It's Still Better This Than Purgatory (or Worse!) in 2008, part 4
by Thomas A. Droleskey
The priest known as "Father X," whose wonderful retreat talks are accessible on the Traditional Catholic Sermons website, said that our Guardian Angels view us as "lovable, bumbling idiots." Oh, is that ever an apt description of what we are! Unlike our Guardian Angels, who have pure intelligence and who see things on earth clearly as they behold the glory of the Beatific Vision of the Most Holy Trinity at the same time, we stumble and bumble our way through life, sometimes making twists and turns that cause our most pure guardians a great deal of grief and consternation. Our Guardian Angels see things clearly and purely. We are so blinded by the vestigial after-effects of Original Sin and our own Actual Sins that it is nothing other than a miracle of God's ineffable graces that we are permitted to see anything clearly at all.
Given the fact that we are prone to stumble and bumble our way through life, you see, we must rely upon the help provided us by our Guardian Angels to trust completely in God's Holy Providence as we seek to detach ourselves more and more from the world and all of its false attractions. The possession of Heaven for all eternity is reserved for those members of the Catholic Church who have attached themselves in this life to God's Holy Will, those who accept with equanimity and gratitude the crosses that are sent their way for their sanctification, those who see God's mysterious plan for them in everything that occurs in their lives on a daily basis. Every moment of our lives is meant to be a foretaste of Heaven as we give thanks to God for everything we have, seeking to give him glory and honor through the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary as we seek to make reparation for our sins and those of the whole world.
Stumblers and bumblers need to learn to trust completely in the Providence of God, understanding that we are not promised to see the light of day on the morrow. Some of us have to stripped of almost everything in order to accept this truth and to embrace it with love and joy. I can tell you that it is simply a wonderful blessing for one who lived the first twenty-one years of his life in relative affluence (my late father was a hard-working small-animal veterinarian who had a very successful practice from 1946 to the time that he sold it in December of 1972) to live in the spirit of Franciscan poverty, relying upon the Providence of God as He sends others to provide us with our daily needs. This is not the path that I would have chosen for myself. God knows what we need, and He has seen to it that I am crushed and ground down more and more with each passing year as I learn to trust more fully in Him and as our dear daughter learns the lessons of relying upon God's Providence far, far earlier in life than was the case with me.
Thus it was upon our return to Connecticut from Saint Gertrude the Great Church in West Chester, Ohio, shortly after Midnight on Thursday, April 3, 2008, following the attempt of our Trail Blazer to break away once again from the motor home on Interstate 84 in Orange County, New York (see It's Still Better This Than Purgatory (or Worse!) in 2008, part 3), that we did not know that our stay in Connecticut was to last only another seventy-nine days. God's ways are not, of course, are our ways. He knew from all eternity that our days with our beloved Bishop Robert Fidelis McKenna, O.P., were drawing to a close in less than three months. We did not know this upon our arrival back on the property of the generous people who hosted us, complete and total strangers to them, and provided us with electricity and water.
All to Repair the Front End of a Car
What we did know, however, was that the receiver tow bar on the motor home had to be replaced and that the front end of the Trail Blazer was in terrible shape. We did not know just how bad the front end of the Trail Blazer was, however, until Mr. Ronald Kusterer, the father of Lucy's lone first-grade classmate at her school (and of four other children in the school), took the car for a test drive and came back with a report that it was in really bad shape. All sorts of things had to be replaced, including something called a "carrier" ($1979.53), a "mount" ($95.82), a "hub" ($348.97), a bearing ($510.69), gear lubricator ($36.42), "shaft kit" ($1302.13), yet another "hub" ($835.85), and a transmission "case" (the exact amount of which has escape me as its receipt is floating around the motor home somewhere) and several other items, not including the set of four new tires that we purchased on May 23, 2008, in Fairfield, Connecticut. Mr. Kusterer, who is very thorough, found things that the franchise tire dealer in Fairfield, Ohio (kind of ironic!), missed on Good Friday, March 21, 2008. Indeed, Mr. Kusterer continued to find things wrong with the Trail Blazer's front end after he had taken it apart.
Mr. Kusterer's diagnosis of the extent of the damage to the front end of the Trail Blazer came after we had taken the vehicle down to Long Island via the Bridgeport, Connecticut-Port Jefferson, New York, Long Island Sound Ferry, on Saturday, April 5, 2008. We hadn't been down to Long Island since Saturday, January 28, 2008, and this was a bit of a consolation prize for Lucy as we had promised to take her to the Crayola "Factory," which is really just a place to sell crayons, in Easton, Pennsylvania, that day. There was no way that the Trail Blazer could be trusted to make a 300 mile round-trip drive to and from Easton, Pennsylvania (from Easton, Connecticut). And Lucy, though she spent only the first fifteen months of her life on Long Island, loves my native place, especially the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Park in Oyster Bay. (Can next year, 2009, really be the occasion of my high school graduating class's fortieth anniversary?) She enjoyed the day on Long Island, although the rickety Trail Blazer was not in terrific shape, to say the very least. I realized then and there that the vehicle was not roadworthy for any further long distance trips until it was repaired.
As it took some time to get the parts for the front end work--and for Mr. Kusterer to complete the repairs, His Excellency Bishop McKenna and the Dominican Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary permitted us to borrow an old Chevrolet van to use for our "run around town" needs. Oh, there were times when the motor home itself served as that "run about town" vehicle as I took it out to dump our waste water two to three times each week. It was more than a little challenging to parallel park with the motor home in difficult parking spaces on occasion during the three weeks that we were without the Trail Blazer. We remain very grateful to Bishop McKenna and the good Sisters for providing us with an "around town" vehicle while the Trail Blazer had its front end taken apart and repaired by Mr. Kusterer.
A German Comes to America, and an American Loses a Great Deal of Sleep
The month of April was spent doing a lot of writing. Twenty-six original articles were posted on this site, seventeen of them dealing with Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI's visit to the United States of America. That fellow sure kept me busy during the time before, during and immediately after his visit to this country, which lasted between Tuesday, April 15, 2008, and Sunday, April 20, 2008. I was also kept pretty busy recording my video lectures and working with the good Catholic men at Blue Modus to launch the
Christ or Chaos Store. Five months had elapsed between the time I had conceived of the idea of the video/audio website in the hope that large numbers of you would make at least some purchases, which would provide you with good Catholic material and help to support my family in the process. About two of those months were spent dealing with one firm that could not figure out a way to help me. It was in late-January that I turned to the men at Blue Modus for assistance.
What Kind of Video Website Draws No Visitors? A Droleskey Video Website!
My desire to launch the website sooner rather than later turned out to be misplaced. Although I had no expectations of generating great sums of money from the video lectures, I did hope to generate enough to pay our monthly bills. Alas, this was not in God's Holy Providence. You see, the website was launched as it provides people with ready access (yes, there have been a few glitches in the "ready access" part) to the stored lectures without our having to go back into the wretched business of duplicating discs and sending them out in the snail mail, a process that is time-consuming and very costly.
People cannot be forced, however, to purchase something that they do not want. I will continue to record the lectures for whoever is interested in purchasing them. The experience, though, has convinced me that I should not even attempt to put out another anthology of my articles as it should be apparent by now that there is no market for any product, whether written or audio or video, with my name on it. This is in God's Providence, and it is very good for my humility. I will only point out, without an ounce of bitterness, mind you, that it is very interesting that hundreds of people will access my lectures when they are posted for free but only a few will pay as little as fifty cents for one when offered on the Christ or Chaos Store store, which is, at least at this writing, offline for whatever reason that will be made known only on the Last Day. I want to make my work accessible, to be sure. I also want to support my family, and it does appear that some people who will access lectures for free are reluctant to do anything to help us by paying even a truly nominal sum for that work. All to thee, Blessed Mother. All to thy Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, we love you. Save souls.
Daily Penances in and Around the Greater New York City Metropolitan Area
Apart from a trip to Long Island on Saturday, April 26, 2008, we kept pretty close to Connecticut during the months of April and May as our Trail Blazer was being repaired by Mr. Kusterer. Oh, I would have to take the motor home out every three or four days to do our waste water dump at a rest area at Exit 2 of the eastbound lanes of Interstate 84 in Connecticut, approximately twenty-five miles from the property on which we parked until Saturday, June 21, 2008. It's always a chore to pack up the motor home. However, the penances spoken of by Our Lady in her Fatima apparitions involve nothing extraordinary.
As Sister Lucia dos Santos noted in one interview decades after the apparitions (and, now, I am not going to even attempt to "resolve" the "real" Sister Lucia mystery), the penances spoken of by Our Lady during the Fatima apparitions involve doing our daily duties well for love of God. And it was in that spirit that Sharon packed up the motor home and I dealt with the thirty amperage electrical cord and the water hoses on the outside as we needed to so to dump the waste water. There has been a little less work involved in this process since January 8, 2008, the day on which our "slides" failed to function, a problem that continues to mystify repairmen from one part of the country to another. All to thee, Blessed Mother. All to thy Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. Jesus, Mary and Joseph, we love you. Save souls.
Although we have grown to loathe most campgrounds, including the Yogi Bear Jellystone Park "Resort" in Caledonia, Wisconsin, at which we are parked as this travelogue is being written, because of the immodesty (from which we shield ourselves by the aluminum foil shades that cover our windshield panes and our other windows) and horrible "music," we did decide to do a waste water dump at a place called the Lone Oaks Campground in East Canaan, Massachusetts, on Saturday, May 17, 2008, thinking that we could take an "overnight" stay in the process in order to give the owners of the property on which we had been parking a little break from our perpetual presence on their property. Oh, what a mistaken decision that turned out to be! The campground was full of immodestly and foul-mouthed people who were playing the most egregious "music" imaginable. We did our waste water dump and got a full tank of liquefied propane gas--and Sharon did her weekly loads of laundry at the laundromat on the grounds--and then hightailed it out of there to drive the seventy miles back to Easton, Connecticut.
The motor home had to be moved again five days later as I drove it down to my "native place," Long Island, to have Marine Temperature Systems attempt to repair our motor home's generator, which had, surprise, surprise, given out yet again after it had been repaired at Cummins Bridgeway in West Chester, Ohio, on Wednesday, April 2, 2008. Sharon stayed behind in Connecticut so as to be close to Lucy, who was in school. As I fought the traffic down on Interstate 95 in Connecticut to cross over Throgs Neck Bridge, which is built at the arbitrary, imaginary line that marks the point where Long Island Sound "meets" the East River, onto Long Island. I had attempted to make this run on Wednesday, March 12, 2008, the day that the then Governor of the State of New York, Elliot Spitzer, announced his resignation, effective on the Feast of Saint Patrick Monday, March 17, 2008, only to have to turn back at Exit 2 of Interstate 95 in Connecticut as traffic was at a standstill as a result of a major accident at the intersection of Interstate 287, the Cross Westchester Expressway, and Interstate 95 just a few miles south of the Connecticut-New York border in the State of New York.
Well, I was able to make it down to MTS in Westbury, Long Island, New York, by around 11:00 a.m. on Thursday, May 22, 2008, and found the folks there to be very competent and helpful. The generator, which, as you have read on the home page of this website, is in need of yet further repairs, needed a new carburetor and a tune-up. It turns out that MTS had worked on the old generator when the company was located in Freeport, New York, in February and March of 2003. The original Onan 5500 Genset, as it is called, never worked well. The thing would "cut out" when the motor home went over speed bumps, and had to rebuilt twice, once in Sacramento, California, in January of 2002, and the other time thirteen months later at MTS in Freeport, New York. A very competent repairman worked with a very competent service manager to get me in and out of the place within two hours, at which point I was able to grab a bunch of Bagel Boss bagels from that company's store on Jericho Turnpike near MTS, making my way up the eighty-five miles or so to Connecticut thereafter, arriving in plenty of time to meet Sharon before Lucy got out of school for the day. The generator had been repaired in time for the trip that we were about to take to Lewiston, Maine, so that I could speak after Holy Mass at the mission served by Father Benedict Hughes, CMRI.
Before that trip to Maine could be undertaken, however, we had to get a new set of tires for the Trail Blazer. Mr. Kusterer had recommended our getting the new set of tires following the repairs that he had made to its front end in April and May, suggesting a certain company that has stores throughout the New England states. We decided to get this done on Friday, May 23, 2008, as Lucy had off from school for a rather extensive Memorial Day weekend holiday from her school, choosing a branch of the tire company in Fairfield, Connecticut. There were a few adventures, entirely of my own making, encountered along the way.
As I think I may have noted in the past, the fuel gauge on the dashboard of the Trail Blazer stopped functioning on Saturday, August 5, 2006. I have been "burned" once since that time, on Friday, May 11, 2007, in Mead, Washington, as we ran out of gasoline three days before I was to start a ten day version of the "Living in the Shadow of the Cross" lecture program at Mount Saint Michael's Church in Spokane, Washington. Thus it was that I miscalculated three hundred seventy days later, on Friday, May 23, 2008, running out of gasoline just as I was turning into the tire company in Fairfield, Connecticut. It took several strong young men quite a long period of time to push the car up from the entrance into the parking lot, at which point I had to telephone the American Automobile Association to renew my membership and thence to ask for assistance to get gasoline into the car to permit it to be driven to the service bay for a set of new tires. Sharon and Lucy had a most leisurely lunch at a restaurant across the street from the tire company as all of this was happening.
Concerned that Sharon and Lucy would have to wait hours on end before the car could be serviced and be equipped with four new tires, I importuned His Excellency Bishop Robert F. McKenna, O.P., to come to our rescue to take Sharon and Lucy back to the motor home in Easton, Connecticut, about three quarters of a mile from Our Lady of the Rosary Chapel. His Excellency was so good to agree to the request, and I kept a vigil for him on Kings Highway in Fairfield as the new tires were being put on the Trail Blazer. As it turned out, His Excellency got lost and and to turn back at about the same time that the work on the Trail Blazer was complete. His Excellency was so good to have offered to help us. We have been so very blessed to have such wonderful shepherds looking out for our spiritual and temporal needs.
To Maine and Back in Forty Hours
The new tires on the Trail Blazer were considered to essential to making sure that its first tow behind the motor home following the extensive repairs to its front end would not undo the recently completed repairs. It would be another four weeks, however, before the Trail Blazer would actually be towed behind the motor home. Yes, I discovered on Saturday, May 24, 2008, as I attempted to "hook up" the Trail Blazer to the motor home on the property on which we were parked in Easton, Connecticut, that the pins or bolts that connect the arms of the Blue Ox Aventa II tow bar to the baseplate on the Trail Blazer were missing, having gone the way of Jimmy Hoffa or Judge Crater late on the evening of Wednesday, April 2, 2008, as I detached the car hurriedly after the old receiver tow bar on the motor home had broken on Interstate 84 in Orange County, New York. This meant that we had to drive the 283 miles or so to the Poland Spring Campground in Poland Spring, Maine, without the car. The motor home was to be our "around town" vehicle on this trip.
The trip to Maine was as penitential as I thought that I would be, especially as we drove in bumper-to-bumper traffic on Interstate 95 from Bridgeport, Connecticut, to east of New Haven, Connecticut. Having been stuck on this nightmare stretch of the Connecticut Turnpike several times in the past, I fully expected to find the heavy traffic that we did, especially on the Saturday of the Memorial Day weekend. I was not disappointed. We crawled for about seventy miles or so, well east of New Haven, before traffic thinned out somewhat and began to move more steadily. Lots of time for lots of Rosaries.
We did manage to have a nice diversion en route up to Maine as we met with our friend Miss Mary Nagle at a Carrabba's Italian Grill in Warwick, Rhode Island. Mary is part of a brave troop of Catholics from Rhode Island who have been cast into the outer darkness by their longtime friends for having come to realize the truth of our ecclesiastical situation. These good Catholics have now found a home with Fathers Benedict Hughes and Gabriel Lavery, CMRI, whose kind pastoral solicitude has provided them with a Mass now and again near Providence, Rhode Island. His Excellency Bishop McKenna has also taken quite an interest in the spiritual welfare of these good and courageous souls, who will make the pilgrimage down to Our Lady of the Rosary Chapel in Monroe, Connecticut, now and again for Holy Mass.
The trip to Maine after our visit with Miss Nagle in Warwick, Rhode Island, took another three hours, accomplishing something of a milestone for both the our daughter Lucy Mary Norma and for the motor home: our entry into Maine on Saturday, May 24, 2008, represented the forty-seventh state for both. The only contiguous state of the "lower forty-eight" states that we have not traversed as a family is Vermont, and we have no reason (and may have no opportunity) to enter this most liberal of states anytime soon. In any event, Lucy was aware that she had entered her forty-seventh state, saying, "One more state to go, Dada, before I have all forty-eight."
Maine, which would have been the home of the physical plant of Christ the King College had a putative land grant materialized in 2006,, is certainly a beautiful state. Physical beauty cannot get us home to Heaven. What matters, of course, is having access to daily Mass. And the campground in Poland Spring was an absolute nightmare, full of immodesty and indecency. Naturalism has such a hold on the minds and hearts of such a large preponderance of the populace that owners of what are considered to "resorts" think they they are "family friendly" facilities as they permit immodesty and indecency to be paraded around quite openly on their property. We wanted to get out of the campground as soon as we could, leaving early on the morning of Sunday, May 25, 2008, to wander about for a time before Holy Mass at the Country and Western Hall in Lewiston, Maine, at 4:00 p.m. that day.
Our friend from Saint Gertrude the Great Church, Mr. Matthew Hardin, came down all the way from Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, where he was serving in an internship program with a Member of the Canadian Parliament, to attend Father Benedict Hughes's offering of Holy Mass and to attend a little bit of my lecture. Mr. Hardin, who was received into the Catholic Church by His Excellency Bishop Daniel L. Dolan on Wednesday, August 6, 2008, the Feast of the Transfiguration, had a few adventures of his own as he drove from Ottawa to Maine, having an accident with a motorcyclist while en route. He said, using his own imitable style of Kentucky understatement, that police officers were yelling at him in French, deciding to let him go free after it was discovered that the motorcyclist had no insurance. Matt has also had a few close encounters with deer in his pick-up truck, resulting in his attaching a "deer guard" on its front end. The "deer guard" looks something like the old "cow catchers" that used to be attached to the old steam locomotives of the Old West. It was good to see Matt in Lewiston, and it was an honor to fill in for his Confirmation sponsor, Mr. Kirby Bischel, a longtime stalwart of Saint Gertrude the Great Church, on the Feast of the Transfiguration of Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
Our very brief stopover in Lewiston, Maine, afforded us the opportunity to meet people whom we had known previously only through correspondence. It was so very good to meet Mr. and Mrs. Charles Beck, who have been so very kind to us, and others with whom I had corresponded on and off for some years now. Although our stopover was brief, we are grateful for the opportunity of having visited with Father Benedict Hughes once again and for seeing other of our friends from the Boston area who assist at Father Benedict's Holy Masses there. And, miracle of miracles, a goodly number of people actually stayed for my lecture after Holy Mass that afternoon, which is something that happens very rarely these days (the folks at Saint Hugh of Lincoln Church in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, were good enough to stay after Father Charles McGuire's offering of Holy Mass yesterday, the Feast of Saint Bartholomew, to listen the talk that I will upload to Christ or Chaos Store when that site becomes operative again, which I hope is relatively soon).
We left shortly after my lecture was concluded in order to get back to Connecticut for Holy Mass the next morning, the Feast of Saint Philip Neri, at Our Lady of the Rosary Chapel. Father Benedict was returning to Idaho early that morning and would be offering Mass in a private home around 6:30 a.m. It made more sense for us to return the five hours or so back to Connecticut than to arise early the next morning and drive from Maine to the Boston area, thereafter having to fight the "return" traffic on Interstate 95. The trip back was uneventful. We got back and were able to get to Holy Mass the next morning without problem.
Medication from Hell
Although we did not realize it at the time, the week of May 26, 2008, represented Lucy's final week at school, which resumed classes on Wednesday, May 28, 2008, following a long Memorial Day weekend recess. For it was after a brief trip to Long Island on Saturday, May 31, 2008, the day after the forty-ninth anniversary of my First Holy Communion at Saint Aloysius Church in Great Neck, New York, that Lucy developed a severe allergic reaction to a dosage of erythromycin that had been prescribed to cure a lingering cough that had plagued her for a few weeks. Mind you, we are careful not to resort on a regular basis to antibiotics to treat Lucy's sicknesses. There have been about six times in her six years of life that she has been on antibiotics. It was, however, in God's Holy Providence and for His own greater honor and glory that the very last dose of erythromycin that we administered to Lucy on Saturday, May 31, 2008, after returning to the motor home in Easton, Connecticut, following our trip to Long Island resulted in a severe allergic reaction.
Both Dr. Nicholas Delgado of Pensacola, Florida, and Dr. Paul Byrne, the nationally-known expert on brain-death whose interview with Mrs. Randy Engel of the U.S. Coalition for Life was featured on this site eight months ago now (Dr. Paul Byrne on Brain Death, From The Michael Fund Newsletter), provided a good deal of help during the crisis, which was abated following a liquid dose of Benadryl. Lucy offered up her sufferings, which Dr. Byrne assured me during the crisis would pass in due course, as a brave soldier of Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ through the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary. His Excellency Bishop McKenna blesesd Lucy with a glove that had been used by Padre Pio just an hour or so before she saw a pediatrician on Monday, June 2, 2008. She was considerably improved by that night, and was given the rest of the week off from school as she continued to recover from the ordeal.
The Revenge of the New Engine
Wanting to give Lucy a bit of a break from her days of confinement to bed, we drove the motor home up to a KOA Kampground in Saugerties, New York, on the afternoon of Tuesday, June 3, 2008, so that we could do a waste water dump and then get to Mass the following morning, June 4, 2008, at Saint Michael's Church in Glenmont, New York,. We had hoped that Lucy that she could see her beloved Turpin cousins in Kingston, New York, while en route back to Connecticut. Her cousins were unavailable that day. However, Lucy did see her maternal grandmother, Sharon's mother, after we drove down to Kingston from Glenmont following the conclusion of Holy Mass, a visit that took place only after the motor home's relatively new Ford V-10 Triton engine, installed on April 27, 2007, in Peotone, Illinois, spat out two (that's right, count 'em, two!) spark plugs as we were entering the New York State Thruway south of Glenmont, New York, subjecting us to the horrible noise and gasoline fumes that we have experienced three times before with the original engine before it died on Interstates 80/94 at around mile marker 160 of the westbound lanes in the State of Illinois. All to thee, Blessed Mother. All to thy Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. Jesus, Mary and Joseph, we love you. Save souls!
The new engine had only 19,000 miles on it when he spat out the two spark plugs on Wednesday, June 4, 2008. I telephoned the Ford dealership in Peotone, Illinois, where the engine was installed, to let them know of the problem. The Ford Motor Company does not admit the the Ford V-10 Triton engine has the tendency to spit out spark plugs from its engine heads even though there are thousands of complaints online--and even though technicians employed by Ford dealerships have gone on record to voice their own complaints about the fact that they are required in some instances to work for hours and hours "off of the books" in order to make the repairs to these horrible engines (see Ford Engines "Dropping Like Flies" with Spark Plug Blow-Outs Ford's Spit-Out Spark Plugs Hit Mechanics in their Wallets). The man in Illinois told me that the engine was under warranty, and that any Ford dealership that service motor homes could make the necessary repairs.
As we had planned to leave for a summer's stay at Saint Gertrude the Great Church in West Chester, Ohio, on Tuesday, June 10, 2008, we did not have a lot of time to have the repairs made before our planned departure, which had to be delayed for eleven days as a result of the new engine's malfunction. A whole host of questions presented themselves as we drove to Kingston, New York, to meet with Sharon's mother. "Where would be able to get the engine repaired?" "Would we have to be displaced from the motor home?" "How long would we have to be displaced from the motor home?" "How much, if any, of our out of pocket expenses would be covered by the Ford Motor Company?" Recognizing full well that this cross had been fashioned for us from all eternity by the very hand of God Himself for His greater honor and glory and our own sanctification as the consecrated slaves of the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, all we could do was to open the windows of the motor home and to insert our earplugs as we said "Deo gratias!" for this latest cross.
Much of the day on Thursday, June 5, 2008, was spent trying to get someone at the Ford Motor Company to acknowledge that the Ford Triton V-10 engine was defective. I was stonewalled by one fellow, who was so steeped in corporate positivism and the paralysis engendered by a fear of admitting any degree of legal liability whatsoever that he cold not admit that ingesting gasoline fumes and being subjected to ear-splitting noise for miles on end were harmful to human beings. "I'm not an expert," the man said. "I can't answer that question." You see the customer is held to be responsible for the spitting out of the spark plugs. He is supposed to put his life on hold and then to find a dealership that repairs motor homes near where the incident occurred and then spend up to two weeks, quite possibly, in a motel at his own expense as the repairs are made. One can see from the Consumer Affairs articles hyperlinked above that this problem is not limited to motor homes. Many other vehicles with the Ford V-10 Triton engine have had the exact same problem.
Dissatisfied with the stonewalling that I was getting from the man from Ford who would not even admit that ingesting gasoline fumes was harmful to human being, I asked to speak to a supervisor. Oh, no, not possible, I was told. I would have to call a Ford dealership and ask to speak to the "regional area representative." This is all designed to wear down the customer by erecting a series of obstacles that force the customer to accept the most minimal level of service that Ford has to offer while a part is under warranty. It is presumed by the corporate psychologists and sociologists who designed "customer service" programs that very few people will actually demand to speak to anyone above the initial customer service agent who answers a telephone at a call center. A level of "resistance" is thus built into the "customer service" component of corporate relations with dissatisfied customers to force those customers to give up and to accept whatever it is that is offered to them.
Well, my late father, Dr. Albert Henry Martin Droleskey, may not have been the best Catholic in the world. However, he was a New Yorker who possessed a very keen sense of natural justice and was relentless in attempting to get a problem that had been caused by a company whose product he had purchased resolved satisfactorily. I am equally relentless in this regard, attempting to explain to those with whom I speak that they have a responsibility before God, Who will judge them when they die, to treat customers as they would treat Him in the very Flesh, and that corporations do not determine truth, that truth exists independently of corporate admission or acceptance of its existence. The service manager of one Ford dealership on Long Island told me on June 5, 2008, that the engine would have to come out of the motor home in order to determine the problem. I knew the problem. The spark plugs had been out. This was not "brain surgery." The service manager was reluctant, at least at first, to contact a "regional area representative" on my behalf, agreeing only after I kept insisting that this be done.
In the meantime, however, I proceeded to make arrangements to rent to special tool kit that is manufactured by the Ford Motor Company, a tool kit that bears the Ford logo imprinted on its casing, to rethread the cylinder heads to repair the problem that the Ford Motor Company does not admit officially that it has with the Ford V-10 engine. The son of friends of ours from Massachusetts who has worked on Ford vehicles agreed to do the repairs for us if he had time to do so. We contacted this young man after a friend of the man on whose property in Easton, Connecticut, the motor home was parked refused to have anything to do with the matter. Others refused the same entreaties. Before that work was commenced, however, I wanted to make sure that we would violate the warranty on the engine for proceeding in this fashion, which prompted yet another series of telephone calls to the Ford Motor Company to determine if I would be permitted to speak with someone to secure such authorization. Penance is good. Yes, it is still better this than Purgatory in 2008! (Sharon has just killed a house fly that was flying over my head. The carcass of the dead fly landed most dutifully on my head. Yes, penance is good.)
Becoming Acquainted With Stew's
In the midst of all of these problems and as Lucy was still recovering from her allergic reaction to erythromycin, we took Lucy down to Stew Leonard's in Norwalk, Connecticut, on Friday, June 6, 2008. I had heard advertisements for Stew Leonard's on the radio for many years in and around the New York area. This was the first time I had actually entered into a "Stew's," and the one we entered was the original one, which opened in 1969. It was amazing, a veritable amusement park of a dairy and bakery and supermarket. Milk is actually processed and packaged right in the facility. Fresh baked bagels and the most delicious apple cider doughnuts that you will ever eat are baked on the premises. Oh, did I tell you about their terribly greasy kettle cooked potato chips and their barbecued ribs? A nice assortment of clean music is played by the various animatronics characters that are displayed throughout the store. We became regular customers for the remainder of the two weeks of our stay in Connecticut. I was very impressed, and I, a native New Yorker, don't impress very easily. It was just good, clean naturalism, not your modern, terribly naturalism! (There's one set of songs sung that is done to the tune of The Battle Hymn of the Republic. When we heard the actual song recently in Pappadeux's Restaurant in Springdale, Ohio, I said to Sharon, "Hey, listen to this. They're playing the Stew Leonard's song! Sharon's response to my humor most of the time is asking to that of the late George Burns, aka Nathan Birnbaum, with the late Jack Benny, aka Benny Kubelski. Burns said that Benny never made him laugh. I rarely make Sharon laugh. There are times when I do, however. This was one of them.)
Graduation Day at The School
Lucy got to attend her last Mass as a student at her schoolon Saturday, June 7, 2008, the day of the academy's graduation ceremonies. One twelfth grade student and three eighth grade students graduated. A picnic was held on the grounds of the chapel after the Mass and the graduation. His Excellency Bishop McKenna joined in the fun. Calling himself the "old hunchback of Our Lady of the Rosary Chapel," Bishop McKenna, who used to pitch for his seminary's baseball team in the 1950s, threw a perfect strike to the target of a "dunker" machine, thereby sinking a high school graduate into a shallow pool of water. A grand time was had by all who attended the picnic. We will miss His Excellency and the fine families in Monroe so very much. Not our will, of course, but His will be done. Fiat voluntas tua!
Still in a holding pattern concerning the repairs to be made to the motor home (which I had to take out every three days to do a waste water dump), I telephoned a Ford dealership in Plainfield, Connecticut, on Monday, June 9, 2008, to see if its service department could make the rethreading repairs to the cylinder sleeves out of which the two spark plugs had been blown out five days before. The person with whom I spoke said that it would be possible to make such a repair, which was a stop gap measure, but one that would permit us to get on the road to Ohio sooner rather than later. The ultimate repair was to replace both engine heads. An appointment was made for Wednesday, June 11, 2008, and it was on that day that I drove the motor home with its horrible fumes and infernal noise the forty-two miles from Easton, Connecticut, to Plainfield, Connecticut. Sharon and Lucy followed in the Trail Blazer.
A complication arose when I reminded the service writer that the engine was under warranty. I had explained this two days before when I made the appointment. The particular service writer with whom I was dealing, however, did not speak with me. It was all right, as in peachy keen swell and just plain dandy, for me to pay for the resleeving (what is called "heliocoiling") of the spark plug holes. Ah, warranty work was yet another matter. The "book" said that a new engine head had to be installed, which meant that we would have to be displaced from the motor home, something that was not in our budgetary plans at all. The service writer had to get authorization from the Ford Motor Company to proceed with the heliocoiling of the spark plug holes. I envisioned an entire day being spent on getting this authorization. I was not wrong. I was most correct.
Hoping against hope that the repairs would take a matter of hours, the three of us proceeded to drive thirteen miles to downtown Hartford, Connecticut, to take Lucy to Bushnell Park, where there is a superb carousel with a wonderful old Wurlitzer "player organ" banging out old, foot-stomping tunes. It was while we were at Bushnell Park, however, that I got a phone call from a service manager at the Ford dealership in Plainfield, Connecticut. The gentleman informed me that he had not heard from the Ford Motor Company but believed that a new engine head would have to be installed. It wasn't until late that afternoon that we got word that the new engine head was the "protocol" for the repair of the engine, and that we would have to return in five days for that repair, being displaced from our residence for at least one night. This meant that we were out of pocket for the gasoline to make two round trips from Easton to Plainfield--in addition to being out of pocket for the motel on Monday, June 16, 2008, and inconvenienced for the time that we spent out of our home. I had to accept this arrangement, although I made it clear that I did want to speak to a "regional area representative" in order to make demands upon the Ford Motor Company for the out of pocket expenses that we encountered with the old engine as well as with what had happened with the relatively new engine. All to thee, Blessed Mother. All to thy Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. Jesus, Mary and Joseph, we love you. Save souls.
We found out this cheery bit of penitential news after Lucy had enjoyed the Bushnell Park Carousel, after which we enjoyed the tableside Caesar salad at Carbone's Restaurant in Hartford's "Little Italy" section, a favorite haunt of my old seminary professor and dear friend, the late Father John Joseph
Jackie Boy Sullivan and, as it turns out, of the late William C. Koneazny, the originator of the old Catholic Rendezvous at the Ragamont Inn in Salisbury, Connecticut, whose fourth anniversary of death was on June 16, 2008, the day on which we had to take the motor home back to the Ford dealership in Plainfield, Connecticut. Carbone's was most delightful. You can't go wrong with a restaurant that has a Crucifix in a grotto in the main dining room! (And it was while at Carbone's that I telephoned Father Martin Stepanich, O.F.M., S.T.D., to inquire about the condition of Sister Mary Olive Rowley, who had been hospitalized a few days before at Adventist Bolingbrook Hospital in Bolingbrook, Illinois. We had planned to visit Father Martin and Sister Olive on Wednesday, June 18, 2008. That visit would have to be delayed until the First Friday of July.)
Upon picking up the motor home late on the afternoon of Wednesday, June 11, 2008, I let it be known that I was none too happy with the way that our situation had been handled. One "technician" barked at me, "Well, you didn't have to buy a Ford. You could have bought another vehicle." Let's just say that I went into a controlled bit of righteousness:
"Excuse me, sir. Do you see my wife and daughter standing here? They are human beings. They are made in the image and likeness of the Most Blessed Trinity. They have souls that have been redeemed by the shedding of every single drop of the Most Precious Blood of the Divine Redeemer, Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. They are more important than your defense of Ford Motor Company. Indeed, they have been subjected to gasoline fumes and infernal noise as a result of the Ford Motor Company's Ford V-10 Triton engine. I bought our motor home in good faith in 2001. I had no way of knowing that there was this problem with the engine. You mean to say that I am to be held responsible for buying a Ford product in good faith? Is this what you are trying to say?"
Actually, I had been told pretty much the same thing by a Ford customer service representative when I telephoned on Thursday, June 5, 2008. Imagine this, will you? I am responsible for being so stupid as to buy a Ford product without realizing that the V-10 Triton engine spits out spark plugs, a problem that might not have been commonly known in July of 2001. No, the "company" is what matters. Not human beings. The "company," which makes much of its money as a result of usury (more on that subject in a few days from now), is what matters. The "bottom line" is what matters. Not human beings. Thank you, John Calvin. Thank you, Adam Smith. Where is Father Vincent McNabb, O.P., when you need him?
Well, we returned on Monday, June 16, 2008, and the service writer had gone to great lengths to make sure that we would be displaced from our motor home for only one night. We took Lucy to the New England Carousel Museum, which is located not all that far from the world headquarters of the Entertainment Sports Programming Network (ESPN, which I have not watched in five years), in Bristol, Connecticut, and from there back to the Bushnell Park Carousel. We may live in a motor home. However, our daughter gets to see and do a lot very interesting things that are innocent and pure in the enjoyment that they provided. We are very grateful to Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and His Most Blessed Mother for their generosity to us erring sinners. These little treats are consolations given to us that might mean nothing to anyone else. We are aware that each consolation given to us is, like every cross that is fashioned for us, has been sent to us by God Himself. We must be grateful for our consolations and for our crosses.
Our Lord made it abundantly clear to us in the Gospel according to Saint Luke that we must give thanks to Him, without Whose grace we would not draw our next breath, at all times and for all things:
And it came to pass, as he was going to Jerusalem, he passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee. And as he entered into a certain town, there met him ten men that were lepers, who stood afar off; And lifted up their voice, saying: Jesus, master, have mercy on us. Whom when he saw, he said: Go, show yourselves to the priests. And it came to pass, as they went, they were made clean. And one of them, when he saw that he was made clean, went back, with a loud voice glorifying God.
And he fell on his face before his feet, giving thanks: and this was a Samaritan. And Jesus answering, said, Were not ten made clean? and where are the nine? There is no one found to return and give glory to God, but this stranger. (Luke 17: 11-18)
I had to give thanks on Tuesday, June 17, 2008, when I learned upon picking up the motor home that a new cross had come our way in that the Ford Motor Company had authorized the replacement of only one of the two engine heads, meaning that we are at risk at some point in the future of having spark plugs blow out of the left side of the engine, perhaps after our warranty has expired, and being subjected to more gasoline fumes and infernal, ear-splitting noise. Efforts are being made at present to remedy that situation. However, I just had to say "Deo gratias!" when we learning of this additional cross. The Cross is the only road to our salvation. We must give thanks at all times for our crosses and for our consolations.
Back on the Road Again
Giving Lucy a few days of treats prior to our departure for Ohio on Saturday, June 21, 2008, the Feast of Saint Aloysius Gonzaga, we did manage to take off for Ohio around noontime that day after saying our goodbyes to His Excellency and Lucy's two teachers. Our trip out to Saint Gertrude the Great Church for the summer was in some doubt because of the problems with the motor home and also because of the exorbitant cost of gasoline. As His Excellency Bishop Daniel Dolan had invited Lucy to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation during the summer, however, and as there was a possibility of giving talks during our time there, we decided to trust in God's Holy Providence for us and to make the trip, not knowing at the time when we left the property in Easton, Connecticut, on which we had been parked for six of the eight previous months that we were not going to return there for Lucy's next year of schooling in second grade.
Our trip out to Ohio was far from adventure-free. For it was in Emlenton, Pennsylvania, in western Pennsylvania around 8:00 p.m. on Saturday, June 21, 2008, that the motor home's engine began making a very strange noise. The unit even sputtered a bit now and again as I sought to re-enter onto Interstate 80 (our "old friend" as we call the highway that runs from just five miles west of the George Washington Bridge in New Jersey to across the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge in California) for the remainder of our trip. Things started to get very bad near Youngstown, Ohio, as the motor home was slowing down more and more despite my foot depressing the pedal as far down as it could go.
It was dark. It was raining. I was tired Very tired as I had not slept much the previous few days while working on various articles. I decided to exit Interstate 80 at exit 223 in Ohio, concluding that it would be prudent to stay a Chestnut Ridge Campground in Hubbard, Ohio, at which we had stayed several times in the past, and deal with whatever problem we had been sent this time around after Holy Mass in the morning. This meant, of course, that we could keep to our original plan of making it all the way to West Chester, Ohio, in order to drive His Excellency Bishop Dolan down to the home of Kirby and Jean Bischel for the inaugural Mass for the good Catholics in and around the Lexington, Kentucky, area who do not want to be "una cum Benedict" at their local Motu Mass. I just did not want to take the chance of being stranded once again, especially in the dark. I let prudence prevail in this crisis.
We limped--and that was the only word to describe the motion of the motor home--into Chestnut Ridge Campground after driving fifteen or so excruciating miles from exit 223. Whatever the cause of our difficulties would have to await until the next morning. We were just grateful to be parked and not to be stranded along the highway.
Our trip to Mass the next morning would have been very easy had we stayed in the structures of the counterfeit church of conciliarism. There is a Motu parish, Queen of the Holy Rosary Chapel, served by the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter at which we had thought we were assisting at Holy Mass now and again between 2002 and 2004. Those days are behind us. We know better now. And thus it was that we drove the fifty-one miles from Hubbard, Ohio, to Akron, Ohio, for Father James McGilloway's Sunday Mass on Sunday, June 22, 2008, at Sacred Heart Church. We were a few moments late, entering as Father was beginning the Confiteor. Deo gratias!
Upon our return to Chestnut Ridge Campground after Mass in Akron, Ohio, I set about the business of examining whether the problem that caused the motor home to stop and go and stop and go the night before was the old problem that we had encountered now and again of water being sucked into the engine by means of the air filter, another great feature of the Ford V-10 Triton engine as it is situated under the hood of a Class A motor home. Sure enough, that was the problem; the old air filter, which had been installed only recently by Mr. Kusterer, was soaked with water. Mind you, we paid a small ransom to have a plastic shield installed at Rusty Eck Ford in Wichita, Kansas, in March of 2004 so as to prevent this from happening to us ever again as it happened that time following monsoons in northern Texas all throughout Oklahoma before our motor home died on Interstate 35 in southern Kansas, necessitating it to be towed to Wichita. That plastic "shield" doesn't work all of the time. It failed to do its job in August of 2005 as we were driving from Black Bear Campground in Florida, New York, to Toledo, Ohio, and it failed to do its job on the evening of Saturday, June 21, 2005.
All to thee, Blessed Mother. All to thy Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. Jesus, Mary and Joseph, we love you. Save souls.
The old, water-soaked air filter was taken out and a new one installed. (We had kept one handy since the incident in August of 2005.) Although I realized the previous night that the air-filter was probably the culprit, I did not want to deal with the matter in the dark and when I was tired. We thus took advantage of the fact that Mass on the Vigil of the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist at Saint Gertrude the Great Church in West Chester, Ohio, was at 5:00 p.m., giving us plenty of time to get from Hubbard to West Chester on Monday, June 23, 2008, and giving us a chance to rest overnight before we continued on our way, only to encounter even more adventures shortly after our arrival in Ohio. Those will have to wait for the next installment of this travelogue, and that next installment will be posted several days from now, not months from now.
The possession of Heaven for all eternity is why we have been created. We can only get to possess Heaven if we fly unto the patronage of Our Lady's Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart and seek to make reparation for our sins and those of the whole world by bearing our crosses with joy and gratitude as we pray as many Rosaries each day as our states-in-life permit.
Each of us has his particular crosses. Each one of our crosses is perfectly fashioned for us by God Himself, Who wants us to offer to His Most Sacred Heart through the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of His Most Blessed Mother. The sufferings of this present day are as nothing in comparison the joys that await the souls of the just in Heaven:
For the Spirit himself giveth testimony to our spirit, that we are the sons of God. And if sons, heirs also; heirs indeed of God, and joint heirs with Christ: yet so, if we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified with him. For I reckon that the sufferings of this time are not worthy to be compared with the glory to come, that shall be revealed in us. (Romans 8: 16-18.)
None of us has anything to complain about whatsoever. None of us suffers as our sins deserve. And not one thing we suffer (not humiliation, not misunderstanding, not rejection, not any kind of physical pain or disease, not calumny, not total financial destitution, not career failure, not anything) is the equal of what one of our least Venial Sins caused Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ to suffer in His Sacred Humanity during His Passion and Death and caused His Most Blessed Mother's Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart to be pierced through and through with Seven Swords of Sorrow. We must always lift high the Cross as the consecrated slaves of Our Lord through His Blessed Mother's Immaculate Heart.
Heaven awaits us if we live penitentially in this life, if we seek to do our Purgatory time here by accepting with love and gratitude each of the difficulties that daily life presents. Shouldn't we be excited to ask for more crosses each day to prove our love for God and to make reparation for our own sins and those of the whole world as we entrust ourselves to the Mercy of His Most Sacred Heart and and Protection of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
Our Blessed Mother will not abandon us either, as she made clear to Juan Diego in 1531:
Know for certain that I am the perfect and perpetual Virgin Mary, Mother of the True God. . . . Here I will show and offer my love, my compassion, my help and my protection to the people. I am your merciful Mother, the Mother of all those who love me, of those who cry to me, of those who have confidence in me. Here I will hear their weeping and their sorrows and will remedy and alleviate their suffering, necessities and misfortunes. . . . Listen and let it penetrate into your heart. . . . Do not be troubled or weighed down with grief. So not fear any illness or vexation, anxiety or pain. Am I not here who am your Mother? Are you not under my shadow and protection? Am I not your fountain of life? Are you not in the folds of my mantle? In the crossing of my arms? Is there anything else that you need?
This is good advice for us, is it not? We should keep this in mind whenever we are feeling sorry for ourselves or think that we have been given a cross that is too heavy for us to carry. We must remember, as I try to keep hammering home, that there is nothing, absolutely nothing, that we can experience in this passing, mortal vale of tears that is the equal of what one of our least Venial Sins caused Our Lord to suffer during His Passion and Death and caused His Most Blessed Mother's Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart to be pierced through and through with Seven Swords of Sorrow. Who are we to feel sorry for ourselves in the midst of sickness or suffering or woe or loss of one sort or another? The Cross is the path to Heaven. Shouldn't we thank God for our crosses, mindful that Our Lady stands with us in our own crosses as she stood by her own Divine Son's Most Holy Cross on Good Friday, at which she stands at every true offering of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass?
Here's a good formula to remember: our crosses become lighter with every Rosary we pray.
Yes, it's still better this than Purgatory in 2008!
Isn't it time to pray a Rosary now.
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.
Saint Louis IX, King of France, pray for us.
See also: A Litany of Saints