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Good Morning Nanty Glo!
        Wednesday, March 31 2004

Jon Kennedy, webmaster

Do-overs again

A couple of months after our father's passing, my brothers and I were convinced that Mother had finally realized his absence was permanent, and she grieved in her quiet, stoic Scots-Irish style, enhanced immeasurably by the near-total failure of her memory faculty. But on the first evening after he died, before we got back to Altoona from the funeral home in Nanty Glo after the visitation hours, she had forgotten this still-new circumstance in her life. We middle-aged "boys" weren't sure she knew one of us from the other, but it was obvious that she knew we were hers, she was not uneasy in our company and seemed in good spirits. Leaning back in the comfortable chair once back in her room, she sighed a regret that she hadn't changed into her slippers before sitting. Being closest to her and the youngest son, it was not a matter even to notice when I knelt next to her chair and replaced her tight shoes with her slippers. "What a loving son," she said with a smile.

I wondered if she could possibly remember. Often, things that happened 30 years or more before seemed closer to her than topics mentioned five minutes earlier, so I wondered. When I was 14 we seemed locked in constant struggle, me for my adolescent independence and she for her motherly control of her last born. On a shopping trip alone together to Indiana, she noticed while going down the stairs in Murphy's Five and Ten that one of her shoelaces was loose.

"Would you stoop down and tie my shoelace?" she asked, stopping on the landing halfway down to the basement level. I refused. I giggled nervously but was adamant. What she was asking was too demeaning and controlling; she couldn't really expect me to do something so humbling out in public.

I wasn't a disobedient son and had never been one to displease, so I was as surprised as she was, I'm sure, by my refusal. After a couple of repeated requests and attempts to reason with me, she tied her own shoe and it was forgotten.

But I never forgot. I never got over the awkward confusion and guilty conscience about such a minor and reasonable request and my unloving refusal. To this day I can't imagine any of my own children having refused a similar request from me. So the opportunity to help her into her slippers seemed to provide closure on one of life's timeless moments. Do-overs.

Did she remember, even then?

Webmaster Jon Kennedy 

Country wisdom

Life is not about how fast you run, or how high you climb, but how well you bounce.

—Sent by Mary Ann Losiewicz 

Lenten thought for today

There is more joy in heaven over a converted sinner than over a righteous person standing firm. A leader in battle has more love for a soldier who returns after fleeing, and who valiantly pursues the enemy, than for one who never turned back, but who never acted valiantly either. A farmer has greater love for land which bears fruitfully, after he has cleared it of thorns, than for land which never had thorns but which never yielded a fruitful harvest.

— St. Gregory the Great, 540-604 
(Bishop of Rome, 590-604) 

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