Friday, December 8

Dear Jim,

Today is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. Remember the shortstop for the Big Red Machine, Davey Concepcion? He was called the Immaculate Concepcion because he never made an error.

Have I been sacrilegious?

You and mom and everybody in heaven probably had a big party. You, mom, mom´s favorite sister, and auntie and uncle loved Mary.

Since I was downtown for a meeting this morning, I thought of going to the noon Mass at the cathedral, but I decided not to. I did not want to be around all those people and I didn´t want to spend the money.

When I talked with dad this afternoon, he didn´t know today is the Immaculate Conception. He said he doesn´t know any of the holidays, birthdays, or anything anymore.

I told dad I had thought of going to Mass but did not want to. I told him I don´t like being on film at church. Dad thought I was making too big of a deal out of it. He said with all the bullshit that goes on today, the churches have to protect themselves with film.

He said look at all the guys who rob the poor boxes. Then I said that that shows you how screwed up the country has become. Churches were respected when I was a kid. Dad agreed.

But still. I would like churches to be the only places that didn´t have cameras. I wish the Mass was not filmed. Really make churches sacred places.

Like I said in my last letter, the weather has been incredible. We will have another week of 61° days and 35° nights with sun all day. You can´t beat that.

Sunny winter days are great to go to a 1 pm Mass at the cathedral. The sun is low and it is beautiful shining through the stained glass.

I wish you were alive. We would go to Mass together. I would be willing to go to a Mass in Latin.

Remember a couple of letters back I told you I was reading a travel book about Russia? One of the things the book mentioned was the way Russian Orthodox Catholics bless themselves – with the thumb, index finger, and middle finger pressed at their tips.

It got me wondering about the Byzantine Rite, so I asked dad. He said he grew up blessing himself like Russians do. I asked him, ¨The three fingers symbolize the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit?¨ Dad said yes. There might even be sacred geometry involved. Do you know?

I love Russia. There was a long article about Russia in October´s Smithsonian. October was the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution.

The author was fascinated by Russia as a kid. Then in the nineties he got to travel there so he could write about it. He made another trip or two, then went back at the beginning of this year to write about the revolution.

He mentioned John Reed, the American writer who lusted for adventure. Reed went to Mexico for the Mexican Revolution, then to Europe during World War I, then to Russia for the Russian Revolution.

Reed did not speak much Russian. He had Russian officials he was friends with sign papers for him so he could pass through check points. But as the revolution got nastier, many checkpoints were not official. They were controlled by revolutionaries.

Twice Reed was stopped by them. Each time he said, ¨I have my papers.¨ But each time none of the revolutionaries could read. Each time he was lucky that someone he knew happened to be there to prevent him from being shot.

It is incredible that twice the revolutionaries did not know how to read. That helps me to understand what Russia was like. I guess what our Appalachia was like.

Here´s some good news but probably too little too late. The other day my boss told me that administration is putting in new types of light bulbs in our office. The fluorescent tubes will be removed.

I´m glad. I hope I am not as stressed.

The light in heaven must be beautiful.



Copyright © 2021 by David Vaszko