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Wednesday, March 8, 2017

March 8, 2017
Really not much has been happening to tell about. Pretty normal.
I have been back and forth to St. Francis College to try to get a child that has serious Diabetes, but , because of her condition (Grade 8), most hostels are reluctant to take her. She can have and episode at any time. Thank goodness, her mom found a place not far from where she lives and works in Durban.
    There are several students who have approached me for help to pay off their student loans. They can’t move forward or are not given their results unless they pay up. You guys have helped a lot with your donations. Without an education, there is just no hope. Even with an education it is not easy.
     I spent a lot of time getting quotations for the jumper cables and electric tire pump, but don’t think that the insurance is interested. We shall see.
    Do you remember when we were kids how the sisters would make us protect our books with wrapping paper. Well, I did one of those on my SA  ID. It was in tatters and I just recalled my old skills and used an old paper bag to do the trick. Like new. Except for the picture. I am afraid to show it. It looks as though I just walked out of an Al Kaida training camp. Angry, and a kind of get-out-of –my-way look, or I’ll make you history. Ha. Must have gotten up on the wrong side of the bed that day.
     I had Mass on Sun. the 26th at an Indian Parish called Our Lady of Vailankanni. It was the 40th day remembrance of the death of Neil Gabriel, the one who passed away a few hours after fixing my brake light. It was the ordinary parish mass with a special remembrance of him. A lunch was served by the family afterwards. I met his wife and daughters who are still trying to absorb his passing. He was never sick a day in his life, never been in the hospital, never saw a doctor. I guess it emphasizes the need to remember the old Boy / Girls Scouts’ motto…always be prepared.
    Because I feel so vulnerable now, the car standing outside in front of our house, I had an alarm put in and an immobilizer. I used some of the money that you had given for the needs of the poor. I hope that that is OK with you all.
    Once the Insurance company approved of it, I had another radio fitted in that has a built in hands free. Wow. Not only that but I can now pretend to be a taxi, pull up along side some innocent driver, and, with my window open, turn up the volume and blast him sideways against the curb. Ha. It is toooo powerful.
     I had two masses on Ash Wednesday, one at the hospital (full crowd but not that many Catholics, but they all came up to receive the ashes) and the other at Savannah park around 6:30 when people get off of work. That was also crowded. Even a good number of men. Holy Moses.
     On Feb. 2nd, day after Ash Wednesday, we had a special Mass at the hospital in remembrance of one of our priests, Fr. Engelmar Unzeitig, who died of typhus in Dachau. He is considered a martyr because he volunteered to look after the inmates who had typhus, caught it himself, and died, shortly before they were liberated. He was made a blessed a few months ago, the last step before being canonized. We are asking him to look after Fr. Guy and use his influence on the Lord to restore his health and get rid of his cancer. I hope he is listening.
     I also, finally, picked up some jumper cables  and then later an electric pump (this one you connect to the battery). Both necessary if you are traveling in the bush.
     Sat, March 4th, was the feast of St. Casimir, we say, my feast day. No big fuss because it is in lent. My bad luck. However, I gave myself an exemption and had a glass of Scotch that evening to celebrate. I don’t’ think the Lord minded.
     Also, on that day, Bishop Lobinger , a fellow 89yr. old inhabitant of our old folk’s home took me to a place called Giba Gorge, about 20 minutes from here on a part of what used to be the original Mariannhill Farm. Amazing. This is where they have the bicycle jumps and there are also a few firms operating there. I have been around here for 50 yrs. and had no clue that it was there. Google it, GIBA GORGE, South Africa, and see what you get. If you come this way, I will take you there and we can have a glass of wine and some delicious home made pizza.
     I have been doing a lot of work in our garden (If I can find a way to attach a picture of two I will do it). It is more a wilderness than a garden. I gave up cutting the grass for the time being till I can get things more under control there. Lots of work with a bush knife and huge clippers, and, occasionally the axe and pick, to dig out the left over small stumps that kill the weed eater ‘cause you can’t see them in the thick grass. But it has been really hot, late 89’s and 90’s even up to 99F. Plus the humidity. I hang the shirt on the back porch to dry out in the sun and wind.
     I have been bothered with my left knee which complains if you don’t treat it right. It is willing to work but lets you know that it is tired. The right knee seems to be as good as new. So today  I went to see the Orthopedic surgeon to ask him what’s happening. He had me get an x-ray, and then discovered that the cartilage between the two big bones is completely gone. ( I guess that I am starting to fall apart) so the bone is grinding on the other bone. I said I don’t really feel unbearable pain but I just know that something isn’t right. He said that he can go up with a scope and some other instrument to clean out the debris ( like sawdust, or detritus from the grinding) and make it nice again for a while. Maybe it will last a couple of years. Then he showed me the artificial knee that they put in for those whose knee is totally finished. Holy Moses. It is all ready to go. All you have to do it to connect the top part to the upper bone and the bottom part to the bottom bone and bob’s your uncle. All the rest is pre-made. But lot’s of work and bloody expensive.
     Because of the longevity of my family  (grandpa died at 97 and my aunt Rose in Chicago celebrated her 90th birthday last month. She’s the one who Skypes me and also send an email, sent, as she says, from my I-Pad.) At least  I know now what is happening with the knee. We shall see as time goes on. I still have lots of work to do and the doctors say to go for it, but to let him know when the pain (there is no real pain now, just a kind of discomfort) gets too much and then he will do his thing, but not the replacement, YET.
      One of these days I will get around to letting you know who you all helped and how much we spent helping people in different ways as the economy is really killing. Among other things, we were able to help a family get off the hook with a huge water bill. I am sure that the meter was never read but the bill was just a thumb suck.
     So , that is life. I will try to be a bit more faithful with this blog in the future, but I am sure that my way to hell is paved over with years and years of good intentions.
     We are slowly but surely heading for winter. It is dark now when I go for Mass to the hospital, but still very hot.
     Oh, I have been reading a few books. “Man’s search for  Meaning” by Victor Frankl, a Psychiatrist who managed to survive a concentration camp, and  a book by Kuebler Ross, of Death and Dying fame. I am using some of her things in my sermons. She was a fantastic woman. I have two other books that I am going through at the moment, when I get time.
     Oh, one last thing, very unusual. It was very very hot last Sunday, so after I came back from my Mass at Savannah Park, I rested for while (it was after lunch) and I had no energy at all. I t was just sucked out of me by the heat. So I went down to the TV room and watched two Rugby games then got into some movies and was touched by a movie named War Room. Kind of religiousy but not overdone I thought, and I was surprised that our secular society would even allow such a film to be shown. You just never know.
    Stay well till next time. Cas.