I see him at least once a week walking on the side of the road. He’s an elderly man who appears to be in his 80s. I don’t know his name. For now, I’ll call him Wilbur. I’ve never met Wilbur, but last week when I saw him walking, I had the urge to pull over, introduce myself, and ask him a few questions. But I didn’t follow through on my urge. As usual, I passed by him and continued driving.
When I was 12 years old, I took over a paper route delivering newspapers for the Peoria Journal Star. The route included the neighborhood that I grew up in, which consisted of several of my relatives. The first year that I had my paper route, I was pleasantly surprised when I received gifts from several of my customers during the Christmas season.
I’ve written before about how I grew up in a family of 17 children. I have two older brothers and two older sisters. My oldest sister’s name is Mary Kathryn “Mary Kay” Hersemann. Mary Kay and her husband, Joel, raised three children: Angelica, Joseph “Joey,” and Alanna. On Sunday, December 1, 2019, Joey was killed as a result of an automobile accident. He left behind his wife, Katie, and three young children, Layla, Madison, and Sam. Joey was 38 years old when he died.
It’s been more than a month since my surgery, which took place on November 4th. Last week, I made three trips to the pharmacy to pick up refills for different medications. I have one medication for nerve pain and a couple of other medications that I use for general pain. There’s also a medicated mouth rinse that I use after I brush my teeth. It’s supposed to reduce swelling and ward off infections.
I wasn’t planning on writing about my surgery. My medical problems were not something that I wanted to share with everyone. My plan was to get through my surgery and to be out of the hospital within a few days, which wouldn’t interfere with me continuing to write my weekly Adoration Letter. It turned out that my plan didn’t materialize. Why? Because God had a different plan in mind for me.
I usually attend daily Mass at Sacred Heart Church in downtown Peoria. The church is about three blocks away from my office, so I ordinarily walk to Mass every day. On most days, Georgette joins me at Mass, and we’re able to have lunch together after Mass about once a week. It’s a great way for us to break up our day, while receiving the spiritual boost that we need to adequately handle all the issues and problems that come up in our lives.
Last week, for the first time in more than 10 years, I failed to publish my weekly Adoration Letter. To be precise, after publishing 568 consecutive weekly letters over a period of 10 years and 11 months, I missed one. Yes, I have a “reason,” which is another word for “excuse,” for not writing the letter, but I’m not willing to let myself off the hook.
Last month, my wedding-photographer daughter Teresa scheduled a date and time for a family picture. After working with everyone to accommodate their schedules, she sent a text that provided directions on how to get to the area of Bradley Park where we were going to meet for the picture. The time that she scheduled was immediately after an 11:00 AM Sunday Mass at St. Philomena Church.