First Saturday of the New Year

11

At eight o’clock in the morning light rain was coming down as I drove the hilly road to Macedonia, on my way to St. Barnabas Church for the eight-thirty a.m. Mass, followed by the monthly St. Padre Pio prayer service. Not yet fully awake I am paying attention to all the curves in the road and the warning that flashed across my dashboard that there may be ice ahead. It is colder than I expected it to be and I could not find my gloves before I left, so my hands were unprotected. Amazingly, I arrive on time – it is only the second time I got there directly. All the times I have gone before I have gotten lost both coming and going. I sign in and fill out 2 prayer request forms before heading into the church proper. I sit somewhere that should be easy for Diane to find me. She usually comes just for the prayer service and whatever follows, a talk, then coffee and pastry or lunch.   The priest announced after Mass that we would go to the cafeteria for prayers and then coffee, as there was a funeral here in the church right after Mass. I wondered if Diane would arrive and wonder where we had all gone, but seeing all the cars in the lot, would know we were still on the premises.

I found a little lady sitting alone and asked to join her and asked her name, which is Joanne, spelled the same as my sister’s name. She has been coming to these services for a year, all the way from Akron. She has great deep sad eyes. When the prayers and the talk were finished, we lined up for snacks which included a large bowl of potato salad and an assortment of cookies and muffins and sweet breads.   We each took some potato salad and a few other things and brought them back to the table, then she got in line to touch her rosary to the relic being shown for veneration and I went for coffee, then the line in front of the relic was shorter, so I took my rosary to touch it too. The priest said anything touching the relic would automatically become a level three relic too. I then touched the rings I was wearing to the stem of the chalice as well. Hey, I’ll take all the help I can get!

Joanne said her phone had an app saying ice was forming on the roads, so drive carefully, and you as well, I said as we parted. I did not see Diane at all.

I went back home and was glad to warm up and take a short nap before going back out to get some fruit and dairy products and put those things away and prepare to attend the vigil Mass at St. Monica’s, since my own parish has cut back from two Sunday Masses, to one and that one is too early for me, so I will have to go to the vigil services from now on. There I found Diane and sat next to her. After Mass we chatted a bit, but the rain was coming down harder so we did not linger.

The mail brought a short note from my daughter, which I had been anxiously waiting on for some weeks and I felt relieved seeing it, as if it were a prayer answered.

The evening wore away and I dressed to attend a party out in North Olmsted. With the rain coming down so hard, I was tempted not to take the highway, but it really is a long ride with many stops at intersections just going down the back road, so I took the highway and thankfully I was not the only one watching the speed limits.  I stopped at Half Price Books to see if I could find a couple of books that the teacher of the summer class I took in Iowa last year recommended. The first book, only one of their stores had a copy, in Minnesota, and they would not ship it; the other the store in Columbus, Ohio had, so I ordered it and paid for it to be sent to my home.

My former tax man and his wife were having a celebration of the last day of Christmas, which I enjoyed very much, talking and laughing with many interesting people they go dancing with on most Saturday evenings. Dan is a poet as well as a tax man and is currently writing a book, of which I had the privilege of reading one segment a few months ago. His lovely wife teaches Italian cooking at the local junior college and works in a senior care center as well, now that their children are all grown and on their own.

A few hours later when I headed back home, the rain was still coming down, but not as hard and all of the day’s activities, the laughter and voices of all the people I talked with this day were replaying in my head until I finally drifted off to sleep.

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