Thursday, August 7, 2014

A Young Man in the City

I said to my Ottawa friends that I would not malign the city on account of my brush with it today. (I wrote this a few days ago.)

The Good and the Bad. The Human.

I came to Ottawa yesterday to take my mother to the airport, ending our very lovely week together. She got to see our new baby, Maria, for the first time. She had a very nice time with us and the kids - I am always being reminded that mothers-in-law and daughters-in-law do not always (often?) get along, but these two actual human beings - my mother and Anne-Marie - got along very well and love each other very much. I always say if my mom had to pick, she would be put me out at the curb for Anne-Marie.

So my mother and I got to see my aunt (my late Uncle Mike's wife, Monique) and my cousin, Lisa, whom unfortunately I barely know, for lunch. It was an excellence time and I am always touched to see parts of my dad lying 'out there' for me to pick up and put in my heart.

After having dropped mom off that I spent my customary hour at Chapter's/Starbucks until I headed over to see Archbishop Prendergast. It is so good to see him so healthy, happy and full of life. We had supper and then he left me alone for an hour or two and then took me out for ice-cream. It was a beautiful pleasant evening, and I have to say the Byward Market area is lovely at night. Reminded me of Halifax at night, actually. We had yummy ice-cream! And he is always a font of knowledge about Ottawa.

I fell asleep not too late reading a biography on Bismarck (the man, not the boat) I had picked up at Chapters. Future Catholic Review of Books piece. I went to bed early for me because the Archbishop invited me to his mass at 6:30 am... Suffice it to say my alarm did not cooperate and I did not wake until 7. But that was okay-ish since I did not have to be where I was supposed to be - St. Paul's University for the Summer Institute for the New Evangelization (SINE) - until 8:30.

And this is the beautiful woman I have to be away from.
Alas, life does not always go as planned. My car was broken into last night. The driver's side window was smashed, and with rain threatening, plans had to change. I showed up for the first meet-and-greet of the Institute - lovely to see Michael Dopp, Patrick Fletcher, et alia for those few minutes. BTW, the Institute looks like a really professional and yet friendly deal. You might want to think about it next summer.

So, I went to a Speedy to see if they could fix the window. They said they could. I strategically chose this Speedy because it is close to my favourite used books store (Book Bizarre) in Ottawa. Now I am using the free WIFI at the Sun Cafe across the street from the bookstore. I had noticed before that the people who run the cafe are Polish, but I only noticed the Epiphany chalk blessing above the doorway this time and told the clerk I liked it and that I am from Barry's Bay and so know about the custom. She asked if we wrote the blessing on our house too. I ashamedly admitted that we do when we remember to. So, please patronize this cafe of good Catholics when you are at this part of town! They are also a flower shop. Like them on Facebook here.

So, it is going to be a very expensive day because I am also getting Speedy to fix my rad leak and put new brake pads on the front brakes. God giveth... (Job 1:21)

Just a few remarks on the break-in and walking around Ottawa. Now, it was a dumb move to break into my car - it is an old minivan - what are you expecting to find in it? I imagine a drug addict thought anything was possible. He made off with nothing more than $5 or $10 worth of change. I would have given it to them, if they had asked! My God bless him/her. He cut his hand on the glass. I saw blood on an empty bag in the car. Christ bleeds for all of us.

So then walking from the Speedy to the book store I walked by a Beer Store (no, this was not the most direct route). There were about a dozen people in its parking lot and it took me a few minutes to realize what was going on. It was probably just before 10 am, and they were obviously waiting for it to open. A bunch of alcoholics? That was my first thought until I realize, no, they were waiting to return the empties they had gathered up from around town. I guess that is one source of income for 'street people' or those who are otherwise poor. God bless them too!

On my way from the Speedy I noticed a company that does promotional stuff - Globe Awards and Promotions, so I thought I would go in to ask for a brochure for ideas for promoting the Catholic Review of Books. Well, they loaded me up with about 10 lbs of stuff that I am grateful to have, but am now forced to cart around town with me on my journeys.

I think St. Patrick's Basilica is pretty close by, so perhaps after some lunch I will head over for some prayer time and a visit to their great bookstore.

This is a world of grief and a world of hope. Let's let God reach out and touch us and bring us together in His holy love.


Day ended up with a safe return home after a lot of prayers in St. Patrick's. It was hotter in there than I had hoped, but it was nice to have the group there leading the Chaplet and the rosaries. The bookstore is great too!

Yes, I bought books at both Book Bizarre and St. Patrick's. Where do you think the genius of the Catholic Review of Books comes from?

Supper at Wendy's in Renfrew on the way home, with the mandatory doughnut pick-up for the kids...

Got home safely and happily. Don't worry, I will go back to Ottawa... some day.

Very much missed the Murphy family who are away visiting their families in N.S.

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