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restoration on route 50

24 Oct

 Two photos, one in the hotel parking lot Day 04 01 P1070027 and one in the parking garage at the St. Lois Arch Day 04 02 P1070081 indicate I have a certain parking preference. Is it an indication of being too attached to stuff or of taking care of things. Maybe it is both/and, and not either/or, as are most things in life.  At the St. Louis Arch the trees were lovely, Day 04 04 P1070047  Day 04 03 P1070028 but most else was “under construction,” many walkways were taped off, and the two reflecting ponds were empty of water. Does everything – and everyone – always have to be under construction? Doesn’t anything or anyone ever get finished? I tried to stand right under the arch and look up, but got dizzy. The only way to do it was to lie on the ground. Give it up! No one else is doing that. I am 65 years old. Oh, what the heck! Not a good photo. Day 04 05 P1070036 A better photo would be of me on my back taking the photo. Maybe someone else has that one.

On the way to buy my friend a St. Louis mug at Starbucks, I just happened on the Old Cathedral. The Old Cathedral is the oldest building in St. Louis, the first cathedral west of the Mississippi. I smiled as I heard mom Mississippi spelling two ways, “M I double-S I double-S I double-P I,” and backwards, “I put pepper in Sister Susan’s eye, she said I mustn’t.”  Day 04 06 P1070050 I was taken by a statue of Jesus and Saint Margaret Mary Day 04 07 and I lighted a candle. Day 04 08 The cathedral has been “under construction” too, but this one in this 180 year old worship placewas not as irritating to me. Removing the carpet from the floor revealed a beautiful maple floor, with a wide crack right up the middle of the center aisle. All the wood in the aisle is original – except the need-to-be-wider replacement plank right up the center.  Day 04 09 P1070055 The split up the communion aisle reminded me of the veil in the Jerusalem temple that kept the people from God and God from the people. That veil split in two at the moment of the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. God and people could get to each other easier and more directly through Jesus. It also made me think of the split (discussions/arguments) in our Catholic Church over who should walk up that communion aisle to receive communion and who should not. Maybe right down the split during the sacrifice of the Mass walks everyone – everyone to God, God to everyone.

The difference between the words renovation and restoration – renovating and restoring – intrigues me. In 1959 “decorative campaigns” the church was renovated. Today it is being restored. Restoring means removing the paint from the wood of the communion rail, removing the carpet from the wood floor in the nave and from atop the mosaic tile of the sanctuary floor. What was under that carpet and paint is beautiful. Give credit to the paint and carpet, however, for helping to preserve it for now. What would it take to restore ourselves and our worlds to original beauty? Removing the paint and carpet that has been layered on as time has passed, but what else? Why do these two words intrigue me so? Day 04 11 Mass was at 12:10 p.m., so I stayed and sat in the front row to enjoy the floor, rail and mosaic. Day 04 10 After Mass I gave $5 to a woman sitting on the street corner asking for money to buy some food, then spent $20 for a beer and a ribeye sandwich that was not very good, and then smiled to but passed by another woman holding a sign for spare change. Go figure.

I will offline and off the road for a few days. No blogs for a couple days. My mind will still spin, for sure, but I am giving up the compulsion to record the spinning in this format.

day 3 50W: ferguson, missouri

23 Oct

I saw it again early, early this morning: “Receive Jesus.”

On the itinerary today: Ferguson, Missouri; lunch, wherever; Budweiser Brewery, St. Louis.

For the 30 mile drive to St. Louis I was driving through some rougher looking areas of town, down streets where there was not much traffic. It dawned on me. I had the GPS set to keep me off highways. So the byways were my command.

One of the off the normal streets was cheaper gas: $2.63 a gallon.

I arrived at Blessed Teresa of Calcutta Catholic church in Ferguson.

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The good deacon who unlocked a door to the church for me told me that the parish was “founded” just ten years ago, when four parishes were merged. Hence the new almost-Saint’s name. There was a prayer card in the pews, obviously specifically written for this neighborhood.

Day 03 02

In the church I prayed midday prayer, and found a line that kept my attention for a while: “Do not remember the sins of our youth and stupidity.” Children were playing in the school yard outside. All seemed fine for them.

Near the police station was Cathy’s Kitchen.

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Jasmine suggested that I have the Memphis-style gumbo. It was spicy. Kathy herself came to check on me.

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When I asked her which were the crawfish tails, she spooned through my gumbo, at my invitation and with her checking with me that it was really okay, to find none, but soon to return with a small bowl filled with the little things. I was going to have the sweet potato pie, until Jasmine told me that another choice was peach.

About a mile away the boarded up and burned buildings convinced me that I was close to the place where Michael Brown was shot and died. I googled on my phone for the name of the street itself. Finding the name, I hesitated, but thought, “Why not?”

The street memorial remains, very peaceful, and very few people even out on the street. Yes, that is my car in the second photo.

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Budweiser brewery, with tour and samples, was next. The Clydesdales are pretty animals, nicely groomed, strong looking, and camera ready.

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I came away from the brewery amazed at how much beer is consumed in our country.

And right before bed, you guessed it – the commercial. It is real. Look ye here. 

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route 50W: receive Jesus

22 Oct

It seemed so real, but was it?

During “Morning Joe” on MSNBC early in the minutes of my day, I was on my computer, and I heard someone talking about .. I thought I did anyway. I looked up, as the last I heard was, “He died for you. He loves you.” Then on the screen was, “Receive Jesus,” and it was over. It was maybe 15 seconds. No indication of who sponsored it. My shake of the head was accompanied by, “Was that real?” Or was it a message just for me? I searched the internet to see if I could find any information about the commercial. Nothing. I guess it was real. Maybe it was just for me.

The day and drive started real slow. Maybe this trip on route 50 was not a good idea.

I thought Salem, Illinois, might be a good place for some lunch. I had never heard of M & M Courtyard Cafe and Coffeehouse, so it fit my rule about eating. I sat at the table by the window.

Day 02 01 courthouse 01

I chose to have what the woman at the counter had for lunch: grilled cheese on sourdough bread and tomato basil soup, just like she had. The cook came over to say hello. I asked him if he is one of the m’s on the window name. Mike told me that he and Maureen were the two m’s. Which one was first depended on which one you asked, he said. When I asked her, she did the same thing he did – she put her name last. Everything is homemade by Mike, who comes in at 1:30 a.m. to start the baking. That made me order a blackberry turnover.

Tried to get into the courthouse, but was not allowed with my cell phone, and was not allowed to leave it with the guard; it needed to put in my car. He was unimpressed that I was driving 50 W from Cincinnati, and went back to reading his paper.

I was finding it hard to be away from home. It is said that you can never return home again, but I was finding it almost impossible to be away from home at all. It is hard for me to leave home and to be away from what I find familiar. Ouch! Retirement might be hard. Sometimes I like being alone, but lonely always seems to be connected with alone. Sometimes in quiet moments stinkin’ thinkin’ prevails, if you know what I mean. It is easy, when there is no one present but yourself to listen to and to talk to, that both your heart and your Achilles heel are obvious.

My two sisters text me daily. They want to know where I am. That’s nice.

I parked my car somewhere I can see if from my hotel window, or so I thought. At first I couldn’t spot it. Then, “There it is. It doesn’t look like a Buick.”

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Don’t you know? I was lying in bed, watching television, and that “Receive Jesus” commercial came on again. At the beginning of the day and at the end of the day! I still couldn’t find anything on the internet about it.

from 45105 on 50W: just show up

21 Oct

All sharing in the priesthood of Christ by our baptism, may everything all of us do this day offer praise to God.

What struck me as I was dilly dallying and delaying my departure for a week on 50 West, trying to pray a bit, was the fact that the best thing about daily, regular, even scheduled prayer, whether or not we “get anything out of it” and whether or not it is satisfying or distracted,  might be that “we show up.” I need to “show up” more regularly, for sure.

One of my rules for my 50W trip is that, unless it free, I cannot eat at any place whose name is familiar to me.

At the Milford bridge, as 28 ended, my hours on 50 began.

Day 01 01

Ate lunch in Seymour, Indiana. Had the special: Swiss steak, mashed potatoes and green beans. Nothing real special about it. Maybe the beans were real! The waitress was polite but certainly not chatty or interactive, but the cashier said nothing to me, as she spoke right beside me to the (I assumed “regular”) customer who paid before me. I guess she knew I would not be back anyway. Maybe I’m giving off a “don’t talk to me” vibe. Today’s pie was custard. I looked forward to it more than I enjoyed it 

Day 01 02

Stopped in St. Ambrose Catholic Church down the street to pray a prayer for one of our parishioners who was having a job interview that very morning. He and wife and their kids had gone to this parish and school ten years ago, he had told me before I left home. May his old prayers, and this new one for him, be heard in heaven 

Day 01 03

At the church organ was a copied song sheet. Was the message for me or for my parishioner interviewee?

Day 01 04

Along the road I caught out of the corner of my eye, as I passed the church, a sign that read, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock.” I used that scripture at a wedding Saturday. Maybe the message is meant more for me than for last Saturday’s couple.

I continue to think and say to places and people I pass, “The Kingdom of God is at hand for you.” Maybe that is what it means for all of us to be evangelizers., saying by our presence and when appropriate in words to everyone in every situation, “The Kingdom of God is at hand for you,” of course, first trying to understand what that means for me and my world.

The biggest jolt so far was seeing an exit for “Palestine.” I had to stop. Palestine was 25 miles off 50W/150W.

Day 01 05

Almost everything in town was either closed or abandoned. The few shopkeepers who were at work all seemed to be cleaning their storefront windows. People were going into the post office, however, and a few kids were riding their bikes home from school. It was real quiet. I wished I were in the “real” Palestine, although I guess that this was the real one for the real people who live here. 

Day 01 06

Staying Drury Inn in Mount Vernon, Illinois. I am remembering from when I first did some searching after my first very favorable visit a couple years ago, that the owners are Catholic , and that the business is based on good Catholic values and practice. Staff is extremely friendly and helpful. Something in my memory wants me think that all the staff shares directly in the financial success of the hotel chain, and therefore invested in its success. Side thought: maybe everyone who wants to spread word of Jesus (be an evangelizer, in other words) would benefit from a course in hospitality management. This hotel is only 3 1/2 months old, so everything still smells looks and smells new and fresh. That delights me. At 5:30 p.m. there was a free “Kickback” for 90 minutes, with free drinks and food. I like free. I was amazed to see that the vodka, gin and bourbon were dispensed from a fountain spicket – spell check wants me to type “spigot” – like soft drinks usually are. That was intriguing.

Went to sleep watching the Royals getting clobbered.