joankingKeeping in touch with relatives, friends and neighbors is important.

Several years ago we made a quick trip to Minnesota over the December holidays to attend a relative’s funeral. My sister, husband and I stayed at a niece’s home. She had already left for the funeral Mass when we were getting into the car. It was a very clear but cold and windy day. I heard a faint, distressed voice and looking around, I spotted someone in the yard next door lying in a snow bank near the house. I walked across the hardened, windswept, snowy yard to find an elderly woman had fallen into the bushes. She said she was not hurt but was unable to get up.

My husband couldn’t figure out what I was doing as I retraced my steps to the car to get his help. We assisted her into her house and out of the cold, probably violating first aid rules not to move someone who has fallen.

She sat at her kitchen table and told us she had gone out to get her mail from a rural type mailbox at the street. She did not want us to call 911 or anyone. When we insisted, she finally consented to notifying her niece. While we waited for her niece to arrive, I went to get ice from the freezer to apply to her sore knee, the only visible injury.

Odds ‘n ends

  • Kudos to Lydia LoCoco and her committee at the John Paul II Center’s Nazareth Project for the wonderful jubilee celebration honoring archdiocesan couples married 25, 50 years and beyond. This 98th occurrence of the fall event in the archdiocese was attended by about 70 couples and hosted by St. Eugene Parish, Fox Point, on Oct. 3. The Mass and homily by Bishop Richard J. Sklba where he spoke of enduring love, were most inspiring. As one of the 50-year couples – this was our fourth anniversary celebration since early June – we are looking forward to receiving the picture taken with the bishop that all couples present were invited to do. It was enjoyable also to mingle with other celebrating couples at the reception. Check additional information at the Web site and look for a featured segment next spring in the TV series “Living Our Faith,” as students from Marquette University were filming the festivities and interviewing those involved. We have already passed on our recommendation to two couples who plan to celebrate 25 and 50 years in 2010. Those married 55 or more years are also invited and numbered about one fourth of this year’s participants.
  • The Alzheimer’s Association offers community and professional education programs throughout the 11-county Southeastern Wisconsin region in the coming months. Information is available at its Web site or by calling (414) 479-8800 or its 24/7 helpline at (800) 272-3900. One of these programs will be offered Thursday, Nov. 18 at 8:30 p.m. at Clement Manor, 9405 W. Howard Ave., Milwaukee. For reservations at this free program, call (414) 546-7302.
  • Share a holiday memory at “A Cup of Christmas Tea” 1:30 to 3 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 16, when Tom Hegg’s inspirational short story of that name will be narrated at Clement Manor as part of its enrichment program. Details are available at (414) 546-7990 or at their  Web site.
  • If you’d like to share any comments or request a topic for the future, please e-mail me.

There was one lone TV dinner and a tray of ice cubes. I opened the refrigerator and it was empty. I wanted to check the cupboards but felt that would be an intrusion. As we waited for her niece and talked, we learned that her family was two sisters and their families who lived in town.

When the niece arrived and took over, we hurried to the funeral, receiving quizzical looks from relatives as we walked in late.

Later, I found that the woman’s family had secured proper care for her and eventually moved her to an assisted living facility.

I can’t help but think that God placed me in that spot at that time. She would have surely lain there until it was too late as the street was not heavily traveled and her house was a distance from the road. I also wondered if the TV dinner was her last meal until someone came by.

Perhaps you have had a similar experience. Having just celebrated the feast of the archangels and guardian angels reminds me that sometimes God uses us as his angels.  How many times have we found that others have helped us when we didn’t know how to solve a situation?

When the weather turns cold, it is good to have friends and neighbors call or visit. Remember the Golden Book, “The Little Mailman of Bayberry Lane,” who was looking for a friend? He discovered that in order to have a friend, it was necessary to be a friend – and sometimes an angel.

We can never know how and when our prayers will be answered or if we might hold the answer to someone else’s prayers. We simply pray and trust that God is in charge.