On Vacation: Kids, Pollen, Books!

June 1, 2010 at 11:33 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Last week Keith and I drove up to western Massachusetts to spend the week in a cottage on Lake George near our grandkids, Nora, age 3, and Wylliam, age 5. We spent a lot of time chasing them around, pushing them on swings, resolving altercations, serving popsicles and juice boxes, etc., etc. The kids especially liked the paddle boat on the lake from which they could fish, wearing their dear little life jackets. They each caught little fish which we  threw back after cheering them for being such brilliant fisherpeople. 

I’m m not actually much of a country girl; not for nothing do we live in the bowels of Brooklyn. But beyond my basic preference for cities, the pollen in western Mass was really dreadful last week; you could actually see it flying toward you in the wind, great masses of it. I suffered most of the time we were there from an overweening desire to sleep, even as I lived on Sudafed. Doesn’t make for great grandma-ing I’m afraid, but the kids were fairly patient. I read somewhere that the huge increase in pollen in recent years is a result of global warming–longer warmer seasons grow more plants that produce more pollen–so I have got me an appointment with an allergist. Weekly shots are better than sleeping all the time, doncha think?

A favorite part of the vacation, for me, were my two trips to the Book Bear, an amazing second-hand book store on Route 9 up above the grandkids’ house in Warren, Mass. Even grannies deserve the occasional escape!The Book Bear’s  religion collection, in particular, was terrific, and I bought twelve books for fifty dollars. Among them was a study of the Presentation BVM Sisters of South Dakota, Women with Vision, written by two women’s historians who tie the nuns into the history of the American west in ways  that really stick in your mind. At one point, for example, the original sisters, who came from Ireland to work with the Native Americans, lived in a sod hut as the pioneers did, but had to give up when they couldn’t support themselves from the tiny group of students they managed to recruit (and then the tribe moved on). Another group of them developed techniques for begging when they ran out of food–among them, hanging a flag out the window so the Catholics in the town would come to their rescue. I’d have been tempted to go back to Dublin.

I also found a life of Mother Cabrini by an Indian (subcontinental) Catholic and a biography of Mother Seton which, when I got it home, I discovered had been written by Leonard Feeney, the infamous “Father Feeney” whose interpretation of “outside the Church there is no salvation” got him excommunicated in 1953. It wasn’t easy being to the right of the Holy Office before Vatican II, but Feeney managed to do it. I’m perishing to hear his take on Elizabeth Bayley Seton,

Well, there are nine more books to tell you about, but I think I’ll save that for another post. Also, you simply must hear about my trip to St. Christopher’s Church, near Sturbridge, on Pentecost Sunday, where I listened to a sermon that could have been preached, word for word, in my childhood parish in Philly circa 1959. Stay tuned.


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