This compliment, offered for my brother, Rudy, at his death, mystified me at first. After all, his was a six-foot, eight-inch frame, and he was eighty-two years old. But I could see it might refer to a youthful genuineness, a forthrightness that is sometimes lost with age. It might also refer to a respect for moral principle that is sometimes gone with maturity.
We like to hear it about those who have passed, especially the feminine version, where it would refer to that innocent charm that is so becoming in women. There are many charms of youth that we should not lose.
It is believed that after the bodily resurrection we will have not only our best physical attributes, but all the enchanting virtues we acquired in such a hard-won way during life. So here’s to a life immortal for all of us.
There was a time when writing was like crawling over broken glass, as I believe William Faulkner said, but with the blogs I’m writing today, it’s like a watch at the helm. For a Long Islander, I’ve had very few chances at the wheel of a sailboat, even my brother Rudy’s sloop, so mostly I’ve left that pleasure to him. I have, however, matched wits with the devil, and the joy of beating him (thanks to the Holy Spirit) is intense.
Nine of my eleven published books are on Amazon, and I had all sorts of feelings writing them. No frustration, though, but my first book was bought by a British publisher, who paid me only half the agreed-on price. That book made it onto the American market as Raising Your Future, a slightly different title.
I like to take credit for all this work, but the credit really belongs to Christ, who in the gospel promises answers to prayers. I’ve always prayed, and in some really difficult situations at that.
I got my shots, two of them, but I still expect people to wear a mask. The vaccine is expected to be good for nine months, and is not 100% effective. I expect to be 100% effective, despite my age. I don’t recall what I’m going to be effective about, but that’s the privilege of age.
It’s mostly for others that we wear masks. It’s for others that I wore a tie and jacket when I started work back in 1961, and my students were in no danger of a coronavirus. Some of us still have to learn that in Western Civilization we do things for others, like the adolescent Salutatorian who wants to wear a Halloween costume to give her speech here on Long Island.
So she was mentally ill at one time. She’s still under the tutelage of parents and teachers. Where’s their common sense, their age-earned wisdom?
Balancing my checkbook is no longer a strong point. But let the bank beware; any shortfall in my account is attributed to the bank. I recently paid a few extra dollars to get national park pictures on my checks, and was sadly disappointed. The pictures had to be weak washouts in order to make the pen script visible by contrast.
Speaking of contrast, I’ll forever have to appear weaker than I am in order for my students to appear stronger. Just recently they razed Nicky Contra’s restaurant and motel near where I live. It had been in litigation for years while Nick abided in Sing-Sing for financial crimes against his fellow Long Islanders. Nick was a former student of mine, upright and teachable, but things went wrong. There are some mysteries of human nature that took a colossal effort from the Son of Man to atone for.
Do find out that divine intervention averted some fantastic, not necessarily crimes, but mistakes on my part. I owe much to the seemingly accidental acts of God. For that I am forever his debtor.
Sister Jeanne, 101 years old, sits next to the Loyola bench every game and prays for their success. If the outcome depended on prayer alone, she’d be indispensable. But she probably makes a difference on chancy plays. Who can tell, other than the coach?
She’s retired, of course. But you never know; those superiors in the religious orders sometimes demand their pound of work. People don’t join the religious life for a vacation.
The Loyola team has assurance in these Covid times that regardless of their performance, they’ll always have one fan. And that can spark a team. I don’t doubt her prayers are answered in a way she’d prefer.