By Matthew D. Ruhl, SJ
Thursday/October 4, 2018/Punta Gorda, Belize
OK—time to get back to work and writing. I had a busy but delightful three weeks in the States. A week and more was spent up on Kodiak Island in Alaska with seven friends rallied together by Mark LaBarge. Each of us brought home 100 lbs of filleted fish consisting of salmon, halibut, and rock fish. We saw Kodiak bears on land and a pod of killer whales on the sea. There was some dispute between Mark LaBarge and Jim Heinie about who should get credit for catching a 96-pound halibut, but Judge John Weller heard the facts and rendered an opinion that satisfied all but Mark LaBarge, who, had in fact been interfered with while trying to reach the fishing rod with said fish. Mark’s son Eric managed to haul in a 134 halibut which awed us all to the point of forgetting the 96 pounder.
Back in Missouri the Ruhl Clan gathered at Truman Lake for our second family reunion in three years. A family Mass preceded a fish fry that consisted of the Alaskan halibut and salmon along with bass and crappie pulled out of Truman. It is a blessing to have a family that sincerely enjoys getting together. The number of grand nephews and nieces and dogs continues to grow unabated. A brand-new set of twins was too young as yet to travel. Looks like we had better start thinking about our next reunion.
Before returning to Belize I had to go visit my cancer doctor at KU Med. It had been one year since I had a cancer removed from my lip. After examining my lip and surrounding area he said he did not need to see me again. Wooo—hoooo!!!
Back in Punta Gorda school, of course, got started while I was away. At St. Peter Claver our enrollment is up slightly this year, bringing our student body up to 575. I am continuing my St. Martin’s habit of visiting each classroom every morning, reminding teachers and students alike that they have a pastor who cares deeply for them. We have many issues to face in our village schools such as bat infestations, crumbling buildings, and of course, personnel issues. Thank God for my Assistant Local School Manager, Claret Jacobs, who effectively investigates and deals with most problems.
I am on my bike each afternoon, cycling down the highway and out of town. I love bicycles. I love them. Greatest invention ever. I love the sound of rubber on pavement; I love the feel of gears turning; I love the breeze; I love seeing people who wave; I love unexplored bends in the road; I love the flora and fauna (saw a big red-butt tarantula crossing the road the other day); and I love the way riding makes me feel physically, emotionally, spiritually. I have never had a bad ride! Speaking of love…
Love is in the air here in PG as the air is full of love bugs, those uninhibited copulating critters that float affectionately all day on their billowing pillow of amorous air. Even after they have spent their passion they remain attached to one another for days, discussing perhaps what schools their children must attend.