Monday Morning Musings

Posted on April 3, 2017 under Monday Morning Musings with 4 comments

Keeping a cool head when it’s 36 degrees outside


“ In the misty moonlight, by the flickering firelight,

Any place is alright, long as I’m with you.”

In The Misty Moonlight. Jerry Wallace.      


1,000,00 rupees!

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you!

Many of you made donations to the Daughters of Mary in the comfort of your homes through e-transfers. Homes with running water, electricity and indoor plumbing. And many others trudged through snow covered sidewalks to make your contributions in person at the Bergengren Credit Union. Through your generosity we were able to purchase wheelchairs, wheelchair tricycles and a sewing machine. You also provided the funds to install an indoor bathroom at an orphanage for young boys. You provided clean drinking water to 50 homes in the leprosy community.

BTW. We’re still $200 short for the indoor bathroom at the orphanage. It’s not too late to give. (!)  Just follow this link. Thanks.

I was invited to a farewell lunch by a family in nearby Nagercoil a few days ago. I hopped on the bus… a crowded bus I might add. And it was 35 degrees. This is NOT a complaint but merely the facts. It was an opportunity to take care of one final chore. I wanted to go to a photo shop to get the picture printed of the Sister holding her rosary, along with a frame. They successfully transferred the picture from my phone and they asked me to wait to make sure that the copy was good before they framed it.

 They asked for payment and suggested that I come back in an hour’s time to pick it up. I was delighted to see a sign on the wall that said, “ We accept all major credit and debit cards.” I slid my Mastercard across the counter. “ We don’t take international credit cards.” The owner of the shop was sitting within earshot. I drew their attention to the sign. They were apologetic but there wasn’t anything they could do. I paid in cash. When I returned two hours later, I looked up at the sign. Written in pen, underneath the misleading sign it read, “ Except International credit cards.”

My hosts decided to treat me to a famous Indian meal: chicken biryani. I haven’t eaten very much meat on the trip and was eagerly anticipating this repast. In order to ensure the freshest possible poultry, my host took me to a neighborhood shop.  I use the term very loosely . Her regular butcher shop was closed so we had to go somewhere else. “ Somewhere else” was the darkest, filthiest hovel I have seen in 5 months. No. In 65 years. It was so dark and the walls were so caked with dry blood, that the picture I took to prove I was there, wasn’t clear enough to publish. It was apparent that no Federal Food Inspection agency had ever stepped foot inside this establishment. EVER. Courage has limitations.

The proprietor was wearing clothes that he may have had on his back for years, possibly decades. There was no evidence of chickens, alive or deceased, in this concrete cave…. other than dried blood. He went upstairs and returned with a live chicken. He weighed it, chopped its head off, removed the feathers and expertly cut it into pieces. The total cost: 180 rupees ( $3.60 ).

The biryani, by the way, was spectacular.

I have been teaching some basic guitar to a number of people at the convent. On Saturday, I was giving Sister Rani a few pointers in the lobby of the B@B. There were no guests so we didn’t have to worry about aggravating anyone,  with a beginner trying to play a D Major chord for the first time. There always seems to be visitors at the convent… friends and friends of friends of the Sisters. Two Indian men were walking by the B@B and when they heard music ( ?!), they stopped in to say hello. They asked me if I would play a tune. Trying to find common ground was a bit tricky so we settled on “ Jingle Bells.” It seemed a bit odd “ dashing through the snow” with the thermometer registering 37 outside.

Just for a laugh, I sang Great Big Sea’s “The Old Black Rum.” Not sure if they understood a single word but they enjoyed it. And then one of them dropped a bombshell. “ “ Do you know any songs by Jim Reeves?” This man is from the neighboring state of Kerala and his favorite musician is none other than ” Gentleman Jim.”  I have since learned that Reeves was/is enormously popular in India and Sri Lanka. I grabbed my iphone and quickly pulled up Reeve’s discography. I recognized “ In The Misty Moonlight” and was quickly joined by my two new best Indian friends. They were ecstatic and both insisted on giving me bear hugs before departing.

Lying in bed that night I was thinking…. Southern India… Bed and Breakfast…  Jingle Bells…Jim Reeves. How in the name of God did all this happen?

“ Way up on the mountain, or way down in the valley

I know I’ll be happy, any place, anywhere…”

Next stop… Delhi.

Have a great week.



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