Penance Is Better Than Ever in 2009, part 4
by Thomas A. Droleskey
To accept the Holy Will of God with resignation and even joy is an imperative of our interior lives. We are creatures, mere contingent beings. We do no take our next breaths without God willing us to do so. We must accept whatever happens to us in the midst of or daily lives as coming from the hand of God and as within His Holy Providence, recognizing that He had each of us in mind from all eternity and that He has known from all eternity exactly what would happen to us in our lives.
As we are finite beings, however, who are wounded by the vestigial after-effects of Original Sin and the after-effects of our Actual Sins, each of which darkens our intellects and weakens our wills, which is why we must attempt to recover by penance what we have loss as a result of sin, we become attached so frequently to our own wills in a very disordered manner. This is why it is necessary for God to pummel us into submission, to visit upon us just a small bit of the sufferings of Job, to crush our pride and our disordered self-love by making sure that we are kept humbled, if not humiliated, so that we will be kept on our knees in prayer to Him through the Immaculate Heart of His Most Blessed Mother. We must accept such pummeling with joy and with gratitude as the more we are crushed and humiliated in the eyes of the world, my friends, is the more that we have a chance of conforming ourselves more and more to Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, Who was rejected in ignominy as a result of our own sins having transcended time.
God's Plans Are Not Our Plans
Thus it is that we thought three months ago that we were "settled" in our manufactured house in Ohio. It was a nice house, very big, at least by our standards. It had central air conditioning, which kept us all very cool in the heat of the summer. I was able to write my articles in a lovely recliner chair (while Chase was curled up between my legs in the leg rest) and sleep in an actual bed. My dear wife was able to cook meals at home and do laundry herself several times a week. Lucy had her own playroom. It was a nice house, reasonably close to the glories offered to so every day at Saint Gertrude the Great Church.
As May turned into June and was June was turning into July, however, we were faced with the depletion of the proceeds of a generous donation made to us in the latter part of April. Non-tax-deductible financial gifts made it possible for us to pay our food bills and other daily living expenses. The "big ticket" items that I have itemized frequently on the Donations page, however, depleted our cash reserves, which also took a hit as a result of various repairs (including repairs to the windshield wipers that had broken down on Friday, March 13, 2009) to the motor home. Selling the motor home was not an option for us as it would net us very little money in relation to the investment that we had put into it over the course of eight years.
The lack of regular, predictable, sustained donations simply made it impossible for us to keep that nice house. We had to move out of it on Saturday, July 11, 2009, moving back into our motor home so that the house could be unoccupied to be shown to prospective buyers in an absolutely immaculate condition. We did not arrive at this decision lightly or without sadness as we, who are but weak vessels of clay, had grown to like the comforts of our manufactured house, especially the comforts provided by the brand new central air conditioning unit that came with the house that we saw as a delightful temporal benefit to complement the house's relative closeness to Saint Gertrude the Great Church, from which we were about three to six minutes away depending upon traffic.
As nice as the house was--and it was very nice, however, it is also a splendid thing to be able to pay bills.
There are about fifteen to twenty people who read this site who donate to us on a regular basis. They know who they are. We remain very grateful to them for their constant generosity to us.
Regular, sustained donations. That's what we need. That's what I hoped for as I kept this site free of a subscription charge, which would have, most likely, resulted in a further reduction of our readership (very few people purchased my still available video lectures last year, fewer yet have even watched my free videos on YouTube!). Regular, sustained donations from a larger number of readers than had previously sent us non-tax-deductible financial gifts.
This was simply not within the Providence of God to happen, and things began to go "south" for us, temporally speaking, when we had to get the roof of the motor home sealed following the discovery in late-June of dry rot after it had been in storage for about seven weeks. We discovered mounds and mounds of dry rot on Monday, June 22, 2009, the fortieth anniversary of my graduation from Oyster Bay High School in Oyster Bay, Long Island, New York, and gazillions of dead ants as we were taking the motor home into Cummins Bridgeway in West Chester, Ohio, for another set of repairs to the Onan 5500 gasoline generator that we purchased there on January 31, 2007, and to get those windshield wipers repaired. This was the first time since we had lived in a basement apartment in Bethpage, New York, that we had the luxury of dropping the motor home off at a repair facility without having to go a motel as we lived in our own home, which was 1.26 miles from Cummins Bridgeway.
Baking In The Heat Now Is Better Than Baking In The Heat Later
We had wanted to get the motor home's generator and windshield wipers repaired in order to take a trip to the Chicago, Illinois, area to visit with Father Martin Stepanich, O.F.M., S.T.D., and Sister Mary Olive Rowley and their caregivers, Miss Samantha Current and Miss Suzanne Kennedy. Aware that Sister Olive was not in the best of health, we had wanted to see her once again, something that was, of course, not within the Providence of God as Sister was taken to the hospital on the very day, Wednesday, June 24, 2009, the Feast of the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist, that we were driving in the motor home, without the TrailBlazer, which we left behind in Ohio, from Indiana to the Chicago area. Sister died five days later, early on the morning of the Feast of Saints Peter Paul, Monday, June 29, 2009. As you know, Sister, we pray for your soul every day! We miss you.
Sharon was able to speak with Sister Olive the day after her eighty-ninth birthday. The two talked for a long time on the telephone Sister joked that she was the perpetual age of the late Benny Kubelski (Jack Benny), thirty-nine. "When you get to be a certain age," Sister said, "you start going backward. So, I skipped a few years." I then asked her how many years it had been since her final vows. "Twenty-five." Sharon said, "You're taking this age thing a little far, Sister." Sister, who was sharp as the proverbial tack, said, "No, no, no. I meant to say that I was twenty-five years of age since she had taking her final vows, meaning that it had been sixty-four years since that time. That's a long time in the religious life.
Actually, Sister Mary Olive Rowley, whose sister, Sister Mary Yvonne Rowley, died several years ago, entered the School Sisters of Saint Francis when she was seventeen. She had to leave to take care of her sick mother, however, returning when she was nineteen. It was another six years after until she took her final vows. We were so happy to have had the opportunity to speak with Sister that one last time on Saturday, June 20, 2009.
Our visit with Father Martin and Samantha and Suzanne was, as always, very delightful. Father Martin is a treasure trove of wisdom, and I listened with great care to the points that he made on a number of important issues. As was the case back in the 1980s when both sedevacantists and partisans of the Society of Saint Pius X were making arguments against conciliarism and the Protestant and Masonic Novus Ordo service, I listened attentively, seeking the truth and only the the truth on all matters. Nothing more, nothing less. What is true? What does the Catholic Church teach on a various point? That is all that I want. It is always good to listen to and to be challenged by Father Martin Stepanich. And Lucy loved her visit with Miss Current, who takes care of Father Martin's incredible garden of flowers, as Sharon spent time conversing with Miss Kennedy. We were so glad to be able to get up to the Chicago area, conveying our assurances of prayers for Sister Olive through Samantha and Suzanne.
There was, of course, great penance involved in our drive to and from Chicago in that we lacked then (as we continue to lack now) what we have lacked since Wednesday, September 7, 2005, since a well-meaning mechanic, seeking to fix our slideouts without knowing how to make them work, took some things out of a fuse box under the hood of the motor home, thereby consigning me to a life of constant and unremitting heat as I drive the motor home. Heat pours from the engine into the "well" where I place my feet. Heat pours out of the vents. Heat beats down upon me through the two large windshield panes. It is pure, unremitting penance, and I accept every single bit of it in reparation for my own many and terrible sins and for those of the whole world, offering up this constant penance to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus through the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary.
The heat on Friday, June 26, 2009, the forty-sixth anniversary of a fourteen inning game played at the old Polo Grounds in Harlem, New York, in ninety-six degree heat as my beloved New York Mets defeated the Chicago Cubs on a grand slam home run by first baseman Tim Harkness on a three-two count with the bases loaded and the Mets down by two runs (6-4) in the bottom of the fourteenth inning (yes, I was there at that game, securing my first autograph, that of Mr. Ronald Hunt, the Mets' rookie second baseman), was brutal. It was all I could do to drive the 200 miles or so back to Indiana, where we assisted at Holy Mass the next day at one of our favorite "house" chapels. I was spent after about six terrible hours in the heat, made worse by the interminable construction on Interstate 80/90 in northwest Indiana (when will they ever be through with this construction as it's been going on for most of the thirty-six and one-half years I have been driving through that area?), and the fact that we had take a detour off of Interstate 65 in northern Indiana to avoid another ninety minute construction delay. Ah, yes, your "stimulus" funds at work! All to thee, Blessed Mother. All to thy Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, we love you. Save souls!
We returned to Ohio on Saturday, June 27, 2009, putting the motor home back in storage for another week prior to its being used as a "run about town" vehicle on Friday, July 3, 2009, as the TrailBlazer had new brakes and rotors installed on all four wheels, being placed back in storage for another eight days before it was taken out on Friday, July 10, 2009, as we started the process of moving back into our little home on wheels. As my dear wife has been wont to say these past eight years now, "It's good to have wheels given the state of the Church." Indeed.
A Retreat With Father Thielen
Unable to go to Fraser, Michigan, for the ordination of Father Julian Larrabee on the Feast of the Most Precious Blood of Jesus on Wednesday, July 1, 2009, we were able to make what amounted to a daily retreat for nine day in the Chapel of Our Lady of Consolation in Independence, Kentucky. Father James Thielen was very good to us during these nine days, and we will be forever grateful to him for his wise counsel and his marvelous sermons, so full of tender devotion to the Mother of God. We were really edified by our time at the Chapel of Our Lady of Consolation. We can say that our time at Our Lady of Consolation Chapel was very consoling.
Moving Day Once Again
After much prayer and a great deal of reflection, Sharon, who so loved the manufactured house, announced to me after Holy Mass on Friday, July 10, 2009, that she agreed with my own assessment of our situation, that she believed that it was time to move out of the house in order to sell it. Our funds had reached a critical level by that point as our bills for early July were paid, and it was only a generous donation granted to us by a nonsedevacantist friend of ours that made possible our survival for the rest of July. We thus asked a few friends to help us to move our recently purchased furniture out of the house on Saturday, July 11, 2009, as we moved what we could into the motor home that day, Friday, July 10, 2009. I was careful, however, not to overdo that moving process as I did not want a recurrence of horrific back pain that more or less paralyzed me after our move into the manufactured house on Friday, May 1, 2009.
Our friends, including Mr. Charles Simpson and several of his children and Mr. Matthew D. Hardin, who came from Kentucky with his truck and a half, arrived around 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, July 11, 2009, helping us for the better part of four hours as our furniture was taken to the same storage facility where we had stored the motor home (I exchanged the outdoor storage facility for one indoors to accommodate the furniture) in several runs. All but a few items, which were removed on Sunday, July 12, 2009, and Monday, July 13, 2009, remained after the furniture was taken out and our personal effects moved back into the motor home in a convoy of garbage bags and boxes. I cried some mock tears as my lovely recliner chair was taken apart and then moved out of the manufactured house. It was sad, humanly speaking, to see it go. Alas, our true home is Heaven. There will be comforts aplenty there, please God that we die in states of Sanctifying Grace. We are very grateful to our friends for helping us to move out of the manufactured house.
Indeed, Bishop Dolan told us when he enthroned the house to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary that we would have to do lots of extra penances now that the era of "soft living" had arrived in our lives. God saw to it, of course, that the era of soft living was a short one. We do indeed need to do extra penances for our own sins and those of the whole world, which is why we embrace the crosses associated with our resumed life in the motor home with great joy and gratitude.
Playing The Role of the Happy Idiot
While en route to Indian Springs Campground in North Bend, Ohio, a few hours later, however, we encountered a harbinger of problems that would manifest themselves quite overtly six days later. The motor home began to overheat as I drove on Interstate 275 west of where we had gotten on at Exit 42 (Ohio Route 747). The thing could not be moved. "Is the transmission dying again?" I asked myself. It had just been a little under sixteen months since the motor home's first transmission had died at mile marker 139 in the westbound lanes of Interstate 80, west of Snow Shoe, Pennsylvania, precipitating a series of adventures, starting on Saturday of Passion Week, March 15, 2008, that are recounted in It's Still Better This Than Purgatory (or Worse!) in 2008, part 3 and
More Photos From Droleskeyland. "Not again?" I asked myself. "Not again." We must, however, accept everything as coming from the hand of God, Who has fashioned every single cross that we can ever experience in this
Sharon was following in the TrailBlazer. I pulled the motor home over to the shoulder of the westbound lanes of Interstate 275, assaying the situation. The motor home was not low on radiator fluid or on motor oil. We had a little smidgen of of automatic transmission fluid left, which Sharon, whose fingers are more nimble and whose eyes see better than mine, used to put into the awkwardly placed transmission fill line. This permitted us to get off at the next exit, Exit 33, to get several quarts of transmission fluid, which seemed to solve the difficulty.
Yes, I was playing the role described by Gilbert Keith Chesterton a "happy idiot," that is, an optimist, in thinking that the motor home's transmission's problem was just a matter of its needing more transmission fluid. Like any self-respecting American man approaching in the latter part of his sixth decade of life who has no money, I simply hoped that the problem would kind of, sort of, go away, disappear, if you will, all on its very own. We couldn't afford another new transmission, although I was to find out nine days later that the transmission is still under warranty, something that I did not realize that Saturday, July 11, 2009.
The additional transmission fluid did seem to work. The motor home had no further problems while en route to Indian Springs Campground in North Bend, Ohio. Although we had toyed with the idea of driving to Vicksburg, Mississippi, on Monday, July 13, 2009, in order to there the following evening for a Mass that Father Francisco Radecki, CMRI, was to offer for our friends Mrs. Lee Evans and Mrs. Linda Givens and their families, the thought occurred to me that we could go to Indiana to stay on the property of the private chapel, where the owner of the property, a very kind Catholic gentleman who works at a transmission assembly plant, could look at the transmission to see if we had a leak that he could fix. This served our purposes well as we had to wait the emergency donation from our friend that made possible our survival for the remainder of the month of July, which was meant to tide us over until the sale of the manufactured house.
We did have a nibble on the manufactured house on the evening of Sunday, July 12, 2009, as a woman, who was sitting with a friend of hers outside of the house as she telephoned us while we were thirty miles away at Indian Springs Campground (which is simply too far away from Saint Gertrude's for us to have considered making that a "landing spot" as whatever money we got from the sale of the manufactured house would have been eaten up in gasoline and as the hours of time were spent commuting sixty miles round trip every single day), asked me to show the house to her that evening. Although tired from the previous several days, I wanted to make every effort to sell the house as soon as possible, something that was not, as it turned out, within the Providence of God. Not knowing this on the evening of July 12, 2009, however, I dutifully got back into the TrailBlazer to drive the thirty miles to our manufactured house to show it to the prospective buyer, who was interested and wound up making very low offer, which we accepted on Tuesday, July 14, 2009, starting a week of vacillation that resulted in the woman's backing out of the purchase on Monday, July 20, 2009. All to thee, Blessed Mother. All to thy Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, we love you. Save souls.
We assisted at Holy Mass at Saint Gertrude the Great Church for the last time on Monday, July 13, 2009. His Excellency Bishop Dolan was away on vacation at the time. We did not have an opportunity thank His Excellency in person for his many kindnesses to us. We thank him here publicly for those kindnesses and for all that he taught us during our many visits to Ohio, especially never to assist at any Mass offered "una cum Benedicto." We assure our friends at Saint Gertrude the Great Church of our prayers every day without fail.
A brief misadventure awaited us when we attempted to leave Indian Springs Campground for our relatively short trip to Indiana. I could not locate the connecting pins that held the tow bar arms of the Blue Ox Towbar to the base plate of the TrailBlazer. It had been over three months since the TrailBlazer was last hooked up to the rickety tow bar, whose service dates from January 26, 2006. I had hooked up at the USA RV Park in Sugar Land, Texas on the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows (Friday in Passion Week), April 3, 2005, for our trip to Louisiana for Mass the next day and thence our trip to Saint Gertrude the Great Church for Palm Sunday. That was the last time that I had seen the connecting pins.
Scrambling to find a recreational vehicle dealer with such pins, I found the telephone number for Colerain R.V., which was located about sixteen miles or so from Indian Springs Campground. This necessitated a brief delay in our departure for Indiana as I had to get into the TrailBlazer to drive that distance, discovering that Colerain R.V., which is readily visible from Interstate 275, is not readily accessible from that highway. All to thee, Blessed Mother. All to thy Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, we love you. Save souls!
I secured the connecting pins for a modest price (ten dollars) for what I joked was going to be our "one last tow" out of that "beauty," as Lucy just said as I was writing this travelogue. That "beauty" is, of course, the dilapidating tow bar. "One last tow, honey, that's all I want. One last tow out of this thing. One last tow." We've gotten seven tows since that day. One last tow. Just one last tow. That's what I'll keep saying until we get the money to get a new tow bar!
Return of the Adventures
There was Perry Mason Returns, which was shown on the National Broadcasting Company on Sunday, December 1, 1985. Then there was, much more importantly, of course, The Return of Ironside, which was shown on the National Broadcasting Company on Tuesday, May 4, 1993, one year to the day before I reprised my alter ego ("The Lone Ranger of Shea Stadium") on the eighteenth anniversary of its debut. Friday, July 17, 2009, marked the return of the adventures of the Droleskey family in our Georgetown motor home. Penance is indeed better than ever in 2009.
Prior to the resumption of those adventures, however, we bided our time in Indiana as we assisted at Holy Mass and as Sharon and Lucy visited with our landlady for the week. Chase visited with two large dogs, Rufus and Boris, a German shepherd. Chase liked the idea of chasing after Boris in a fenced-in area. He did not quite like being chased, leaping up into my arms for safety as the big dogs sought to play with him. Our little dog, who is a great companion for us, barks up a storm at passers-by and other animals. He is really a chicken at heart. Don't tell him that I told you this, all right?
I kept up with the work of this site, writing As Incoherent as the Founding Itself, In A Nutshell, and L'Osservatore Occulto during our stay in Indiana. And with the weather cooling off nicely on Friday, July 17, 2009, I decided that we should take off for the southland, which was a "landing spot" for us because of the inexpensive costs of the campgrounds and our proximity to daily Mass in Lafayette, Louisiana, to await the the sale of the manufactured house and to start Lucy's new year of home schooling. As is usually the case, though, some penitential adventures awaited us on this trip as we resumed our life on the road. We wouldn't have it any other way as penance is indeed better than ever in 2009. Penance is the only path to Heaven.
Our trip, which was supposed to get us to Lafayette, Louisiana, in time for 8:00 a.m. Mass, Central Daylight Saving Time, on Saturday, July 18, 2009, began well enough as we traversed hilly back roads about twenty-five miles west of Indianapolis to take us to Interstate 70, which would lead us on over to Interstate 57 to connect with Interstate 55 across the Mississippi River near Sikeston, Missouri, for our trip down to Louisiana. It was too terribly long, however, before our resumed life on the road started to produce the penitential adventures that we accept and embrace as the path to sanctity that God in His ineffable Mercy has chosen from all eternity specifically for us erring sinners.
Yes, an attempt to get gasoline in Salem, Illinois, started off badly when I saw that I would not have enough clearance to swing the motor home/TrailBlazer combination around the gasoline pumps and avoid hitting parked vehicles in front of the station's convenience store. Lacking a functioning rear-view monitor, I asked Sharon to go out and direct me so that I would not hit any vehicles who were entering the gasoline station. We try to avoid backing up when the car is attached as it is not good for the tow bar. Had I not done so, however, we would not have discovered that the receiver tow bar motor home that was installed by Mr. Ronald Kusterer last year after the old receiver tow bar broke on Wednesday, April 2, 2008, as we were driving on Interstate 84 in Orange County, New York, was coming apart. Sharon found this out after the TrailBlazer had been lifted up into the air by its connecting tow bar arms. "All to thee, Blessed Mother. All to thy Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, we love you. Save souls!"
I had to detach the car from the TrailBlazer before I got gasoline. It appeared as though Sharon and Lucy would have to ride down to Louisiana in the TrailBlazer as they followed the motor home. Lo and behold, however, I spotted a place called Salem Tire Company, figuring that one of their mechanics could use a power drill to tighten up the bolts on the receiver tow bar that had come loose and had caused the tow bar to re-position itself in a dangerous manner. The manager of the company was most cooperative, sending me one of his mechanics, who was very kind to use a mallet to bang the receiver tow bar back into place and then to tighten up the bolts with his power drill.
"What a relief!" I told Sharon. "We'll be able to get down to Lafayette without fatiguing you and Lucy in the car." It was a good thought at the time, I suppose.
Re-attaching the car in a vacant lot across from the tire company, we resume our trip, which went pretty well, although I could tell that the transmission was not shifting properly, that it was, my empty-headed optimism of six days ago notwithstanding, slipping now and again. "Just get us down to Louisiana, dear Blessed Mother. Just get us down to Christ the King Church in time for Holy Mass."
"You do know it was on fire, don't ya?"
My delusional optimism was was thoroughly unwarranted. Things began to get a little more interesting just about seven miles east of Sikeston, Missouri, on Interstate 57 as the motor home did on Friday, July 17, 2009, what it had done on Saturday, July 11, 2009: overheat as the machine refused to move one little inch after I had managed to get it off of the main roadway and onto the shoulder of the southbound lanes of Interstate 57 at mile marker seven.
"Here we go again," I told Sharon. "God has known from all eternity that this would happen in exactly the manner as it has. His graces are sufficient for help us weather this storm. We must lift high the Cross now as ever before. It's good to be back on the road!" I said to Sharon and Lucy (yes, Chase listened, although I do not think that he fully comprehended what I was saying). Sharon concurred, "Good to be back on the road. We had it too soft in the manufactured house. We need our penances." We sure do, my friends, we sure do. We love the Cross, and we consider it our privilege to pay back part of the debt that we owe for our sins as we endure these relatively minor inconveniences, which, if given to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus through the Immaculate Heart of Mary with a pure intention and with gratitude for the difficulties involved, can merit us handsomely unto eternity if we persevere until the points of our dying breaths in states of Sanctifying Grace.
Sharon added more transmission fluid as I attended to Chase's needs along the side of the road. We did not realize at the time--indeed, we would not know for sure what was causing our troubles with the transmission until Monday morning, July 20, 2009--that no amount of transmission fluid was going to help us. Not knowing then what we learned two and one-half days later, we drove into Sikeston, Missouri, itself to get gasoline and to get more transmission fluid to add into the transmission line. The motor home's transmission, however, continued to slip badly as we got back onto Interstate 57 to connect with Interstate 55 to take us south to Louisiana. It was not more than twenty minutes before we were back on the side of the road, stalled out and overheated.
Our friend in Indiana, who felt bad that his impossibly busy work schedule did not permit him to look at the transmission leak before we left his property (we assured him that everything works out in God's Holy Providence and that He knew from all eternity that we were going to have the difficulties that we encountered) told us that we should just keep adding fluid every one hundred miles or so. This is what we did. I did not want to be on the side of Interstate 55 anywhere near or within the city limits of Memphis, Tennessee, thank you very much. I just prayed and prayed and prayed as we continued along our way, stopping every one hundred miles or so to add transmission fluid, something that, as we discovered later, was only adding to our problems. Sharon and I got eaten alive by huge mosquitoes, giving us welt size and most painful bites (reminiscent of the seraph serpents who bit the Jews in the desert). "We're the salad bar for these guys," Sharon noted very wryly. Quite so, dear wife, quite so.
We managed to get through Memphis, Tennessee, around 10:30 p.m., Central Daylight Saving Time, on Friday, July 17, 2009, without having to pull off to the side of the road. It was after we entered into Mississippi, just south of Memphis, that I saw smoke in my driver's side view mirror. "This is odd," I said to myself. I knew that the chain that secures a spare tire under the chassis of the motor home was dragging even though we had paid Cummins Bridgeway on June 23, 2009, for it to be repaired. Playing the role of the delusional optimist that I had chosen for myself six days earlier, I said to Sharon, "Perhaps the chain is sparking." She looked at the smoke, saying, "No, the chain isn't going to produce that kind of smoke." That's not exactly what I wanted to hear at that point, figuring that the transmission itself was burning up.
Our Guardian Angels, we believe, prompted me to get off of Interstate 55 in Hernando, Mississippi, to take a look as to what was happening as my "Mrs. Fix-It," Sharon Lucy Gertrude Droleskey, prepared to add more transmission fluid. I could see nothing but a cloud of smoke behind me as I exited off of Interstate 55 at exit 280 around 11:00 p.m. that Friday, July 17, 2009. I stopped the motor home/TrailBlazer combination at a service station on Route 304 in Hernando to open up the hood door and to see what was going on.
A group of young women in a car pulled up next where I was standing. The driver rolled down her window and said, "You do know it was on fire, don't ya?" "Where?" I asked the women. "Underneath," she replied. I thanked her for letting me know. As I discovered later after all of the pieces of this puzzle were put together, a leak from the torque converter, which turned out to be the culprit of all of our problems, and an overflow of all of the fluid that we kept adding to the transmission line caught fire on the hot exhaust pipes underneath the chassis of the motor home. Mr. B. B. Evans, the husband of our friend Mrs. Lee Evans, told his wife to tell us that transmission fluid is as flammable as gasoline itself. It will ignite when it hits a hot surface.
Think about this, ladies and gentlemen. Think about this. There was a fire on our exhaust pipes. The whole chassis of the motor home, which is just a piece of moulded plastic and fiberglass, could have erupted into flames. The propane tank, which is located in the front on the right side of the motor home and is not far from the exhaust pipes could have exploded, as could have the gasoline tank in the rear of the motor home. In other words, we could have been killed that very night. It was not the time that God has appointed from all eternity for us to die. He was telling us, however, that it was time to get off of the road for the night, that it was too dangerous to continue driving the motor home any great distance.
A women inside of the service station's convenience store told me that there was a campground about nine miles south of the gasoline station. Sharon and I prayed and prayed and prayed (Lucy was fast asleep) as we drove the nine miles to our town of destiny, Coldwater, Mississippi, where there were three souls in need of blessed Green Scapulars who Our Lady had selected to be the beneficiaries of the tender mercies of her Divine Son's Most Sacred Heart. Nothing happens by accident. There is no such thing as a coincidence. Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ intended us to be on the road when we got back on the road. He intended us to break down and have all of the inconveniences that came our way so that three souls, so precious to Him that He gave up His life on the wood of the Holy Cross to redeem them, could have a better chance of finding their way into the true Church and to thus save their souls than they had previously. We were meant to be in Coldwater, Mississippi, for the series of adventures that followed.
Wally, Morris, and Bernard
The nine mile drive between exit 280 and exit 271 on Interstate 55 in northern Mississippi was filled with prayer. Sharon and I were praying that the transmission fluid would not ignite another fire under the chassis of the motor home. "Eight miles to go," I announced to Sharon as we passed mile marker 279. "Seven miles to go," I said at mile marker 278. "Six miles to go," I exclaimed at mile marker 277. "Five miles to go," I peeped at mile marker 276, driving as fast as I could to get off of the highway. "Four miles to go," I noted at mile marker 275. "Three miles to go," I commented at mile marker 274. "Two miles to go," I sighed at mile marker 273. "One more mile," I whispered at mile marker 272.
We got off of Interstate 55, turning right onto Mississippi Route 306 before turning left onto Campground Road. I found no instructions on the porch for late night registrations, proceeding to find a place to park the motor home/TrailBlazer combination overnight. Although we would not be getting to Holy Mass the next day, Saturday, July 18, 2009, the Feast of Saint Camillus de Lellis, it was a relief to be off the road. We were grateful to Our Lord, Our Lady, Saint Christopher, Saint Raphael and our Guardian Angels to have survived yet another penitential set of adventures, which were far, far from over.
Arising early the next morning, I tried to figure out what to do with the motor home. It was foolhardy to try to drive to Lafayette, Louisiana, in the condition that caused it to catch fire the next before. I did not know, however, where to take it to get it fixed. A repair shop that had been recommended to me by a woman at the gasoline station in Hernando, Mississippi, was closed. Nothing else was immediately available. After having paid the campground fee, I decided that we should drive north to Southaven, Mississippi, to see what kind of service facilities were available in that area, letting Sharon and Lucy drive in the TrailBlazer.
Acting upon Sharon's suggestion, though, I did ask a woman at a gasoline station at the corner of Campground Road and Mississippi Route 306 if she could recommend a place that might be able to look at our motor home. She recommended a man named Wally Sipp, whose phone number she could not find. She did give me directions as to how to get to shop, which was located on US-51, the same north-south U.S. highway that runs right through Bloomington, Normal, Illinois, where I had taught at Illinois State University from 1977 to 1979 and again from 1986 to 1987 (with the Fall of 1986 being split between Illinois State University during the week and Saint John's University in New York on the weekends as I campaigned for lieutenant governor of New York; yes, I drove the 1800 mile round trip journey on eleven weekends, flying back on another five weekends). Wally Sipp's repair shop, also known as Coldwater Tire Company and Brothers Auto Towing, was located right across from the Piggly Wiggly supermarket, a chain of stores I first became acquainted with when visiting my parents and brother (and our beagles) in Bryan-College Station, Texas, in 1973 when I was pursuing my Master's at the University of Notre Dame. It was nice to see the smiling face of Mr. Piggly Wiggly again.
Although I had a bit of trouble finding Wally's shop, we managed to get there around 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, July 18, 2009. Wally and his brother Bernard said that they would be able to look at the transmission and to repair any leaks. They seemed competent and likable. The shop was a throwback to one seen on The Andy Griffith Show/Mayberry R.F.D. where the cousins Gomer and Goober Pyle worked. Junked cars with smashed windows were everywhere. Locals hung around the place to while the time of day. And none of these hard working people had a blessed clue about First and Last Things. Not a clue. They are victims of the Protestant Revolt and of the Americanism that convinced the Catholic bishops of the United States of America not to evangelize the lost souls of backwater America, content to leave them in their false religions long before the dawning of the age of conciliarism, which was, of course, made possible in so many ways by the ethos of Americanism itself.
Wally Sipp told me to give him two hours or so. He'd be able to give me a diagnosis of the problem by that time. This meant that we had to be displaced from the motor home with nowhere in particular to go. We couldn't stay in the motor home, however, thus making it necessary to drive around and around around in northern Mississippi, getting off of Interstate 55 in Southaven, Mississippi, to look for a place to have duplicates made of the keys to the manufactured house. While doing this, however, our Chasey boy got very sick. He was chilled to his little dog bones and shaking like a leaf. I had to find an emergency veterinary clinic that would be able to see him. He was in a great deal of pain.
We found the Horn Lake Animal Hospital on Goodman Road in Horn Lake, Mississippi, after making a few telephone calls. The veterinarian who assisted Chase was not as experienced as Dr. Mary Ann Wozny in West Chester, Ohio, to say nothing of my Uncle Ed in Pasadena, Texas, who has been practicing veterinary medicine since his graduation from the Veterinary School of the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas in 1941, two years prior to the graduate of his brother, Albert Henry Martin Droleskey, my father, from the same veterinary school. Dr. Mary Ann could simply feel Chase's back to determine if something was wrong with his spine, using her hands and her ZEB (zero energy balance) device to detect any possible infections. The veterinarian in Horn Lake, Mississippi, had to take an x-ray of Chase's back, finding nothing abnormal. The little doggie, who turned sixteen months old on August 2, 2009 (we've had him since October 11, 2008), was given some pain medication. He recovered from whatever it was that ailed him over the course of the next few days.
It was then time to find something to eat. We were hungry. Sharon and I had hamburgers from a place called Backyard Burgers. The hamburgers there are terrible in a good kind of way. "You know what they remind me of?" I asked Sharon as I reflected on the taste of the overcooked patties. "The burgers you used to get in high school?" Sharon responded. "Precisely. They're the same sort of tough, overcooked burgers that you had to cover with ketchup in order to make edible after you got them on the lunch line in the high school cafeteria." Backyard Burgers are actually good in that terrible way--or terribly in a good kind of way. Take your pick. We were very hungry. We gobbled down our burgers, as did Chase. Lucy, who is something of a food snob (a steak, prepared rare, with Bernaise sauce is her favorite meal), did not want Backyard Burgers. "Yuk! They look disgusting." We gave her some chicken tenderloins from Chick-Fill-A, an establishment that, to its credit, is never open on Sundays. As the late Mel Allen would have said, "How ah-bout that, sports fans?"
We had to meander for a bit longer before getting word that the Sipp brothers had found what they thought was the case of our transmission problems: a leak from the fill line caused by its having overflowed. There was also another leak underneath the transmission. The cost? Four hundred fifty dollars, mostly for labor.
Before some of your some smart alecks out there in cyberspace start scratching your heads and asking yourselves what sense did it make to leave the manufactured house to have something like this happen to us, it is necessary to say that we did not know that this was going to happen to us. We accepted what happened to us as within the Providence of God. There was no undoing our decision. It had been done. Nothing that happened to us undid the reality that we were not receiving regular, sustained donations from the readership of this site, although, as noted above, several people always outdo themselves in generosity whenever we are in a real pinch. We accepted the fact that the particular path to sanctity that God has mapped out for us from all eternity involves doing penance in our motor home as Sharon distributes blessed Green Scapulars to those whom God's Holy Providence places in our paths. Saint Joseph provided us with that emergency gift from a man and his wife who I have known for twenty-two years. We had the funds on hand to pay for the work to the motor home.
There was a bit of disappointment upon our return to Coldwater, however. The motor home was nowhere to be seen at the Coldwater Tire Company. It was out for a test drive. We had to wait it out in the TrailBlazer as we kept looking out into the distance for the return of the Georgetown motor home. All to thee, Blessed Mother. All to thy Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. we love you. Save souls!
The motor home arrived, although I have to admit that it's always a very strange sight to see it being driven by someone else. The generator had been kept going all day as a still unresolved electrical issue causes the coach batteries to be depleted pretty quickly if the motor home is not plugged into a thirty amperage socket or if the generator is turned off. I was concerned that we would be faced with another carbon monoxide problem inside of the motor home, something that, thankfully, turned out not to be the case.
Wally's son had to write up the receipt as this was not his, Wally's, strong suit. Indeed, as Sharon noted, "Their father really loved his sons on a natural level. He taught them a useful trade so that they could make a living even though the public school system failed to teach them how to read and write well." This is very true. The elder Mr. Sipp, who founded Coldwater Tire Company over fifty years ago now, really loved his sons. The descendants of slaves have been enslaved again to the lies and the incompetence and the mediocrity of one government program after another, including what is called properly "public schooling," not "public education." As Pope Pius XI noted in Divini Illius Magistri, December 31, 1929:
It is therefore as important to make no mistake in education, as it is to make no mistake in the pursuit of the last end, with which the whole work of education is intimately and necessarily connected. In fact, since education consists essentially in preparing man for what he must be and for what he must do here below, in order to attain the sublime end for which he was created, it is clear that there can be no true education which is not wholly directed to man's last end, and that in the present order of Providence, since God has revealed Himself to us in the Person of His Only Begotten Son, who alone is "the way, the truth and the life," there can be no ideally perfect education which is not Christian education.
From this we see the supreme importance of Christian education, not merely for each individual, but for families and for the whole of human society, whose perfection comes from the perfection of the elements that compose it. From these same principles, the excellence, we may well call it the unsurpassed excellence, of the work of Christian education becomes manifest and clear; for after all it aims at securing the Supreme Good, that is, God, for the souls of those who are being educated, and the maximum of well-being possible here below for human society. And this it does as efficaciously as man is capable of doing it, namely by cooperating with God in the perfecting of individuals and of society, in as much as education makes upon the soul the first, the most powerful and lasting impression for life according to the well-known saying of the Wise Man, "A young man according to his way, even when he is old, he will not depart from it." With good reason therefore did St. John Chrysostom say, "What greater work is there than training the mind and forming the habits of the young?"
The lords of the
America's Concentration Camps do not realize this. Indeed, they hate authentic Catholic education, which is why actual concentration camps may very well be in the process of being constructed for us who dare to speak out in defense of the Social Reign of Christ the King and against the policies of the new Caesars and their religion of statism (see Dr. Chuck Baldwin's commentary, from a Protestant perspective, at
http://www.chuckbaldwinlive.com/c2009/cbarchive_20090811.html; I will have a Catholic commentary on this for tomorrow's secondary posting on the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary). And, of course, the lords of the counterfeit church of concilairism have a revolutionary mission to deform the souls of those children unfortunate enough to be placed in the care of their schools, filling their minds with half-truths and whole lies about the Faith.
Wally, Morris, and Bernard are honest, hard-working men, quite unlike the crooks in New Caney, Texas, who ripped us off but good when the TrailBlazer broke away from the motor home on US-59 near Splendora, Texas, on the evening of Tuesday, September 20, 2005 (see
Better This Than Purgatory (Or Worse), written some nine months before I began to explore the validity of sedevacantism in my articles on this site). They really want to "keep us going," as Wally told us in the morning before we left on our tiring day of meandering around Southaven and Horn Lake, Mississippi.
Unfortunately, however, it was not within God's Holy Providence for us to "keep going" for long as it was not long after we left Coldwater, Mississippi, around 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, July 18, 2009, that the motor home/TrailBlazer tandem was on the shoulder of the southbound lanes of Interstate 55 once again. All to thee, Blessed Mother. All to thy Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, we love you. Save souls!
Yes, it was a short time after hooking up the Trail Blazer to the motor home for that "one last tow" that I noticed what felt to be the "slipping" of the transmission once again. I just prayed that we could get down to Lafayette for Holy Mass at Christ the King Church the following morning. That was not what God had planned for us from all eternity. He had, according to His own merciful designs, planned for us to give Him more honor and glory through His Most Blessed Mother's Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart as we endured yet further problems with the motor home, believing for all of Saturday night and all through Sunday and into early Monday morning that we were looking at the expense of having the transmission rebuilt again, that it had burned out in the space of sixteen months.
The motor home overheated and came to a stop along the shoulder of the southbound lanes of Interstate 55 around mile marker 257. It is truly, truly, truly better this than Purgatory. We accepted this new cross with great gratitude as we endeavored to figure out how our journey was going to continue.
Although it was difficult to reach Wally Sipp on his cellular phone, I managed to get through, speaking with his brother Bernard. Bernard promised to come to our assistance along the side of the road. I had to give him our location several times, trying to refrain from becoming exasperated as is my wont as an utterly impatient New Yorker who wants everything done in a New York minute and who expects that clear directions will be immediately understandable and then followed without deviation. There's not much of the teacher left in me, ahem, ahem, ahem.... Anyhow, I explained that we were in an unsafe location, that we needed assistance rather urgently.
I was a doubting Thomas. One hour turned into two, and I came to the conclusion that Bernard and his associate, a man named Morris, were not coming at all. I had to figure out something, realizing that for all of the bellyaching I did about GMAC Insurance for our motor home in having to deal with someone on the phone from Sri Lanka or The Philippines, and I bellyached a whole lot about having to speak with people not versed fluently in English, losing much eternal merit in the process, of course, we could, at the very least, always count on GMAC to provide us with a tow truck free of charge to us. As I had changed the motor home's insurance once we moved into the manufactured house, however, we did not have access to free towing. We had to pay out of pocket expenses and then submit a receipt in order to get reimbursed. One tow truck operator in Mississippi said that he would charge us $350 to tow us five miles to the nearest community. Bernard and Morris were our only hope, humanly speaking, that is.
I had detached the TrailBlazer from the motor home almost as soon as we had stopped along the side of the road. With no sign of Bernard and Morris after two hours of waiting, I decided to try to move the motor home on its own to the next community as Sharon and Lucy followed in the TrailBlazer. No sooner than we had attempted to drive off than Bernard and Morris raced ahead of the motor home, which was still on the shoulder of the southbound lanes of Interstate 55. Bernard said that he would drive the motor home to the next exit to see how it performed as we followed him in the motor home. It was a strange feeling to be following the motor home as it was being driven by someone else.
Bernard parked the motor home in a dusty lot across from a gasoline station to the east of exit 257 in Como, Mississippi. It appeared to one and all that the transmission had to be rebuilt. Bernard quoted us a price of $1200 for a total rebuild of the transmission. What could we do? We had to trust that they knew what they were doing. Bernard insisted that this was the case, "That's what we do. We rebuild transmissions." This meant that we would have to drive to Lafayette, Louisiana, in the TrailBlazer, making us like the mortals who don't have the conveniences of a motor home on long drives, and then return to pick up the motor home, reminiscent of what happened in March of last year when the transmission did in fact die on Interstate 80 near Snow Shoe, Pennsylvania.
"What did Bishop Dolan tell us?" Sharon asked me once again. "Yes, honey, I answered. Something to the effect that we would have to pay for all of the soft living in the manufactured house. I'm glad to pay the price. How about you?" Sharon was glad as well.
Taking a few necessities out of the motor home as I tried to instruct Bernard how to turn off the generator and plug the electrical cord into a socket with a 110/220 adapter plug, I asked Sharon to give Bernard and Morris blessed Green Scapulars. They were grateful to get the Scapulars. Sharon promised to pray for them every day, which is one of her chief apostolates, other than being Lucy's excellent home schooling teacher: to pray the "Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us now and at the hour of our death" prayer for each and every single person to whom she has handed out a Green Scapular during the eight years of our marriage.
We did wince, however, as we saw Bernard tear off in the motor home down a steep embankment out of the lot near the gasoline station as the motor home's chassis bottomed out and the beaten up Blue Ox towbar arms fell off of their perch and landed on the street, being dragged onto the northbound lanes of Interstate 55. Bernard did not answer his cellular phone after we witnessed this spectacle. He did not telephone me as he promised that he would for instructions as to how to turn off the generator. There was a nagging doubt, I must confess, as to whether we had seen our motor home for the last time, a doubt that turned out to be absolutely groundless, but which increased for a while on the morning of Monday, July 20, 2009.
Trapped in Mississippi
We had had a long two days. Everyone in the Droleskey household, including Chase, was whipped, just dead tired. I knew that it would be very difficult to drive the remaining 386 miles to Lafayette, Louisiana, in time for Mass the next morning, Sunday, July 19, 2009. Lucy, not used to riding in the car for a very long time, was having difficulty falling asleep. For the first time in our lives, therefore, we had to stop on a Saturday night with the knowledge that we would not be able to get to a true offering of Holy Mass on a Sunday. We were like so many of you in the United States and elsewhere in the world in this time of apostasy and betrayal who lack a Mass center at which to assist on Sundays where true priests offer the ineffable Sacrifice of the Cross in an unbloody manner without being "una cum Benedicto." We had to stop near Canton, Mississippi, off of exit 119, around 10:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 18, 2009.
Lacking any kind of reservations--and not knowing which hotels would accept pets in the rooms of guests, I stopped at one hotel, whose name escapes me at the present moment. That hotel had no non-smoking rooms available. I asked what in the world could be going on in Canton, Mississippi, to make it so difficult to get rooms. "Sports tournaments, family reunions," the desk clerk told me. "Family reunions?" I said to myself. "That's not for us. I've had enough of those." Yes, "family reunions" are usually pretty raucous events and not conducive to permitting non-family members to get what the ancients would call "sleep."
Indeed, there was a time in June of 1994 when I was in Toledo, Ohio, to receive the "ChesterBelloc Monster Award" from the Chesterton Society there. I tried to stay at a Motel 6, which was my motel of choice back in those days before I "upgraded" to Super 8 in 1995. There was a long wait at the night registration window as a huge family reunion was taking place. One woman said to another, "Is Wilmer going to be here?" The other woman said, "Yes, Wilmer's going to be here. He's out. He's served his time. He says he's learned his lesson, and that he ain't gonna kill nobody no more." I said to myself, "Al right," careful to barricade the door of my hotel room with furniture just in case Wilmer had an homicidal urge that evening.
It was a year later, in June of 1995, that I returned to Toledo, which is where by late father's widow, Mrs. Joanna Droleskey, resides (my father remarried about nine months after my late mother's death in 1982). I was to give a talk as part of a thirty-three city speaking tour, deciding to stay that year in the Holiday Inn on Reynolds Road in Toledo rather than in the Motel 6 a bit south of there. There was another "family reunion" taking place. "Oh, no," I said to myself. "I hope Wilmer isn't at this one."
As God's Providence would have it, you see, I got into the elevator to go to my room. A man walked into the elevator with one of those "Hi, I'm whoever" badges pasted to his shirt. This man's badge read, "Hi, I'm Wilmer." I looked at him and said, "Oh, hello, Wilmer. How are you?" and made a beeline for my room after I got off of the elevator.
You can see, therefore, that I am not a partisan of these "family reunions" in hotels.
We did manage to find a brand new La Quinta Inn that allowed pets to stay in its rooms, hunkering down for a few hours of sleep before we continued on to Lafayette so that our good friend, Father Francis Miller, O.F.M., could give us Holy Communion late on Sunday, July 19, 2009.
As we had been in Mississippi for what seemed to be an eternity, having entered at around 10:45 p.m. on Friday, July 18, 2009, we decided to extend our stay there by a few hours so that we could visit with our friend Mrs. Lee Evans. Although her then convalescing sister, Mrs. Linda Givens, could not join her, it was very good to see Mrs. Evans once again, this time in her hometown of Vicksburg, Mississippi, the first time that I had been in that city since I drove my family's three beagles (Laddie and his two sons, Pokey and Blankey) down to Texas from Long Island, passing through Vicksburg on US-80 (Interstate 20 was not yet complete through the city) around 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, December 30, 1972 (see There Is No Cure for This Condition; we have copies, others are, quite amazingly, still available in various online bookstores).
The drive to Vicksburg from the Jackson, Mississippi was simply delightful. As we come from the East Coast, we love trees. Lots of trees. The trees along Interstate 20 as we approached Vicksburg were gorgeous. "This is breathtaking," Lucy said matter-of-factly. Our perceptive daughter was quite correct.
We had a most pleasant visit at the Cracker Barrel restaurant with Mrs. Evans and one of her other sisters whom we had not met prior to that time.We look forward to visiting with Lee and Linda as they come down to Lafayette, Louisiana, on Saturday, August 15, 2009, the Feast of Our Lady's Assumption, to assist at Holy Mass at Christ the King Church.
Upon leaving the restaurant and stopping at a supermarket to get some bottles of drinking water and dog food for Chase, we took a little tour of Vicksburg before continuing on our drive. We saw the bust of a man who looked like Ulysses S. Grant, who had won the Battle of Vicksburg for the Union side in the War Between the States. As I was driving, however, I couldn't see for sure if the bust was of Grant. Lucy piped in immediately, "That's Grant. He's big and fat. I know him from the money." She said this quite matter-of-factly. She comes out with the most remarkable comments.
As I did not want to backtrack to Jackson on Interstate 20 to connect with Interstate 55, I decided to take US-61, the old Mississippi River road (which is not really directly alongside the river), to connect with Interstate 110 north of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and thence to Interstate 10 just east of the Mississippi River for the fifty-three mile drive from there to Lafayette, Louisiana. The drive was very pleasant. We were able to drive from Vicksburg, Mississippi, to a run down La Quinta Inn on the north side of Lafayette, Louisiana, in order four hours even though we drove through a number of small communities--and the outskirts of Natchez, Mississippi--on the drive. And Father Francis was indeed good enough to give us Holy Communion shortly after our arrival in Lafayette. He is a very good priest. We are privileged to know him.
Back to Mississippi
Sharon urged me on Monday morning, July 20, 2009, to check with the Ford dealership in Sunbury, Pennsylvania, to see if the transmission, which we thought had to be rebuilt, was under warranty. It was. We had a little problem, however. We had to find a Ford dealership near Coldwater, Mississippi, that could repair the transmission and we had to find a way to get it towed from Wally Sipp's to that Ford dealership. That was easier said than done as (a) I could not reach Wally Sipp at all on any of the numbers that he had provided me with two days before; and (b) I would have to pay out of pocket for the tow from Wally's place to a Ford dealership in New Albany, Mississippi, whose service department might be able to have the motor home back to us until the end of the week. What to do? What to do?
Hungry, we went up to Prejean's for breakfast, from which I made a telephone call on my cellular phone to try to reach Wally Sipp. Unable to reach Wally, and, yes, fearing, if ever so slightly-- groundlessly as I mentioned just before, that our motor home was a goner, I telephoned the Tate County Sheriff's Department to see if one of their deputies could go over to Wally Sipp's repair shop and have him give me a call. I explained to the deputy who answered the phone that I was sure that everything was fine and that the Sipps were reliable and honest. I just wanted to be able to reach Wally to tell him that the motor home's transmission was still under warranty.
It was while we were leaving Prejean's that I heard back from Wally, who informed me that the transmission had been taken out of the motor home the previous day, Sunday, July 19, 2009. They were hard at work on it. I explained that the transmission was under warranty and that we wanted the motor home towed over to New Albany, Mississippi. Wally was understandably frustrated with me, "What do you want me to do with the transmission? It's out of the motor home." He then explained that the problem was not the transmission. "It's the torque converter," Wally told me. "We'll only charge you $850, not $1200. Our friend from Christ the King Church, Mr. Mike Gerace, who has done so much hard work on the motor home, told me a few hours later that a bad torque converter would indeed act just as we had experienced from the time that we had stalled initially seven miles east of Sikeston, Missouri, on Friday, July 17, 2009. "Yes, sir," Mike said in his typically polite manner, "if the torque converter goes you ain't gonna go. When that thing goes, Doctor, it goes, and there's not a thing in the world you can do about it."
Yes, Wally, Bernard, and Morris were absolutely on the level. Our Lady had sent us to honest, hard-working mechanics who were in need of getting her subpoena to go to Heaven: her Green Scapular. My fears, based on some of our past experiences with repair shops in backwater America, were totally groundless. The Sipp brothers really cared about fixing our motor home so that we would keep going once and for all, at least insofar as the transmission and its torque converter was concerned.
Bernard Sipp told me that the motor home would be ready that afternoon. As we had just driven down from Coldwater via Canton and Vicksburg, Mississippi, the prospect of driving the 403 miles back up to Coldwater was not an exciting one. Penance is, however, the path to Heaven. And Sharon and Lucy offered to come with me rather than to stay by themselves in the motel room without a vehicle. I accepted their offer, although I knew how tiring the trip would be for them as we had drive another 403 miles back to Lafayette from Coldwater after we picked up the motor home so that we could be at Holy Mass the next morning at Christ the King Church. "We've done worse things than this," Sharon said. "Let's go." Lucy piped in, "Yes, Dad, let's go for a little ride." That last comment was my daughter's carrying on the tradition of my own late father, who took Wednesdays off from his veterinary practice during the summer, who was wont to say on a nice summer day, "Let's go for a little ride." Thus, for a not-so-little ride we went.
The trip to Coldwater took about six hours, forty-five minutes, including a stop in Jackson, Mississippi, where Mrs. Lee Evans and her husband, Mr. B. B. Evans, were kind enough to provide us with cash in exchange for two checks of ours so that we could pay for the motor home's repairs in cash. Gone were the proceeds of the emergency donation that had been sent to us. We did, however, receive some assistance via PayPal from some of our regular donors, and there we some checks waiting for us in the post office box in Ohio that we received via forwarded during an eleven day stay in Sugar Land, Texas, from Sunday, July 26, 2009, to Thursday, August 6, 2009, the Feast of the Transfiguration of Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Saint Joseph keeps helping us in these types of circumstances over and over again. Thank you, good Saint Joseph.
The motor home was, once again, nowhere to be seen upon our return to Wally Sipp's Coldwater Tire Company on US-51 near the Piggly Wiggly in Coldwater, Mississippi. It was being taken out for another test drive. Sharon gave Wally a blessed Green Scapular, explaining that the scapular contained an image of Mary, the Mother of God. Wally said, "Wasn't she His wife?" Sharon explained very patiently, "No, no, Mary is the Mother of God. She is Our Lord Jesus Christ's Most Blessed and Immaculate Mother." Such is the state of things as a result of Martin Luther's revolution from the true Church that a lot of well-meaning Protestants, left to spend their lives in the darkness of their false religions as a result of the lies of Americanism and concilairism, don't know the first thing about the life and Redemptive work of Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. We promised to pray for Wally and Bernard and Morris and their families every single day.
With the return of the motor home and the bill paid, I hooked up the TrailBlazer to the motor home for that "one last tow.
The trip back, which took about seven hours with a stop for dinner in Canton, Mississippi, did indeed have its own set of adventures, which started when the motor home's left side view mirror, that is, the driver's side, fell off from its mounting on Interstate 55 right dab in the middle of heavy traffic Jackson, Mississippi. This occurred around 9:00 p.m. on Monday, July 20, 2009, meaning that Sharon was pressed into action to serve, if ever so gingerly, as a scout to look out the left cabin window to see if I could change lanes and/or to determine if I could merge when Interstate 20 joined Interstate 55 south of Jackson for a short distance before we had to get over to the far left lane to proceed south on Interstate 55. This had happened once before, in November of 2005 when we were driving on Interstate 80 near Tinley Park, Chicago. Sharon nearly had her head taken off that time when a truck came perilously close to her head as she tried to look out the window to see if we could merge onto another highway. This was certainly adventurous. All to thee, Blessed Mother. All to thy Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, we love you. Save souls!
I did worry that the mirror had come off and caused some vehicle behind us to have an accident. Sharon was concerned that the TrailBlazer had been hit! As it turned out, however, the mirror hung by its wires by the side of the driver's side door. It made no noise to indicate that it was alive, although not necessarily well after its mounting had rotted out a little under four years after Mr. Chris Lexow repaired it in Silver Cliff, Wisconsin, in November of 2005.
I was on my own, however, for most of the three and one-half hours of the trip from the point of the Interstate 55 peel off south from the westbound lanes of Interstate 20 as Sharon had to get Lucy to sleep. This meant that I had to judge to see if any lights were visible in the left lane when I needed to pass an impossibly slow driver (no, I do not suffer impossibly slow drivers very well, thank you!) going fifty or sixty in a seventy mile per hour zone. We had been on the road quite long enough. It had been a rough few days, humanly speaking. I was tired. I was not going to be slowed down by Ma and Pa Kettle as they drove twenty miles under the speed limit. Before changing lanes under these conditions, of course, I prayed lots of Hail Marys. Lots of Hail Marys, especially in the Baton Rouge, Louisiana, area. We were kept safe. Anyone who asserts that our Guardian Angels do not look out for us, my friends, will have to answer for that assertion on the Last Day!
We arrived at our campground shortly after Midnight on Tuesday, July 21, 2009. It was quite a full three and one-half days of penitential adventures. "It's great to be in our penitential home again," Sharon said once more as we got into the space at the campground. "Yes, my dear, we wouldn't have it any other way. What is it that you've said all these years?" Sharon replied, "Feet first. Feet first." "Ah, yes," I responded, " 'f' to the second power," meaning that our bodies will be taken out of the motor home feet first after we have died in our moulded piece of plastic and fiberglass that is our true home here on earth. It was upon our arrival at the campground, which had been delayed for three days, that I was able to turn the motor home's generator, which had been running continuously since Saturday morning, July 18, 2009, as Bernard Sipp never called me to ask for instructions how to turn it off. It was a minor miracle that we had no carbon monoxide buildup as a result.
You can see, I hope, why there was a five day gap between articles on this site between Friday, July 17, 2009, and Wednesday, July 22, 2009, the Feast of Saint Mary Magdalene.
Getting the Bugs Out
Father Francis Miller, O.F.M., and his brother Normand worked very hard on Wednesday, July 22, 2009, the Feast of Saint Mary Magdalene, on the property of parishioners in Breaux Bridge, Louisiana, to attend to the dashboard air conditioning problem. Mr. Danny Stoute, the owner of the land where the motor home was parked for the repair work, repaired the side view mirror. And Father Francis and his brother Normand worked for over ten hours on Saturday, July 25, 2009, the Feast of Saint James the Greater, to get some of the bugs out of our motor home. They worked in blazing heat for all of that time to try get our leveling jacks to jack down again and to get our dashboard air conditioning working for the first time since September 7, 2005. That problem, however, remains absolutely intractable.
Normand Miller did get the blower for the heating and the air conditioning to work. It blows out nothing but hot air, only with greater force than the hot air that has been coming in through the vents all on its own these past four years without being accelerated by a functioning blower. Father Francis and his brother also installed new lighting fixtures (the old ones were going sizzle, sizzle when they were turned on). At the end of the day, though, the slideouts were not working, a problem that Normand Miller fixed on Saturday, August 8, 2009, on the grounds of Christ the King Church, also making our main cabin's overhead air conditioning unit work like its own self again with plenty of nice cool air. The new lighting fixtures did not become functional until that Saturday, August 8, 2009, as a fuse had been blown. It's wonderful to have full lighting again.
We took Lucy down to Avery Island on Saturday, July 25, 2009, as the motor home was being worked on so assiduously by Father Francis and his brother Normand, both of whom are electrical geniuses. Avery Island is where Tabasco Sauce is manufactured. The "island" also features a nature preserve that we all found very delightful to drive through.
The toll collector at the entrance to Avery Island took one look at Chase and said in a really thick south Louisiana drawl, "I bet you a dollar that dog don't hunt." We told Chase, "He thinks that you're just a pretty dog." I told the man, "He hunts for French fries." The man corrected himself, saying, "I guess you can't say that dog don't hunt." (Chase is a pretty dog, by the way.)
We then drove to the Acadiana Visitors' Center in Lafayette, where we watched, yet again, the compelling story of the eviction of the Acadians from Acadia, now Nova Scotia, by the English governor there in 1755. Sharon and Lucy took a tour of a Acadiana/Cajun restoration village, Vermillionville, thereafter as I kept Chase company in the car. Sharon and Lucy reported liking Vermillionville, especially that the Catholic heritage of Acadiana had been emphasized in the village
A trip to Texas to have Holy Mass was made after Holy Mass at Christ the King Church on Sunday, July 26, 2009, the Feast of Good Saint Anne, as Father Francis was away in Pensacola. We stayed put in Texas for eleven days to decompress from our travels as we partook of the 10:00 a.m. Mass every day at Saint Jude Shrine, giving me an opportunity to write and write and write. We did not have an opportunity to visit with my Uncle Ed or my cousins as they were all, it seems, very busy with other projects. It was very good, though, to visit with generous friends of ours from the suburbs north of Houston, and to hear Mass offered so very well day in and day out at Saint Jude Shrine, which we had not expected to visit so soon after our last visit from March 13, 2009, to April 3, 2009.
As noted on my home page about a week ago now, our return to Louisiana, which is where we will be based most of the time, other than a few side trips now and again to Texas, on Thursday, August 6, 2009, was slowed by the fact that motor home overheated as we were driving on Interstate 10 east of Beaumont, Texas. We didn't know whether it was the torque converter or the transmission or the radiator. All to thee, Blessed Mother. All to thy Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. Jesus, Mary, and, Joseph, we love you. Save souls! Father Francis told me over the telephone that it sounded to him like it was the clutch for the radiator fan. He told me that heat had to be diverted from the engine. "Do you know where I am going with this?" he asked me. "Yes, Father. You want me to turn on the blower full blast so that heat will be diverted from the engine onto me. I accept the penance. I deserve it--and more--for my many, many terrible sins of word, thought, and deed."
We continued the rest of the 110 miles to our campground without any further incident. Normand Miller and Michael Gerace installed that new clutch for the radiator fan on Tuesday, August 11, 2009, the Feast of Saint Philomena. We are very grateful to Father Francis and his brother and Mike Gerace for all of their very hard work.
Part of Acadiana For Now
With the sale, at a loss, of the manufactured house having been made official yesterday, August 13, 2009, the Feasts of Saints Hippolytus and Cassian and of Blessed John Berchmans, we will soon have the funds to pay our monthly expenses without making one emergency appeal after another. It is clear that we could not have stayed in the manufactured house, our sole asset, and paid our bills given the dearth of non-tax-deductible financial gifts and my inability to secure employment that would provide us with enough income to pay those monthly expenses. God has known from all eternity that my overweening pride would have to be pummeled and crushed by years of rejections for employment in the academic world and as my talents as a speaker and as a teacher and a writer go unwanted in the private sector. We do have a whole lot of human stress taken off of us now that we will have something set aside to pay our bills without making one appeal after another that, within the Providence of God, failed to generate much of a response from those who read these articles.
We love it down here in Acadiana. There is a lot of residual Catholicism down here. Many homes have outdoor statues of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus or Our Lady or Saint Joseph. We are a very short distance from Holy Mass, and reasonably close to my relatives in Texas (and to my parents' grave sites in Corpus Christi, Texas). Lucy's new home schooling has begun. She reads at a sixth grade level now even though she has just started third grade. Sharon has done a terrific job home schooling her.
Weak vessels of clay, full of faults and failings, each of us in the Droleskey household just wants to do God's Holy Will for us so that we can get home to Heaven as members of His the Church. As noted earlier, we are so very grateful to His Excellency Bishop Daniel Dolan for all that he did for us and all that he taught us during our many stays in and around Saint Gertrude the Great Church. We must, of course, be detached from the things, people, and places of this world as we seek to get home to Heaven, and we believe that is our path to Heaven to live the penitential life that we had been living before we had the manufactured house and that we resumed nearly five weeks ago now. As everything works out in God's Providence, even the mistakes that we make and the criticism that we must take for our decisions can redound to our sanctification and salvation if we offer them all to the throne of the Most Holy Trinity through His Most Blessed Mother's Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart.
Everything gets revealed on the Last Day at the General Judgment of the Living and the Dead. The circumstances of each life and the intentions of each heart will be be manifest with clarity only at that time. No human judgment prior to that time matters. What matters now-and what will matter for all eternity--is how we have striven, despite our sins and failings and mistakes and the blindness caused by the vestigial after-effects of our own Actual Sins, to do God's Holy Will as best as we can and to seek to do penance for our own sins and those of the whole world as consecrated slaves of Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ through His Most Blessed Mother's Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart.
In the meantime, my friends, it is always important to remember that we are called to carry our crosses with joy and with gratitude, keeping uppermost in our minds that there is nothing--and I mean absolutely nothing--that we can endure that 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 and caused His Most Blessed Mother to suffer as those Seven Swords of Sorrow were pierced through and through her Immaculate Heart. They did not deserve the ill-treatment caused by our sins. We deserve far, far worse that God sees fit to send us in order to that we might avoid Purgatory altogether, assuming we die in states of Sanctifying Grace, as we carrying our crosses without complaint and as we recognize we must pay back everything we owe for each of our sins. It is far better to make this reparation now as the consecrated slaves of Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ through His Blessed Mother's Immaculate Heart as we pray as many Rosaries each day as our states-in-life permit, is it not?
We hope that our penances, which we richly deserve and accept with such gratitude and joy, will help to usher in the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and thus of the restoration of the Social Reign of Christ the King, to which my entire work, despite my own serious flaws, has been dedicated for so long now and which, please Our King and by the maternal intercession of His Most Blessed Mother, I hope to continue until I draw my dying breath.
Penance is indeed better than ever in 2009.
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 Eusebius, pray for us.
See also: A Litany of Saints