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Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Nov. 10, 2015  3:30pm

Visit to an orthopedic surgeon to check out my knee which has been bothering me.

     He seems to be a very nice guy and he treated my former parish council chairperson and his wife from way back in 69 to 71.
     He felt around the knee with his fingers and said that there is a bit of fluid there. Then he picked up my leg and twisted it one way and asked if I felt any pain. No. then the other way
and again, did I feel any pain. No. after some more moving things around and checking this and that he showed me a knee model and how the ligatures on the side kind of hold it together and there is the cartrilage inside the knee to be a kind of cushion between the two knee bones. He said that it looked like maybe these things were a bit bruised but if I didn't feel any pain when he tried twisting this way and that way, all that was needed was an anti-inflammatory. OK. Injection or pill? I said it is up to you, you are the doctor. So he injected an anti-inflammatory something straight into the knee to clear up the inflammation and to take away, pretty quickly, the pain that might still be left. He then gave me a prescription for some anti-inflammation pills to take for about 10 days. He also suggested that I get something (he showed me a pamphlet) to build up the cartilage that might have been slightly damaged. So I have become a pill taker. Yuk. But the knee does feel better now though it is still not the same as the other leg. He said to give him a call after about 3 weeks and then we will see where to go from there. If he or I aren't satisfied, he will stick a camera in there and take a look to see what the story is, but he said he hopes that that won't be necessary. I should continue to do my bending and unbending exercises as it will strengthen the knee. So that all took about 20 minutes and I am happy. So don't worry . Love and Peace, Cas.

Dec. 2, 2015
     Time seems to fly. Just a few odds and ends. I was delighted to have a grade 7 farewell Mass at Holy Family School. I love being with kids and try to simplify the Liturgy so that they don’t get lost. This school is nominally Catholic but probably 75% of the kids are from some other churches. I think the parents like the ethos and discipline of Catholic schools. )Nov. 13
     I also had a chance to talk to the Catholic Women’s league at their annual general meeting as St. Catherine parish. I tried to open up their minds to Pope Francis’ plea to be a church of the poor and to practice mercy and compassion and forgiveness. Are you prepared to accept gays and lesbians? How about people who have been traumatized by a divorce and have managed to pull their lives together with a new partner. Can you realistically expect them, especially if they are still young, to live as celibates? If they have begun new relationships that also involve children, must they now give up those new relationships, abandon that partner and those children to go back to what??? How can we help them to experience some hope and healing in their situation or do we tell them that there is, unfortunately, no hope for them? 
    I also attended a memorial celebration of an Indian Hindu lady where the grace was said in an Indian language. I was privileged to be invited to this special occasion for a woman who was multi-faithed, and a spark plug in her multi-faith community. She was a neighbor to a Catholic family and they too, have an open house and heart to all people of all faiths. It was uplifting.  Nov. 21
    I also went for my annual prostate checkup and came out with an all clear, as usual. I also popped in to see the orthopedic surgeon to tell him (he wasn’t there so I left a message with is secretary) that I have now reclaimed my bum leg and am 98% happy with it. It is like new, thanks to him. I still wear a knee support when I am working in the garden, which I was, quite heavily, after some nice rains.
     Sundays are almost always with the Zulu community at Savannah Park. They are like sheep without a shepherd if I can’t be there and they are soooo good. They are the church Francis is talking about, the church of the Poor. Nov. 22
   Car blessing; visit to the Auxiliary bishop of Durban re: marriage requirements for my marriage on Jan. 2, 2016; yearly checkup with Dr. Grizic re: prostate—clean bill of health; Take Katrina to lunch on Thanksgiving day—she wanted a Greek restaurant and we found one that was perfect; then to Mala and Ernest for Thanksgiving dinner. Long back, I introduced Katrina to Mala and Ernest (she is a business woman and Ernest is a medical technician specializing in in vitro fertilization—helping women get pregnant when they can’t. (whose fault? Not so clear! Maybe not hers, but low sperm count…) Katrina promises to make the Thanksgiving Dinner. Later, having forgotten this promise, she  was asked by Mala what she would like for Thanksgiving, she said---get this---Macaroni and Cheese. Ha! A first, I believe. So we had what must be the first Thanksgiving Dinner of Macaroni and cheese. Delicious. Some other things too but that was the main meal. This is history. Nov. 26-thanksgising
     All day Friday a funeral of one of our young priests (39 yrs. old), said Mass last Sunday and then dropped dead of a heart attack. You never know. It was a 3 language celebration of his life. English, Zulu (most of the people in the church are Zulu speaking and the people he worked with were Zulu speaking, and Chichirwa, which is the language of Malawi. His mom and some of the family came from Malawi (maybe a 12 hr. drive) for the funeral, and the sermon and later some comforting words were said by priests who came from Malawi or were also working in South Africa. I am sure that it helped to take some of the pain away from such a sad event. Nov. 27
Then comes my birthday, Saturday the 28th of Nov. My friend Shirley (we have been friends since I met her in the hospital at St. Mary’s here at Mariannhill, back in 1967, when she gave birth to her last born son. She later, (after I gave her instructions) became a Catholic. She is now 81 yrs. and just had a hip replacement. It has been our custom, when I am around, that I take her for a meal when it is her birthday and she takes me for a meal when It is my birthday. So it was now her turn and she agreed to take me and Katrina to lunch. She says that she booked the restaurant for 12:30. So Katrina and I got there a bit early only to find that Shirley’s daughter needed some help to find a house in a neighboring suberb. She asked if I knew Westville. Well, that depends, I said, but show me the map (from google maps) where you want to go. When I saw the map, I also saw the street name “ High Wycombe”, a very unusual name. I know it because my friend, Rajes, my travel agent lives on that street and I have been there often and so has Katrina because Rajes was organizing her ticket back to the States. Well, Lynn, needed to get some papers from that place in Westville, so I said, follow me and I will take you there. In the meantime, they refined the lie saying that it was Rajes’ house that they were going to but she was having some sort of a gathering and Katrina also left something with her so Rajes said, never mind, just come and collect what you need and it won’t disturb her gathering.
So, we get there and I think that I might as well pop in to say hello while they are getting their things and then get out and go to our lunch. Ha! As I walk in the door, there are 50 or more people singing, “Happy Birthday to you”. Holy Moses. I have never been so caught off guard in all my 80yrs. here on this earth. What is even more amazing is that I see the two retired bishops that I live with. I had told them that I wouldn’t be home for lunch today and they just played the game and said nothing. The already knew this three weeks before but kept the secret. The same with Neil. He changed my oil filter that morning and I told him I had to get out of there as I was being taken out to lunch. He and his wife just kept straight faces. And now, there they were. Plus people from Johannesburg, and from Landsend, and from Klaarwater, and from Chatsworth, and from Westville, and all over. All I could think is “how did Katrina get all these names and address and emails, etc. She must work for the CIA.
Then she produces a video (on the wall) of clips sent if by people from Switzerland, Germany, London, All over the States, Cape Town, relatives and friends, etc. etc. etc. It blew my mind. She had been working of this for a couple of months and had conned others into joining in this conniving event. Lies, lies, lies. And it was awesome. I still haven’t seen the whole video and I am still trying to recuperate for what was the greatest shock in my life. They didn’t realize that, at my age, I might have even had a heart attack!!! From the shock. It was beautiful. They asked a blessing on my continued life here on earth, and I reminded them that they are my blessing, without them my life would be empty. They were  (you all are) a gift from God to me, and I am the one that must say, over and over and over, many thanks. Nov. 28

 Sunday, 29th, I took Katrina to a village near Mthatha to experience the real life of Africa in a village where, I said, she should learn how to carry things on her head, how to gather fire wood, cook African food, wash clothes in the river (if there is water) etc. etc. etc.
     In the meantime, I took Mona, who is one of Fr. Guy’s boys studying nursing, to his surrogate family at Sabelani home, and spent the evening with them where we had supper together and then paid our respects to the ancestors with a sip of Jack (as in Daniels). A fitting close to a lovely day.
     I have been busy visiting people, partly business (my provincial, insurance company, rent collectors for our project at Bedford) and partly keeping our friendships going. We will leave again on Friday to return to Mariannhill. I have pastoral work to do on Sat. and Sun. and Katrina is preparing an event for her kids at the orphanage and Mona has to get back to work at the hospital.

So that’s it for now.  Dec. 2