Folks seem to like me recounting my day from time to time . . .
Today, our youth group took a trip to Kings Island amusement park. I decided to go, because I enjoy roller-coasters immensely (although I would enjoy them more were I in better shape), it would get me out and about for the day, and most important, give me a chance to spend some time with some of the young people, and with the adults involved.
So, I was up early to have coffee and a light breakfast, and pray my office through Daytime Prayer. I was tempted to pray Evening Prayer, in view of the day ahead (and I would have if I really thought I needed to), but I didn't. '
I slathered myself with "50" sunblock (you may laugh, but I sizzle like bacon if I don't trowel it on). I met the youth minister, the other adult chaperone, and the 10 kids, in the parking lot around 8:45. After the youth minister made sure everyone turned in money and permission slips, and received a tshirt (all the kids dressed alike -- do you know why?), we were off.
Other than reminding them to behave as Catholics should, we gave them simple instructions: two check-ins, don't be late, keep your shirts on, and travel in groups of no less than three. If we found any pairs or singles, they got to walk with the grownups until we found more kids! Off they went.
The young people handled themselves in an exemplary fashion! I told them so at the end of the trip.
So, the kids went on their way, and the other two adults and I walked around the park. We rode some rides--the youth minister, who's 23, was hesitant about some of the roller-coasters, although he tackled some gamely, but refused the more extreme ones, while the mother, who is close to my age (I'm 44) and I were completely undaunted.
Alas, I displace more atmosphere than I used to, and I am less "toned" -- and I am 6'1" -- so I don't fit easily into all the rides. I got a little banged up, and my back feels as though it isn't arranged exactly as God intended, but it will adjust itself in time. After riding the "Son of Beast," which in my opinion is the finest ride at Kings Island, followed by the "Vortex," I decided, "I'm done; that's two strikes, I don't want strike three!" As it was, we were about ready to go anyway.
Now, I will at this point reveal what I wore, since priestly attire is a subject of interest to many, something I've discussed here: I wore a light colored golf shirt, khaki shorts, walking shoes, and a hat. (Cue gnashing of teeth from hardliners.)
If you think I was going to walk around, in full sun, for 9 hours, dressed all in black, you are crazy. I am not crazy. Right after I was ordained a deacon, and began wearing clerics, I said to someone, "now I know what an asphalt parking lot feels like, baking in the sun!" Yes, I do want these young people to see a priest in clerical attire, and almost all the time, they do. Such are the practical decisions one makes.
Well, after our second check-in, we retired from the park, and found a nearby Burger King, for dinner. Because of how we all went through the line, with me last, the kids were all eating by the time I sat down, so I didn't lead grace, alas. But I'm so proud of one young man: he came to me, as I was getting my sandwich, and said: "Father, could you ask them to put something different on the TV?" (They have tvs at Burger King now, apparently); I turned to the fellow behind the counter, who had heard it, and looked at the young man, as if to say, if you want, tell him, or I will, and the young man repeated the request. The man behind the counter had a curious look, but nodded, and a moment later, changed it to some car race or something.
As I went to the table, the young man said something like, "they said they were going to show something 'not suitable for children.'" (Now, I just now went back and replaced "boy" with young man. Adults will understand that calling a high school fellow "boy" is not meant in any way to demean him; but he might just read this, and I'd hate to demean him in any way. But they're my kids, you know what I mean?)
Well, after that, we headed home, and the youth minister and I waited until every child had been picked up. They all said they had a great time, and I think they did.
I got home around 9:30; last night, I'd had all the windows open, but today, it was hot in the house, so all windows closed, a/c on. I popped several aspirin, fixed myself a little bourbon on the rocks (it's medicinal), and fixed a little snack, and sat down, and finished my office for the day. As I wait for the house to cool down, I'm doing a little blogging.
I have the early Mass tomorrow, and I told some of the kids, "we'll see how I'm doing in the morning. If I don't genuflect, or if I do, but don't get up, you'll know the answer!" I said I might just genuflect, then stay down, telling everyone, "we'll begin Mass today by prostrating ourselves in prayer..."