That’s what we called it when I was a kid, and did, I think, until I was in high school. It was old, historic, and for everyone it was an important town event. Of course, like many folks, many families buried relatives brought home from the war. My young cousins were lost in bomber and fighter crashes, so that changed it.

We went up—up meant to Ridge Road—which was the main road running through town and decorated the graves of our men who had served in the Wars: Civil, Spanish American, World War I and WWII and who were buried in the ‘family cemetery’, St. Joseph’s.

Family plots and it was a family cemetery. My parents and two brothers among them—and all the men war veterans—among them. Cousins a bit older than me—one a test pilot, the other a belly gunner. A really sweet kid, 18, everyone’s favorite cousin. I still drop by—or did when I was still driving—when I went to that part of the country. My grandmother set up the Catholic parish in town—1902, just like here. One tough lady—no Archbishop was every dumb enough to get in her way.  Actually, the Archbishop of Newark ran off the altar when he saw her coming.

But here is a word of unsought and unwise advice which I, and we, seem to follow. Iron clad advice. If you’re good at something, and like it, and can pull it off, Do It!  Forget all those fearful and cautious, down in the lungs, dreary, “oueroogh-God-only knows-what-will-HAP-pen-if you do things-like-that” wet-rumblings that can wash around the floor during family lay-down-the-law sessions. Happen to Who?

I spent the first part of the week in the hospital getting vacuumed out. Someone asked me “What got you there?” Simple answer. “A Richmond ambulance—siren roaring”. Obstructed bowel, awful pain, tube down the nose—the whole deal. Like I was back in Lithuania. Ready to tell them “Yes, I did it, I’ll confess to it all, all my fault, just slide that tube out of my nose Carefully” and I’ll sign” Of course that was not possible because the tube was tangled up in my mouth. Instead of sliding down my throat—it needed several lessons to learn sliding—and I couldn’t help because the dribbling blood was gagging me.

Before they started that they did give me the coronavirus long, swab-up-your-nose coronavirus test. Two swabs. Both nostrils. Non-discriminatory. This must be National Nostril Non-Discrimination Week. Each was negative. I guess with two tests it’s like flipping a coin: heads and tails. Heads—positive; tails—negative. So, I lucked out. But looking down the bridge of your nose at this little plastic tube sticking up down there, gurgling very slowly, as two guys try to convince it to go into your nose doesn’t conjure up diverting images of research stars like Gregor Mendel or Marie Curie.

Here we continue working on the office. Easy but bulky, facing twenty years of files—financial and news. They all have to go to the shredder, but other than the transport—bagging and then out to a truck—that is not much work. With very much emptier files we can come up with much simpler office filing. And there really isn’t much a really small parish needs to keep on hand, once you decide that you do not really need twenty years of your records of an office equipment store that went bust six years ago. This really is a lovely little house and a great place to work. Polishing up that work setting is an upbeat task.

I will be retiring two or three four-drawer files, replacing them with a couple of two drawer ones. And I need a nice two drawer cabinet for Anne to keep all those little things an office uses. Now we have a very nice, made to order very simple 24 X 60 desk cut from a 4 X 8 plywood sheet, and then formed into a desk. Most records are kept on the computers.

I have been thinking that, with the high unemployment rate and increase in need for food, perhaps the parish—in addition to the food barrels—can arrange with places like Costco now and then to pick up cases of needed canned goods at a special price and deliver them also to the food banks. I was at Costco last week. It was nearly empty, and the parking lot the same. This at 11 in the morning. I guess that the little stores or restaurants—or family kitchens—that shopped there in such numbers all the time may be now shut, or just out of cash.

I want to get another note off to you in a day or two, but I think I’ll get this one off to our internet pals who are so absolutely helpful and necessary. I do wear out a little faster these last days, that hospital bit really did me in. But on Saturday afternoon, out on the patio between the church and house, we baptized this really upbeat and wonderful and smiley three-month-old little girl. Talk about a treat. There is an anointing with baptism, as with confirmation, so I am becoming not only dexterous but elegant in reaching out with a long, thin brush to paint the chrism on her forehead. My memory never misses a chance to stick it to me.

“Elegant—just like Gene Tierney smoking long cigarettes.”