Tuesday, April 11, 2023

From Melchizedek to Transylvanian armadillos

I am going to miss our talks.   Our second oldest is less than a month away from the wedding.  Though it won't be some permanent end to everything, some things will certainly change. 

Over the years we tried to have sit down meals, as much as our modern age of hectic would allow.  We also tried to do things as a family as much as possible.  One of our routines was our nighttime prayer time.  An informal thing, it typically consisted of prayer, most often readings from the Scriptures - usually the Gospels, but not always.  Sometimes Rosaries.  Sometimes writings of this or that luminary of the Faith.  But always centered around prayer.  As often as we could we tried to make sure as many were present as possible.  

If the readings or prayers brought anything to us, I must admit it was our discussions that will be the part I miss most.  In a brain crazy conversational stream of consciousness that would make Salinger blush, we could go in any, all, and varied directions all at once.  

Sometimes the conversations were pretty deep.  Which is nice.  When you homeschool, you fear you're doing the kids a disservice and somehow undermining their educations.  You just can't help but worry. But listening to them over the years has helped allay that fear.  When they can reference Chekhov to Aquinas, Paul McCartney and Plato, the latest Marvel movie or Mozart, while bringing up everything from the Punic Wars to Watergate to some modern current event, and sometimes just because we mentioned a passage in Scripture dealing with Rome, I'd say mission accomplished.

It was when the conversations went off the rails that the most fun occurred.  It could happen anywhere, and not always prayer time.  Dinner, road trips, just hanging around on the backyard deck.  It was prayer time, however, when the deviations could take on a life of their own. 

Sure, there was always a time when I (or someone, if I was a culprit) would have to step in and say it's time to get back on track with the prayers.  But how crazy those talks could be, and how wide and varied the topics.  Each one of the sons would show his own personality when this happened.  Our oldest and his slow, methodical thinking, our second oldest with his quick recall and rapier wit, our third with his bombastic hyperbole, and our youngest who has shown an amazing ability to grasp the substance assumed by us adults, while giving as good as he got in the sometimes passionate debates.  When our oldest moves out, I wish him - and all the boys - the same level of traditions and good times.  I know it's been a blessing for their mom and me. 

For the record, the blog title here references one of those deviations from the topic at hand.  It was during prayer time over Holy Week.  The passage was from the Last Supper.  We began with kicking around the implications of the new Eucharist versus the Passover Feast.  Then it turned to Moses and Elijah and the Transfiguration, and finally Melchizedek (a favorite topic in our household).  Finally, somehow (I'd lie if I remember how), we ended up discussing Tod Browning's inclusion of armadillos in the  1931 Universal version of Dracula.  Debate has raged over the years about why Browning added a couple armadillos in Castle Dracula. Some say because of his American roots, others because it was symbolic of old folklore. Nevertheless, when we watch that during our annual seasonal viewing, it never ceases to get a chuckle out of us.  

How we ended up there from the Last Supper or Melchizedek, I don't know.  But then, not knowing how we got there was always the best part of the talks. Someone observed that if the FBI was monitoring our house and stepped away for a moment, their head would spin wondering how we got from point A Bible to point B Transylvanian armadillos.  We all laughed mightily at that thought.  That was always the best part of it, and part of the fun we've had over the years that will be missed. 

The boys take a chess break while helping expand the bookstore in March
L-R: Our oldest, youngest, second and third son


  1. Ahhh...., for all I don't mind being single, I HAVE missed dinnertime conversations. Through our teens in particular, we used to have vigorous conversations about...most anything. Current events, this or that we had going on in Scouts or school, whatever. Sad that we've lost that, yet it's tough to have frequent family conversations when we live in four different places.

    1. Yep. The age of distance. That seems to be one of the side effects of the industrial age. More ability to be farther away from our families.

  2. Times like this you learn what the greatest treasures are, and how they are not the ones that moth and rust can destroy.

    1. You better believe it. As the days tick away, we're more and more aware of just how blessed we have been.


Let me know your thoughts