Friday Five (Vol. 17)

— 1 —

My oldest child turns sixteen on Sunday. Having passed driver’s education and taken the online exams, he and his mom went to our DMV this week and made it official. My insurance agent has delivered the news as far as what’s about to happen to our auto insurance rates. I knew it would be significant, but HOLY GUACAMOLE! Next week I begin my search for a third vehicle. Honestly I’d not be in that big a hurry to get one for him except that his high school baseball workouts and season will begin shortly. While the prep season begin just two months from next week(!), very soon begin morning workouts and throwing sessions. What this mean last year was my getting up at 5:20am to rouse him by 5:30 so we could be on our way to the high school by 5:45. This year I plan on sleeping in.

It also will allow him to keep his equipment in the car trunk, thus greatly reducing the chance of theft as it does happen. As the price of bats and baseball gloves begin at $200 each I’d really like to keep that from happening.

— 2 —

Speaking of birthdays, mine was New Year’s Day. Two score and four years ago I entered the world. We were enjoying a quiet day at home after Sunday Mass until my wife got the cleaning bug. Because of the schedule for our week ahead she made the executive decision that it was time for the Christmas decorations to go. At least all of them outside of a nativity crèche and the Advent wreath as we are still lighting the white candle in celebration of Christmas through the Epiphany. Mid-afternoon as we were over half-finished in the deconstructing of our tree she decided to call our assistant pastor Fr. Adam. He was ordained just this past May and is a tremendous person and priest. He’s also the Theology II teacher at my son’s high school and as Nolan always enjoys the opportunity to get a dig in now and then he was in favor of having Father over for dinner. Fr. Adam mentioned that he was entertaining four guests he asked if they could come too. Fr. Matt is a second year priest from Nebraska City and a wonderful guy, and with them came three young seminarians from Sri Lanka who attend the seminary in Maryland. So we had ten sitting around our table that night, eating a large dinner prepared in advance.

It is the smaller blessings in life we so often and easily overlook. I am blessed with friends and friends of friends.

— 3 —

After she hung up the phone and invited him to dinner with us I looked in mock horror at our partially decorated tree and the totes surrounding it filled with freshly put away decorations. I asked, “We’re having two priests and three seminarians to dinner. How quickly do you think we can get all of this back up?”

— 4 —

Our youngest child loves all things involving princesses, and we’d grown a little weary over the extended holiday break of watching Disney films. My daughter is endlessly asking to watch Snow White, Beauty and the Beast, Sleeping Beauty, Tangled, etc. So after our guests had left I suggested that together we watch a different kind of princess movie: one of my all-time favorites The Princess Bride. She was naturally wary as it wasn’t a cartoon nor was Buttercup a name she’d heard in her lexicon of princess lore. But she gamefully agreed, and after popping popcorn we settled in. She loved it and we’ve watched it three times since. I’m glad I love that movie.

Having viewed the photo my wife took of me with my oldest and our dinner guests that night, I’m struck by how much I’ve aged. I look at myself in the mirror every day. I’m not a vain man, but jeebers, I had to look twice to see if that was really me. And it was. I can tell because I’ve once again got my eyes closed.

After seeing that photo, reflecting on another birthday, and watching The Princess Bride I’ve decided this is how I appear to myself.

Just kidding.

— 5 —

As my son shares a birthday with the King of Rock ‘n Roll, I thought I’d post something to that end. So this is for sisters Stacy and Jennifer, and their friend Kim. Three ladies with whom I attended high school and am still friends with today. Thanks to Facebook we’ve been able to reconnect and stay in touch. They are definitely three of those blessings I was referring to earlier.

This one’s for you ladies. Enjoy it, because I don’t know when I’ll be in this charitable a mood again (he said with a smile).

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