Tuesday, March 15, 2016

I Miss My Dad


 Have you ever seen that poster that shows how people see their dads at different ages? They go from the dads can do anything to not know anything, and then see what would dad say until age 60 when they miss their dad.

   I have been missing my dad since I was 15, that is when he passed away. I am in my 60’s now and a few days ago I was really thinking about him since his birthday was coming up on March 16th.

   Times were so much simpler back then. Sundays the stores were closed and it was a family day, church, homemade chicken dinner, and an afternoon of 7 handed Sheepshead.

   I miss my dad.

   I remember the family rides to get ice cream at the old store in Cecil and sitting in the park at Shawano Lake. Or going to Hofa Park to watch the baseball game from my aunt and uncle’s house.

   I miss my dad.

   I remember listening to his favorite records, The Laughing Horse Polka, The Iron Casket Polka and Whispering Winds. Or when he would pull out his violin and rosin up his bow and play for us.

I miss my dad.

   I remember waiting for dad to get home from work so I could drive the tractor out in the field. Or the time the front tire went flat and he put an old car tire on because we couldn’t afford a new one. He told me “Now we have a tire for driving on the road and one for driving in the field.”

   I miss my dad.

   I remember some Saturdays going to work with him and watch how he could transform wrecked cars back to their original shape. I turned down approval of work done on a few of my vehicles because I knew they were not up to dad’s standards.

   I miss my dad.

   I remember standing outside with him watching the lighting strikes during a storm. He would tell me it was God’s fireworks show for us. Or the warm summer nights just looking at the stars after a hard day’s work and feeling peaceful.

   I miss my dad.

   I remember the time he got me my very own brand new Spyder bike with 5 speeds from Sears and how we both were trying to figure out how the chain went from one gear to another without falling off.

   I miss my dad.

   I remember when my mom was in the hospital and my grandmother would watch my sister and I during the day. I couldn’t wait for him to get home to tell him how the day went. Then he would let grandma go home and he would take the supper dishes outside and let the dog lick them clean, then put dish soap on the and wash them with the hose and let them dry in the evening warmth. Laughing he would say “Now don’t tell mom.”

   I miss my dad.

   I remember searching the garage for his lost tools only to find them later in the garden where the dog buried them. And how we would go out into yard and pick apples off the ground because he said the bruised ones tasted the best, and he was right!

   I miss my dad.

   I often wondered how he would have loved my wife and children and how they would have loved him. I wondered what he would of think of me being a deacon. I wondered if he would have been as proud of me as I was of him.

   I miss my dad.

   I have wondered how different my life would have been if he was just alive a little longer.

   Happy birthday dad. I love you and miss you, always have and always will.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Which Way Should I Go?

   How many times have you asked yourself that very question? It could be a question about a career change, a health change, or just an attitude change.

   It could be a direction that you want to go that could have earth shattering consequences. Or could just be something simple as, which way do I want to take to get home tonight.
   It could be a question that you put out to God. Which way do you want me to go God? Or maybe it's not the question at all, but just the nudge from God to put you on a certain path, that you have no knowledge of what lies ahead.

   Well tonight on my way home from work it was just a simple question. You see I have about four different ways that I could go to get home from work today, and I just wasn't sure which way I should take. Do I take Highway 29 to Highway 32 and go through Pulaski, or do I turn off at Maplewood Meats and take the back roads going past Anston and Kunush? I could take Highway 41 North to County B and go past Flintville and the cheese factory. Maybe I should stay on 41 a little farther and turn off on Brown Road and then to South Chase Road.

   Well I decided I'm taking the County B route, but just as I was getting to the exit I felt that little nudge that made me decide to go a little farther to Brown Road. 
Now that route is the longest of any of the roads and I really wanted to get home, because it's really cold out tonight and I'm tired from 12 hours of work, but I decide to follow the nudge. 

   I make it to the railroad tracks then around the corner and then turn on South Chase Road. Taking my time, driving slow, headlights on bright, watching the sides of the road, because this road is notorious for having deer jump out in front of cars. 
As I get a little past Schoolhouse Road I notice a light in the ditch and as I get closer, see that it is a car with an elderly man getting out of the driver side. I pull off to the side of the road, put the car in reverse, and back up to where he is. 

   My old rescue squad days kick in and I check to see if he's okay. He is just a little shaken up but his car is in much worse shape, definitely will not be going anywhere soon. He tells me that he was coming from the other direction when five deer came out on the road and one decided to stay in the middle of the road and he hit it. 

   He told me that his son just moved into the area about a mile down the road, that's where he was coming from. He was going to walk back there, but it is bitterly cold out with a wind chill of -11, so I gave him a ride back to the house.

   Now that route was my last choice, but God knew where he needed me to be. And this time, it only took a little nudge.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

The Christmas Present

Another Christmas Eve is here, and as I try to get myself ready to head to my in-laws farm for the tradition family gathering, my thoughts turn back to my younger days. Times where thing were so much simpler. A time where presents were shared that had meaning to the person receiving them. The one that comes to mind is the present I would give my dad.

Did you ever get the same gift year after year and treasure it like it was the first time you ever received it. That was my dad, he always looked forward to Christmas because he knew he would be getting a new pocket knife. You see he used it almost every day and would sharpen the blade until it almost to a sliver of its former shape. Miraculously it would last until the next Christmas and then a new one would take its place.

The look on dad’s face was like that of a child getting the toy he had been wishing for. He would take it and open each blade and gadget, turning it over and over, checking it over as if he had never gotten something like this in his entire life. Ever so thankful and always saying “It will be put to good use.”

It is kind of like every year we get reminded of the gift that God gave us in His son, Jesus Christ. But that gift was different and yet the same. Every Christmas we get the gift of the child Jesus, and hopefully put it to good use, spreading the Word to those who need it, using it every day until it seems to be almost gone. Then we are reminded again, and are renewed in the Spirit each Christmas, and a fresh, new sharp edge, is given to us.

This year may the Spirit of Christmas come to you and fill your life with joy, happiness and peace. May it cut into your soul like a new sharp knife, and open your heart to the many riches of the upcoming year.

May you put those gifts to good use, so that those riches may be poured out to those around you everyday.


Monday, September 1, 2014

Memories Of Death From My Childhood.

   When I was younger, maybe around 9 years old, my next door neighbor's wife died from heat stroke on a very warm and humid day summer day. I remember the rescue squad coming to the house to pick her up. At that time it was a basic pick up and transfer to a hospital with not much immediate care.

   I never really knew their names until I was older, so I would just call them Mr. and Mrs. They were both very friendly and Mrs. would give me treats, and Mr. would always make sure some of the plums from his trees would make it on our side of the fence. He told me that they fell on our property so they were mine.

   I waited anxiously every Sunday afternoon when their grand children Tim and Judy would come over and I had someone to play with for a few hours. Mrs. always had a pressure cooker of chicken soup that she put on the porch and would take the jigglier off to let the steam escape. To this day that is the way I release the pressure from my cooker too.

   I remember sitting in my favorite tree later that day that Mrs. died,  having fun like young boys do, making a lot of noise. I could see Mr. sitting on the swing in his screen porch, just staring at the flower garden. He turned in my direction and yelled at me to be quiet. It was the first and only time he ever yelled at me and I didn't understand why, until today.

   This time of year is very hard for me as on this August 31st it will be one year since my sister Lynn passed away, and on September 1st it will be 44 years that my dad is gone. Just yesterday my wife and I received word that her classmate and friend died. We had just seen her at their class reunion 2 weeks prior.

   This weekend was suppose to be a quiet camping trip for my wife and I that we had canceled last year because of my sister's death. It didn't work out that way because of the many children close by in the campground. I now understand the reason that Mr. wanted some quiet time if only to reflect of the loss of a loved one.

   I also realize that too much alone time is not good either as spending time with my grandson this weekend as well as my cousin and her husband is a time to remember that life goes on and soon we will all be together again

   So Lynn and Dad, when you see John (Mr.) and Mary (Mrs.)Sentowski let them know, that although it took this long, I did learn a lesson that day, and that I still think of them often. I love you Lynn and Dad and will stop by to visit when we get back home.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Summers Past

   I sat outside looking out into my backyard this evening, and this is what I saw. Memories of years past when life was at a hectic but doable pace. A time when the sound of laughter and giggles abounded. Where every corner was a stretch to get back to home while not getting caught while playing "7 Steps Around the House." 

   A time of chasing lightning  bugs and grabbing an apple off the tree to eat on a late summer afternoon. And checking the books to see what type of bird was visiting the bird feeders.

  A time of hanging flower baskets from the clothes line post and day lilies blooming around the flag pole.  A time of apple and cherry blossoms.  A time of dark clouds in the north producing the fantastic lightning displays and clear nights of northern lights flashing in the heavens. 

   A time of beautiful sun rises and sun sets. A time of lazy summer days watching the billowing clouds in a bright blue sky, trying to see what each one looked like. A time of lying on your back on the picnic table trying to count the stars and watching for satellites and shooting stars as they zoomed across the sky.

   A time of gathering friends and family for an afternoon of volleyball and just sitting around a campfire, eating hamburgers, hot dogs and roasting marshmallows. 

   A time of sounds of birds, crickets, and frogs filling the air. And the breeze blow through the rustling leaves. A time of colored leaves in the fall and frosted trees in the winter.

   Memories of what once was, and though some of those things are still there, it is not the same tonight. As I sit in the silence with darkness coming in, and the memory makers have moved on to make memories of their own. 

   Ecclesiastes 1:4,9 One generation departs and another generation comes,
but the world forever stays.
   What has been, that will be; what has been done, that will be done. Nothing is new under the sun!

Friday, May 9, 2014

The Last Words.

Ronald Majewski October 19, 1944 - May 8, 2012

   Yesterday was two years that my brother Ron past from this life to the next. It was a tough day as I went 22 hours with out sleeping. When I got home from work I had a few things to do and finally got in a short nap on a very dreary day. 
   I slept for maybe a hour or two and then woke up feeling very, for lack of a good word, apprehensive. I just started walking around the house aimlessly, not quite sure what I was doing. It seemed like I was looking for something but didn't know what. 

   I began to think of my brother, and the last conversation we had. I always heard of others say they wish they could have said certain things to their loved one before they died. It was hard that day to see my brother lying in bed, just a shell of what he was just a few months before.

   It was at a point where he was still alert to the things around him, but he could no longer speak, except in quite whispers. I basically just sat at the edge of his bed and held his hand. 

   Then the words just came out. "Ron I am really jealous of you right now." A look of confusion came on his face as I continued. " You are going to see Jesus before me!" At that point he took his other hand and started to rub mine, as in a way to comfort me. 

    Here I am at his death bed trying to comfort him, and he is comforting me!  With that he motioned to me to come closer and he gave me a kiss on the cheek and in a faint whisper said "It's OK I'm ready." 

   I gave him a kiss on the forehead and told him I loved him and that he will always be my older brother. That was the last time I seen my brother in this world as he pasted to the next a few hours after.

   I feel so fortunate to have been able to have that time with him, as many are never able to have that last chance to say good bye.

   I love you bro, always have and always will, for now and forever. Rest in peace my brother.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Mama, is that Jesus?

          A few weeks ago a co worker of mine started to talk with me and ask me questions about the Catholic faith. I don’t know if he knew I am a deacon, but it is pretty common knowledge in my department.
One day as we sat in the break room he told me that at one time he worked as a clerk for a heavy equipment company. At that time he had long hair and a beard. As he was waiting on a customer at the parts counter he heard her little girl asked her “Mama is that Jesus? 
He told me he felt ashamed. He considered himself a practicing Catholic, though he said he didn’t go to church as often as he would like too. But he felt ashamed, not because he doesn't know or love Jesus, he felt ashamed because he didn't know if the little girl was asking the question because he looked like Jesus on the outside, or looked like Jesus on the inside. He was hoping that it was the things he did for others that showed the Christ in him, more than his physical appearance.
          I have been thinking about that for the past few weeks, and sometimes when I do my Night Shift Of Prayer, I get some different thoughts going through my mind. One thing that came to me was that because we are made in the image and likeness of God did Jesus see himself when he looked at others?
          I wondered if he seen the compassion of Veronica, as she wiped his face, as the compassion he had shown to others? Did he see the despair of the women, who were weeping for him, as the same despair he had, as he wept over Jerusalem?
          Did he see the sorrow in Mary and Martha’s faces as the same sorrow he had for his friend Lazarus? Did he see the same hurt in Peter’s face, when he asked him three times if Peter loved him as the same hurt he felt when Peter denied him three times? Did he see the same joy in the children’s faces as the same joy he had when they would surround him with their playfulness and innocence.
Then another thought came to me, when I started to ponder the question that Fr Bob asks at funeral wake services, of how did the deceased person bring you closer to God.
Have we ever thought about how people would answer that question at your funeral? If we are to be Christ to others how do others see Christ in us? How on this Good Friday can we die to ourselves, to be able to allow Christ to live through us, to be able bring others closer to him?
As Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen once said “It is so hard to admit that one is a sinner; it is so hard to climb the hill of Calvary and kneel beneath a cross and ask for pardon, forgiveness. Certainly it is hard. But it is harder to hang there.”
So I leave you with this prayer in the form of a song by the JJ Weeks Band

Let them see You in me
Let them hear You when I speak
Let them feel You when I sing
Let them see You
Let them see You in me