During the years that Georgette and I were raising our children, we did our best to go out on a date at least once a week. There was only one condition that applied to our weekly dates: no one else could join us. If we had friends or family members we wanted to go out with, we planned one evening for our weekly date and a different evening for our friends or family members. It didn’t matter where we went, but most of the time, we ended up at a local restaurant.
There’s an old movie that came out in 1966, when I was nine years old. I didn’t see it until a few years later, when it was shown on TV for the first time. The name of the movie was The Bible: In the beginning. . . One scene from the movie popped into my mind recently when I was thinking about how children and students in our public schools are now being taught that homosexual behavior is “normal” and that the students have a right to change their gender any time they want to, as long as they have a desire to do so. This teaching is supported by our mainstream media, evil politicians, corrupt executives that run our global corporations, prominent celebrities, and “influencers” on social media.
One of the pictures that I have in my office was taken in 1966, at the wedding of my mom’s younger sister, Mary Ann. There are four people in the picture — me, my two cousins, Harry and Tommy LaHood, and our grandmother, Cecilia (Ceil) LaHood. My cousins and I are standing together with our arms around each other’s shoulders. I’m in the middle, my cousin Harry is to my right, and Tommy is to my left. Grandma Ceil is standing behind us with a smile on her face. She looks like she could have been our Guardian Angel.
I’ve written before about my sister, Anna Maria. She was the 11th child in my parent’s family of 17 children. One of my earliest memories of her is when she was two years old. Every time I saw her, she was clutching her security blanket. It didn’t matter whether she was sitting, standing, walking, running, or laying down, it was as though her security blanket was attached to her body. She was always happy, and out of all my sisters, she had the sweetest disposition.
Over the years, I have periodically written about when my six daughters were teenagers. During those years, I attempted to drive home the point that they needed to be careful not to let their guard down when they met a nice guy who appeared to have his act together. I did my best to persuade them to work at discovering the qualities and defects of the young men they met before developing a relationship with them.
I have a client — I’ll call her Joanne — who is a devout Christian. Joanne periodically contacts me and asks for my opinion about a faith-based issue she is struggling with. She recently asked me if I think she has an obligation to assist her husband’s mother — I’ll call her Frances — with her basic personal, healthcare, and financial needs.
The year was 1969. I was 12 years old and I had a paper route, money in my pocket, and a radio on the nightstand that was next to my bed. Back then, the world I lived in was as close to paradise that a 12-year-old boy could get. Other than 8-track tape players in cars, the only way we could listen to prerecorded music was on a radio or a record player.
In my last two articles, I wrote about experiences I had with people who some would argue deserve to be treated with contempt. While there were occasions in the past when I treated such people with contempt, I wrote that I now do my best to be as kind and charitable as possible to people who are less fortunate than I am or who are limited by their employers in what they can do for their customers, clients, or patients.
I’ve written before about Fr. Clair Bourdereaux, a Franciscan priest who was assigned to Sacred Heart Church in downtown Peoria in 1976. He remained there for 19 years, until his death in January 1995. Fr. Clair had all the qualities of a great counselor. He was holy, smart, wise, gentle, diplomatic, compassionate, and understanding. He had the unique ability to connect with people on their level and set them on a path toward holiness and happiness.