A while after my mother’s death my father and I got things ready to put a marker upon her grave. We only got a few chances to visit her grave together and to take care of a few official details. He died on November 7, 2014, forty five days after her death, after having been suddenly taken ill. He was rushed to the Veteran’s Hospital in Wilkes Barre and died there. Unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to see him on his last day because he told me on the phone, at about 7:30 a.m. , not to bother to drive to the hospital in the bad weather. It was raining and very foggy that day. I went to the hospital after his death to sign some paperwork and to make official arrangements to get certain things done. Uncle Frankie, Fran, and Mary Anne and her family all showed up a very short time after his death to help with the funeral arrangements. His funeral, as well as my mother’s was at Our Lady of Sorrows Church at St. Monica’s Parish on Eighth Street in West Wyoming, and Gubbiotti’s Funeral Home in Exeter. Father Leo McKernan celebrated the Mass. Many of the same people at his wake and funeral had also attended hers. Because he was a veteran of the Korean Conflict, there was a very impressive military honors ceremony, with some men from AMVETS, at the gravesite. The aftermath of each death was a busy time because of all the people calling and visiting and all the extra responsibilities that accompany that kind of change. I spent my first Thanksgiving since my parents’ deaths at cousin Michelle’s house in Dallas. All of Aunt Lauren’s family were there. I spent Christmas with Mary Anne and her family in Long Beach and have been here ever since then. Life without either of my parents has brought with it many very drastic changes.
The Carmelite meetings have been going very well lately. Msgr. Grimaglia & Sister Mary Robert’s attendance isn’t perfect but it’s very good. We’ve finished the last chapter of the book we were reading & are about to start another one at our next meeting. At the end of September, until October 1, I went to most days of the novena for the Feast of St Therese of Lisieux at the Maronite Church of St. Anthony & St. George in Wilkes~Barre. As usual I made sure I got something at their annual bake sale too. I always see the same people there each year including Fr. Bill’s brother. Because of construction, the traffic was an absolute nightmare for the first two days I went. A few weeks ago Gino & Michelle gave a really nice party at the Checkerboard Inn in Back Mountain. It was in honor of their having officially adopted their three children. My mother couldn’t go but my father & I were both there. So were Fran & Uncle Frankie. Many friends & relatives of theirs were there, all the usual familiar faces including people from St. Monica’s in West Wyoming. Gino drove the old guests from the parking lot to the main entrance in a cart. The foliage there was especially impressive because of its having changed colors so much earlier than in most places. I’ve been reading quite a lot lately.
The weirdest thing happened last week. One day, during the middle of the week, my father & I went on one of his usual jaunts to the Veteran’s Hospital in Wilkes Barre for his check up. I always have to drive him there. As I pulled into the parking space I wanted, the guy directly opposite me said we needed a new right rear brake light. That wasn’t the highlight of the trip. On the way down River Road in Plains we always have to pass over a railroad track that doesn’t have a gate that comes down when the train is on its way. There’s one like that on Eighth Street in West Wyoming too. As we passed by the track he made a comment about how there was an accident between a train & a car. The next morning, in the Citizen’s Voice, I read an article about the accident. There’s a couple, Rocco & Liz, in their seventies, who attend St. Monica’s Church on a regular basis. Liz was the driver of the car. She’s seventy~eight years old. Amazingly, although her car was totalled, Rocco said she went away from the accident, after only a brief time in the Geisinger Hospital, with minor bruises on her nose & wrist. That’s most certainly the luckiest break I’ve ever heard of. The meetings at St. Barbara’s Parish, St. Anthony’s Church in Exeter, have been going really well so far on Tuesday nights. Oblates Brother Patrick McLaughlin hasn’t been available for the past few weeks because he’s visiting his family in Albany, N.Y. Fr. Phil Massetti has been covering for him. We have a big crowd each week. That girl Mallory is the only one we’ve lost so far. Last night was her last night. She is moving to North Carolina. Today is cousin Jamie’s birthday. Jerry Garcia, of the Grateful Dead, would have turned seventy years old if he could have lived until today. Tomorrow’s birthday girls are cousins Fran & Elaine.
This past weekend was quite active. St. Barbara’s annual feast, held at St. Anthony’s Church in Exeter, started on Friday night. I didn’t bother to go on the first night though because of the torrential downpour. We’ve been getting quite a lot of electrical storms & heat waves lately . I went on Saturday afternoon after I lectored at 4:00 p.m. Mass at O. L. Sorrows (I lectored at St. Joseph’s at 8:30 Mass last Sunday too) . It was a really nice time. I made sure I entered the raffle, as always. I got a root beer ice cream cone too. On Saturday morning I went to the monthly lay Carmelite meeting. It’s always at 9:00 a..m. on the third Saturday of each month at the Little Flower Manor on South Meade Street in Wilkes~Barre. We always welcome new people who are interested in joining us. Sr. Mary Robert & Msgr. Grimaglia were both there. It went quite well. On Sunday St. Monica’s annual bingo game was held at O.L. Sorrows Church on Eighth Street in West Wyoming. Because I always used to help when I was active in my old Knights of Columbus council 794 in Lindenhurst, N.Y., I made sure I called Tom a while ago to ask if I could help. He got me helping Mike & his wife in the kitchen. I spent most of the time selling soda & other drinks after that. I ate a hot dog with chili & later I ate a wimpie. Unfortunately unlike my old K of C council they didn’t have any knishes. They’ve never heard of them around here. I got some cake & a beer too. I even ended up going to the local Price Chopper for some Diet Pepsi. Unlike last year Uncle Frankie couldn’t go this time because he hasn’t been feeling so well. The Catholicism series, on Tuesday nights, has been going quite well so f ar. Br. Patrick, of the Oblates of St. Joseph, does a really good job of things. Daren’s birthday was on Saturday. She died of suicide a few years ago. I made sure I sent a card to her mother, Grace. Yesterday I got an answer from her.
Today would have been the ninety~fifth birthday of John Fitzgerald Kennedy, thirty~fifth president of the United States. Kennedy was the United States’ first Catholic president. He was also the youngest man ever elected to the office. He was assassinated by Lee Harvey Oswald in Dallas, Texas on November 22, 1963. His was the fourth presidential assassination. Today is also Burt Koza’s birthday. He was my eighth grade history teacher at Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Lindenhurst, New York. My niece Bridget’s birthday was on the 27th. She’s fifteen. My parents & I talked to her on the phone for practically a half hour. My cousin Gino’s birthday was on the 25th. My parents, Uncle Frankie & I all went over to his party on Saturday afternoon at around 4:00. Besides him, Michelle & their three kids, Aunt Helen, Michelle’s both parents & her family, as well as friends of theirs were there. My parents were the first to leave. Uncle Frankie left a few hours later. He only lives two doors away from Gino. I left very late at night. A splendid time was had by one & all. I only drank two beers, Miller Lite, & a cup of Captain Morgan rum & Coke. Because of that Gino made me let him drive me home. His father~in~law followed us. Yesterday after 8:00 a.m. Mass at O.L. Sorrows I got ready to go to the big annual parade we always have in the Wyomings for Memorial Day. Gino & his son Eric marched in the parade with Eric’s Cub (B0y?) Scout troop. I was a bit surprised, on two separate occasions, when a couple of people said hello to me by name . I didn’t recognize either of them. It was a really nice time. The parade went from Shoemaker Avenue in West Wyoming down Eighth Street & into Exeter by way of Wyoming Avenue.
Alas I can’t remember the exact date but it was on a nice spring day in May 1992 when I first joined O.L.P.H.’s Knights of Columbus Council 794 in Lindenhurst, New York. Those were such exceptionally happy times for me. I even joined their Fourth Degree. I met some exceptionally good people there. Now I’m in the Assumpta Council 3987 in Luzerne, Pa. Unfortunately I have yet to become an active member of my current council but I always want to make sure I renew my membership each year. I make sure I read the council’s newsletter & the Columbia each month too. I have always been quite proud of my membership in our Order because we help the Catholic Church, neighborhoods, hospitals & in general contribute quite significantly to the common good. Today my parish, St. Monica’s, will be sponsoring a blood drive at the O. L. Sorrows Church in West Wyoming from 1:00 to 6:00 p.m. I can’t donate blood though because I’ve been sick for about the past five days with a very mild flu. I’ve gotten headaches & a cough. I’ve also been taking medication. Soon, though, I shall be back to normal. Then I can give blood again.
Last night I went to the St. Monica’s men’s group meeting at O.L. Sorrows parish. The women were also there for their group’s meeting. We met in the sacristy & they met in the church’s hall. It was quite a nice short meeting. I was especially pleasantly surprised when one of the men recommended that we try to start a bowling league. I’d always especially enjoyed the days when cousins Larry, Gary, Java & I used to bowl with the Knights of Columbus’ St. Jane Frances de Chantal Council’s league in Wantagh, New York. We’d always had such an especially nice time back then. If this proposed league is going to work out we shall have to make specific arrangements about whether it should be only for men or co~ed, since the ladies may be interested. We shall also have to get a specific minimum number of people involved because we shall have an obligation to meet the bowling alley’s requirements for that & other things. After the meeting ended we held our usual fifty~fifty raffle. I drank a can of beer & ate a donut.
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