After my death our beloved Church abroad will break three ways ... first the Greeks will leave us as they were never a part of us ... then those who live for this world and its glory will go to Moscow ... what will remain will be those souls faithful to Christ and His Church. ~St. Philaret of NY


Retirement Home Humor

Not necessarily funny, and actually kind of sad.  These were different days, back when kids held adulthood in awe, and back when the adults called the shots.

Chores & Death
personal essay by Jaime O'Neill from Magalia, Calif.

As a kid, I spent a lot of time eavesdropping on adults. The world was big and puzzling, and I figured they knew more about it than I did and were trying to keep me from finding out what that was.

As I recall, they talked a lot about deaths. It was a small town, and someone they knew always seemed to be keeling over, and then everyone had to talk about it. As a kid on a mission, I had to listen in.

In most of those stories, the decedent was going about some mundane activity when death came to call. My mom and her sisters might be sitting around the kitchen table when one of them would say, "Did you hear about Herb Wedemeyer? You know, the guy who used to work out at Bissell's Dairy? He dropped dead. Only 52. His wife said he was just going to take the garbage out, and then she heard a clunk, and there he was, dead on the kitchen floor with coffee grounds spilled all over."

I must have heard a hundred stories like that one. My dad told them with friends over a few beers out in the back yard as evening came on. And my grandmother, a true storyteller of the old school, told them, too. "Bob Lasky. 'Member him? Married that Barnsdale woman after her first husband died. He was digging for worms to go fishing, and he'd filled about half a coffee can when he just up and croaked."

So, what did I learn as a young snoop? I learned to avoid mundane activities. Now that I'm getting older, I get a little nervous every time I catch myself engaged in some activity that I so clearly associate with mortal peril. I envision a headline that reads: "Area man dies while raking leaves." Or "Retiree struck down while clearing gutters."

I figure death is not usually big on drama. You might want to go out in a blaze of glory or while blissfully sleeping, but chances are you'll expire somewhere between those two poles — while scrubbing the toilet or straightening a crooked picture on the wall. That's why when my wife asks me to take out the garbage, I usually tell her I can't. It's just too dangerous.

We Had a Drug Problem Years Ago.
Curtis Briscoe, Constantine High School, Class of 1944
Constantine, Michigan, population 2,000

The other day, someone at a store in our town read that a methamphetamine lab had been found in an old farmhouse in the adjoining county and he asked me a rhetorical question, “Why didn’t we have a drug problem when you and I were growing up?”

I replied: I had a drug problem when I was young: I was drug to church on Sunday morning. I was drug to church for weddings and funerals. I was drug to family reunions and community socials, no matter the weather. I was drug by my ears when I was disrespectful to adults. I was also drug to the woodshed when I disobeyed my parents, told a lie, brought home a bad report card, did not speak with respect, spoke ill of the teacher or preacher, or if I didn’t put forth my best effort in everything that was asked of me!

"I was drug to the kitchen sink to have my mouth washed out with soap if I uttered a profanity. I was drug out to pull weeds in mom’s garden and flower beds and cockleburs out of my dad’s fields. I was drug to the homes of family, friends and neighbors to help some poor soul who had no one to mow the yard, repair the clothesline, or chop some firewood, and, if my mother had ever known that I took a single dime as a tip for this kindness, she would have drug me back to the woodshed.

Those drugs are still in my veins and they a effect my behavior in everything I do, say or think. They are stronger than cocaine, crack, or heroin; and, if today’s children had this kind of drug problem, America would be a better place.


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