|THE LORD IS MY SHEPHERD...|
I met Robert Ellsberg, editor-in-chief of Orbis Books, who edited both the journals and letters of Catholic Worker co-founder Dorothy Day. I met with Paul Pennick of 23rd Publications, and with Tom Grady and Bob Hamma of Ave Maria. I stopped in at the Magnificat booth and said hey to Paul Snatchko. I of course stopped in at the Paraclete booth, where I was proud to see displayed a big ole poster of my very own Shirt of Flame: A Year with St. Therese of Lisieux. I spotted Fr. Vince from St. Francis of Assisi, my neighborhood church back in L.A. Fr. Vince!" I brayed, barreling through the crowd, but--this could be due to the fact that he's heard some of my confessions--Fr. Vince not seem quite as thrilled to see me as I was to see him.
Mostly, though, I met with the truly delightful and hospitable folks from Franciscan Media. I met with John Feister, who edits the magazine St. Anthony Messenger, and very generously gave me a radio interview on the spot. I met Judy Zarick, who produces their radio show "Living Faith" and got her to sign her book of interviews (I'm in it!): Moved by Faith: Stories from American Catholic Radio.
I met--over lunch and dinner--with old friend Alicia von Stamwitz, and new friends Mark Lombard, Claudia Volkman, and Mary Carol Kendzia. At dinner, the conversation turned to housecleaning and Mark ended up giving us a fascinating ironing tutorial. His parents owned an appliance store, turns out, and were away from home a lot but supervised the two boys (there were no sisters to do the dirty work) from afar, the result being that to this day when traveling Mark looks around first thing for an ironing board and an iron, whips out his spray starch, and goes to work on his French cuffs.
As we three gals looked on, agog that such a creature even existed, he segued into a commentary on kitchen cleanup: wiping the counters, vacuuming under the refrigerator, doing the dishes.
"Back up a sec," I said. "You vacuum under the fridge?"
"Of course--don't you?"
"With what?" I asked.
"Why, a crevice tool."
"What is a crevice tool?" we all shrieked in unison.
Anyway, so that was interesting and I also learned that in addition to the Sunday exception to the Lenten fast, there is also apparently a TRAVELING EXCEPTION. "Cut it out!" I said. "Let's have some dessert then." Turns out, since I've been "traveling" (technically, as in been away from home) for a month, I could have been scarfing down sugar for weeks. This is the kind of "faith sharing" I am ALL for.
No, seriously, we also attended a Mass one of the priests there holds each year in his hotel room. I actually sprang for parking (12 bucks per day) instead of spending an hour casing the residential streets (somewhat akin to trying to find a free parking space around LAX), parking a mile away and hossing my stuff (as I did last year), which weirdly, in a good way, made me feel "a part of."
Upwards of 40,000 people converge on this thing, which can be a little overwhelming, but I was able to look around and see, Oh, look, we're all so hungry, we all so want to connect, we're like sheep without a shepherd and how beautiful that so many people, with so many different approaches, interests, and orientations-of-heart can come together, attend lectures, talks, and workshops; chat and eat; look at, buy and sell books, tapes, rosaries, vestments, candles, pamphlets, and change purses embossed with the Virgin of Guadalupe, The Last Supper, and the Shroud of Turin.
|CACTUS IN BACK OF THE MOTEL 6 ON BROOKHURST WHERE I STAYED|
NOTE PLASTIC BAG AFFIXED AT LOWER LEFT