It Was Fascination…

stock_exchangeIn my sec­ond appoint­ment with Father Michael, he sur­prised me by talk­ing about the stock mar­ket. A long time before, I had told him that I’d inher­it­ed some mon­ey from my very spe­cial aunt. I explained that my inten­tion had been to stop work­ing at my very stress­ful job. I thought I’d take a break for a while and then try to find some­thing ‘ful­fill­ing’, non-stress­ful-and with­out a three to four hour round-trip com­mute.

Well, the econ­o­my and the stock mar­ket tanked. I felt uncom­fort­able con­sid­er­ing tak­ing a mod­est-salaried job from some­one who need­ed the mon­ey way more than I did. So I bus­ied myself with a few trips, some fam­i­ly wed­ding prepa­ra­tions and lots of genealog­i­cal research. I was amazed at times how quick­ly the days passed as I worked on the fam­i­ly tree. And so I explained all this to Father Michael.

We talked about my aunt, who was a true indi­vid­ual for her era. I explained how she some­times had worked three part time jobs, was fru­gal and saved. I told Father M how my aunt loved to swim in Lake Michi­gan and spent all her spare time on the beach in the sum­mer. She was able to con­vince one of her boss­es that she could do a full day’s work in four to five hours. She’d get to work at 6 AM and be at the lake­front by 11AM.….with her boss’s bless­ing. In the win­ter, she just went home ear­ly. This same boss was extreme­ly gen­er­ous with my aunt and gave her huge Christ­mas bonus­es. I remem­ber one for $6000 one year and $10,000 a few years lat­er. And this was in the ear­ly 60’s!  My aunt invest­ed in the mar­ket, with guid­ance from her boss. Father Michael remarked “the broth­ers and I often mar­vel at these amaz­ing women and the amount of mon­ey they amass.”  He was quite impressed. Inter­est­ing to me that rich women were the sub­ject of pri­o­ry dis­cus­sion.

Father M was also com­plete­ly intrigued by the stock mar­ket. He asked me some sur­pris­ing­ly blunt and,to be hon­est, nosy ques­tions. I answered most, but was tak­en aback by quite a few of them. One was about the approx­i­mate per­cent­age and dol­lar amount of prof­it I had earned the past year. There were more that were sim­i­lar to that; Father M was quite bold.He stared at me with those big eyes, look­ing com­plete­ly guile­less. I just stared back at him and didn’t answer. I very much had the feel­ing that he was try­ing to gauge exact­ly how much mon­ey I had in invest­ments. Per­haps I was wrong.….

Father Michael changed the sub­ject a bit and talked about his old­er brother’s loss­es in the mar­ket. He asked me what my broker’s new strat­e­gy was. I told him “Well, he’s always telling me ‘stay the course’”. Father Michael said that was what his broth­er was doing, but he hadn’t recov­ered all his loss­es. But he assured me that his brother’s busi­ness had con­tin­ued to do very well.  This con­ver­sa­tion just amazed me. I had nev­er expect­ed to dis­cuss this with Father.

Father M then admit­ted to being a lit­tle embar­rassed by his inter­est in finances. He relayed how he had been “prayer part­ners” with a lady in the parish,who had recent­ly passed away. He told me “You know I’d go over to her house and she would go over all her stocks and invest­ments and how they were doing. She knew I was fas­ci­nat­ed with them. But then it would be time for our prayer and I would find it dif­fi­cult to NOT think about those stocks!”  I admired his hon­esty in admit­ting that.

Fun­ny, now I remem­ber how I pur­chased some $20 instant tick­ets as a spe­cial treat for Father after the can­cer diag­no­sis. Father Michael was so excit­ed, but he put off scratch­ing the tick­ets till late in the evening. Lat­er he texted me that all he could think about dur­ing evening prayer was what he would do if he won a mil­lion dol­lars. So I’m think­ing “well, of course he’ll be help­ing the poor”. I was NOT expect­ing “Hey, I’ll be call­ing you from Hawaii”. Anoth­er time he told me “You know what hap­pens if I win, right?”  I said “No-what hap­pens?”  Father Michael: “I’m out­ta here!”

Father Michael — as he would say- “What a hoot !”

Oh Happy Day !


Leap-for-JoyJuly 6, 2015 is the day I’m cel­e­brat­ing. My niece Emi­ly deliv­ered a healthy baby boy that after­noon. Moth­er, baby and.….. father (!) are doing just fine. New life is always a mir­a­cle and meant to be cel­e­brat­ed, but this one is a very spe­cial gift. My niece has MS and there were many wor­ries pri­or to the preg­nan­cy. MS meds had to be sus­pend­ed; risks abound­ed. And no one knows how the dis­ease may change for Emi­ly post par­tum. But God is good, as Father Michael would remind us! And I am grate­ful and so hope­ful that “all will be well”.

As you may know, Father Michael had a spe­cial place for Emi­ly in his prayer inten­tions. He prayed for her as soon as she was diag­nosed and through­out her treat­ments, even as he suf­fered through his own ‘malady’.Even  after his death I know Father con­tin­ued to watch over Emi­ly from Heav­en. So this was a very calm and peace­ful preg­nan­cy. I know Father M will hap­pi­ly con­tin­ue to keep an eye on this new fam­i­ly.

On a much more earth­bound note, I fin­ished the THIRD afghan for this lit­tle baby on June 25. I washed it on the ‘hand wash’ cycle of my machine. It came out per­fect. I debat­ed about tak­ing a chance on the (demon) dry­er. My brain is sing-song­ing “oh you of lit­tle faith” and remind­ing me of faith mov­ing moun­tains. My com­mon sense is say­ing “nice that you remem­ber the quotes and sto­ries, but the Lord appre­ci­ates it when you’re not stu­pid.”  So I skipped the dry­er and hung the blan­ket draped between two hang­ers. It took two days to dry.

Final­ly, late Sat­ur­day morn­ing I packed up the afghan. My hus­band took it to the post office, sent it Pri­or­i­ty Mail, two day deliv­ery -but not guar­an­teed. $15, but worth it, right? It was insured and due to get to Con­necti­cut on Mon­day. Good deal!  Sun­day I checked the track­ing; the pack­age was still in Illi­nois. I checked on Mon­day, sup­pos­ed­ly the deliv­ery date. “Arrived at Las Vegas, NV @1:18 am”.  Oh no-I was dread­ing that the next update would say ‘out for deliv­ery’. But no, late that evening, the track­ing said “depart­ed Las Vegas NV”. No word then until July 1. The pack­age got to Spring­field MA! I began to be hope­ful that it just might make it to Con­necti­cut- maybe even the fol­low­ing day. Well, it did make it to Con­necti­cut on the 2nd of July. But it went to anoth­er town on the 3rd, then final­ly to the cor­rect town and a front porch deliv­ery!!!!! Took a full sev­en days. I just can’t say enough about Pri­or­i­ty Mail.

So just thought I’d catch you up on the news. But I’ve got some mus­ings and some more Father Michael mem­o­ries com­ing up soon.

Remem­ber Father Rivers’ Mass from the ‘60s?  I do, fond­ly. Seems appro­pri­ate for a hap­py day: