December 2010

A blessed Advent to all!!
 Like every event these days of my winter years, Advent is flashing by rapidly. Our Fr. Chuck told the kids about all their sponsors and people who pray and donate throughout the year, so as to help them. I had previously told them what Christmas would be like without people like you (coal in their stockings, etc.). I really had their attention. Their beady little eyes were bulging with effort at prayer. If effort and concentration in prayer works, everyone on their list should hit the century mark, and all their families be blessed forever!

We celebrated the King’s birthday on Sunday, which is also Father’s Day in Thailand. We prayed Mass and the teachers from RIS International School (Redemptorist owned) handed out a gift to each child. We then had Lao barbecued chicken, papaya salad and sticky rice for all. Father’s Day is nice. All hugs and tears; this from those who spend the rest of the year making it a point to drive one right up the wall!

The older kids did all the harvesting they could, but there was just too much paddy rice. I had to hire a combine to harvest the rest of our rice. The kids gathered bundles and hauled the harvested rice to the basketball courts to dry out. And, of course, big fat black clouds oozed in. I have stopped giving my opinion on the weather. When I was a kid, anyone who tried to thresh or combine oats on the feast of Assumption was punished with huge rain storms, with scary lightning throw in for good measure. This time, we dodged the bullet and the clouds slid south.

The Japanese really do a great job with little machinery for rice fields. We have a four row rice planter made by the Japanese and paid for by the Dutch. I checked on the price of a combine, but they run from one million down to 800,000 Thai baht. (30 baht to $1). We might look for a used one. We could custom combine for others like we did whenever Pa bought a baler or combine, back in the 1950’s! We would hire out to other farmers and get the investment back. We are hoping to buy more rice paddy since our family is continuing to grow, instead of shrinking.

One of our secretaries, Jeep, had a serious operation for suspected cancer. The incisions still hurt but she is so happy it wasn’t cancer. We have a 16 year old girl from Nazareth House with a cyst, and I told her I could take care of that with a chain saw. She was not impressed. Our cook Noi gave birth to a stillborn baby girl, and that cast a pall over Father’s Day festivities.

Our babies at the House of Hope are doing well. 12 year old Nue (“Butter”) is taking care and feeding her baby until she can go to school next May. She had a C-section, so she is too sore to go to school now. (She was raped when she was eleven.)

May you have a happy and blessed Christmas, and all God’s love and graces in the New Year!

Father Mike

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