It's Still Better This Than Purgatory (or Worse!) in 2008, part 2
by Thomas A. Droleskey
Following our arrival back from Ohio on that chilly, frosty morning of Thursday, January 3, 2008, we battened down the hatches for what we knew was going to be a long winter in Connecticut. The difficulties we experienced were many. Some were most comical. Each, however, was accepted as coming from the very hand of God Himself, Who fashions each of our crosses so that they will fit us perfectly for us to be given back to Him through the Most Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of His Blessed Mother. We are grateful for each of the crosses we encountered in the cold, snowy winter months in Connecticut, happy to make the sacrifices that we were called upon to make in order to give our daughter the benefit of the school where she has been enrolled.
Getting the Bugs Out Is Easier Said Than Done
Following a most wonderful Epiphany party for the children of the school that Lucy is attending on Saturday, January 5, 2008, we had to take the motor home back down to Tag Motors on Route 112 in Medford, Long Island, New York, to get our new fresh water tank installed. Lucy was feeling a bit under the weather that day and thus wound up coming down with us to Long Island, which eased my own mind quite a lot as I knew that it would have been very difficult for me to get back up to Connecticut with the motor home in time to pick up Lucy from school. It was good to have the family together for our jaunt down to Long Island, which will always remain my "native place" no matter the fact that we cannot afford to live there and that there is no place at which we could assist at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and receive Holy Communion. We're not all that far away from Long Island in Connecticut, only a veritable "hop, skip and a jump" away from getting a week's supply of real bagels (Bagel Boss, you're the boss of bagels, that's for sure--they spill more onions and garlic and sesame and poppy seeds and salt on an everything bagel than the fraudulent kind found in Connecticut, or anywhere else in the nation for that matter) and good cookies from real Italian bakeries for my cookie mavens, Sharon and Lucy.
As the motor home's Blue Ox tow bar had one of its locks fly off when I was trying to detach the car in really biting weather on Thursday, January 3, 2008, Sharon drove Lucy down in the Trail Blazer as I led in the motor home down the 108 miles from Monroe, Connecticut, to Tag Motors. The trip would be a lot more direct if there was a bridge across Long Island Sound from Bridgeport, Connecticut, to Port Jefferson, New York. Indeed, a 108 mile trip would be cut to only forty-five miles or so (thirteen miles from Monroe to the Bridgeport-Port Jefferson ferry, fifteen miles across Long Island Sound, fifteen miles to Tag Motors from Port Jefferson). I seem to recall writing a 408-page doctoral dissertation on citizen opposition to the Oyster Bay-Rye Bridge about thirty-one years ago now. Time and circumstances can change one's perspective. I am now in favor of building a bridge across Long Island Sound! Enough of having to travel sixty miles south and another forty-eight miles west to complete a trip that should take less than an hour by the way a crow flies. For the time being, however, one must accept the penance of driving on the Connecticut Turnpike and on the fabled Long Island Expressway, on which I have spent a good deal of the waking hours of my life, and offer it all up to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus through the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary.
Although I was a little concerned about the problem we had had with the transmission fluid five days before as we were driving from Ohio back to Connecticut, there were no problems encountered on the drive down to Long Island. We arrived at Tag Motors around 10:45 a.m. on Monday, January 7, 2008. Doug, Tag Motor's expert motor home repairman, was all prepared for us. Unlike the experience we had on Friday, November 23, 2007, the fresh water tank this time was the correct one. Fresh water was to be ours from our own tank once again. We would not have to worry about freezing temperatures (well, not most of the time, that is) stopping our supply of water. Although Doug had explanation as to why the old fresh water tank cracked (it was not, as I thought, scraped on the roadbed of a street being regraded in Lafayette, Louisiana, in March of 2007; the unit sits atop the motor home's in-built propane tank, never touching the ground at all), he said that the new one should last for a little while. The one that got replaced was installed in early-2003, and that one was the second replacement that had been installed in the motor home since we purchased it new on July 12, 2001, in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I also asked Doug to see if he could check the level of the transmission fluid so that the problem we had experienced five days before we drove back from Ohio to Connecticut would not reoccur. He said that he would do so, although he was not sure if he had a funnel that would fit under the hood of the motor home.
We did a few errands and got a quick bite to eat at Majors Steakhouse in Woodbury, Long Island, before getting word around 2:00 p.m. that the motor home was ready to be picked up. We were hit with the bill upon our arrival: $706.07. Ouch. All to thee, Blessed Mother. All to thy Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. Jesus, Mary and Joseph, we love you. Save souls. I had estimated that the cost would be around $600, including the labor for the removal of the old water tank on November 23, 2007. Homeowners sometimes have to deal with burst water pipes that are connected to city water systems. Other homeowners have to dig new water wells when their old wells run dry (as happened at my family's home in Oyster Bay Cove on my fifteenth birthday, Thursday, November 24, 1966). We have to deal with fresh water tanks. It's all dust. It's all a path to get home to Heaven if we persist by the graces sent to us by God through the loving hands of His Most Blessed Mother, Mediatrix of All Graces, in states of Sanctifying Grace.
As it turned out, though, Doug at Tag Motors could not put transmission fluid into the transmission. He had no funnel that would fit under the hood of the motor home. He was able to repair the lock on the tow bar, which permitted me to attach the Trail Blazer to the motor home for the ride back up to Connecticut. All appeared to be set for a smooth trip back up to the Nutmeg State. Appearances can be deceiving. Indeed, I told Sharon one of our running "inside" jokes, "Honey, I think we've got all the bugs out of this thing now." Getting the bugs out is easier said than done. God's greater honor and glory and our sanctification demand patience as we deal with the crosses that are sent our way each day.
The Return of the Transmission Problem
We drove north on Route 112 after I hooked up the Trail Blazer to the motor home. The engine light symbol started to light on the dashboard soon after we started off on our way. As you may recall from
It's Still Better This Than Purgatory (or Worse!) in 2008, part 1, I learned in Ohio on Wednesday, January 2, 2008, the Feast of the Holy Name, that that engine light serves a dual function. It warns about low engine oil and low transmission fluid without making any differentiation whatsoever. This time, however, I knew it was the transmission acting up again. Oh, how I hoped that the problem we had encountered five days before would just "go away." Yes, there are times when I am a complete positivist, convincing myself that a situation that needs to be addressed will resolve itself all on its own. The problem with the motor home's transmission, which I convinced myself was only a matter of a broken line or a broken pan gasket that permitted transmission fluid to leak out as we were driving, reared its no-so-friendly little head again around 3:30 p.m. on Monday, January 7, 2008, on New York State Route 112 in Medford, New York.
The motor home would not budge once I had pulled it off to the side of the very busy roadway. Having to deal with the awkward positioning of the transmission fluid line under the hood of the motor home was as difficult in broad daylight as it had been at that rest area on Interstate 76 east of Akron, Ohio, five days before. We had no funnel that would fit under the hood the motor home comfortably in order for there to be a spill-free delivery of transmission fluid into the transmission line. Managing to get some sort of leather gloves thoroughly soaked with transmission fluid, I used Sharon's homemade paper funnel contraption once again to get a little bit of transmission fluid into the line. This permitted us to move a short while before I found a gasoline station on Route 112 where I could purchase more transmission fluid and then attempt to pour it successfully into the transmission line.
The Mohammedan men at the gasoline station were not pleased that I had parked our motor home/Trail Blazer combination in their tiny station right by one of the pumps. We had no need of purchasing gasoline, thus being seen as depriving the station of sales as I attempted to pour the transmission fluid into the fill line. One of the excited Mohammedans simply told to me leave, pointing to an automobile parts store on Route 112 just south of the Long Island Expressway. I told him that I'd be happy to get there to find the proper funnel to use to get us on our way again. I wasn't sure that I had put enough of the transmission fluid into the fill line at his station to permit the unit to drive off of the lot We prayed and prayed and prayed. The motor home moved, coming to a rest just across the street from the auto parts store in Medford.
The transmission line is located next to engine oil line, which is capped by a cap with yellow symbols and the word "oil" on it, above.
The next thing that I had to do was to cross a busy four lane roadway during rush hour traffic. It was after I assayed the situation that I came to the firm conclusion that it would quite fitting for me to make an Act of Contrition before I attempted to cross the thoroughfare. My running days are long behind me. I no longer sprint very well. It was all I could do to beat some cars across the four lanes, at least one of which was driven by a madman who seemed as though he accelerated as I was crossing the roadway.
The scene on Route 112, Medford, New York, just south of the Long Island Expressway, January 7, 2008.
Returning with the funnels, Monday, January 7, 2008.
An assortment of funnels was purchased at the auto parts store. I could not tell which one, if any, was going to work. Making yet another Act of Contrition, I raced back across the four lanes of New York State Route 112 and then had to deal with the pouring of the transmission fluid into the fill line. One of the funnels had a flexible plastic tube that was a perfect fit into the fill line. The funnel itself was just too big to fit squarely under the hood of the motor home, causing it to be angled as I poured the transmission fluid into it. Some spilled out as I was holding the funnel with my left hand and pouring with my right hand. Let's put it to you this way: I'm never going to make the cover of Popular Mechanics. I did the best that I could with my little mechanical know-how, praying that the transmission would not give us any more problems as we drove back up to Connecticut. It didn't. The radiator fluid did.
Steaming Our Way Back to Connecticut
We had no sooner turned onto the service road of the Long Island Expressway at Exit 64 than the thermostat gauge for the engine began to show that the engine itself was overheating. "What now?" I asked Sharon. "What now?" In unison--and accompanied by Lucy--we said, "All to thee, Blessed Mother. All to thy Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, we love you. Save souls."
I had to stop the motor home once again and check under the hood, discovering that the reservoir tank for the engine cooling fluid was bone dry. Did we have a water pump problem? Was there a leaking hose? Was there a problem with the radiator (and there are five radiators, I discovered the next day, in our motor home's engine compartment)? Were were going to be stuck on Long Island as the motor home was towed off for repairs?
The reservoir tank for the radiator coolant was--surprise, surprise--in a most awkward position. The tank had been strapped into place with a plastic zip tie by Mr. Bob Mueller of Saint Hugh of Lincoln Church in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, after the motor home overheated on Interstate 94 about thirty miles west of downtown Milwaukee on Sunday, April 29, 2007. The problem at that time was that a mechanic at the Ford dealership in Peotone, Illinois, that installed the motor home's new engine just two days before did not clamp one of the radiator hoses properly to the radiator. Mr. Mueller had to cut the existing plastic zip and replace it with another to secure the tank in its place. Well, I had no replacement plastic zip tie with which to secure the reservoir tank if I had been able to cut apart the one that held it in place on Monday, January 7, 2008, thus being forced to pour as much radiator coolant fluid as possible into the tank. It took me about thirty minutes to deal with this mess that had been fashioned for me from all eternity to give honor and glory to God through the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of His Most Blessed Mother.
Very little clearance for the radiator coolant reservoir tank!
We resumed our trip, encountering no further problems on the Long Island Expressway with the transmission or the suddenly occurring overheating engine. It was not until we got across the Throgs Neck Bridge and were traveling on that part of Interstate 95 called the New England Thruway (which is technically called the New England portion of the New York State Thruway these days) in "da Bronx," the native borough of Lucy's morning teacher, Sister Mary Philomena Therese, O.P., that the thermostat gauge, which I was monitoring closely, began to edge up near the "red zone" once again. "Oh, no," I said to myself. "Not in the Bronx. Please, dear Blessed Mother, get us into Westchester County, at least. And it was at the New Rochelle toll barrier that I was able to pull over and attempt to pour more radiator coolant into the reservoir tank, stopping again at mile marker 12 on the Connecticut Turnpike to get gasoline and to get more radiator coolant.
The trip back took about four hours. I was grateful to Our Lord and His Most Blessed Mother and Saint Christopher and Saint Raphael and each of our own Guardian Angels and Patron Saints for getting us back without being stranded overnight somewhere without the motor home, which did not give any indication of overheating after that "pit stop" on the Connecticut Turnpike.
Adventures in Dumping
We had hoped not to have to take the motor home back on the road the next day, Tuesday, January 8, 2008. We had to do a waste water dump. The only facility on Long Island (at Smith Point Park on Fire Island) that was open for such a dump was just inaccessible given the mechanical problems (and would have been just too far out of our way if we had not had the problems). Not wanting to drive the motor home any great distance without having a mechanic look at the thing (our landlord has an employee or two familiar with engines), it was time, I decided, to put "Blue Boy" to use. What is "Blue Boy"?
Blue Boy is a blue receptacle that can hold up to thirty gallons of waste water. It is used principally in campgrounds which do not have dumps at each site, forcing campers to move their motor homes or fifth wheels or trailers every few days to a main dump station. I figured, badly, as it turned out, that we could use Blue Boy to keep the motor home in one place, driving it instead of the motor home to a dump site. What I did not realize until I read the instructions, however, was that Blue Boy latches onto the trailer hitch of a vehicle and can be drove no more than a few yards at a speed of no more than five miles per hour. I discovered this when attempting to buy a hitch for our Trail Blazer, which gets towed a lot (and which towing, it appears, is principally responsible for the front end damage that is being repaired as this installment in these travelogues is being written) but has never towed anything despite having a built-in receiver for a tow hitch. Upon showing the hook that was connect to Blue Boy to a trailer hitch that I was just about to purchase at an automobile parts store in Connecticut I discovered that there was nothing to hold the hook in place at high speeds. We were then forced into taking the motor home back on the road, something that I really did not want to do after the experiences of the preceding day.
Steeling myself for the twenty-five mile trip to the dump station off of Exit 2 of the eastbound lanes of Interstate 84 in Connecticut, I tried to fill up the radiator coolant reservoir tank once again as best I could. There was one little detail that I forgot, however: to replace the cap of the reservoir tank! This caused a few problems as we attempted to drive to do our dump, a weekly exercise that was a little challenging considering that almost every campground and dumpsite within one hundred miles was closed shut.
Indeed, we drove about five miles before motor home's engine began steaming very badly. I pulled into a gasoline station, trying to converse with a native born citizen who seemed to be unable to speak without using three expletives in a row. Although recognizing that he could beat me into a bloody pulp, I did tell him not to take God's Holy Name in vain, whereupon he said that he was a fallen away Catholic who had "found Jesus" in some Protestant sect. I conversed with him for a little while after he cleaned up his language. We gave him a blessed Green Scapular as he put a makeshift cover on the radiator coolant reservoir tank to prevent more fluid from leaking out on our return home, which was most adventurous as the motor home attempted to climb a steep hill onto the property where are parked.
Having no choice in the matter, I had to put "Blue Boy" into action to release some of the contents of the holding tanks until we could get the motor home running without overheating. Our landlord dealt with trucking Blue Boy to his septic tank, later helping us with the radiator problem, which he thought was caused by the reservoir tank cap having gone bad, something that he said happens now and again. The problem was, we found out when the transmission died on Interstate 80 in Pennsylvania on Saturday of Passion Week, March 15, 2008, a broken line, although there were no further manifestations of the overheating even though that line was still, it appears, leaking radiator coolant. All to thee, Blessed Mother. All to thy Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. Jesus, Mary and Joseph, we love you. Save souls.
Our next adventure in dumping came six days later as Lucy had off from school on Monday, January 14, 2008, because of a snow day. We had to take the motor home, which showed no signs of transmission difficulty or of the engine's overheating again, to do our weekly (sometimes bi-weekly) dump. Upon arriving at the rest area at Exit 2 of the eastbound lanes of Interstate 84 in Connecticut, however, I discovered that the dump station was closed for until April. A printed sheet instructed those desiring to use a dump facility to travel to a rest area at mile marker 42 of the eastbound lanes. It was thus our goal after that point to drive the forty miles to that particular rest area to complete our weekly chore (which requires Sharon to pack up the contents of the motor home inside of the cabin and me to detach hoses and the electrical cord), stopping at Dave's R.V. Center in Danbury, Connecticut to get a fill up of liquefied propane gas. Although I should have asked if we could have paid the $47.50 that we had been charged on Saturday, December 15, 2007, to do a waste water dump, I did not do so. I told the people there about our predicament. No one volunteered the use of the onsite dump at Dave's. I figured, wrongly, as it turned out, that we had been extended a one-time "privilege" on December 15 that was not to be repeated.
It was off thereafter on our quest to find an open dump station.
The rest area just east of Exit 28 at mile marker 42 of the eastbound lanes, the one to which I had been directed by the sign posted at the closed dump station at Exit 2, had a dump station all right. It was covered with snow and came complete with a sign reading, "See Attendant for Key." Key? What key? What attendant? I didn't see where I could find an attendant? In the building where there rest rooms and vending machines? What attendant? Where? I was not about to be traipsing all over in the cold and the snow to find a possibly nonexistent attendant. We thus drove off, having to turn back in a westerly direction to find some place to dump our waste water.
Endless telephone calls were made to septic companies and to the public works departments of various nearby communities. Messages were left. None were returned. The owner of one septic company said that there was a place in Bridgeport, Connecticut, where motor homes could dump waste water. As I found out some weeks later after trying to get through to someone--anyone--in the city government there, the facility in Bridgeport was open only to residents of Bridgeport, which we are not. It was at that point that Sharon and I looked at each other and concluded that our only option was to secure permission from His Excellency Bishop Robert F. McKenna, O.P., to try to pry open the manhole cover to Our Lady of the Rosary Chapel's septic tank and do our dump right there in Monroe. Sharon had spied a septic truck emptying that chapel's tank back in December as we were parked on the grounds of the chapel during the school days when we were commuting between Florida, New York, and Monroe. We figured that it was worth a shot to ask His Excellency, who said, "Well, Doctor Tom, if you are welcome to use it if you can get it open."
Stopping at a hardware store not far from the chapel, therefore, I purchased a crowbar and a new set of work gloves for the purpose. We arrived at the chapel, having to position the motor home carefully so that its roof did not take down the electrical wires that run overhead above the manhole cover.
The scene at Our Lady of the Rosary Chapel parking lot, Monday, January 14, 2008.
The manhole cover on the grounds of Our Lady of the Rosary Chapel.
Mind you, I am not a physically strong person. I used to do a lot of running and walking. However, I have never developed physical strength to lift heavy objects. I hesitate to do so now as I know that people who are not used to strenuous physical labor can have heart attacks if they exert themselves in a way that to which their bodies are unaccustomed. Now in my late fifties and overweight--and coming from a family with heart problems, I was a little leery of the attempt to lift open the manhole cover, fearing that we would be able to get it open and then be unable to close it properly.
Before I could attempt to pry open the cover, however, I had to borrow a large white van to retrieve the sewer hose that I had last used to connect our holding tanks with Blue Boy six days before. Upon returning to the chapel a short while later, therefore, I found a block of wood in the bushes next to the chapel to use for leverage once we had gotten the crowbar inserted into one of the two openings in the manhole cover. Sharon and I, as we noted at the time, were two bumbling idiots as we attempted to get the manhole cover open. I was worried that the manhole cover, once opened, would fall into the septic tank. Sharon looked at me rather pityingly to remind me that, "A circle cannot fall into a circle." She kept telling me this as I had visions of the manhole cover falling down into the septic tank.
We did manage to get the manhole cover opened sufficiently for me to run the sewer hose into the opening that was maintained as a result of the wooden block that had been used for leverage. Bishop McKenna stopped by to survey the situation before he went out on his afternoon errands, asking if we would be able to get the manhole cover back in its place. We are sure that he thought to himself that he would have to pay someone to do this. Sharon told him, "We're praying, Your Excellency." The Bishop, who has a very wry sense of humor, said, "So am I" as he drove off to do his errands.
It took a bit of doing to get the manhole cover closed. Yes, Sharon was right: a circle can't fall into a circle. Positioning the cover, which weighed well over one hundred pounds up from its slightly angled position onto the lip on which it rests took some time--and a lot of prayer. An hour after we had arrived on the chapel grounds, therefore, the manhole cover was back in its place, as is seen below (I am recreating the scene about three months of attempting to get it open, holding one of Lucy's projects from school in my left hand.)
A surprise awaited us upon our return some time later to the property on which we are parked. The motor home's slides, which extend the living room and the bedroom by about eighteen to twenty-four inches, refused to slide out, a problem that remains unresolved just about four months later, joining the unresolved problem of the nonworking rear view video monitor and the nonworking blower for the dashboard heater and air conditioner. "Put it on the list," I told Sharon as efforts to press the button on the left side of the motor home above the driver's seat failed to get the slides to slide out. "Put it on the list. All to thee, Blessed Mother. All to thy Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart, Jesus, Mary and Joseph, we love you. Save souls!"
There's a Hold-Up in Monroe
Something occurred two days later, Wednesday, January 16, 2008, that I, a native New Yorker, had never seen before in over fifty-six years of life: police with guns drawn surrounding a bank as an attempted bank robbery was in progress.
I was driving to make a deposit at a bank in Monroe, Connecticut, after dropping Lucy off at school when I saw that there was some kind of roadblock at the corner of Monroe Turnpike and Elm Street. All vehicles proceeding north on Monroe Turnpike were being forced to turn left onto Elm Street. What was this? An accident of some sort? Intent on making the deposit so that I could make the trip back to the motor home to get some writing done for the day, I paid no attention to the commotion, proceeding into my own bank's parking lot via an exit lane.
Upon parking the Trail Blazer (which we hope to get back sometime soon) in the parking lot of the bank where we do business, I saw a number of police officers with guns drawn up against the side of the bank, pictured blow. "Isn't this interesting?" I said to myself. "I've never seen this before." I then began singing the theme to Car 54, Where Are You? (Here is a short clip from an episode guest-starring the late Jan Murray. Car 54 Episode 17: Boom, Boom, Boom 1/3, Car 54 Episode 17: Boom, Boom, Boom. I've been singing "boom, boom, boom, boom" and seeing Jan Murray's wonderful facial expressions for the past forty-six years whenever I hear "By the Light of the Silvery Moon.")
I got out of the Trail Blazer and saw a uniformed police officer walking down Monroe Turnpike with a gun in his right hand. "Get back in your car, sir," the officer said to me in clear and crisp tones as he continued walking purposefully down Monroe Turnpike. I thus got back into the Trail Blazer and took off, exiting via Elm Street before driving off to Danbury, Connecticut, to make the bank deposit there.
Police officers were lined up along the side of the Chase Bank in Monroe, Connecticut, a day before this photograph was taken.
Here is the denouement of the bank robbery:
MONROE - A 50-year-old man is in police custody this morning after he allegedly tried to rob the Chase Bank on Monroe Turnpike at gunpoint, police said. The suspect, who showed a rifle to bank employees, was caught by officers as he tried to leave the bank about 9:25 a.m. with an undetermined amount of cash, police said. There were no injuries, and no other details were immediately available Bank heist foiled in Monroe
Angering the Paulies and Other Assorted Naturalists
Much of January of this year was spent writing articles about the insidious lies of Americanism and how so many otherwise rational, sane human beings continue to believe that a political system based on the false, naturalistic, anti-Incarnational and semi-Pelagian principles of Modernity can be "redeemed" with this or that election or by this or that "campaign." It is not a pleasant thing to have to point any of this out, to have to burst the bubbles of so many people who permit themselves to get so wound up in the political process that they lose any sense of perspective on how the canard of the "lesser of two evils" has resulted over the course of American history, especially in recent decades, of such exponentially higher doses of evil as being accepted as "lesser" that there is no true distinction between "greater" and "lesser" evils any longer. This is a point that I tried to make in
When Lesser is Greater about three and one-half months ago now.
Oh, you would not believe the angry e-mails that I received from acolytes of Ron Paul and Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney and John McCain. Dr. Paul's supporters were particularly vociferous, believing that he, a libertarian who prescribed the "pill," which is a baby-killing potion, in his medical practice, would start a "movement" to "save" "freedom" in the United States of America. As I pointed out over and over again, the reason that the modern civil state is as omnipotent as it has become is the result of the overthrow of the Social Reign of Christ the King wrought by the Protestant Revolt and the rise of Judeo-Masonry. Catholicism, not libertarianism, is the one and only foundation of personal and social order. It is wrong to assert that state legislatures can permit or restrict or prohibit surgical baby-killing according to the "will of the people"in that state. Christ the King has He has revealed Himself to us exclusively through His Catholic Church is sovereign, not "the people." To restore the "original intent" of the framers of the Constitution of the United States of America is to simply turn the clock back to a process that winds up, inevitably and inexorably, leading us to where we are at the preset time. False premises lead to bad results. Always. Without fail.
So what if it's the naturalist Barack Obama or the naturalist Hillary Clinton versus the naturalist John McCain in less than six months from now? So what? Each believes in at least some form of surgical baby-killing. McCain, who makes the "obligatory" "exceptions" to the inviolability of innocent human life in the womb, has a through-going pro-abort, Lewis Eisenberg, as one of his chief fund-raisers. Each will do precisely what the Israeli lobby wants done. Each is a statist. Each is a clueless about First and Last Things. Each is but a slightly different manifestation of the naturalist themes that have been permutating for the last five hundred years, as I noted in
They Never Take Prisoners.
Obviously, people are going to believe what they want to believe. It is my prayer and my hope that it is God's Holy Will for there to be readers of my work in the years to come who can bring dispassion to bear in my assessment of the concrete circumstances wrought by Modernity and Modernism by simply relying upon the teaching of true Catholic popes and using my own sensus Catholicus (as well as my training in the discipline of political science and my understanding of the American founding) to draw logical and completely supportable conclusions. It is my prayer and my hope as well that my work assessing the apostasies wrought by Modernism, which will be the subject of a forthcoming article in response to Father Brian Harrison's "Sacramental Validity for Dummies" in the current issue of The Latin Mass: A Journal of Catholic Culture, can be assessed more dispassionately in the future than at the present time. What's the great apostasy going to look like if not for large numbers of being deceived about the Faith?
The Venerable Anne Katherine Emmerich described this vision on September 12, 1820:
I saw a strange church being built against every rule. . . No angels were supervising the building operations. In that church, nothing came from high above. . . There was only division and chaos. It is probably a church of human creation, following the latest fashion, as well as the new heterodox church of Rome, which seems of the same kind. . .
I saw again the strange big church that was being built there (in Rome). There was nothing holy in it. I saw this just as I saw a movement led by Ecclesiastics to which contributed angels, saints and other Christians. But then (in the strange big change) all the work was being done mechanically (i.e. according to set rules and formulae). Everything was being done according to human reason. . .
I saw all sorts of people, things, doctrines, and opinions. There was something proud, presumptuous, and violent about it, and they seemed to be very successful. I did not see a single Angel nor a single saint helping in the work. But far away in the background, I saw the seat of a cruel people armed with spears, and I saw a laughing figure which said: "Do build it as solid as you can; we will put it to the ground" . . . . (as found in Yves Dupont, Catholic Prophecy: The Coming Chastisement, TAN Books and Publishers, 1970, p. 61)
All I can do is to continue the work that I believe God wants to be do. I am blessed to have the guidance of true bishops and true priests, to whom I submit those articles for review every once in a while. As I noted in February,
Defending the Truth is Never Any Kind of Game. The possible loss of one's immortal soul is no game. It is deadly serious business, which is why each member of my family is grateful for finally accepting the graces sent to us by Our Lady, the Mediatrix of All Graces, to see our ecclesiastical situation for what it is and to place ourselves under the pastoral guidance of true bishops and true priests who make no concessions to conciliarism or to the nonexistent legitimacy of its false shepherds, men who think nothing of giving grave offense to God--and doing so in an even bolder spirit of apostasy as they can be assured of silence from most, although not all, of those jumping up and down for glee about Summorum Pontificum.
Righting a Wrong from Forty-Four Years Ago
We lived in a different world forty-four years ago. Parents let their children ride their bicycles to local parks or grocery stores without fear of their being abducted or assaulted. Indeed, my own parents permitted me, at the age of twelve and one-half years old, mind you, to travel by myself on the Long Island Rail Road to William A. Shea Municipal Stadium, which was then in its maiden season in 1964. Imagine that. We never let our daughter out of our sight. One has to be out of his mind to let his children out of his sight even for a moment today.
Alas, the world of 1964 was not the world of 2008. Catholics still had access to the true sacraments. The graces won for us by the shedding of Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ's Most Precious Blood on the wood of the Holy Cross flowed the loving hands of Our Lady, the Mediatrix of All Graces, more abundantly. Parents were not being derelict in their responsibilities to permit their children to do certain things on their own. They could trust their children to return home without incident.
To wit, I returned home to 39 Kings Point Road in Great Neck, New York, on Saturday, June 6, 1964, from attending a game between the New York Mets and the transplanted Bums of Brooklyn, the Los Angeles Dodgers, at Shea Stadium (the Mets lost by a score of 9-2). Upon my arrival home, however, I discovered that my mother, the late Norma Florence Red Fox Droleskey, had given away my 78 rpm record of Bob Keeshan singing--along with the Sandpipers and to the accompaniment of the Mitch Miller Orchestra--words written by one Mary Rodgers to the Captain Kangaroo theme, which was the same music as the English tune called "Puffin' Billy."
"What?" I exclaimed to my mother. "You gave my Captain Kangaroo record away? You did what?"
Let's just say that I had not learned any sense of detachment at that time. And while I have learned to be detached from many things of this passing world in the past forty-four years, I did still remember that record that my mother gave away to the two year-old son of her first-cousin-by adoption (the daughter of her father-by-adoption's brother). Believe it or not, I had dreams now and again of finding that 78 rpm Golden Record. Efforts to find it the record in the 1970s, when I had put together a collection of old television theme songs on cassette tapes to amuse families when I made pizza in their homes (I could have made a million on the nostalgia craze in the 1980s if I knew how to market my various ideas, which I don't), proved fruitless. And various online efforts were equally unsuccessful in the past few years. A more or less faithful rendition of the instrumental version of the Captain Kangaroo theme was produced on a collected released by TeeVee Toons in 1985. However, the sung version was nowhere to be found.
Yes, yes, I know. This is the Fifth Day in the Novena to God the Holy Ghost. We meditate today on the Gift of Knowledge, which teaches us the true worth of things in relation to God. The sung version of the Captain Kangaroo theme has zero worth in relation to God. I know that. Fine.
I did take it, however, as a sign of God's great love to this sinful creature that He permitted me to have the consolation of finding it on eBay (a site which I almost never visit) back in January. I took a break between the writing of articles and found exactly what my mother had given away on Saturday, June 6, 1964. It took some time for the vendor to send it. And I wasn't going to play it in Lent, of course, not that we had an old-fashioned record player on which to play it. However, thanks to a parishioner at Our Lady of the Rosary Chapel in Monroe, Connecticut, who loaned us a record player, I was able to play it yesterday, May 5, 2008. Now online until the internet is shut down on the Last Day at the General Judgment of the Living and the Dead is the hard-to-find sung version of the Captain Kangaroo theme (the late Bob Keeshan's voice is heard as he sings the silly lines about "chimpanzees," etc. shortly after the beginning of the song): Sung Version Captain Kangaroo Theme. (Here is a video of the instrumental version being played at the beginning of a Captain Kangaroo show in 1961).
Yes. Captain Kangaroo was a silly program. I know that. It had some educational benefits before Bob Keeshan became politically correct in the 1970s and 1980s, although he was a firm opponent of violence in children's programming. All right, all right. I know now that I shouldn't have wasted my time watching television. There was an interesting vignette, which I believe that I recounted in There's No Cure for This Condition, that occurred while I was in fourth grade at Saint Aloysius School in Great Neck, New York, and had to do with Captain Kangaroo, whose debut on October 3, 1955, had been anxiously awaited all throughout the summer of 1955 as we lived our final few months above my late father's veterinary hospital at 222-40 Jamaica Avenue in Queens Village, New York.
A salesman for the World Book encyclopedia company was attempting to hawk his wares in Sister In ez Marie's fourth grade class in 1960. He asked what he thought were rhetorical questions to "prove" what we could learn if our parents bought the World Book (and the school probably got a cut of the sales generated). He asked what the new capital of Brazil, then being built in the jungles, was going to be. Having just seen film on Captain Kangaroo of Brasilia being built in the jungles, I raised my hand, bowed as was the custom in Catholic schools, and said, "The new capital of Brazil is going to be Brasilia." The salesman was very pleased, telling the rest of the children, "How did he know that, boys and girls? He read the World Book."
Well, that was a lie. I raised my hand again. The salesman recognized me. I stood up, bowed and said, "Oh, no, sir. I learned about this by watching Captain Kangaroo." He was not amused. Neither was Sister Inez Marie, who never liked me very much even though I was a goody-goody-two-shoes who never caused any problems in her classroom.
Keep Praying the Rosary
Well, that is about all for now. I will have a substantive article for you by some point tomorrow, Wednesday, May 7, 2008, the Feast of Saint Stanislaus. There's much more to recount in the next installment of the travelogue, including our trip out to Ohio in March.
Today is the Feast of Saint John at the Latin Gate. Although it was not God's will for the only bishop who remained faithful to Him during His Passion and Death to die a martyr's death, Saint John the Evangelist was willing to do so as he was plunged into a cauldron of boiling oil at the site of the future Roman archbasilica built in his honor, the Basilica of San Giovanni di Laterano, which is the cathedral of a true pope in his capacity as the Bishop of Rome. We must be willing to die a martyr's death, if only the white or the dry martyrdom of humiliation, to defend the Faith. And to this end, of course, we must call upon the help of the Queen of Martyrs, Our Lady, especially by means of using the spiritual weapon that is her Most Holy Rosary to keep us close to her as we are clothed in the garment of her Brown Scapular and adorned with her Miraculous Medal.
The final victory belongs to Our Lady's Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. It is important therefore to give all of the penances and sufferings and humiliations of this present life through that same Immaculate Heart to the Most Sacred Heart of her Divine Son, Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
It is really better this than Purgatory or worse in 2008!
Viva Cristo Rey! Vivat Christus Rex!
Our Lady of the Rosary, pray for us.
Saint Joseph, pray for us.
Saints Peter and Paul, pray for us.
Saint John the Baptist, pray for us.
Saint John the Evangelist, pray for us.
Saint Michael the Archangel, pray for us.
Saint Gabriel the Archangel, pray for us.
Saint Raphael the Archangel, pray for us.
Saints Joachim and Anne, pray for us.
Saints Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar, pray for us.
See also: A Litany of Saints