Thursday, August 29, 2019

And Off They Go!

I bid goodbye yesterday to these three loves of mine as they headed down to Ave Maria, FL. Michael called last night to let me know they arrived and are super-excited. Dagny has orientation today and Max, being a returning student, will check in over the weekend. The earlier the better. I see, another, unwelcome guest--Dorian! Not again. I hope and pray for all in Dorian's path to remain safe.

We've had a wonderful time together and with their friends, old and new, though it was much too short. Ah time, it just keeps marching forward!   


I got teary tidying up the kids' rooms and doing their laundry, but so happy they get to grow not only intellectually, but also in their faith. We are thankful for the scholarships they've received in support of Catholic education. I'm doing the usual--praying, reading, writing, singing, cat-watching, dog-walking. The critters (aren't they pretty though?) are decimating our garden but we've had a good crop. There's enough for everybody. The peppers are still bountiful.

A picture of calm, no? St. John the Baptist, patron of my blog, pray for us. 

Friday, August 23, 2019

A Literary Pilgrimage

I lamented a few years ago about missing Flannery, not being able to stop at Milledgeville, GA on our way to Memphis to see my brother. With our little Latin choir on a month-long break (a marriage, a new baby, a 25th anniversary) we thought to take a trip because our kids would be home to care for the pets and plants. It'd also be the first time we'd be celebrating without them--yes we are getting used to being just-the-two-of-us and it's lovely :)

When I suggested a literary pilgrimage to Flannery's homes in Savannah and Milledgeville, Michael was completely on board. Just the previous year he'd read some of her stories and discussed them in the Friday morning Men's group Msgr. McInerny runs. What a joy for us to be in her home, see her things, go to hear Mass where she did (every day). I am quite sure she is a saint in heaven now and asked her to pray for us.

Savannah was simply beautiful--a lot like Charleston, really. I suspect we'll be back for day trips and Flannery fixes. And the Cathedral is called the Sistine of the South. And rightly so. I enjoyed the drive up to Milledgeville along the country roads, holding hands with my love. Learned some of M'ville's history on a trolley tour. It was once the capital of Georgia.

Georgia Military College and St. Stephen's Episcopal Church were two of my favorite places. The roof of the church is like an upside-down boat and the remains of some are interred in the church itself (very much an ancient Catholic tradition)--note the coffin below the pipes!  

I was captivated by these curved stairs (marvelous engineering and workmanship) and the dollhouse of the Brown-Sanford house--I would've loved to spend more time in that child's room playing. Alas, I did the grown up thing and took a picture.

After the history lesson, we were finally ready to visit Andalusia, the farm where Flannery wrote most of her stories. She thought she'd have to leave to write, but her illness--lupus--forced her back home, where she arranged her routine thusly: upon waking, reading from her breviary, having coffee with her mother, then heading to Sacred Heart Catholic Church for daily Mass. Breakfast upon their return and writing from nine to noon. She'd be tired and so retired for a nap, but she'd receive visitors in the afternoon. And if not visiting, she'd be writing letters, painting, or tending to her birds. In the evening, reading again. You can see how much of her life and observations are in her stories when you visit M'ville. Her characters too :)  


I cannot express to you how moving it was to be in the room where she spent much of her time--reading, writing, sleeping, suffering. Michael and I both instinctively clasped our hands to offer a prayer for her. She's taught me so much, especially Romans 5:20 Where sin abounded, grace abounded all the more
Her stories are violent and most people have a strong reaction to them--you'll either love them or hate them. I first discovered her writing when someone said my short story, Driving Lessons, was like hers. Not knowing her work I decided to read a couple of stories. I thought them strange and unsettling. I returned the book to the library. Fast forward a few years--after our conversion I remembered her stories (they are unforgettable!) and a lightbulb went on in my head. Grace! It's all about grace. Since then I've read many of her stories, her letters, her essays, my favorite being Mystery and Manners. I'm really enjoying the book of her cartoons right now. Each is a witty gem. Did you know she thought she might be a political cartoonist before she shifted to stories? I wonder what she'd say about our times. I'm sure the people whom she'd satirize would squirm.

It was so lovely to hear Mass at Sacred Heart on Friday afternoon along with a couple dozen young people. A young lady on crutches clomped up to the first pew on the left and I wondered then where Flannery and her mother sat--perhaps on the same pew where we did? The priest offered a beautiful Mass and preached on Christian marriage (the Gospel was about divorce and why Moses allowed it, but from the beginning it was not so, begins our Lord). I felt so complete right there with Michael, both of us in love with each other and with Jesus. It really does take Three to Get Married! On our way home we stopped by the beautiful and peaceful cemetery. Requiescat in pace, dear Mary Flannery.  

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Local Friends

Local friends, If you or anybody you know would like some of these school books or sports stuff, contact me. Most items are for $20 except for APChem and the Genesis set (I'll take $80 for them). Let me know. And thanks.


Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Summer Reading

I suppose I'm late in posting this since school started this week but here are my picks published in the STAR. I'll miss working with Joe Benton but he's retiring after nearly two decades as editor. I've enjoyed his reminiscences so very much and I hope one day will write a memoir, accompanied with his beautiful photographs.

We still have a week more with the kids--so happy they won't be starting until Sept. (a first since we moved to SC). They're organizing and listening to our old albums--remember these ancient things?