Sunday, January 21, 2018

The Third Sunday in Ordinary Time - January 21, 2018

I wonder how many people remember the Pittsburgh Triangles. In the 1970s, during the “tennis boom” that got many of us buying rackets and learning how to play, there was an attempt to make tennis a team sport so that fans in various cities could have an attachment to their tennis teams similar to their attachment to their baseball or football teams. The Triangles were Pittsburgh’s entry in World Team Tennis from 1974 to 1976, winning the championship in 1975. One day the Triangles held a tennis clinic for anyone who wanted to show up, complete with an opportunity to meet the players. I took my racket cover with me and got autographs from all the players, including Vitas Gerulaitis, Mark Cox, Peggy Michel and the biggest star, Evonne Goolagong. Oh, yes, I also got an autograph of Rayni Fox. She was nowhere near being the star of the team, but she was not that much older than me, and I had something of a crush on her.

I have not had that racket cover in years, and even when I did have it, the autographs were starting to fade. Someone had suggested coating the signatures with clear nail polish to preserve them, but even at that they were becoming less legible. As collectors will comment, “Father Time is undefeated.”

Lately I have had another reason to remember that good things do not always last. In the summer of 1991, I had surgery to repair a hernia on my left side. At the time, the surgeon told me that I also had a hernia on my right side. I thought of getting that one taken care of the following year, but my mother’s death in 1992 meant that I put it off. It started bothering me a few years later, and I had it repaired in 2000. At the time of my 1991 surgery, the doctor warned me that this type of repair does not always last and that I would probably someday need another repair. Someday has arrived. Early last summer I began to feel the old discomfort.

This Tuesday I will be in for another repair. On the one hand, the doctor tells me that surgical methods have gotten much better for hernias and that recovery time is shorter than before. On the other hand, I’m older than I was the first time, which could make the recuperation take a little longer. In any event, I plan on taking the time I need over the next few days. I hope to pay attention to my body. So if you call for any purpose and I am not available, please try to understand. I hope to get up and get going to some extent, but I also plan on doing some reading streaming some movies and catching up on some rest.

I hope to be feeling up to normal action by the end of the week, but it took just a little longer than that last time. I have Fr. Michael coming in to take the school Mass for me this week and to take one of the Masses next Sunday. And even when you see me in church, I may be moving a little more slowly. I suspect that I may be bowing instead of genuflecting for a few days as well. And I may have to avoid lifting things for a time.

When the doctor told me that recuperation is easier, he also told me that the newer surgeries last longer than before. I’m hoping that I won’t have to repeat this surgery. Of course I still have the right side that I may have to deal with again someday. But for now, I’m looking forward to getting everything inside me back to where it should be.
                                                                                             Father H