Sunday, February 21, 2010

David

Last Friday, I met an old High School classmate for lunch. I had not seen him since graduation, almost 33 years ago. Before the age of internet, cellphones, and cheap long distance, it was not always easy to keep up with people who went to schools in other cities.

David and I reconnected on Facebook, of all things, and Adam Lambert, of all people. This would not be that unusual, but David is a Catholic priest who has been assigned to Hong Kong for the past several years.

One of my memories of David involves painting in 8th grade art. He got an A+ on his painting. I received an "F."

Though born in Vicksburg, David was conceived in his mothers' native city of Hong Kong. His father was from a nearby province. Like many children of immigrants, David had a terrific work ethic and graduated 3rd in our class of 350.

Ironically, David and I both ended up getting Master's degrees in Counseling Psychology and woking in public mental health fields for a while. He surrendered to the tug of the priesthood, that he acknowledged had been in his heart since college, and became a Dominican priest at the age of 40.

David is in the states to meet with his Bishop and await his next assignment. He anticipates a return to Hong Kong as the Catholic church endeavors to create a strong Christian presence there before Hong Kong is incorporated back into China.

I plan to become a "Skyper" so that I can keep in touch with David if he returns to Hong Kong. Although he is happy to serve where he can make the most difference, I get the feeling he would like a little taste of home every now and then.

I wonder who my next random comment on Facebook might reconnect me with. Stay tuned!


Saturday, February 13, 2010

The Coat


Yesterday it snowed in Mississippi. I am not talking about the occasional light dustings that barely cover the ground. This was real, almost 6 inches on the ground (by official reports), snow.

And it immediately brought back memories of the last time I saw snow like this. It was 1966, in Russum Mississippi. I was 7 years old, a tiny thing, and this snow came almost to my bony little knees.

I had recently been given my first really beautiful coat. It was a bright blue, with white fake fur trim. We were not well-to-do, so items like this were rare in my life.

Well, I went outside on that snowy day in 1966 and played to my heart's content. I went indoors to warm myself at the Panel-Ray heater on the bedroom wall. I toasted my front, then turned around to warm my back.

Sufficiently warmed, I turned away from the heater and heard my mother gasp. Unaccustomed to "fur", I had been standing too close to the heater. My lovely coat was singed all the way down the back in the pattern of the heater's grill.

So, it was back to "hand me down" cloth coats from cousins and garage sales. The next time I was able to have a new coat, I was 17 years old.

But, I still remember that magical snow in 1966. Good thing, as the memory had to last 43 years! And now I have a new one. The magical snow of 2010.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Alone

I went to the funeral home for a visitation today. I hugged the lady I used to work with as she sobbed on my shoulder. A few years ago, she lost her parents a day apart. Then, her sister. Last year, her only child, who was in his forties. Today, she was preparing to bury her husband of 43 years.

J married her husband when she was 15. She jokes that she got married because her parents told her she was too young to date. She had her child at 16.

J has never been alone. She was a "we" before she ever really became a "me." She was physically and emotionally dependent on her husband. I am concerned about her and am hoping that she will be able to make a life for herself now. It is not going to be easy.




Saturday, February 06, 2010

Torn

Tomorrow is the Super Bowl. Many years I am not that into it because I don't have a favorite team playing. But, tomorrow, for the first time, I have not one, but TWO of my favorite teams playing.

Like many Mississippians, I grew up watching the Saints. Archie Manning, Ole Miss football star from Drew, Mississippi, was the one good player on a dismal team. Having a Mississippi boy as quarterback of a pro team was a source of pride when we did not seem to have that much to be proud of. The Saints are kinda like the Cubs for me. I root for them, but never expected much out of them. I don't think I ever expected them to play in a Super Bowl.

And they are playing my favorite quarterback and his team, the Colts. I admit it. I love Peyton Manning. I love to watch him play. I love his commercials. I love that I won't open the newspaper and see where he has been arrested. Most of all, I love the charity work that he and his family do for Mississippi.

Needless to say, I am torn. On one hand, a Saints win would do wonderful things for a New Orleans still struggling after Katrina. On the other hand, I would love to see Peyton further cement his legacy as one of the all time greats.

I am just hoping for an exciting game. And may the best team win.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

De-friending

I just did something I honestly never thought I would do. I de-friended someone on Facebook.

This was not a personal friend, but a friend of a friend. I am usually pretty careful about who I let "in" on Facebook, but this young man did have some intriguing views, so I accepted his friend request.

The first strike came when he told me to "shut my face" after we disagreed on something. I don't take too kindly to someone young enough to be my son talking to me in that manner.

Strikes two and three came when he kept tagging me in his notes. I don't even want to be connected in any way with some of his more extreme views.

So, I marked the x to sever my connection with this young man. I wish him well.




Tuesday, February 02, 2010

These Hands


I finally got some answers (about time!) on my hands today.

The pain in my ring and pinky fingers is caused by spinal stenosis. That is where areas of the spine are narrowed, putting pressure on the nearby nerves. This will probably require steroid injections and or some physical therapy. It will be an ongoing thing that will probably require on and off treatment for the rest of my life.

The pain in my thumb and pointer is partially caused by some mild carpal tunnel. This can be helped with braces. Again, something I may just have to manage indefinitely.

The mystery now is the joint inflammation. All tests for arthritis came back negative. This is good. But this also leaves me with no diagnosis. I am trying things at home without much success.

Basically, the name of the game is: adapt. Make sure I pick up things (especially HOT things!) with BOTH hands. Work on getting a new personal font that will work with my Mac, as writing is difficult. I am trying new paintbrushes and styles of painting that require less finesse. Continue to vary tasks often. Wrap my mind around another level of chronic pain added to the mix. Nothing that cannot be done.

I am the kind of person who needs answers. Now that I have them, I can figure out how to live with new limitations.

And live I will.