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                                   October 29, 2005

The Middle of the End, Maybe

by Thomas A. Droleskey

Our penitential experiences of the past five weeks involving the aftermath of the breaking away of our Trail Blazer from our motor home in Splendora, Texas, on the evening of Tuesday, September 20, 2005, are about over. We think. Maybe.

We left the Washington, D.C., area, four days after my talk at Saint Athanasius Church in Vienna, Virginia, on Saturday, October 1, 2005. It was our hope that we would have had some word on how badly the Trail Blazer had been damaged by the time we left for the northeast. Such information was not in God's Providence for us to know. We had to leave a campground in College Park, Maryland, on Wednesday, October 5, 2005, without any knowledge as to how long it would take for there to be an estimate of the damages or how long it would take for the car to be repaired. All to you Blessed Mother. All to your Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, we love you. Save souls.

Thus, we towed the dilapidated flatbed trailer behind the motor home as we drove up Interstate 95 that Wednesday afternoon, taking about five hours to drive the 300 miles to a campground in Florida, New York. My wife's sister and our brother-in-law, the famous Turpins from Sussex, New Jersey, agreed to give us a 1994 Dodge Grand Caravan van that I had sold to them in July of 2001, a year after Dr. and Mrs. Paul Wolpert of Sioux City, Iowa, had given the van to me. The van was to serve our purposes as we drove around in the northeast after arriving there. However, it needed some important repairs before it could be roadworthy. We had to rent yet another vehicle for a week until the van was repaired. (It is generally important to have functioning brakes. I know. My famed 1976 Dodge Charger, whose origins and initial adventures are chronicled in There Is No Cure for This Condition, had lost its brakes in February of 1985, five months before its death on the Pennsylvania Turnpike. I tapped the brakes at an intersection of Horace Harding Boulevard and Francis Lewis Boulevard in Bayside, Queens. Nothing. I just honked my horn, hoping that no one was coming through the intersection. That's not the sort of experience you want to have more than once in your life, please Our Lord and His Most Blessed Mother.)

During that first week in Orange County, New York, which is reasonably near where our daughter's beloved Turpin cousins live in Sussex, New Jersey, I made repeated efforts to ascertain what was happening with the Trail Blazer. The rather non-communicative fellow who was assigned by the body shop in Virginia to deal with me made former New York Met's manager Art Howe seem like one of the greatest and most effective communicators of the contemporary western world. The gentleman would mumble a few things about hoses and the radiator, never specifically giving me a complete, itemized estimate of the damage that had been done to the car when it separated from our motor home. Additionally, a transmission cooling line that was necessary to test the transmission to determine if any damage had been done to it when the old tow bar turned into a Scud missile and ploughed through the Trail Blazer's undercarriage had to be "back ordered" from whichever slave labor country manufactures that item these days. It took about two weeks for that particular part to arrive. Efforts to explain to the fellow at the body shop that it was important to keep in contact with me on these matters were met with diffidence, as though it simply was not part of contemporary customer relations to keep a customer informed about the status of repairs to his vehicle All to you Blessed Mother. All to your Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, we love you. Save souls.

The time in the northeast permitted Lucy a chance to visit with her cousins and Sharon some time to visit with her only Catholic sister. I was able to do a great deal of writing, which is reflected in the number of articles posted on this site (and submitted to The Remnant and Catholic Family News). Our long-term travel plans were on hold, though, until we could find out when the Trail Blazer would be repaired. Truthfully, we were holding out a little bit of hope that the car might be totaled, thus sparing us the usurious costs of continuing to finance the car that was purchased following the demise of our old Saturn station wagon on November 23, 2004, when it was broad sided by a teen-aged driver who run a red light in Middletown, New York. Well, it was a nice hope to have as the weeks wore on without word about the damage that had been done to the car.

The 1994 Dodge Caravan van was finally able to be put back on the road on Tuesday, October 11, 2005. This necessitated getting insurance for it and dealing with all of the paperwork required by the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles to register the van and to put license plates on it.

Going out in the midst of the ceaseless deluge of rain that started on October 6, 2005, and lasted nonstop until the morning of October 15, 2005, I drove our rental car to the DMV office in Goshen, New York, and registered the van. I was also able to get the paperwork to register the flatbed, which has to be weighed at a weigh station before plates can be issued for it. (The expired Texas plates that had been put on the flatbed by the locals who sold it to us in the wee hours of September 21, 2005, had fallen off somewhere between our flat tire incident on Interstate 40 in Tennessee on September 26, 2005, and our arrival in College Park, Maryland, very late on September 28, 2005.) Unfortunately, though, I could not put the new license plates on the van in the drenching rain, having to wait until the next day, October 12, 2005, to do so Even then, however, I could only put a license plate on the rear of the van. It was just raining too heavily for me to line up the holes in the license plate with the ones on the license plate holder.  Lacking a mounted front license plate, which is required by New York State law, we returned the rental car that day, although State Farm Insurance is still trying to get Enterprise Rent A Car to release funds owed to me from that particular rental, most of which was covered by my insurance policy. More adventures were to await us later that day, October 12, after the van had become ours once again.

We discovered a major problem with the van while making the eighty mile drive from Sussex, New Jersey, to Ridgefield, Connecticut, to assist at Holy Mass offered at Saint Ignatius Retreat House. We had gone about thirty-five miles into the trip when Sharon saw smoke coming out of the front of the van. The vehicle was making strange whirring and clicking sounds. Could it be the water pump? Was a hose lose? I did not know. The temperature gauge did not seem to indicate that the car was overheating. An inspection of the exterior of the car revealed that a rainbow colored substance was leaking from the front. Not knowing what this substance was, I decided to turn back at that point rather than to run the risk of getting stranded once again. All to you Blessed Mother. All to your Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, we love you. Save souls.

Although I am not a mechanic, I have had enough experience with malfunctioning vehicles in the past thirty-six years to diagnose some things fairly well. It was when the van began to slip noticeably when shifting gears that I realized we were dealing with some sort of transmission problem. A new transmission for the van would have been out of the question. The van did respond when I added transmission fluid, leading me to believe that the problem might be related to some kind of leak. It was. The car had to be returned to the man who lives near the Turpins so that he could do yet further repairs on it. Lacking our Trail Blazer, we were thus forced to return to the rental car agency in New Hampton, New York, to rent another car to get us around for the few days that it would take for the van to become roadworthy once again.

None of the inconveniences we experienced while in the northeast would have presented a major problem if the Immemorial Mass of Tradition was available in every parish. It is not. Our baptismal birthright as Latin Rite Catholics has been taken away from us, forcing those of us who realize the importance of assisting exclusively at the Traditional Latin Mass to drive extensive distances in order to have our family nourished by the reverence and solemnity of the very Mass taught by Our Lord Himself to the Apostles. We should have been able to simply to stay put in Orange County without having to rent another car so that we could drive to Long Island for Mass at the Church of Saint Michael the Archangel in Farming, New York. That is not the way things are at this point in salvation history. Thus, we rented our fifth vehicle since September 22, 2005, solely to permit us to get ourselves and our dear Lucy Mary Norma to Mass on October 22 and 23, 2005.

Lucy has a very good memory for a child who is now three years and seven months old She does not, though, remember the fifteen month period after her birth that we lived as a family in my one-time single-man's basement apartment at 259 Ninth Street in Bethpage, Long Island, with the motor home parked on the street (to the great consternation of our neighbors, I must add). Despite this lack of a memory, she has been to Long Island enough on visits to have her father's great love of the area. She appreciated our little drive down from Orange County, New York, to Long Island to get to Mass on October 15 and 16, affording her the chance to visit her favorite places on Long Island, especially Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Park in Oyster Bay. Lucy was also impressed with our drive down Laurel Cove Road in Oyster Bay Cove, on which is located the wonderful house where I spent my high school and college years. Dear, dear Lucy warmed my heart so very much when she looked at the house and said, "Dada, I will get that house for you. I like it. Lots and lots of woods. It's even near a beach, Dada." I told her that it would take lots and lots of money to buy the house. She said, "Just give lots of talks, Dada, and sell lots of books." Even if could sell, say, something in the order of  50,000 books (the amount it would take to buy back a house that cost my father and mother $52,000 in 1965) there is no Traditional Latin Mass offered on a daily basis nearby. Lucy's touching gesture of recognition of how attached I still am to my roots brought tears to my eyes.

It was while there on Monday, October 17, 2005, that we learned that the Trail Blazer might be repaired within a few days. The non communicative fellow at the body shop said, upon my calling him, that the transmission had not been damaged and that most of the major repairs had been made. That was news to me. He said that the car should be ready by Wednesday or Thursday of that week after the rest of the body work was completed. I told him that I had to know so as to arrange my plans. It is a good thing that I did not make plans to travel on Wednesday or Thursday. The car was not repaired fully until late in the day on Friday, October 21, 2005.

We had contemplated taking the train down to Washington, D.C., from Newark, New Jersey, to pick up the Trail Blazer in Virginia. After going back and forth several times as to the best way to handle things, I decided to go down myself in order to spare Sharon and Lucy the fatigue of being on a train for three or four hours and then having to drive back up in the Trail Blazer from Vienna, Virginia. Paying the $500 deductible for the repairs via my debit card on Friday, October 21, 2005, I asked the fellow at the body shop to leave the car in front of the office where it had been taken off of the flatbed on Thursday, September 29, 2005. I would use a spare set of keys to enter the vehicle once I got myself down there. He agreed to my request. All that I had to do was to purchase a ticket for an Amtrak train to take me from Newark to Union Station in Washington, D.C.

My initial plan was to take an 11:20 p.m. train from Newark, which would be put me in the District of Columbia by 2:45 a.m. If all had worked out, I might have been at the body shop by 4:00 a.m. at the latest, at which point I would have driven the 300 miles back to the campground in Florida, New York, to take my family to an underground offering of the Traditional Latin Mass at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, October 22. Sharon, though, raised the possibility that a gate might be closed to prevent me from getting into the area where the car was supposed to be parked. Her thought on the matter was confirmed, sort of, when I telephoned the sales department of the automobile dealership located next to the body shop. It turned out, however, that the man in the dealership didn't know the first thing about which he was speaking. There was no gate in the area where the Trail Blazer was parked. Not knowing that at the time, I rearranged my departure for 3:20 a.m. on October 22, which placed my arrival at Union Station in Washington, D.C., at around 7:00 p.m., enough time to get to Mass at Saint Athanasius Church in Vienna, Virginia, and thence to retrieve the car for the long drive back to northwestern New Jersey, where Sharon and Lucy would be visiting at the the Turpins.

I am blessed to have a wonderful wife and daughter. We are hardly ever separated for more than several hours at a time. I did not get married to live my life as a single person. I love my family. I want to spend all eternity with them in Heaven, please God each of us dies in a state of sanctifying grace. Although I may have to consider making some day trips once we move to Wisconsin in a few weeks in order to generate income by selling my books, it pains me greatly to be without my wife and daughter. Wanting to spare Sharon and Lucy the withering fatigue of another round of travels, though, I said goodnight to them after our bedside prayers and completed Corruption is Quite an Ignoble Legacy at around 1:10 a.m. on October 22 before getting into the van to drive the eighty miles down to Newark Penn Station.

As I was leaving the campground, though, Sharon called me on her cellular phone, reminding me that I needed her key to the Trail Blazer to get into the vehicle once I had arrived in Virginia. Oops. I had to circle around on the steep roads that lead into and out of Black Bear Campground to retrieve the key and to say goodbye once again to my blessing of a wife. It was off on the road to the pit known as downtown Newark, New Jersey, a place I had driven around and flown over numerous times over the years but had only actually driven into on three previous occasions, the first being a political science conference at which I spoken in November of 1979.

Believe me, Newark had not changed much since my first foray into its downtown twenty-six years ago. It is a miserable place. I got down there around 2:50 a.m., about a half hour before my train was scheduled to arrive and depart. The environs around Newark Penn Station lived down to every horrible expectation that I had of the place. The actual interior of Newark Penn Station exceeded my most horrible expectations. The place is dark, dirty, grungy, grimy and all around miserable. Do you get the picture? And to think that the great delights of actually seeing this nightmare of a train station in person was delayed for about five minutes as I endeavored to find an open entranceway after parking the van at an open air parking lot across the street from the bus terminal adjacent to the train station!

As I had purchased my Amtrak ticket online, I had to search for a QuickTrack machine to print out my ticket. I asked two police officers where to find the ticket vending machines. Each said that the machines were located on the platforms where one boards the trains. Thus, I dutifully trudged up the steep stairs to Track 3, only to find that the vending machines dispensed tickets for New Jersey Transit trains, not Amtrak trains. I looked and looked and looked and looked, up and down the track, back and forth. I tried to peer onto the other platforms to see if I could find an Amtrak machine. I looked inside the enclosed waiting area on Track 3, where most of the people waiting for the 3:20 a.m. train appeared to believe that hygiene is how one greets a man named Eugene. It was a grim sight, believe me. Mass transit should be referred to as gross transit. All to you, Blessed Mother. All to your Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, we love you. Save souls.

Unable to find an Amtrak ticket machine on the platform, I had to walk down the stairs and ask the police officers to direct me to the Amtrak ticket machine. They were manifestly unfriendly, telling me that they had absolutely no idea what I was talking about. I had to search the entire lower level of the dive known as Newark Penn Station to come up the Amtrak QuickTrack machine, which was located in an out of the way alcove.

I entered my debit card and followed the prompts on the machine after discovering its location. The machine found my reservation. I pressed the button to print the ticket. "Unable to process ticket at this time. Please see an Amtrak agent." Very nice. The only problem with this was that the actual ticket office was closed. What to do?

Well, I walked back up the steep stairs to Track 3 and looked around once again for another Amtrak dispensing machine. That search was no more successful than the first one. With the minutes ticking away, I called the 800 number on the reservation confirmation that I had printed out prior to leaving the motor home for the drive to Newark Penn Station. The lights of the engine of the train could be seen in the distance as I reached an Amtrak agent to explain my dilemma.

"You have a reservation," an agent told me. "Get on the train. Tell the conductor what happened. Give him your reservation number. Have him call us and we will confirm your reservation." Simple enough, eh? Well, not quite.

The conductor was a nice enough man, although-foul-mouthed to the point of repeatedly using God's name in vain. He cursed when I told him my problem. "Not another one," he said after he uttered a few profanities and blasphemies before telling me that another passenger had encountered the same problem at Penn Station in Manhattan. He took my confirmation number and said, "I'll call them to find out what's going on. You'll have to get off in Philadelphia and go up to the main level to get a ticket out of a machine there." Thus went any hope of getting, say, three hours of sleep while en route to Union Station in Washington, D.C. All to you Blessed Mother. All to your Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, we love you. Save souls.

A major incident occurred about twenty minutes into the ride down to Washington. A freeloader got onboard the train at the Metropark station, which is located about halfway between Newark and Trenton, New Jersey. A gentleman who had no intention of paying for a ticket sat down in back of me. The conductor told him the fare was thirty dollars for his ride. The man pretended to be asleep. The conductor persisted. The man continued to pretend to be asleep. This continued for about ten minutes. Finally, the man looked at the conductor and feigned an effort to find cash. Knowing what was going on, the conductor asked for a credit car. The man said that he had left his wallet at home. Enraged, the conductor flew into a verbal tirade that has to be cleaned up of the multiple expletives used to describe his anger.

"You people think you have a right to ride the trains for free. Well, I'll tell you this. You don't have a right to ride the trains for free. Why should everyone else on the train have to pay and you get to ride for free? Do you think you're owed something because you are who you are? I'm going to have the cops meet you in Trenton and charge you with theft of services. Better than that, I can have you thrown off of this train."

The conductor walked away. I thought that the train was going to be stopped and the man arrested. Although the conductor's language was deplorable, he was right to be enraged at the theft of services. In the final analysis, though, the train arrived in Trenton and the freeloader got off unaccosted by anyone. Alert and smiling, the freeloader got off as though he owned the world, content that he had "beat the system" yet again.

The conductor struck up a conversation with me after the train had left Trenton for its next stop, Philadelphia. He asked me why such things occurred. I told him it was simple: a world where the Social Kingship of Jesus Christ as it must be exercised by His true Church is overthrown by the deification of man and the glorification of all his wants and desires gives rise all too naturally to one outrage after another. After all, if we can kill over 4,000 babies under cover of law by surgical abortion alone in this country, isn't it a relatively easy thing to steal a train ride? The man really wasn't listening to me. His mind was focused on other things. However, I made the effort to tell him the truth of the matter even though I recognized that he was so agitated by the state of the world that he wasn't going to be ready to accept what I had to tell him. More importantly, though, I said a Hail Mary for him as he walked away following the end of our conversation.

I had fifteen minutes in which to actually get a ticket printed out after the train stopped in Philadelphia. The first attempt to print out the ticket at a QuickTrack machine was unsuccessful. The second one proved to be successful, meaning that I could re-board the train with a real, honest-to-goodness Amtrak-recognized and approved ticket. I was officially not a fare-beater even though I had a confirmation sheet proving that I had paid for my reservation.

The rest of the two hour ride to Union Station was uneventful, apart from the fact that the overhead lights above my seat would not turn off after I had depressed the appropriate buttons. All to you, Blessed Mother. All to your Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, we love you. Save souls.

It was sometime after Wilmington, Delaware, though, that, fatigued from having been up for nearly a whole day, I fell asleep on the computer bag I used to carry some papers (I left the computer back at the motor home, fearing that it would prove too tempting a target on the streets of Newark and/or Washington, D.C.). The train had evidently stopped in Baltimore, Maryland, the city where my late mother lived after her discharge from the Women's Army Corps after the end of World War II, while I was asleep. This was the only conclusion I could draw from the fact that an announcement was made stating that the Baltimore Washington International Airport, which is south of Baltimore, was the upcoming stop. Additionally, there were a whole lot more people on the train, whose ultimate destination was Newport News, Virginia. "I must have dozed off," I said to myself.

After three hours and forty minutes of a train ride I would rather not make again, I got off at Union Station in Washington, D.C., and hailed a taxicab to take me over to Vienna, Virginia. I asked the cabbie, who was from somewhere in the Middle East, to drop by the body shop on Leesburg Pike on the off-chance that the area where the Trail Blazer had been parked the night before was not locked. Upon seeing that the entrance was accessible, I told the cabbie to reunite me with the car and to drop me off at the body shop.

Truthfully, I didn't recognize the Trail Blazer. It had been washed! It was a different color than when last we had seen it on Thursday, September 29, 2005. After ten months of being towed by the motor home through deserts and windstorms and rainstorms, enduring the soot produced by the motor home's exhaust pipes and the accumulated dirt of the highways and byways of the United States of America, the car had accumulated a good deal of dirt on its finish. I was taken aback at first by its fresh color. I knew it was my car from the license plate and the boxes of G.I.R.M. Warfare and Restoring Christ as the King of All Nations inside. It just looked totally different.

Happy to see some light at the end of the tunnel of the misadventure that had begun on September 20, 2005, I got into the car and drove the two or three miles to Saint Athanasius Church for 8:00 a.m. Mass offered by Father Ronald Ringrose. I was thoroughly tired, almost shaking from my fatigue, which I gave to Our Lady's Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart as her consecrated slave. However, I was glad to have gotten to the chapel in time for Mass, although saddened that October 22, 2005, would mark only the third time in my married life that I had not been at Mass with Sharon and Lucy.

My trek to Sussex, New Jersey, began after Mass. It was uneventful, save for the fact that I came very close on several occasions to nodding off. I just can't do in my fifties what I could do with complete impunity in my twenties and thirties. All to you, Blessed Mother. All to your Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, we love you. Save souls.

The trip north took about four and one-half hours. However, my day of driving was far from over. Oh, no. I had to retrieve Sharon and Lucy at the Turpins to drive them down to Newark Penn Station so that we could pick up the van and then drive in tandem from Newark back up to Black Bear Campground in Florida, New York.

We were faced with a sort of Beat the Clock dilemma after completing the sixty mile drive from Sussex to Newark, arriving there around 4:30 p.m.. The only way to enter the parking lot to make the transfer was to take a ticket as though we were parking the Trail Blazer. I explained to the parking lot attendant that we were not parking the Trail Blazer, only retrieving the van I had parked there at 2:50 a.m. that day.

"All right. You got five minutes to get out of here without being charged," the attendant told me.

I might be getting older. I still have a very good sense of time. We made the transfer in less than three minutes.

"Hey, you went way over five minutes," the attendant yelled at me. I told him to punch the ticket and to check the time. He did not admit that he was wrong. The only thing he could say was, "You don't owe anything." Do tell, as a relative of mine on my parents' side was wont to say when we were growing up. Do tell. I knew I didn't owe anything for the Trail Blazer. However, the parking lot attendant could not admit this directly. We live in a world where people are trained never to admit that they are wrong. (This is especially true of airline flight attendants and pilots. Our flight from New York to Indianapolis on Thursday, October 27, 2005, was over thirty minutes late. No acknowledgement of this fact was made by USAirways. They figure that passengers won't notice the delay if they don't acknowledge it.)

Exiting the parking lot proved be a bit of a challenge. The attendant told me to put in one ticket to get one car out and then to have the van, which was being driven by Sharon, follow immediately before the gate came down. Guess what? Yes, you got it. The gate came down as soon as the Trail Blazer had gone through. I had to get another ticket from the dispensing machine on the other side of the exiting machine so as to put it through the slot on the exiting machine to exit the lot in order to get the gate to lift up once again and to liberate the van from its stay in Newark, New Jersey. Please don't fret if you didn't follow that last sentence. I did the best I could to describe how I had to get the van out of the parking lot without having the man waiting in back of the van attempt to run me over for delaying his own exit from the lot. New Jerseyites are no more patient than those of us who are native New Yorkers, you must understand.

The drive back to Black Bear Campground was exhausting and tiring and fatiguing. We made it, thanks be to Our Lord and His Most Blessed Mother. We took Lucy for an afternoon at Bear Mountain State Park the next day, where she enjoyed herself on a Merry Go Round and visiting the small zoo they have on the grounds there. Dear Lucy needed a day off from extensive travels following the drive to and from Newark the day before. She is such a good trouper.

The final bit of this part of the saga started when we were trying to escape Hurricane Rita on September 20, 2005, is begriming to unfold. The flatbed finally got itself separated from the motor home after I had taken the tandem out on Monday, October 24, 2005, to fill up our built-in propane tank with liquefied propane gas so that we could once again have heat in our living quarters. After discovering that I was too late to get the flatbed weighed at a weigh station to meet registration requirements for the State of New York, I drove a considerable distance to get the propane and then made arrangements to have a neighbor of the Turpins, the same man who had twice repaired the van, to take off the flatbed in the parking lot of a nearby restaurant and attach it to his own pickup truck, saving me the rather difficult task of driving our motor home up a narrow, curvy, winding road with no space to turn around.

As has been the case throughout our recent misadventures, nothing was easy about detaching the flatbed from the motor home. The crank that is meant to anchor the trailer to the ground once it has been detached from its towing vehicle had been bent, another gift from the folks who sold us a trailer with rotted wood and dry rot on four tires. Two men had to exert a considerable amount of effort to jack up the trailer and get it attached to the pickup truck. It took a long, long time to get this done, and the man who will be installing new boards on the flatbed trailer was none too pleased that I did not have the necessary equipment to ease his task.

"I'm sorry, sir," I said. "We were sold this thing as is at 2:00 a.m. on September 21, 2005. We were trying to escape Hurricane Rita. We've never owned a flatbed. We didn't anticipate owning one. I don't know how this thing is supposed to work and what it is supposed to be equipped with."

This did not appease the man, who is not a Catholic, who vented his frustration at me for some considerable length of time. All I could do was to take the abuse. All to you, Blessed Mother. All to your Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, we love you. Save souls."

We journeyed to Long Island on Wednesday, October 26, 2005, having to drive the motor home and Trail Blazer in tandem, lacking any means to tow the Trail Blazer at present. We expect to pick up the flatbed after a conference on Long Island on November 5, 2005, at which point we will drive to Wisconsin, probably with the van on top of the flatbed and a Trail Blazer that the dealership in Warwick, New York, does not want to buy back from us, despite my entreaties to them to do so, being driven by Sharon. We still have to get the flatbed weighed and registered and insured before we can make the trek westward.

Each step of our pilgrimage in this vale of tears is supposed to bring us closer to embracing the Cross and to praying for more crosses to be sent our way so that we can pay back the debt we owe as a result of our sins and to help the Poor Souls in Purgatory. Accepting the fact that each one of the crosses we are asked to bear has been perfectly fitted for us for all eternity is an important part of Catholic discipleship. Offering up whatever merit we earn for bearing our crosses with love for Our Lord by giving such merit to Him through His Most Blessed Mother's Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart expands our own puny hearts, equipping them to be more detached from the things of this world and to long ever more expectantly for the things of Heaven. Although a more extensive commentary on All Saints Day and All Souls Day will be posted on November 1, 2005, suffice it to say for the moment that our path to Heaven runs only through the Cross.

All to you, Blessed Mother. All to your Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, we love you. Save souls.

Our Lady, Help of Christians, pray for us.

Saint Joseph, pray for us.

Saint Philomena, pray for us.

Saints Simon and Jude, pray for us.













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