January 2011

Happy New Year!!
                It was with great pleasure I watched the Sarnelli House truck loaded with urchins departing for school on Jan. 4! We entertained them at their Christmas party on Dec. 25, and then after Christmas took them camping. I stayed with them in the mountains for three of the five days, but had to come home on New Year’s Day for weekend Masses. They asked for more time camping and they all seemed to enjoy it! The small kids were mesmerized at being able to see their breaths. It was really cold, and most of the little ones refused to bathe, so they smelled like polecats by the end of the jaunt.  
                I thought the fun and games were over for a while, but I just found out that this coming Friday is “Children’s Day”. Some folks from the city are coming to feed and water the runts, so that will be nice. Wealthier Buddhist families will do this on birthdays, etc. They make merit by having a meal catered for the kids. It is usually noodles, but the kids like the noodles, so there is no problem. I remember when I was a kid on the farm and complaining to my dad, Johnny Bill, that there was “Father’s Day” and “Mother’s Day”, but no “Kids Day”. Pa answered that EVERY day was “Kids’ Day”. I didn’t think much of the answer at that time!
                We had loads of guests during Christmas, but they all left by Dec. 28, including Fr. Chuck Beierwaltes, who returned home Jan 3. From the lovely weather in Thailand to the tundra of Wisconsin is going to suck big time for Fr. Chuck. The kids miss him already! It will be several weeks until our next guests come. This gives me time to do the year end reports, and write whiny letters to foundations and companies looking for shekels. The economy hit us hard these past two years, but the Lord has kept rice on the table and we have not had to water down the curry so far!
                There is a German Lutheran parish which has been very good to us. It is a relatively small parish but has a really great group of young people and they work for the poor and marginalized of that area. Some of our staff have visited them, and were in awe at their work with refugees and marginalized. They raised enough money for us at Christmas to buy for us a small tractor a plow and blade! Years ago, some Thai Salesian nuns castigated me for not having the bishop’s picture hanging on the wall of Sarnelli House. I told them that if I hang a picture, it will be of Martin Luther.
                Our babies and their mothers are doing fine. A third girl is due next month but she looks like she could crank out that kid any day. Fr. Chuck bought a tin of Oreo cookies, and the two nursing moms back hoed Oreos until the tin was empty. They really have a craving for sweet stuff, and now are begging me to buy them more Oreos. So, I will have an Oreo and Heineken trip tomorrow.
                We are all waiting for the new appointments. I doubt if I will be moved, but will be 76 years old at the next appointments, and taking into consideration my age, that might be an appointment with the grim reaper!
                The Great Unwashed and I pray for you and yours every evening.
    Fr. Mike

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