A.C. Snow

Of wallets, moms, papal visits and birds

I enjoyed your responses to a recent column about the things we carry around in our wallets or purses.

In a moving note, Lisa Chappell of Raleigh shared the pain of unexpectedly losing her mother a few years ago.

“I was devastated not just by the sudden loss, but by being robbed of the chance to say goodbye, and thank her for a lifetime of love and sacrifice,” she recalled.

“A few days after her death, I went through her personal belongings and found a letter folded up in her wallet. It looked like it had been folded and unfolded many times. I’d completely forgotten that when I left for college at 18, I’d written her a letter assuring her that I appreciated all that she had done for me. It read in part, ‘I’m sorry if I ever made you feel that I was embarrassed of you. Nothing could be further from the truth. If I go on to become half the mother that you are one day, I will consider my life to be a success.’

“To know that she carried that with her for so many years brought me so much relief and peace. I closed my eyes when I found it, gave thanks, and thought, ‘She knew. She knew. Thank God, she knew!’ 

Mother’s Day is months away, but if your mother is living, there’s no rule that says that you can’t write her such a letter today.

Pope Francis

Reflecting on Pope Francis’ visit to America, my impression is that he brought a “warm, friendly feeling” to, not just Catholics, but to a wide range of people, regardless of their preferred religion. I admire him immensely.

Some critics say, with reason, that the coverage was a bit overwrought, but watching and hearing the pope was a far more gratifying and significant experience than watching pro football or some soap opera.

As His Holiness kissed hundreds of babies, hugged thousands of strangers and shook the hands of legions of others, I kept thinking, “I sure hope he’s had his flu shot!”

Have you had yours?

The only fly in the ointment of adulation was the post-visit controversy over who was telling the truth re Kim Davis’ claim that the pope hugged her and told her he approved of the Kentucky county clerk’s stand in denying a marriage license to a gay couple.

The pope’s spokesman insists that Davis was among 36 to 40 people who passed through a receiving line at the Vatican Embassy in Washington with no hugs or personal conversation from the pope.

Gone South

Among the most missed of summer’s missionaries is the feisty hummingbird.

A reader pointed out, “Oh, they left a couple of weekends ago in order to take advantage of weekend rates.”

At our house, they lingered into October.

The favorite bird of most birdwatchers, the ruby-throated hummers are truly phenomenal.

Weighing less than an ounce, hummingbirds hold their own with the rest of avian society.

The hummingbird’s migration to South America is a lonely 500 mile flight, since hummers do not travel in flocks.

The female’s average life span is seven years, compared to the male’s five. Although hummingbirds can out-race most of their predators, many are picked off their tree limb perches by hawks and other such enemies while they sleep.

Worth remembering

Barnum and Bailey couldn’t come up with a better circus than the current political campaign for President.

Reader Bill Stroupe reminds us of an apropos quote by the late Eugene McCarthy:

“Politics is like coaching football. You have to be smart enough to know the rules and dumb enough to think it’s important.”

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