The Irish Funnies are not. No matter the day, we are reminded of life's gossamer hold on our blood and bones. Yesterday, I spent my morning shoveling and snow blowing, after listening to the gospel from Luke in which two very elderly people witness the fulfilment of God's promise when Mary and Joseph brought Jesus to the Temple for the Purification Rites. I shovel and snow blow in league with Mike the Vietnam vet and retired Chicago Streets and Sanitation worker and a retired CPD detective and attorney who owns the same make and model as my own. We are a troika of sixty years and change male making the path the little easier for our neighbors, especially the aging widows. We ain't kids.
This winter is like other winters, despite the Polar Vortex and our dangerously over-heating planet. Mike, Copper and I have been 'doing the sidewalks and diveways' since 1999, when I moved on the block form Griffith Indiana. It is not fun, but it needs to get done. We learned by being ordered by our elders and betters to 'get your ass out there and shovel the sidewalks, because you should not need to be told to.' I have watch home-owners in possession of snow-removal gear take care of their property and return to warmth of the hearth and the flat-screen TV.
I can't do that and neither can my two neighbors. We are too timid to face the echoes of commands past -'get your ass out there and shovel the sidewalks, because you should not need to be told to.' I don't know what my counterparts thought about while snow-blowing, but was stuck on the gospel by Luke and thought about old people (sans me of course) and how they perceive infants as possibly a justification of their lives. -
Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, looking for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him.Now, bear in mind that it is cold and that I am a God Damn crybaby; therefore my thoughts were constantly derailed according to cracks in the sidewalks and dents to the blades, the odd refuelings and unclogging the chute - yes, with the engine off. I'm not a complete moron. I thought about the recent death of a colleague, the result of folly. How all the good that one can do, might be erased by one case of bad judgement. I thought about my own catalog of sins of commission and the warehouse full of omissions. What if I had grabber -right here in the alley between Rockwell and Maplewood and had not the opportunity set things somewhat right.
And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he should not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ.
And inspired by the Spirit he came into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the law,he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said,"Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word;
or mine eyes have seen thy salvation which thou hast prepared in the presence of all peoples,
a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to thy people Israel." . . .
And there was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phan'u-el, of the tribe of Asher; she was of a great age, having lived with her husband seven years from her virginity, and as a widow till she was eighty-four. She did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day.And coming up at that very hour she gave thanks to God, and spoke of him to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.
Old Simeon and Anna were delighted to witness the redemption of Jerusalem.
Finally, the sun came out and no more snow packed on to piles. I spent the Sunday doping off, reading and watching old Maverick re-runs, until SuperBowl XLVIII! Bad snap! Safety! It only got uglier. The commercials? All I cared about was the Doritos selection, which included south sider Mike Cullen's talents. Red Hot Chili Peppers? Not so much. I watched the game until Denver scored, which seemed like a PC every-one-gets- a-trophy mercy kiss. I had to be up at 3:30AM to pen my prose, go to Dunkin Donuts, say Hi to Cousin Sy, drive to Leo High School light the boilers, read the stuff I wrote and fix my more glaring errors, start the grey van and pick up the guys.No Jerusalem in New Jersey for the Mile High Guys. What a stinker.
When I woke I learned of the death of Phillip Seymour Hoffman found with a needle in his arm in the bathroom of his NY apartment. My God, the kid was only 46 and had proved himself to a most talented actor. Those demons we deny, or try to self medicate and meditate did in another supremely talented human being.
But Simeon and Anna kept their attentions on redemption and the new Jerusalem. They saw it in the baby Mary and Joseph brought to the Temple according to the faith. No hoopla, or glitz, but genuine.
Walp, four to six inches of the white stuff is on the way. I know what I'll be doing with my Me Time.