I look forward to that, since now, when I move my legs slowly to get out of the car, I remember those days on the basketball court when I out-jumped my opponent at the tip to start a game for the glory of St. Mary’s High School. But I believe that one day that agility will return. Yes, it is a belief that has given us Western Civilization today, as it was that confidence in the brotherhood of Judeo-Christianity that enabled us to put a man on the moon.
The strength in my legs is fading, the twilight goes into night, the fall recedes into winter, but a new day, a new year, and a new strength will return. Some call it faith; I call it the nature of things God gave us. Scientists at Yale have brought a dead pig’s brain back to life, and if they can do it, the Son of Man can orchestrate something better with God, his Father.
She was ten years old, left in the library, and she gave the librarian the book she’d selected. “I’d like to read it, but I’m dyslexic. I can’t read.” The librarian was a woman like what somebody would have to tell you. A woman like that can’t be picked out of a crowd.
The librarian opened the child’s book. “Here,” she said, “let’s sit down at the library table and start right here. Do you know what sound this letter makes?” They proceeded through that sentence and finished the paragraph. “Can you come here every Saturday morning? Say about nine o’clock?”
“You mean you’ll teach me?” The girl was outside of her normal world with joy. Does she remember now that she’s an adult and loves to read mysteries, say two or three a month? You bet she does, and maybe doesn’t even realize she met up with one in a million women that morning.
My WWII friend, Armand, told me about his older brother, Curly, who was a tough Bronx kid. Nobody wanted to tangle with him. The director of a debt-collection agency saw this right away, and hired Curly as a collector to go see people who weren’t paying up.
One day Curly knocked on a door with a malfunctioning doorbell. The door opened, and there stood a young mother with a newborn in her arms and two older children behind her. “Are you Mrs. Alvarez?” Curly asked.
“Yes,” came the hesitant reply.
“You haven’t paid your rent for five months,” Curly stated in a tough voice, and the woman shrank back.
“I have three children; my husband left me, and I can’t even buy food.”
Curly looked at her, astounded, and then reached for his left pocket and took out his wallet.
When he reported back to his boss, the boss asked, “How did it go with Alvarez this morning?”
Curly was silent. Then he said, “I went to the grocer’s, and bought her and the children some food.”
“What? You must be stupid! That woman has a husband who makes more than you do.”
“You call me stupid?” Curly was in his element. He cocked his fist and the next moment the boss was stretched out on the floor.
Sunday has changed for me. I used to go to church as a duty; now I go as a relaxing pleasure. The choir at the 11:30 Mass this morning sang a song with the refrain, “It is well with my soul.” Now I still have a supercharged superego (according to Freud, that’s the conscience) and with that aspect of my mind at rest, I mellowed in the beautiful melody and words of that song. It was like watching a beautiful woman walk to our table in a restaurant. I use other symbolism too, but I’m still young enough to use this one.
I know God has created some amazing women. I don’t mean to exclude men, but I’ve dealt with that topic when I wrote about my sons. Nowadays, since we’ve discovered that the Creator’s method was evolution, perhaps I should say God evolved some wonderful women. Their evolution didn’t stop with birth, that was just the genetic part.
There were some of the remarkable women teachers I had, including the first, my mother. There were wonderful girls in high school, who attracted me both through personality and sexual attraction. And that was the mixture that pervaded through life, with the addition of character. I find not just Venus and the other heavenly bodies fascinating.
Thank God we’re not all the same. Loretta and I raised three sons, all different individuals. They were different in what I refer to as the nervous system, but maybe it was just in the way of thinking. The last of the three turned out to be the apex of what are three great men — I would be proud to leave this life having accomplished what the three of them did. I mean just any one of them.
The third one has a way to go yet, but what he’s done so far is to me fantastic. I have to respect his privacy. So let me write about the first, a research chemist whose name is in the U.S. Patent office in association with the drug that enables sick people to live with a donated organ. The second not only climbed the face of the Half-Dome (much higher than El Capitan) in Yosemite, but became a professor of English in New Jersey’s Paterson University. These are, however, temporal accomplishments. Only God knows what they accomplished eternally.
I went for fifty-seven years and was never aware of being married to a wife that other men desire. Yet recently, three professional men (unnamed here) made passes at her, two of them virtually. How can I be so unaware as to miss my bombshell wife! God’s many gifts must have been missed in my life, at least some of them.
And yet I must have prayed for a dozen other things, many of them irrelevant to my fulfillment. If only I had been aware. You can bet one of my prayers from now on is for more mental alertness.