Christmas at Melhado—An Unwelcome Christmas Gift—Christmas in PG—Christmas in the Jungle

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By Matthew D. Ruhl, S.J.
Monday, December 24, 2018, Punta Gorda, Belize

The Jesuits of Belize got together for their Christmas Dinner on December 17th. It was our first Christmas in our slowly renovating Melhado Hall. (Just for the record, Melhado Hall was built with money earned by a Belizean bootlegger who sailed his rum across the Gulf of Mexico and up into New Orleans from Belize [then British Honduras] during US Prohibition.) Santa made his appearance and distributed his presents and Willie John Snyders won the prize for the most festively dressed, most appropriate as he is the most colorful character amongst us.

 While in Belize City for our Christmas dinner, I awoke one night with a dull, throbbing toothache. Went to the dentist. It appears Santa has brought me a root canal for Christmas. I will return to the city December 27th for this joyful experience, to be followed by a new crown. Until then it's ibuprofen and antibiotics. (LaBarge, do you realize that means NO booze over the holiday?!) So, while I close out the year with a root canal, I will begin the New Year with a crown!

 On December 21st, the St. Peter Claver Staff had their Christmas Party, prepared by the Ms. Catalina, Ms. Olive, and Fr. Penn. We had a big fat dinner of turkey, ham, potato salad, cranberry, stuffing, with cakes and pies for dessert. We exchanged gifts. I thanked the staff for being such a hardworking and agreeable lot. Pointed out the changes that have already come to St. Peter's and warned them of the changes coming.

 With Sunday falling the day before Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, Sam, Penn, and I have a marathon of Masses to do. When it is all done we will have said 18 Masses in 15 different churches. (So, LaBarge, as you can see there was no time for booze anyway.) The three of us will enjoy our own little Christmas celebration on December 26th at a lovely jungle resort restaurant.