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Monday, June 27, 2016

   The last week, from May 16 to May 20, every evening was taken up with something, either visiting families or hearing confessions or attending meetings. Hey, no time for mischief.
    In between I managed to collect some letters from the kids at St. Vincent’s Home, for Katrina, where she spent a year as a volunteer. I think they will make her cry.
    On Sat. the 21st of May, I concelebrated at a memorial Mass for Gerard Gabriel, who passed away suddenly a year ago. The whole family was there, and I knew most of the people since I made contact with the Gabriel family way back in 1967, when those who were there were just kids. Now they are grown up and have their own children and even grandchildren. One of them, Neil Gabriel is a mechanic and he took me home and took the car back to his house (my beautiful little Hyundai Atos 2005) for a service and probably a bit of repainting. I hope that it will be ready when I get back.
    On Sunday morning, departure day, after Mass, Estie Gabriel’s husband, Rami, picked me up and we brought communion to her at St. Augustine’s hospital. I took communion to her at least three times and thought that she was out of the hospital but one things got fixed and then another pitched up, including shingles and then blood clots. So that she was in the hospital for almost three weeks. I pray that she has finally gotten all those things straightened out now.

May 24, 2016
I left Durban Sunday afternoon at about 4pm (taken to the airport by Bishop Khumalo) and got the Joburg just after 5pm.
    Then I caught an overnight flight to London that left about 9pm and got into London just after 7am. Boykie and Pat were there to fetch me after I had gone through border control. That took over an hour and it seemed as though there were about 2 million visitors to go through the border.
    We came to their home about an hour’s drive from Heathrow Airport and off loaded my luggage and then headed for Brighton to meet Pat’s sister, Norita. We sat near the beach (all stones, not like South Africa) and had fish and chips for lunch. Delicious. Then we took Norita home and went back to Boykie and Pat’s place.
     I had not slept well on the plane to London, 11 ½ hr. flight, so I was tired. I asked to hit the sack since my eyes were closing on their own, and went to bed at 4:30. I got up at 6:30 to empty my bladder and went back to bed and slept till 11:30pm when I had a wee again. Then back to bed till 5:30 this morning. 11 hrs. Holy Moses. When did that ever happen before. But now I am ready for action. I am in their hands for the next two days and will then visit another family and friends with whom I worked or had a parishioners in Africa many yrs. ago. So far so good.  Cas.

May 26th, 2016 (Thursday)
      I managed to visit several people whom I love and have connections with and today was brought to the last family I will be visiting before heading for the States on Saturday. Pat and Boykie have been lovely hosts and made me feel totally at home.  I miss them all, but I feel rejuvenated after seeing them and sharing life with them even for those few days. I will end here. We are having trouble with the internet getting the right WiFi. It may be out till I arrive in the States. We shall see. Keep well you all. I love you muchly. Cas.

June 21, 2016 (Tuesday)
    I have been on the road now for almost a month. I have connected with friends in the UK on the way to the States. I left  SA, on May 22th and arrived in London on the 27th, a Monday. I was hosted by friends from our Africa days till the 28th, a Saturday, when I left for the States ---London to Philadelphia to Charlotte, NC.
I was welcomed at the airport by my beloved Katrina and her mom, Ann.  Lots of hugs and kisses. They took my to my brother and sister in law’s in Greensboro. We had a family Mass that Sunday and spent the day together before some left to get back to work at Aiken, SC. Where Ann is a doctor. They left the car they had brought up for my use with my brother. I have a marvelous family and can’t thank God enough for them. I don’t think I can ever appreciate how much they go out of their way to do everything for me, making sacrifices I don’t even know of. They are great.
    We visited a few friends and then I set out on my great trek around the States and Canada. First stop, my cousin Ken and his wife Stacy in Ocean Pines, MD.

June 27, 2016.
     Hey, I think that you are just going to have to give me a break. I am enjoying this tooooo much. If you check the itinerary, you will see where I am day by day. I am up to 27t h June. I will be with my brother Bill and his wife Marci tonight. It has been pretty much like clockwork. I think that the highlight has been (there are many but this is the biggest one) my visit to my sister who is in a care home. She was caught off guard by surprise and we were able to spend most of the morning together. She has (it is a part of her sickness) a negative view of life and feels that she is in this place because her family doesn’t want her. I explained that this was the best place for her because she is looked after 24/7. Wherever she stayed, often there would be no one at home and the family, because they love her soooo much, was worried that something could happen while they are away (working) and she was alone and that is why they were willing to organize a beautiful place for her knowing that she was well looked after. She is in a wheel chair and can’t walk without help. But she looked much better than when I saw her last time (2012). That made me very happy and I could give her some really good hugs and even a kiss to let her know that I really do love her very very much.
    I will let you know how things are going from time to time but now I want to take a break and phone some people who may be expecting me this week just to let them know, that, yes, I will be there.

Love and Peace, Cas.