Simple Times

August 27, 2010 § 2 Comments

On the Sports Front (although I’m playing fast ‘n loose with the term ‘sport’): Softball’s regular season closed with a bang this past week.  A bang of thunder, that is.  Yes, once again Danny’s Offmen team was denied a chance at victory due to inclement weather.  The storm forced the umps to cancel the game, but the Offmen weren’t letting a little thing like driving rain stop them.  They went to the bar anyway and confidently bragged that “not losing = winning”.  All in all, I can’t say I minded that the game was canceled.  If I had to choose between sitting on the team bench in the drizzle and watching the guys slide around in the muck and dust, or sitting cozily inside Brews’ Brothers devouring crispy 40 cent wings, I think I’d pick the wings every time.  Especially when you factor in the bleu cheese and celery.  Now it’s onto the playoffs (everyone makes them), with all the glory, (beer) guts, and bravado that you’d expect to see!
 
Pirolli Party: On this past Sunday, I had the pleasure of attending a party at the Pirolli’s home in Mountaintop.  It’s their usual get-together, which they host every year at the time when their son Paul is home on a visit.  (Paul has been in Rome for the past few years at the seminary.)  I just have to say first of all, every time I visit the Pirollis, I’m astonished by how fast the kids are growing.  Given that I used to babysit most of them, it makes me feel a bit old.  The Pirolli’s party is always a day for me to take a step back and remember exactly what I love about living a simpler life.  Sometimes I can get so caught up in the race and the rush of the world, in work and fashion and money worries and appearances.  Here, though, I step back into a simplicity that doesn’t resemble the absence of material things so much as it does the pleasure and clarity of what is sincere.

The best part of the party is the food, although there is no fancy catering, not unless you count the pig-roasting people with their huge iron roaster.  Everyone merely brings a dish with them and there’s always more than enough to go around.  It’s a day to meet up with old friends; to participate in a sack race and an egg toss with a 5 year old and lose because while there’s over two feet of height separating us, there’s not that much difference in our coordination.  For this party, I know to leave my stylized outfits at home and spend the day running around in jeans and sneakers.  My feet get muddy because we always end up kicking the soccer ball around and I don’t care.  Kelli, Bernadine, and Matt coerce me into entering a pie eating contest and I bravely smash my face into the vanilla pudding layers, regardless of mascara and lip gloss and cameras.  There’s no high society standard here, no happy hour cats with spiteful comments and poison-green martinis.  No one at this party air-kisses my cheek and exclaims, while their eyes rake me up and down.  I can clamber onto the rope swing like the children and jump off into nothing; let the wind rush past my face and snarl my hair.  I climb a tree and get sticky sap on my hands; I walk in the woods and feel the air in my lungs when I breathe and the strength in my muscles.  Matt cooks me a hot dog on the grill and burns it black, just the way I like it.  I douse it in ketchup and mustard and eat it slowly because I’m too busy laughing with friends, dancing like a goof, or holding Jeanne’s baby girl, seven months old now.  She gurgles at me and wraps her fat little fingers around my necklace. 

Later, Paul and I sit with his younger sister Maria on the two gliders on the porch and he tells us about his years in Rome.  Darkness is falling as I wrap my arms around my knees and listen to his stories of the seminary, of touring the great basilicas, taking siestas, and hunting octopus in the warm sea.  Of seeing St. Peter’s Square, walking across it in a line with four hundred other men, all of them with one desire in common:  to bring Christ’s Presence to us all, every day.  He’s being sent to Detroit now and I make it clear to him that under no circumstance is he allowed to become a Red Wings fan.  Well, maybe for the purpose of evangelization, I tell him, but nothing less will do. 

I finally leave the party around ten o’clock at night, with more than one plate of desserts on the car seat next to me.  I ran through the day in my head, like mental snapshots, trying to pick out my favorite moments.  I find one thought that stuck out in my mind from the entire day.  I was playing with Abigail, Jeanne’s baby, and talking with my friends.  This is what I want in life, I had thought, as I shifted her baby weight in my arms and gently untangled her fingers from my hair.  Family.  Friends. Sincerity and warmth.

 
pork sandwich and sides
pork sandwich and sides
my mini-pie

my mini-pie (I was too full for a larger one! Didn't you just see that pork sandwich?)

 

male alpacas
male alpacas grazing
 
the rope swing (2009)

the rope swing (photo from 2009's party)

 
Celibacy: Who Knew?  Because when was the last time you read an article wherein a priest reflects gratefully on 87 years of celibacy??  Quote:  “Sadly, sometimes in developing our relations with our fellow human beings we do so solely under the impulse of self-gratification. In such a case, a major opportunity to develop according to the mind of God is lost. For me, the commitment to life-long celibacy has proved a constant reminder to me of Jesus Christ who came to our world to give of Himself even to suffering death as an act of loving service of me and fellow sinners in ensuring the achieving of eternal salvation for all.”
  
St. Monica’s Feast Day!  Yes, today is the feast of St. Monica, mother of St. Augustine, and a woman to whom I often pray.  Her patience and prayers helped bring her son back to the faith and look where he ended up!  🙂  Here are two pictures of her relics, which are located in the Church of St. Augustine, in Rome. 
 
St. Monica 2

St. Monica

  

Kindle Update: Reading the complete set of Father Brown mystery stories by G.K. Chesterton on the Kindle right now.  Very good, and a steal at only $1.49 on Amazon!

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