As you might imagine, when I am not preoccupied with a varying array of family matters, I have been quite busy filling these dreary, cold, endless Ohio winter days poring over an assortment of political articles. The truly annoying part of being somewhat of an OCD personality, is that even when I am fully aware that the more that I learn about the problems in our government and in our culture the more distressed I become…….I still feel compelled to know more of that which makes me anxious! LOL……clearly, I am a certifiable “nut”!! Now why am I envisioning Crick peeking through the Ohio clouds with a huge grin on his face???!!!
Speaking of the devil :)……the grandchildren celebrated his birthday by once again writing messages to Crick on individual balloons and then, at nightfall, sending them up into the sky. They all seem to look forward to this now annual birthday remembrance as a comforting acknowledgement of his presence still among us. Their messages called to mind not only a mutual love, but also the teasing brand of humor he foisted upon them, as well as an appreciation of the moon, the stars and the planets which he, via his telescope, so often shared with them. I often wonder what life would be like around this house on TGIFriday afternoons if Crick were here to add to the chaos (somewhat of a terrifying image……picturing him lying on the floor in the middle of the living room while he has a slew of grandkids walking on his back, giggling and screaming, falling all over each other while I watch and wait for the inevitable injury to take place!!!). I must admit that I have witnessed some of his rambunctious, teasing, provocative nature in more than one of his grandchildren, so perhaps, he has been channeling them from beyond just to keep ME on my toes!! It has been a challenge, at times, this winter to find indoor activities that will entertain such a diverse age group. Therefore, in an attempt to tap into the creative side of a couple of the grandkids who have shown a particular aptitude for resourcefulness, I handed them a camera and a tripod and sent them down to the TV room (better known around here as the “basement” (which I consider one step up from being designated a “cellar” for it does contain a carpet, a sofa and a TV!!) and challenged them to produce a video. This met with resounding success as they spent the better part of two Friday afternoons pulling it all together. I was invited to a preview this past week as Luke was preparing to edit some scenes and I have to give them credit….a few of those scenes showed some interesting creativity!!! LOL
On another Friday, when things were starting to “heat up” (if you catch my drift), I separated a few of them by sitting them down with papers and pencils and proposed that they draw blueprints of their dream home. From these few samples, you can see which amenities figured most prominently in their design features!
While the sports enthusiasts among us are currently engrossed in my most favorite of all sports’ seasons……..college basketball………we here in Ohio are still savoring the ever so sweet victory of the football Bucks over the Ducks in the NCAA National Championship Play-Off. Bobby put together an impromptu play-off pool for the family for which there was no entry fee (he probably figured he would never see the money anyway!! ha, ha). He did, moreover, generously offer to supply the first, second, and third prize winners with OSU sportswear, and he even awarded a “booby” prize (courtesy of Clark cousin, Mary) to the last place “winner”….. Christine!!!! (As publisher of this blog, I hereby grant myself bragging rights to note that my entry came in second, narrowly missing the first place prize to niece, Tori!!)
I was recently asked to join our Immaculate Conception Parish’s Centennial Committee in preparation for the 100 anniversary of the Consecration of the church which will be celebrated in 2016. I suppose they were looking for “older” parishioners who had a long history at I.C. I qualified on both counts!!! Since Jimmy began 1st grade at I.C. in the fall of 1953 through today, the Clark family has had an unbroken succession of family members attending the school. And so, in pursuit of memorabilia to provide the committee, I have been delving back into the “archives” of photos which are currently stored haphazardly in numerous unmarked plastic containers (my one concession a few years ago to “organizing” pictures was to move them from cardboard shoe boxes to plastic containers!!!). I am slowly scanning some of these photos, but I have simply transferred the disorganization to my laptop…..the only concession I made to organizing on the computer is that they are uploaded into folders according to the month that I scanned them……..I know, I know…….a very poor system. The reason I am giving you this back story is to showcase this gem I discovered from my kindergarten days at Glenmont Elementary. I discovered that I have saved every report card from kindergarten through my junior year in high school…..for some reason, I have not found the one from my senior year……not sure why it would be missing as that should have been a “good” year for me as I didn’t have to take a math course!!! Anyway, it was my kindergarten report card that really caught my eye, particularly the “days absent” report. Newly enlightened, I now realize that truly the apple does not fall far from the tree!! To further explain……as pre-school was not prevalent back in the 70’s, kindergarten was for many children, a brand new away from home experience. Of our four kids, Megan and Stephanie were the most resistant (a.k.a terrified/willful LOL) to the idea of being away from home for even a few hours…..I remember chasing Megan around an old air hockey table we once owned and just when I thought I had her in my grasp, she broke away and scrambled underneath and sat in the middle of the table until I got down on all fours and crawled after her. Having observed the trauma of watching Megan’s failure to elude going to school, Stephanie tried a different tactic………she waited until it was time to get out of the car (in front of countless Moms whose children were all sweetness and smiles as they waited patiently in line!) and then she would begin to cry profusely and endlessly, her eyes spewing huge crocodile tears, her face turning ever-changing colors of pink and red as she clung with death-like tenacity to my hand/arm/leg/jacket. All the while, I am struggling to get her to steps of the school so that her long-suffering teacher could help to pry her away from me and proceed with the “well parented” children into the classroom. Now I suppose Jenn, Meg, Steph and Chris will read this and swear that their real fear of school came only from a sense of panic and dread that when the school bell rang at the end of the day, they would be left standing in the school yard as the last, lone, forgotten student. I will therefore confess that on a few occasions, I was just a wee bit late in returning to school to pick them up. But sheesh……their teachers always managed to persuade them (often with a reassuring lollipop) that their Mom always, always, always came back to get them!!
This past month the Schultheis card group managed to get together for another fun-filled evening of poker and……..my family favorite……..”pass the trash”. Judy and Bill came up from Cincinnati for the evening and per usual, they cleaned us all out and then left for home!! Bill’s presence certainly helps to fill the void that our little card group feels without the “Hardy Boys” (Crick and Mark) around…….poor Jay……those two left him stuck with all the women!!
There is definitely nothing quite like family and friends to soothe our weary minds and souls…….whenever I am feeling tired, down, stressed or out-of-sorts, I know I am only a phone call or a card game (LOL) away from those who are always ready to fill my “glass half-empty” to overflowing with their laughter, their encouragement, and most of all, their love.
This curiously ties right into one of the readings at Mass today and the homily given by our good friend, Bud who happens to be the Deacon of our parish. I couldn’t help but feel a sense of unanimity with the Scripture passage of Job 7: 3-7
I have months of futility assigned to me, nights of suffering to be my lot. Lying in bed I wonder, ‘When will it be day?’ No sooner up than, ‘When will evening come?’ And crazy thoughts obsess me till twilight falls. Swifter than a weaver’s shuttle my days have passed, and vanished, leaving no hope behind. Remember that my life is but a breath, and that my eyes will never again see joy.
Obviously, Job did not have the benefit of Crick shaking him out of his despair by his single pronouncement to, “Just be glad that you were able to wake up and put two feet on the floor”! Job did however, and more importantly, have his faith and while it was constantly and severely tested by Satan as the 42 chapters of Job reveal; Job eventually learned to continue to trust God to provide what He thinks is best and in whatever time He chooses. This kind of trusting, however, did not come naturally to Job. It was for him a spiritual crisis of the will in which Job had to consciously choose to exercise his faith. Bud explained that in the exercise of our faith, we can choose either the almost despairing attitude of Job reflected in this chapter, or we can choose to embrace the philosophy championed in a poem from which he read the following:
The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company…a church….a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past…we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude…I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you…we are in charge of our attitudes. Charles R Swindoll
Do you suppose that Crick felt that he had been living, for all of our married years, with a modern-day Job???? Do you suppose he is wondering when he is going to be proclaimed a saint???? Was he channeling Bud from beyond today to read the poem, Attitude???? Is that why I had the feeling at Mass that “someone’s” eyes were burning a hole in my head???? Was he channeling me from beyond and that is that why I had a dream about him last night???? Uummmmmmmm
Questions to ponder…………TNT