I have been in the Fatherland going on a week now. I am here to visit and spend time with my mom who is in the hospital.
It is also now the Sacred Paschal Triduum. I have been able to slip out of the room to make my way to a piecemeal collection of beautiful Catholic churches in order to observe the liturgy of the Church during these holiest of days.
Yesterday – Holy Thursday – I started out the day looking for a place to confess my sins. I mean, I could confess them anywhere and to anyone but I kind of wanted to do it to an ordained priest. Something about actual absolution and all… Here’s the thing. I am in the habit of going roughly once a week. But as we enter into these three days, surprisingly, confessions are rather limited. I don’t know if it’s that the priests are all of a sudden really, really busy or what. But I was able to find a scheduled round of confessions at St. Michael’s, a church tucked away at the lower end of Broadway near Bloomfield Ave. in the North Ward. Those familiar with the area will know exactly what this looks like. I can’t adequately describe it. OK, I could adequately describe it and I will one day but it would take pages. For now, I would like the artwork of the church tell the story. You see, most churches in this part of the world look like this one. Old, traditional, built on the donations of the mostly poor immigrant Catholics who brought to these shores their Old World style and peculiarities.
The thing is that in the art I was reminded of the story. The story here is the love of a mother for her Son and the love of the Son for the whole human race including you and me. Let’s start…
Now let’s look at the Woman and her Son.
Not quite what you were expecting? I know, it’s Easter-time, not Christmas. But take a look at what was hanging on the wall just next to this particular window.
From His infancy to His death He was always close to His mother. It was in her arms that He rested in life and in death. Imagine her joy and her sorrow. I want that when my children read this in years to come they recognize something my parents taught me – that devotion to Our Lord comes through devotion to His mother. As He was pleased to rest in her arms we must turn to her in prayer and always be devoted to the Mother He gave us from the cross.
This Saturday I shall take to the friendly skies as I head home to visit my mom. She’s had a health scare recently. Although she appears to be fine I still like to “pop in to town” to let her know I love her.
This got me thinking of an old article I wrote about flying. There are many old articles I have written about flying, in fact. This one, however, made me laugh out loud while reading it to my son tonight. And so I present to you, my lovely audience, the re-printing of My In-Flight Style (originally published October 9, 2011):
When Flying Was Glamorous
came across an article on Foxnews.com detailing the level of formality (or
lack thereof) people choose to display when flying, particularly evident in
I can remember my dad, who was born in the 1930’s, always recalling how “in the old days” people didn’t dare attempt to board an airplane unless they were appropriately dressed. It was as much a social thing as it was a matter of pride. Apparently this meant men wore suits and ties, ladies wore a nice dress. To him, people getting on planes in jeans, shorts, tee shirts, generally unkempt was an abomination. I’ve been watching that new show Pan Am* and I can see what he meant. It must have been an incredible time to fly!
According to the article there are six basic in-flight styles ranging from the “ethnic adventurer” (whatever that is) to the “beleaguered parent” (which I have been on a few occasions). For instance, the “suited frequent-flyer” is, as the name implies, one who flies a lot, typically for business. He or she is recognized by the ability to pack everything with precision into a perfectly regulation sized carry-on bag, and zip through security like it’s no one’s affair. This person has been around the TSA screening line before and his or her sole purpose at the airport is utilitarian. Get in. Get on board. Get to the destination.
much thought I have decided to review my own recent airport episodes and have
concocted two profiles. The first is the type of flier I imagine
myself being and the second is who I actually am.
The Flying Man I Want to Be
a perfect world, I am driven to the airport in a black Lincoln Towncar.
Although I banter freely with the driver I am not personally interested
in his life — except in so far as it is fodder for my blog. Oh, I forgot
to mention, there is soft smooth jazz being piped into the back seat of my
ride. I am neatly pressed in my appearance, calm in my demeanor, and ever
so excited about my destination. I am delivered curbside where a skycap
opens the door, collects my bag, which is black and showcases an elegantly
stitched “HARVEY” near the top. Another skycap hands me a
chilled Sapphire and tonic and leads me to the lounge. I, of course,
given my importance, bypass security altogether. Once in the lounge I
mingle effortlessly with the elite of the world and we trade quips about the
weather and the latest offerings from Brooks Brothers. A stewardess
dressed in stylish garb approaches. “Mr. Harvey, we’re ready for
you. But first, the captain wishes for you to review his flight plan for
your satisfaction.” “Gladly, my dear”, I respond, my voice
now bearing a strange British accent. As we walk through the jetbridge I
pass framed 8×10 sepia-toned prints of myself holding plastic models of various
aircrafts, not smiling, simply presenting. After checking in with the
flight crew I am seated. Another stewardess switches out my drink while
still another approaches with a plate of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies
and still a third offers to light my cigarette. My sportcoat has been
placed on a hanger and my shoes stowed overhead. I am now in a red velvet
robe and slippers. The flight is magnificent — no turbulence — and we land
safely, three hours ahead of schedule and, miraculously, my hair is still in
The Flying Schmoe I Really Am
in the realm of reality, I am dropped at the curb by my wife in our white
Chrysler Town & Country. The musical selection is Veggie Tales’ The
Princess and the Pop Star. I try to offer my kids a heartfelt kiss
good bye. “Daddy’s going on a trip now. I love you!”
“Hurry up, I’ve got to get back in time for Pan Am“, my
beautiful spouse informs me as she tosses my bag out the door and speeds away.
At this point I realize I have left my phone in the car and my iPad has
zero battery life because my one year-old daughter decided to watch Backyardigans 18
times this morning. I enter the terminal where I attempt to swipe a
credit card for my boarding pass only to realize that my card has my middle
initial on it and my flight information does not. In frustration I kick
the machine. I break three toes on my right foot. Damn, that’s a
long line I’m going to have to stand in. Shouldn’t have done that.
Meanwhile, in my attempt to get my card back into my wallet I have
actually sprung loose five other cards (two of which will remain missing in
action for good).
spend the next half-hour on the line for security only to be touched in ways no
one should be by a woman twice my size. Past security, there is no lounge
for me. There is only the dull passenger waiting area where there are
absolutely NO seats to be had. I am last to board a plane that smells
like popcorn and urine. I do believe the lady sitting next to me is
drunk. Well, that’s a given, she just threw up. And… OH!
She missed the vomit bag. I’d hate to be the owner of that jacket
she just soiled. Oh wait, I AM the owner of the jacket. “Miss,
you can keep that jacket…” The flight takes off with all the
gracefulness of an elephant leaping from a waterfall. It is turbulent for
twelve hours until finally crash landing at the wrong airport.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, I know we were supposed to be flying into
Newark but our pilots both fell asleep for a while. It happens. You’ll be
enjoying a nice weekend in Manchester, New Hampshire!” And, oh yes,
they lost my luggage. Meanwhile, I still have not been handed a single
drink by a stylish stewardess.
Is it any wonder the airline industry has been teetering on the edge of collapse for some time now?! At least I have Pan Am!
*Pan Am was cancelled the day after this post was first published or thereabouts.
I’ve been reading a lot of my older, archived posts to my son lately. It’s a fun trip down memory lane for both of us, except in his case he doesn’t really have a memory of most of it. The stories I’m reading him mostly happened when he was very young. Still I’ve observed some things.
Gosh, I’ve been having fun with this family of mine for a long time now. I look back and realize how much time has elapsed since these older posts were written and see how little has changed in the “Dad loves being Dad” department. It’s kind of like it was my calling or something.
My kids’ personalities were present even when they were super-small. Let me backtrack a moment. My kids were never super-small. Reading about their antics from 8 or 9 years ago I can clearly see large bits and pieces of who they are now and not even some kind of nascent, infantile hint of a trace. No, full on stuff here. Then again, I also see (to my chagrin since I strive to live a life of modestly false humility) that a certain someone who wrote those stories had a fat role in how their personalities formed. In other words, DNA strikes again.
I miss the old prompts. I started the writing of many of those posts as a response to a series of writing prompts. Granted I was always able to take those prompts in bizarre directions but that was a large part of the fun. Perhaps I’ll seek out new prompts.
Tonight I was wondering how I would answer this prompt I just made up (because I’m so clever)…
What are you doing right now?
I apologize to the Federation of Prompt-Writers because that one literally cried out to heaven for vengeance. But let’s go with it for a moment. Smile, sip, repeat. So what am I doing? Right now? Geez, so precise tonight. Oh wait, I wrote the prompt. I suck. OK, I’m sitting in my recliner, watching – wait for it – Nancy Drew. It’s the daughter’s choice. Yet somehow the four of us watched it. Actually, wife and son have fallen asleep and despite the fact that this cinematic gem features a leading actress who resembles Molly Ringwald (not an MR fan), daughter and I are invested in this nonsense. I’ve just finished grading a bunch of quizzes. I’m patting the head of my terrier who has come to sit by the side of my chair. He’s a good boy.
Ask me the same tomorrow night and you’d get a completely different answer probably along the lines of “Currently doing crazy” or some variant. One thing I hope to say tomorrow night at this time is that I jumped back into some semblance of a workout. Despite my recent posts and my insistence that I was just going to ignore every shred of medical “advice” and hit the weights anyway; a few things changed my opinion. I’ll let you in on a secret. Broken bones hurt. And they need time and rest in order to heal. Fortunately my night job hasn’t been too busy lately so that covers that half of the day. But even doing mundane tasks like standing (as I do when I teach) can put stress of the spine. I ought to know this by now.
And the truth is that I do know this. But I also know how dedicated I’ve been to lifting and how I hate being told not to do something. So that next day I mentioned – the one where I was going to get back to my weights? Yeah, I decided I didn’t need anymore painkillers so I didn’t take ’em, see? Yeah, see… And no one could make me either! You just read that sentence in your mind as Jimmy Cagney. Now read this next one as Cagney and Lacey. Harv, how stupid are you!? By 8PM I knew I had made a mistake and that I would simply have to follow orders and rest. So that’s what I’ve done. And it’s only been two weeks since the break. I tried some basics tonight to see what I could manage. Knocked out a few sets of pushups. A set for me is at least 40 pushups so I think I’m at least able to ease back into this. I’ll play it smart and not overdo it and all that. And I still have some of those lovely little Tramadol things they gave me in case I go too far. And I’ll get those gains all over again.
Folks, I got off all that social media nonsense a while ago. Sorry but I'm not on Twitbook, Facepalm, YouHu, WingWang or any of the others. Maybe an event will happen to make me change my mind like Peter and Paul coming down with flaming swords and commanding it be so. Until then, read the blog and if you feel a comment is in order or you feel like sharing a tip or suggestion for a topic, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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