Friday, March 05, 2010

Seven Quick Takes -- Wow, Two weeks Goes Fast!

1) As I updated my last post, our friend Fr. Paul died on Saturday the 20th. Since Roger is his executor, that swept us into a whirlwind of funeral arrangements usually dealt with by the family. (His niece was here, and two of his nephews were able to make it for the funeral, but we were the "local people" and had all the paperwork.) Archbishop Vigneron was able to come and say the funeral mass. There were another bishop and twelve priests concelebrating, plus a deacon to read the Gospel, and combined choirs from local parishes sang. At first I was disappointed at the size of the congregation, which looked about like 8AM mass on a Sunday. But the archbishop assured us that for a priest who had been officially retired for almost 20 years, the turnout was huge. I don't think anyone who knew Fr. Paul could help but love him, and as many as possible came out to demonstrate that.

2) The tiring part of dealing with Fr. Paul's death was not the visitation or the funeral. It was cleaning out his "apartment" at the senior care facility. The St. Vincent dePaul folks came and hauled away much of his furniture and any clothes and linens that were worth donating, but somebody (us plus his niece, nephew, and the nephew's wife) had to sort it, decide what to donate, what was trash, and what somebody might want. The nephew and his wife left with a van packed full of audio classes on CD and assorted decorative and sentimental items, some of which they were going to pass along to the other nephew, who couldn't stay that long. The niece took as much as she could cram into her suitcase for the flight. WE still have several boxes of photos and such which we are planning to distribute to local friends of Fr. Paul.

3) Cleaning out his apartment meant that I had no time to spend on organizing all the "stuff" in OUR basement, which I have determined to do by Easter. On the upside, I now have two more bookcases to fill. On the downside, I now have five more boxes of books to sort. I am hoping to donate a number of books to the Friends of the Library ( mostly Roger's collection of "airport books"), but all of Fr. Paul's books that nobody wanted have already been donated. I'm going to need those bookcases!

4) On a related note, I'm actually wistfully hoping to be able to BUY two bookcases to set in our living room corner. We have a couple that would do for the space, but I found some assemble-it-yourself ones for a great price, and I'd love to have something matching and new. We'll see! To this end I have measured all the shelves of our current bookcases, and when I sort the books I intend to measure the linear feet they will take up. If I need the new bookcases I will buy them..... somehow.

5) I do have a little bit of money toward a bookcase, a birthday gift from my mother-in-law. I turned 59 (!) last Saturday. I'm not a big fan of cake, although Roger offered to make one, but I did get to celebrate. A local musical group played for a contra dance in a parish gym in town, and for only the second or third time in our marriage, Roger and I went dancing! Full disclaimer: neither one of us really cares for "regular" dancing, and we've gone every time we were free if there was square or contra dancing. When I was single and lived in Ohio, a bunch of us used to go to square dances almost every weekend in some Grange hall or other, and just like riding a bicycle, lots of it came back quickly. There was some talk of repeating the dance on a quarterly basis or so, and if they do, we'll be there. (There is a video on the link to the band. Roger and I are at the right end of the gym; I'm wearing a green skirt. We show up at about 1:53 into it.)

6) Since our son-in-law Bryan had to make a business trip, Arwen and Camilla and Blaise came to visit from Monday through Wednesday. Blaise has apparently inherited Roger's "morning person" personality, since he seems to think that 5:30AM is a perfectly reasonable time for a one-year-old to start the day. Arwen was very glad to hand him off to Grandpa and go back to sleep! Camilla at the same age used to sleep until 9, so Blaise has been kind of a shock. ;-D I'm always glad to see them, but this time I heaved a tiny sigh. Arwen has been decluttering her house for Lent (40 Bags in 40 Days), and she brought back a great big plastic bin of books they have borrowed from us. (The first time I typed the last sentence, I inadvertently hit Caps Lock, and everything from "brought" came out in caps. I considered leaving it that way........)

7) Yesterday was our LAST EVER Quiz Bowl league tournament. Arwen started playing in 6th grade in 1994 (our town has a middle school league), and one or more kids have been involved at some level ever since. We know which teams have the buzzer system that makes that annoying "Brrrzat" noise, we know most of the coaches by sight, and we know how to find the restrooms in every school in the league. We also know a lot about how the league trophy looks, since it spends most of its time at our school!

Yesterday was no exception. Kelson's team had already come in first in the league (19 wins, 2 losses) and won a tournament sponsored by the local community college. They won the league tournament as well! I must admit I wish they didn't have a penchant for winning double-elimination competitions by working their way up the losers bracket. We could have been home an hour sooner if they hadn't had to beat the last team twice.

Now it's on to states, where they will do an acceptable job and come home in the middle of the second day. Many schools in the more urban areas make Quiz Bowl a regular class, where the teams study assorted topics and get graded on their performance. In our league it's strictly extra-curricular, and the kids play with the knowledge they bring to it just from pursuing their own interests. I like the perspective Arwen had when she played in her first state tournament -- "I think we had more fun losing than they had winning!" That's the way I want my kids to view knowledge and study; as a game, not a chore. I think they get it.

Seven Quick Takes are hosted at Conversion Diary.


Enbrethiliel said...


I'm sorry to hear about your friend Father Paul.

When my great-uncle died last year, my family inherited all his religious statues and pictures. Another side of the family inherited all his furniture! Yet what we received was very welcome, even if it ended up cluttering the living room "altar" until we could find them new "homes" in other parts of our house.

Sarah in Ottawa said...

The packing up is so draining! We've had to do it both quickly - the unexpeced death of my Grandpa in August and the required move of my Grandma to a nursing home, then after her death in October - and gradually over time - with the gradual diverstment of my Aunt's possessions when she was in a nursing home, then after her death a year ago Sunday. Good luck to you -- and I am hoping that you get your bookshelves!

Christy said...

We have to buy another bookcase for every year in our house. This does not bode well. I hope that you find good homes for everything you're cleaning out.

And Quiz Bowl! You really nailed it on the head about the tournaments. Going home in the middle of the second day, and still having a blast.

Is the old house still up? When I was home in February, there was a front-end loader on the front lawn (It was surreal, so I took a picture), but my parents said it was still there last week.