Happy Memories in the Bleak Midwinter

Setting-the-TableSetting-the-TableIt’s the end of 2014 and I’ve been battling the flu through Christmas and I’m still battling. This is a hard one to kick. And I find myself thinking of Father Michael during the holidays last year. He had held up the idea of a special time coming in December. He would mention it often;he hoped to have an extended time of feeling more like himself . This was post healing service and in many ways, Father M felt that he was doing better after the service. He was so hopeful.

I recently found his text thanking me for my Christmas gift to him. Father M was so delighted he’d be able to buy a work of art. He mentioned the painting he loved of the rowboat ‘that will one day take me to meet God’.

Father Michael never got me any presents, but would share things that were incredibly special with me. During the holidays last year he painstakingly made me tea and called me over to look at his computer monitor. There he had a video clip from youtube all set up to show me. It had been filmed by a neighbor who was hosting the Kyte family for dinner in November 1970, within a few short weeks of the death of their mother. You can access this clip by clicking on the picture of Father Michael at 17 in the side panel on this site. In the clip, Father M is the gorgeous and vivacious redhead on the left. What a young-looking 17! I think he looks more like 14 ! Father Michael told me that his best friend at the time, Bernie, is the young man next to him. Bernie’s mom is the hostess.Father’s dad, Arthur, sits across from him. Father Michael remarked as I watched this “there we are , like a bunch of banshees!”  Have no idea what he meant by that-they all seemed so sedate, well-behaved and hungry. And I do sense their cohesiveness and concern for each other. Their mother really must have been the crowning glory of that beautiful family…and she was now gone.

In the same visit, Father brought out a collage of family pictures his brother had composed . He was so happy to point out all the babies in those pictures! I wanted to really look at this collage, kind of study it. But Father had more surprises. He brought out an album, pictures of the art work which he had collected. Long before -I’d actually suggested he do this ; I was so surprised he had taken my advice!! His friend in Colorado had helped him put it together-such a kind gesture. He loved going through the pictures and explaining why each was so special to him.

And then Father brought out a Waterford crystal chalice set that had been given to him by one of his Dominican brothers. What a treat to share and admire!

So here I am, thinking of all these little things, sharing them was such a gift to me. And of course, there was the gift and kindness of Father Michael. God is so good.

Happy New Year!


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