenneth Dean at Queen of All Saints Chapel. As I was up pretty late on Saturday, January 21, 2006, completing two articles, I was just too tired to get up in time for the 7:30 a.m. Mass at Saint Mary's Assumption in St. Louis. This worked out in God's Providence as Lucy was so very sick to her stomach. She voluntarily said, "Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, we love you. Save souls."
Thus, we left Saint Charles, Missouri, around 8:00 a.m. that Sunday, the thirty-third anniversary of the decision of the Supreme Court of the United States in Roe v. Wade, for the three and one-half ride to Springfield. As we were driving, I saw a pick-up truck towing a flatbed trailer with a neon sign strapped to it. I said to Sharon, "There's something you don't see every day of the week. A man pulling a "Steak & Shake" sign on the highway. (If you don't have the dry sense of humor of a New Yorker, you will never appreciate how funny that scene was.) Apart from that interesting Midwestern phenomenon, Interstate 44 features billboards for various Jesse James hideouts and museums. Another feature is the prominent display of billboards featuring "Genuine Walnut Bowls" for sale. I must confess that I have forgotten to stop to get my dear wife one of those genuine walnut bowls each of the four times we have driven down Interstate 44 from St. Louis to Oklahoma City and points west or south during our married life. That's something she's had to offer up! So little time, so many Walnut Bowl stops.
We arrived in Springfield, Missouri, whereupon Lucy was able to nap before Sharon took her to play, however briefly, at a playground at the KOA Kampground west of Springfield. I went to give my talk at a hotel that had not really adequately prepared the room in which I was to speak. All to you Blessed Mother. All to your Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, we love you. Save souls. Indeed, the hotel had done a very bad job of preparing the room, which is becoming more and more the case. We had a similar experience at the Clarion Hotel in Sioux City, Iowa, on December 5, 2005.
The turnout for the talk on January 22 was sparse. It was, however, good to meet the coordinators of the Mass for the Society of Saint Pius X there, and to meet people, such as the Furtaks from Missouri and Mike and Sandra Adams, who drove 150 miles from southeastern Kansas, with whom I have corresponded via e-mail. The talk went well, whereupon I returned to the motor home and fetched Sharon and Lucy for the Mass offered that night by Father Dean, who is the pastor of Saint Vincent de Paul Church in Kansas City, Missouri. It was nice to visit with Father Dean briefly after Holy Mass and then to dine with the Lee and Lori Furtak and their son, Nicholas, back at the hotel where I had given my talk.
Our stay in Springfield was a short one. We headed out early the next morning, January 23, 2006, in the hope of getting to Mass in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Try as the little motor home could, however, we did not make it to Mass that day, and thus continued on our way to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, for a stopover en route to Albuquerque, New Mexico, where I was to speak on Wednesday evening, January 25, at Our Lady of the Rosary Church. I detached the Trail Blazer immediately upon our arrival in Oklahoma City on a simply gorgeous and wonderfully warm day to take our Lucy, who had recovered her health, to the Oklahoma City Zoo, which was not terribly far away from the campground where were staying just north of the city proper. We got there relatively late in the day, around 3:30 p.m. However, Lucy had a chance to run around, seeing a little Joey kangaroo pup climb into his mother's pouch, something I must admit that I had never seen before in person. And we saw and heard the noisiest set of flamingos we had ever seen or heard. It was a lovely time for our dear daughter, who is such a trouper on the road.
The campground where we stayed in Oklahoma City had its own offerings to give Our Lady's Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. It is probably the case that our new towbar was damaged when we exited the campground on Tuesday, January 24, 2006, as the slope of the campground's driveway forced the towbar to hit the pavement of the feeder road of Interstate 35. Remember that little fact, ladies and gentlemen. It comes into play shortly. And the electricity in the campground went out now and again, with no one able to give an adequate explanation as to why this happened. All to you, Blessed Mother. All to your Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, we love you. Save souls."
The thought occurred to me after Mass that day, January 24, that one of our students from Christ the King College lived in Edmond, Oklahoma. Her father called me back after I left a message for them on their home answering machine. We were having a most delightful lunch within a short period of time with this lovely family. Another of our students joined them for the luncheon. It was good to meet two of our students in person. The father of one of the students agreed to organize a talk for me in the Oklahoma City area upon our return in three weeks, around February 15 or 16. It was this gentleman who recommended that I speak to the "conservative" group that I in fact wound up speaking to on February 15, 2006, in Edmond, as chronicled in Still in the Dead of Winter.
We had decided to leave Oklahoma City that day, January 24, 2006, because of the long drive to Albuquerque. We did not know that we would be facing yet another series of classic misadventures sent to us in order to do reparation for our sins and those of the whole world.
We made decent time out of Oklahoma City and into the panhandle of Texas, where we have not had, humanly speaking, such wonderful experiences on the highways in the past year. It was in Texas in the wee morning hours of July 9, 2005, that the shard of a truck tire ripped through the bottom of our motor home, taking out our exhaust and sewer systems. And it was in Texas that the well chronicled adventures associated with the Trail Blazer breaking away from the motor home two months, eleven days after that incident took place. We were hoping and praying that we would get out of Texas without any incidents. Oh, no. Not this time, at least. Another offering to be given to Our Lady's Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart.
Yes, I discovered when gassing up the motor home about twenty miles west of Amarillo, Texas, that the swivel bolt that held the arms of the towbar onto its base was loose. "Oh, no," I said to myself, "this is not good." Not wanting to take any chances of another breakaway, I decided to drive the motor home out of the gasoline station after getting about a fill-up of eighty gallons (it costs a lot to move the motor home; we barely break even on the speaking tours, which are undertaken to help souls) to see if the problem would straighten itself out. It didn't, as I discovered when stopping on the feeder road leading back onto Interstate 40 before deciding to play it safe and to detach the car from the motor home. All to you, Blessed Mother. All to your Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, we love you. Save souls.
Detaching the Trail Blazer meant that Sharon would have to drive in tandem behind me, something I did not want her to do. However, there was really no other alternative until we could find someone to tighten the swivel bolt. Indeed, we drove back in tandem to the Love's Travel Center where I had gotten gasoline to see if there was any mechanic on duty to assist us. None was visible. Thus, I looked up in a campground directory to see where we could put down for the night. It was getting late. Lucy was tired. I could not see driving the remaining 280 miles to Albuquerque at 8:00 at night. Thus, we headed for a remote outpost called Vega, Texas, some thirty-seven miles east of the New Mexico border.
It dawned on me after we were on Interstate 40, driving in tandem, that the Trail Blazer was almost out of gasoline. In all of the concern for towbar and how it could be fixed I had forgotten about the fact that the gas tank in the Trail Blazer was pretty empty. I prayed to Our Lady that Sharon would get to Vega, Texas, about twenty miles from where we had detached the car from the motor home, without running out of gasoline. There was nothing open in the intervening twenty miles. Nothing, as in desolate. We found an open gasoline station in Vega itself. Indeed, the "low fuel" light had just come in the Trail Blazer, Sharon informed me, when she pulled into the gasoline station behind me. Thank you, Blessed Mother!
Driving on for another mile or so to the campground in Vega, I paid the $25 overnight camping fee and parked the motor home in a space. Lucy had fallen asleep in the car seat in the Trail Blazer. She had had a long, long day. As the prospects for getting the swivel bolt tightened in Vega seemed pretty dim we were resigned to the fact that Sharon would have to drive behind the motor home once we got up in the morning to complete the 256 miles or so to Albuquerque the next day, Wednesday, January 25, 2006.
Offering all of the inconvenience to Our Lady's Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart as her consecrated slaves, we set out for Albuquerque early that Wednesday morning. Lucy decided to ride with me in the motor home. We had a grand time as we drove along, although we missed her dear Mama so very much.
Chris Lexow in Wisconsin contacted Blue Ox to see what could be done to help us once we had gotten to Albuquerque. I spoke to a gentlemen on the telephone from Blue Ox towbar company, which is located in Pender, Nebraska (we had dropped off the motor home for the original towbar, the one that broke apart in September of last year, to be reconditioned on the very day Lucy was born, March 27, 2002), who made arrangements for me to take the motor home into a recreational vehicle dealer in Albuquerque, not far from the KOA Kampground where were scheduled to stay. I thought that I could simply remove the towbar from the receiver in the motor home without having to bring our whole unit in to the dealer. Au contraire. I discovered upon arriving in Albuquerque, where we had purchased the motor home on July 12, 2001, during a time I was giving my "Living in the Shadow of the Cross" lecture program in three different places in and around Albuquerque, that the receiving towbar mounted on the motor home itself was loose. All to you, Blessed Mother. All to your Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, we love you. Save souls.
Thus, we had to drop off the entire motor home after I had pulled into the space at the KOA Kampground. Upon our return to the dealer after a bite to eat (at a restaurant where I had to reprimand some foul-mouthed women who were uttering profanities within earshot of Lucy, whose ears were protected by her Guardian Angel from hearing the words), we were told that the Blue Ox towbar that connected the motor home to the Trail Blazer had been badly bent.
"You must have backed up," the service manager at the dealership told me.
"No, sir," I replied. "Not once have I backed up with this new tow bar. Not once."
"Well, then," the man mused, "you must have run over it somehow."
"No, sir," I replied once again. "The towbar has not been off of the motor home."
"These things just don't get bent on their own. Blue Ox is not going to give you a new towbar. These things just don't happen."
"I assure you," I said to the man, "that the devil is not pleased with the work that I do. He is thoroughly capable of bending that towbar."
The man was singularly unimpressed with that last explanation. Anyhow, it was clear that they considered me some kind of criminal who was wangling for a free towbar to replace the bent one. I said that I took the salvation of my immortal soul seriously, and that I had told the truth when I said that I had not backed up nor had I "run over" the tow bar. The only thing I could think of was what happened when we had left the campground in Oklahoma City the day before.
"The decision about a new towbar is up to Blue Ox," I was told by the man.
Thus, we had to go about some other business as the receiving towbar on the motor home was tightened and a decision was made. Sharon told Lucy to say a Hail Mary that Blue Ox would make good on the towbar. I spoke to the fellow from Blue Ox a short while later. He had been e-mailed photographs of the towbar, saying that he had never seen anything like it before. I explained to him what I had to the gentleman in Albuquerque. He agreed, however, to provide us with a new towbar. It was not until we had a new base plate, the mechanism that holds the towbar onto a car's chassis, installed on the Trail Blazer in Santa Ana, California, that we received a reasonable explanation as to how all of this had happened: the locks on the towbar arms had come loose after they had been locked, thus enabling the right towbar arm to be bent. As I check to see whether the locks are indeed locked, it is more than a little curious that they had come unlocked in transit. Perhaps the turn at the campground in Oklahoma City is what caused the problem. As Lucy once told one of her Turpin cousins when they couldn't find something they were looking for, "We'll find out on the Last Day." Indeed.
Grateful for the new towbar, we picked up the motor home and brought it back to the KOA campground. We had just a short time after that to drive to Our Lady of the Rosary Church for my "Restoring Christ as the King of All Nations" lecture there.
I discovered, much to my pleasant surprise, that Father Ronald Bibeau, who is the pastor of Our Lady of the Rosary Church, was present that night. He had told me in December that he would not be there, that he would be in Silver City, New Mexico, where he serves as the confessors for Father Cyprian's Benedictine monks. His plans had changed, though, and he was there in Albuquerque to host my talk. It was good to see him. Father Bibeau and I had studied at Holy Apostles Seminary in Cromwell, Connecticut, during the 1983-1984 academic year. We traded stories about our time there, especially stories involving the legendary late Father John Joseph Sullivan (one of these days I will post my reflection on Father Sullivan's life, "Jackie Boy," which was published in the printed pages of Christ or Chaos in late-2000). A very nice turnout of people showed up for the talk. Father Bibeau had promoted it very vigorously.
We had breakfast with Father Bibeau the next morning after his very reverent and devout offering of the Mass of the ages. He took us over to see the magnificent new church that is being built for the Society of Saint Pius X's apostolate in Albuquerque. The church, which will be called the Church of Saints Peter and Paul, will rival Saint Isidore the Farmer Church in Watkins, Colarado, in splendor and majesty. Father Bibeau has supervised every aspect of the building project, being assisted by a skilled craftsman who was installing the High Altar when we paid our visit on January 26.
Upon Father Bibeau's recommendation we took Lucy to the Albuquerque Aquarium. It was a good recommendation. The aquarium was wonderful, replete with a huge variety of fishes. It is truly amazing to see the wonder of God's creation, that He willed each of those fishes into existence exactly as we saw them, some of them with brilliant, dazzling colors that no human mind could possibly invent. The aquarium was well worth the trip, as was the Albuquerque Zoo, which had a nice array of animals. Mindful of the fact that we a trip of about 1,100 miles from Albuquerque to Los Gatos, California, where I was to speak on Sunday, January 29, 2006, I wanted to give Lucy a bit of recreation before we hit the road once again.
Hitting the road once again, though, hit a snag that afternoon, January 26. I saw that the pin on the right side of the Trail Blazer that received the towbar from the motor home was loose. Indeed, it was broken. I telephoned the dealership that had worked on the motor home the day before. They did not have the part I needed in stock. I called around to several places, finding one way on the north side of Albuquerque, where a person told me they had what I needed. Dashing off to get there before they closed, I found out upon getting there that they did not have the part I needed. All to you, Blessed Mother. All to your Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, we love you. Save souls.
The man who worked at Aloha RV in the north of Albuquerque sent me way, way down to the south side of Albuquerque, to a place called Central Trailer, which would have the part we needed. It took us a long time to get there. When we arrived, however, I told Sharon, "Hey, we've been here before. We had to pick up a part for the original towbar here back in 2001." Sharon remembered. Unfortunately, however, they did not have the part we needed. Everyone there was a little concerned about the situation, although one strong, burly man tried to yank out the loose pin, saying, "No, that's not going to go anywhere. It'll be fine." Another gentleman, realizing that a ten ton motor home has just a bit more force and strength than a strong man, was not as sure, wanting me to check with someone else in the morning.
As we could not wait for a part and as I hoped against hope that everything would turn out all right, I decided to hook up the next morning, Friday, January 27, 2006, after Mass at Our Lady of the Rosary, resolving to check the assembly every time I stopped. If need be, I said to myself, Sharon will have to drive in tandem once again. I only wanted that to be the case, however, as a last resort. Part Two of this travelogue will chronicle how well that bad decision of mine turned out.
Well, we left Albuquerque around 11:00 a.m., Mountain Standard Time, on January 27. It was my intention to drive straight through the day and into the night to get us into a campground in Morgan Hill, California, in time for 8:00 a.m. Mass with Father Raymond Dunn in Palo Alto, California, the next day. We made pretty decent time through New Mexico and into that terribly arid state, Arizona, until a loud pop and bang startled the three of us. The engine started to make an infernal noise the likes of which can be compared only to an unmuffled turbo-propeller engine. The motor home vibrated fiercely. What had happened? Had a head pipe come off? Had the muffler come off? Had the main exhaust pipe come off?
I stopped the motor home on the side of Interstate 40, about twenty miles east of Kingman, Arizona. I could see nothing. The exhaust was in place. Thus, I figured that the problem had to be a head pipe. Telling Sharon to open all of the windows lest we die of carbon monoxide poisoning, I drove on to a truck stop about sixteen miles east of Kingman. Alas, those folks did not work on motor homes. I was told that a Freightliner dealership in Kingman did work on motor homes. All to you, Blessed Mother. All to your Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, we love you. Save souls.
After gassing up the motor home at that truck stop we drive to Kingman, making our way to the Freightliner dealer. I was told that they could not help us until Sunday, at the earliest. We had to be in Los Gatos, California, by Sunday. Not good. Another service shop, a man told me, would be open in the morning. The people there worked on motor homes. They would be able to be of assistance. Thus, we had to spend the time, most unexpectedly, at a KOA Kampground in Kingman, Arizona, making an infernal racket as we drove into the campground at around 8:00 p.m., Mountain time, Friday, January 27, 2006.
Arising early the next morning, January 28, 2006, to take the motor home into the service shop that had been recommended I was assured that the mechanic on duty would attend to the problem immediately. I called back within an hour, being told that the problem was a bad spark plug. "Oh, wonderful. Thank you, Blessed Mother," I said out loud. It wasn't that simple, as it turned out.
Yes, I was told the matter was more complicated when I called back two hours later.
"You need to come to talk to us," the mechanic said.
Thus, we drove over in the Trail Blazer to the shop. The mechanic said that a cylinder had gone bad and that one of the engine heads would have to be taken out and rebuilt.
"How long does this take?" I asked.
"Could be up to two weeks?" was the response.
"Two weeks?" I said rather amazed. "Two weeks? I have to be in Los Gatos, California, tomorrow for a talk after Mass. We don't have the money to stay in hotels for two weeks. How much will such a job cost?"
"Between $2,000-$3,000" I was told.
I gulped. I was more than a little dazed as the mechanic said that a spark plug had not been "torqued" properly, doing damage to the threads of the cylinder.
Not knowing what to do, I had to ponder what options were available to us. We didn't have that kind of money. Never do. No one was going to give us that kind of money. There isn't that kind of support for my work. I know that. We can barely raise enough to meet our normal monthly expenses. What were we going to do? Perhaps drive to Orangeland R. V. Park in southern California, near where a reliable mechanic, who had put a new engine into the Saturn two months before it was totaled in 2004, was located? Perhaps we could drive there and then up to northern California in the Trail Blazer?
The mechanic told me that I ran the risk of damaging the engine, and that there was no guarantee that I would make it over the mountain passes that I had to drive up, telling me that I wouldn't make the "600 miles" to Orange County, which is actually 360 miles from Kingman, to be precise.
The thought of driving to Las Vegas, Nevada, about 100 miles from Kingman, and flying off to San Jose, California, came to my mind fleetingly..
"No, no," I told myself and Sharon, who was listening to me converse with myself. "That won't work. We have to bring books. We can't ship enough books on a plane. And we can't afford to rent a car and stay in hotels. Just can't be done."
I then called Chris Lexow in Wisconsin to explain the situation. He told me that he wanted to speak to the mechanic. Chris, who cares deeply about his immortal soul and working for the honor and glory of God, had it out with the folks in Kingman, telling them that they could get what was called "helio-coil" to rethread the cylinder that had gone bad. I could hear Chris accusing the fellows there of trying to rip us off, which was met with an angry retort from the owner of the shop. Finally, though, the folks in Kingman agreed to get the helio-coil to try to rethread the cylinder so that a new spark plug could be installed.
"We don't always give customers the cheapest option first," said the owner after he had gotten off of the phone with Chris Lexow. "We're affiliated with NAPA and we only recommend the things that we can guarantee will work."
Sure, rebuilding an engine head would work. But was it necessary? That was another matter, obviously.
Thus, we had to bide more time in Kingman before we went back to the shop to hear more discouraging news.
"My man has tried and tried and tried. He has put all of his weight on that helio-coil. It just would perforate the cylinder. You're back to looking at rebuilding the engine head."
Well, I called Chris Lexow again, who told me that he had just gotten through praying three Hail Marys for me. Never doubt the power of the practice of saying three Hail Marys, believe me. I asked Chris what risk I took in driving the motor home as it was.
"None," said Chris bluntly. "It will be noisy. However, I've seen cars go for months in that condition."
That was good enough for me. Although I knew that the racket would be terrible and that the drive would be very penitential, I decided then and there to hook up the Trail Blazer to the motor home once again and to take off on Interstate 40 to go to Barstow, California, and from there to Morgan Hill across the Tehachapi Summit.
We took off around 2:00 p.m., Mountain time on Saturday, January 28, 2006, for one of the worst drives of our lives. We had to put cotton in our ears, including Lucy's, as we drove. The noise was horrific. My arms were vibrating fiercely as I held onto the steering wheel. Sharon and I had to shout to each other to make ourselves heard. Indeed, I have had pain in my eardrums ever since. All to you, Blessed Mother. All to your Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, we love you. Save souls.
Off we went down into the Mojave Desert, facing yet more adventures when we entered California. For the rest of the story, ladies and gentlemen, check back later in the week. This is all I can write about this episode in one sitting without my arms beginning to vibrate! We are given an opportunity to offer all that we experience to Our Lady as her consecrated slaves. We were certainly blessed--and I mean that seriously--to have been able to give to her these and other penances on our recent trip.
To be continued!
All to you, Blessed Mother. All to your Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, we love you. Save souls.
A Few Photographs from the Recent Journeys
Although I have refrained from showing Lucy's face on the internet as a somewhat overprotective father, a few shots of her from the back will be included to provide a brief photographic essay to accompany this travelogue.
The first picture was taken in Oyster Bay, New York, on January 4, 2006:
Father Lawrence C. Smith investing Lucy in the Brown Scapular on January 11, 2006:
Lucy with her favorite saint, after Our Lady, of course, Saint Bernadatte, at a grotto of Lourdes at Saint Aloysius Gonzaga Retreat House, Los Gatos, California, Sunday, January 29, 2006