Greetings from the new worldwide, international headquarters of “It’s All Straw,” beautiful Charlotte, North Carolina!
You may remember from my last post, gentle reader (if I have any readers left), that I was just days away from moving to the Queen City. The great day did indeed arrive, and the move went off largely without a hitch. With the help of brothers, a sister, a sister-in-law, and a horse trailer, I moved into my new new abode, which is positively palatial compared to my old digs. I sat in the living room in astonishment, just watching everyone else bustle in and out with boxes, bags, furniture, and whatnot, and murmuring, “Oh. My. God.” every few minutes. It seemed too wonderful to be real. The condominium complex where I live is beautifully maintained, and my new neighbors have been kind and welcoming. There are still days I find myself thinking, “Wow! I get to live here!”
The rooms are open and airy with large windows to let in plenty of sunlight, which is a real mood booster. I have a sun room, and my sister says she has a case of sun room envy. For the first time in my life, I have a garage! (I don’t have a car, but I have a garage). There is some discussion among my brothers as to the possibility of turning this space into some sort of man cave. Stay tuned for further developments.
Navigating the health care and social service bureaucracy took longer than I would have liked, but I now have an attendant/aide to help me for a few hours every weekday with what I call the three H’s: Health, Hygiene, and Housekeeping. I don’t need as much help as some other people with disabilities I know, but having a helping hand with certain tasks just makes life a whole lot easier. I have a city bus pass and a transit ID, and I’m learning how to use the city’s public transit system to get where I want and need to go. Now it’s time to develop a daily routine. Little by little I’m beginning to feel at home.
I’ve visited a couple of different parishes in the greater Charlotte area, looking for a spiritual home. For the first time in my life I have a real choice of parishes to attend. When I made contact with one parish to ask about transportation to Mass, I got a call back from the president of the parish’s praesidium of the Legion of Mary. I was very active in the Legion in my old parish in South Carolina, so a chance to chat with a fellow Legionary was a little taste of home. Next week, I think I’d like to visit the local parish that celebrates Mass in the Extraordinary Form (aka the Tridentine Rite or the Traditional Latin Mass). Although I’ve come to love sacred polyphony and appreciate Gregorian Chant, I’ve never actually attended a Traditional Latin Mass and would really like to have the experience. The older I get, the friendlier I am becoming to tradition.
Even as I’m sitting here thinking about exploring and recovering the Catholic Church’s past, I’m excited about the future. Every day feels like a bit of an adventure with new possibilities. As I told a friend recently, I feel a bit like the country mouse from Aesop’s fables, suddenly whisked away from a pokey, pedestrian small town to the big, bustling city with all its delights (and frustrations). Unlike the mouse in the fable, however, I don’t think I’ll be headed back to the country any time soon. The city is beginning to feel like just the right place for me.