Monday, June 29, 2009

off-roading to a mountain mission

Early Sunday morning, Pere Samuel, Margarette (the other seminarian), several parishioners, and I set off for the Mission St Pierre. We had originally planned to go on motorcycles, so I was relieved to hear that we would do the first leg of the trip in a four wheel drive pick-up. I was even more grateful as we headed not across a shallow river, but right into it and down it, using it as a road. I've gotten used to some amazing road conditions and a lack of seatbelts, but this was an entirely new idea, not to mention experience for me.

We encountered quite a number of people on the way down the river - bathing, doing laundry, and collecting drinking water. There is a spring partway down the river which makes it a little less muddy, and Pere Samuel explained to me that people would dig a sort of a hole to let the sediment settle out of the water before putting it into containers to take home to drink.

Eventually we left the river and went a little farther before leaving the truck behind. Several parishioners had sent down their horses for some of us; others hiked, thuribles, dress shirts in bags, and all. I thought, hey, I am perfectly capable of hiking! However, by the time the day was over and my legs were starting to shake a little, I was grateful I had had the gift of that horse. Each horse also had a small boy assigned to urge the horse along when it got balky, which was not uncommon; a few times I had to get off so it could get up particularly steep, rocky places in the path. I was grateful for the dozen riding lessons I had taken ten years ago at the boarding school at which I taught; even without reins and with stirrups too long for my short legs, I was told I looked comfortable. As my mother says, will miracles never cease! By the end of the trip up the mountain I had collected someone bookbag and a hanging bag with dress shirts along with my backpack (which held habit, shoes, water, prayer book, bug spray, kleenex, etc.).

When we arrived, an hour before the service, there was already a good crowd gathered, rather unusual in my limited experience, given that service times are approximate. It is important here for parishioners from other churches, Episcopalian and other denominations, to come for a patronal festival to show support, and a number of people had come the night before and pitched tents. We were offered coconuts (juice and fruit) right away, as well as coffee (which I dared not drink, given the water situation) and bread.

Pere Samuel showed me the two classrooms which make up this parish school, an important service to the community given the lack of available schools in the area.

The service itself was beautiful and well attended. "Standing room only" doesn't cover it: some people had to stay outside for lack of space within. The parish choir sang, accompanied by electric guitar (powered by generator), as did a ten voice men's choir, accompanied by accordion. There were two thurifers with their clouds of incense, candle-bearers, and two crucifers. There were a dozen of us in the altar party. Once again, the offertory was fabulous, with a group of women wearing red dancing up the aisle with their offerings in red baskets on their heads, followed by two boys dancing with bags and hoes.

Pere Samuel preached about Peter and how very human he was, impulsive, speaking without reflecting, alternating between fear and courage - and yet his heart was in the right place, so God was able to work through him for great good. I always find that heartening.

He also talked to the congregation about the fact that the Episcopal Church has women priests, and that the two women with him were seminarians. As there is currently only one ordained woman in the diocese of Haiti, this is new for some, I think. He also reminded them that Episcopal clergy can marry if they are not called to take a vow of chastity in the religious life, and that it is possible to be a sister and a priest at the same time.

After it was over, I had a plate of rice and beans before heading back down the mountain with an even larger crowd, this time on foot. The views were spectacular.

The pickup held a dozen or so of us on the way home. It was quite hot, so when we got back to the river, I was seriously envious of the horses being bathed. What I wouldn't have given to hop out just for a few moments!

I will have the chance to go to another mission church in a few weeks. This time, I'll be preaching. Prayers, please! I don't know if it will be this much of a trip: some mission churches are accessible by car. However, there are also some that are up to six hours away. I don't think this is one of them; however, I do know that wherever it is, it will be an adventure.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

useful vocabulary for evening encounters

Une crabe araignee (French) = a tarantula (creature preferring to come out at night and hang out on the lawn right by the house, preventing Sisters trying to mind their own business from taking carefree evening strolls. See photo - a poor one, but I was uninclined to return for another try.)

mechant(e) (French) = mean, nasty, disagreeable, dangerous (useful for describing the above)

une petite bete douce (French)= what Willy called that big nasty spider that wasn't quite the size of the palm of my hand and that was hanging out in my room - because, after all, it wasn't a tarantula

kapon (Haitian Creole) = scaredy-cat

chasing a hummingbird

There are hummingbirds near the place where we do our laundry. They come for the pink and red flowers there, and then they go sit on a nearby tree branch to rest for a while. From a distance they look black, but when you see them up close, they've got a beautiful, shiny green to their wings as well. I've taken to sitting outside with my books in the shade over there and to bringing my camera along. I'm still hoping for a good close-up photo, but at least now I've gotten one from slightly farther away. Still hoping!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Just like Boston, and then some...

Port-au-Prince afternoon traffic jams... a little taste of home?


Thursday, June 11, 2009

Corpus Christi in Fond Parisien

Fond Parisien is a town over near the border of the Dominican Republic. It's very different terrain than the town where I'm doing my field ed: instead of a lush, near tropical, agricultural area, it's mountainous, arid, and even hotter, with cactus instead of palm trees. It's difficult to make a living there, since very little grows in that climate, so the town is not well off. A lady who had come with us for the celebration explained that there is traffic going to the Dominican Republic, which helps, as well as some sugar cane, but she also pointed out telltale signs of malnutrition and poor health in one of the beautifully dressed choir children.

We went to Fond Parisien to celebrate Corpus Christi at the Mission Saint Sacrement. Going to support parishes on their patronal festival is important here, and I get the impression that inviting a guest preacher and celebrant is the thing to do no matter the size of the parish. Sr. Marie Margaret was invited to do the second reading.

There were four choirs crowded into the tiny church, along with the praise band, and we made a joyful noise to the Lord at great length. The peace/offertory time entailed a hymn, four choral pieces, and another hymn! There were quite a number of hymns and choral pieces at communion as well, but I can't tell you how many because I was outside having one of three coughing fits (of course they had seated us up front). A visiting seminarian, Marie Carmel, chanted the Prayers of the People beautifully. I reflected during some of the singing that the combination of solemn tone chant, clouds of incense, and a praise band playing at full volume seems to be standard as well. As the combination is atypical in the US, I have rather enjoyed seeing how it can work.

Just before the final dismissal and hymn came the announcements and thanks. Many, many thanks, with the naming of each individual group and guest. Most of us ended up being recognized by the end, if not all. And then the rector's wife gave a public health announcement explaining the way to prevent the spread of the H1N1 flu virus, which has not yet arrived in Haiti, but is just over the border in the Dominican Republic, if I understood correctly. Of course, having left the church coughing three times, I wanted either to crawl under my seat (don't bring your germs out to share!) or hold up a sign that said, "It's not the flu, I promise!" or "...but at least I used my hand sanitizer before passing the peace!"

Following the service, we all went up to the little apartment above the church, where there were piles of rice and beans, goat, and a variety of salads, which we devoured. Not a bite remained. Well - I say "we," but I dare not do salad here unless I am sure it is washed in treated water. Everyone else enjoyed it, though!

It was a good service, a good sermon (I understood a good part of it, anyway, and that part was good!), and a good reminder of community in the Body of Christ despite the miles that separate many of those who came.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Pastoral Visiting

One of the goals in my learning agreement involves learning about pastoral care in a rural setting. To that end and in order to introduce myself to the parish, I have spent four mornings doing housecalls. The first time, I went with Père Samuel, the parish priest and regional archdeacon, and a group of Lecteurs Laïques (lay leaders with responsibilities not unlike those of vocational deacons) as they brought communion to a number of sick or housebound parishioners following the regular 6AM Wednesday Eucharist. There was much singing of hymns during the visits. And can those lecteurs laïques pray! Wow. And everyone seems to have Psalm 23 memorized - but not the translation in the French BCP, of course! I will have to get moving on that myself now that I have the correct translation copied down. I can’t begin to tell you how grateful I am to have been made to memorize the Lord’s Prayer in French by Mme Simmons, the French teacher at Bishop Dwenger High School many moons ago.

At one point, Père Samuel stayed behind with one lady who had some spiritual concerns she wanted to discuss privately, while the rest of us called on others in the neighborhood. It was deemed incorrect to visit only the two members of primary concern when there were others nearby. As the houses are quite close together and doors are left open when anyone is home, everyone could see and hear us as we moved from house to house; no secrets here! We were joined at one point by several turkeys, who seemed not at all worried about being stepped on; the goats, pigs, and cows were on long tethers from which they could graze or dig, so they didn’t follow us, nor did the few dogs we saw.

The second day of visits, I went with a young woman home from her university studies for the summer and a second older woman, both parishioners; a teenaged boy followed along, but I was never quite certain if he was coming along for fun or was somehow officially attached to the group, though I had not been introduced to him as such. Though I didn’t always understand him, he was delightful. He was thrilled to have his picture taken, as was his friend when we ran into him later on; a group of children on the following day, who ran to get their friends and encircled the porch where we were visiting, had the same reaction, along with more children last week – I may have to do a “take a picture of me!” post later on. They pointed out a few places around town as we passed them, such as the plant for processing sugar cane, which is grown locally along with corn, peas, and quite a variety of fruit.

This time I was on my own linguistically, unlike the first time when Père Samuel had done some explaining as we trekked between neighborhoods. I did a lot of smiling and nodding, although I am getting to the point where I understand much more of what is going on. We had a long visit seated on the porch of one parishioner, the wife of one of the lecteurs laïques who is on my parish lay committee (those who will be giving me feedback and evaluating me). We also visited a number of other parishioners and had some time for them to ask me questions and for some conversation. I’ve learned how to say in good Haitian Creole, “If you speak very slowly, I can understand a lot.” That’s a generous estimate of my linguistic ability, but other than the woman who took “dousman” in the sense of “softly” rather than “slowly” (I think it can mean both), it worked pretty well. I played it by ear in terms of praying or not praying at the end of the visits, which Père Samuel later said was the thing to do.

The last two days of pastoral visiting I did with a young lecteur laïque who has completed an undergraduate theology degree and may or may not look towards ordination. The visits with him had a different sensibility. He was much more directive about introducing me, about moving right along, and about my need to pray for blessing on each family and house and situation. The first day we did thirteen homes in four hours on foot, plus a lift back by jeep on the far end of the trek. I was so grateful to have a new wide-brimmed straw hat and the heavy duty hiking Mary Janes with the air holes sent by my friend Kim – the black flats I wear at home with my habit would last a week here. The second morning we agreed to do fewer visits, and we took the jeep because of the heavy rains the night before. Mud and mud puddles everywhere, given the lack of drainage and pavement, so it was a bit more of a challenge to move about. Also, we went much further afield. I was astonished that people go to church on foot from such distances. Obviously, sometimes they can’t get there, but often enough they do. I wonder how many Americans would go to such lengths to make it to church.

During this last visit, we stopped by a preschool (maybe early primary grades, too?) run by a very devoted parishioner, a choir member. The children, all in little yellow uniforms, were stepping in time to music in the yard. I’d heard there were dance classes at this school, but I was not sure if this were part of it or if they were practicing for their end-of-the-year ceremony. They were wide-eyed at seeing me, but all stayed in place. Very disciplined for such small children, I must say! I was impressed. And the lady we were visiting was very welcoming as well. I prayed for all the children and for the school as well as for her, needless to say.

What I would like to do on future visits is get back to the longer discussions from earlier visits. I did have one good, long visit with the woman who heads up the ECW equivalent here, a younger woman with much energy and enthusiasm who seems to be a great planner, but by then I was a bit wiped out, as it was the second to last visit before lunch. I need to learn when it is a good time to stay, and what the signal is that it is time to go. As social signals vary from place to place so significantly (even within the US, for that matter), I am having to rely almost entirely on my guides. I wonder if I will learn to discern the situation more clearly myself by the end of my time here.

In any case, I am learning a lot through these visits. I have not begun to process some of the poverty I have seen in the course of them, but I have also seen a spirit of resilience and a can-do attitude. I wonder how Americans would do if they needed to live without indoor plumbing or electricity, as some of the parishioners do, though certainly not all. And it is interesting what is possible and what is not: cell phones are everywhere, but not electricity or potable water. Even the rectory seems to have electricity quite irregularly, and it is one of the nicer homes around. I saw a child scooping water from a ditch into a bucket and hoped it was for the field nearby, but I have seen quite a number of people doing laundry in creeks. I also remember being particularly struck by one house, a tiny wooden structure which had the most carefully swept dirt yard I have ever seen. In some homes, on the other hand, I saw televisions and yard lights, small gated courtyards (ubiquitous here around sturdier houses for the sake of security), tiled floors, and interesting iron grillework. At some point I will have to write about the varieties of architecture. Meanwhile, I intend to spend more time praying and reflecting on what it means to live simply versus what absolutely should not be.

Honey and Lime

Homemade cough and sore throat remedy, as made at the Couvent Ste Marguerite, Port-au-Prince:


1. Reach out through the grillework of the outer hall/porch by the kitchen. Pull lime tree branch close enough to you to pull off a lime. Don't prick your fingers! (Who knew lime trees had thorns?!)

2. Wash lime. Chop into pieces.

3. Boil for a few minutes in pan of water.

4. Pour into cup with lots of honey. Add ginger tea bag if desired.

5. Burn tongue. Strange how water tends to be hot when recently boiled, isn't it.

6. Thank Sr. Marie Therese for the instructions.

7. Feel better!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The Sisters’ 2008-2009 Wish List in Haiti, As Requested

Low fat powdered milk
Cereals (hot and cold)
Canned tuna and chicken breast
Batteries (all sizes)
Personal care items (antiperspirant, powder, toothbrushes, toothpaste, shampoo, etc.)
First Aid items of all kinds (including cough drops, Theraflu, etc. - any medical supplies, really)
Aspirin (81mg, 325mg), Tylenol (500mg)
Calcium (500mg)
Toilet paper, Kleenex
Office supplies
US stamps
Twin bed blankets
School supplies, school bags
Summer weight clothing (for children and adults – no babies’ sizes for now)
Shoes (dress and athletic), socks

There are two ways to get these items to Haiti.

Send them via Agape Flights in Florida (address below). The Sisters pay $2/pound to receive packages, so please include a check (US funds are fine) to cover costs of receiving them.

St. Margaret’s Convent
c/o Agape Flights
100 Airport Ave.
Venice, FL 34285-3901

Send them to the convent in Boston, where Sr. Claire Marie will collect them. When she has enough to fill a barrel, she will ship the barrel to Haiti by sea. Checks made out to the Society of St. Margaret to help cover shipping are gratefully accepted: each barrel costs $140 to ship.

Sr. Claire Marie, SSM
St. Margaret’s Convent (for Haiti)
17 Highland Park Street
Boston, MA 02119

Monday, June 8, 2009

Refreshing Summer Beverages from Haiti

Cherry Drink
Fill blender halfway with cherries. Add water. Buzz.
Each person adds sugar to taste.

Anise Water
Put a handful of star anise in a pitcher of water and refrigerate for at least few hours. Much more refreshing than plain water and better for you than soda or even seltzer! It tastes a little like black licorice, but I don’t like black licorice, and I do like this. You can use these pods more than once, adding more water as needed.

École Saint Vincent pour Enfants Handcapés

St. Vincent’s School for Disabled Children was started by Sr. Joan Margaret, SSM, in 1945. At the time, there was no schooling available for disabled children, who were often abandoned. (Even now, there is a toddler at the school who was simply left in the courtyard one day.) As I have heard the story, there was a blind baby that had been abandoned and no one was going to take it (him? her?), so Sr. Joan took the child home to the convent; eventually a school was established, growing from a few children taught under a tree in the courtyard to a current total of 385 students (including 156 boarders), with another 1215 served at the attached clinic and 347 more receiving physical therapy.

Academic courses are offered for the first nine years (three cycles of three years, with a national exam taken at the end of the sixth and ninth years in order to graduate from those cycles); students at St. Vincent’s may board until these classes are complete or through the age of sixteen, whichever comes first.

Students at St. Vincent’s have in the past taken classes at the nearby Holy Trinity Music School (next door to the cathedral), and there are discussions underway about beginning this partnership again. I believe I saw the results of this earlier collaboration at the Spectacle de Variétés benefiting the cathedral last weekend: the leader of the classical brass quintet was a trumpeter with one arm.

The Brace Shop at St. Vincent’s makes (and remakes) braces to order. Their current head was educated in Montreal and came home to work, a real ministry. When he gave me a tour at Sr. Marjorie Raphael’s request, I was fascinated by the process (see photos). This year they served 365 people, fewer than usual, because there was less material imported, according to the diocesan report. They are currently working to develop a partnership with a group called Healing Hands. I believe this may be the organization with which a parishioner in my former field education parish is working – wouldn’t that be a nice coincidence! (Cynthia: would you ask Judy? I’ve already passed on the materials she gave me.) They have also worked with the Children’s Medical Mission of Haiti.

Volunteers at St. Vincent’s School are able to stay in a few guest rooms on site, which is very convenient, as hotels in the area are expensive, and transportation can be a bit complicated. (The sisters also have a few rooms at the Foyer Notre Dame, which is not walking distance but which is inexpensive.)

The school has been hit by the economic crisis just like everyone else. As part of the school’s mission is focused on providing services to those who are particularly impoverished, not much money comes in by way of tuition, and they are shorthanded in physical therapists for their regular students, among other things.

Anyone wishing to help may contact the school through the following channels:

Révérend Père Sadoni Léon, Directeur

The Children’s Medical Mission of Haiti (which also works with the Hôpital Ste Croix in Léogâne)
The Right Reverend Roger White, Chair
925 Hertzler Road
Mechanicsburg, PA 17005

If you are interested in sponsoring a child or young person through the Sisters Scholarship Program, you can email Sr. Marie Margaret. (She cannot answer questions about the school itself, however, as the Sisters no longer run it. For that, please contact the school itself.)
Be sure to include all your contact information so that she can reach you.

Finally, I found this website based at an Episcopal parish in CT:

Sunday, June 7, 2009

This week I have...

...preached my first sermon in French (and a bit of Haitian Creole) at a funeral.

...come into possession of my first straw hat, which Sr. Marie Therese kindly bought for me.

...made around 20 housecalls in the aforementioned hat, since there was much walking in the sun involved.

...been stared at by a good many people.

...chased a giant roach around my room in my nightshirt, spritzing it with Deep Woods Off (which, by the way, it didn't like but by which it was not stopped).

...discovered the limits of my courage: I am not yet up to goat innards in my stew, despite my great desire to be a good guest.

...eaten my first breadfruit (prepared to be rather like little potato pancakes - yum!).

...been asked for a laptop, a motorcycle, and a cigarette.

...helped take care of some second floor flooding in a rainstorm thanks to some plugged roof drains.

...continued to enjoy the company of a very entertaining two-year-old.

Where I want to go next...

Along the road in Haiti... Someday I will get to stop and enjoy it!

Could you ask for anything more beautiful?

Monday, June 1, 2009

Casting the Net

This has nothing to do with Haiti. It's just wonderful. Go read it. (-:


Today we celebrated the Feast of the Visitation and my sixth anniversary of profession as a sister. As we heard Elizabeth's greeting and Mary's song, I thought to myself how appropriate it seemed as a prayer for Haiti. I would like to see the hungry filled with good things. I would like to see the poor brought up out of misery, the humble lifted high. And I wonder what I can do to be part of that and to bring others into that work as well.

And so I want to include the words of the Magnificat here in Haitian Creole, taken from Bib La online (Index:, Luke 1:46-55.

Nanm mwen ap chante pou Mèt la ki gen pouvwa.
Lespri m' pran plezi nan Bondye ki delivrans mwen.
Paske li voye je l' sou mwen, yon sèvant ki soumèt devan li.
Wi, depi koulye a, epi pou tout tan, tout moun pral di: Ou se yon fanm Bondye beni!
Paske Bondye ki gen tout pouvwa a fè anpil bèl bagay pou mwen.
Non li, se yon non pou tout moun respekte.
L'ap toujou gen pitye pou tout moun ki gen krentif pou li.
Li fè lèzòm santi fòs ponyèt li.
Li fè moun ki gen lògèy ak gwo lide nan kè yo pèdi tèt yo.
Li desann chèf ki te byen chita nan fotèy yo.
Li leve moun ki pa gen pretansyon yo.
Li bay moun ki grangou yo anpil byen.
Li voye rich yo ale san anyen.
Li vin pote sekou bay pèp Izrayèl k'ap sèvi l' la.
Li pa bliye fè wè jan li toujou gen kè sansib, pou Abraram ansanm ak tout ras li a, dapre pwomès li te fè zansèt nou yo.

Mother's Day in Port-au-Prince

Mother's Day in Haiti is a big deal. A very big deal. Reportedly, in many parishes it nearly ousted Pentecost this year. At the cathedral, we celebrated Pentecost very thoroughly and at great length (more on that later, perhaps), to the extent that Sr. Marjorie Raphael and I had to scoot out right after communion in order to make it to our next engagement: a concert at the convent of St. Rose of Lima to benefit the Holy Trinity Philharmonic Orchestra.

Fortunately, they started late. We slid into the back corner, behind a pillar but next to a group of fairly young blue-habited, white-veiled sisters, members of the St. Joseph's community in whose chapel the concert was taking place. I had a nice chat with a sister about my age before the concert started.

With Mother's Day in mind, the program was primarily composed of pieces about Mary, mostly 16th through 18th century European music, including seven different Ave Marias. Along with the Orchestre Philharmonique Sainte Trinite, the Petits Chanteurs (a boys' choir from Holy Trinity music school), a girls' choir, another children's choir, several soloists, and a guest trumpeter performed. Nicole St. Victor, introduced as "notre soprano nationale," was the best known of the soloists, but the mezzo-soprano, Valerie Brutus, had a wonderful voice as well. I most enjoyed Handel's The Bright Seraphim, with Mme St. Victor and the trumpeter, Jeanne Poccius, doing a sort of duet and looking as though they were really enjoying themselves during it.

After the concert, we had a short rest back at the convent, and then headed next door to the Salle Ste Cecile at the Holy Trinity Music School for a very different kind of concert, a benefit for the cathedral for maintenance of the building. As with the first, there was a prayer and speeches giving thanks to and for mothers of all kinds. The music, though, could not have been different. Although it had been explained to me as a concert, it was a "Grand Spectacle de Varietes" and included a church choir, a brass quintet, a theater group doing social commentary through drama, a singer with backup vocalists and band and dancers, and a group of four performance artists that I don't quite know how to label.

The brass quintet played classical pieces.

The choir did gospel-style music in Haitian Creole, African Christian music, and a variety of other choral pieces.

The singer, who was apparently popular and had won competitions of some sort (again, my language skills failed me there), sang a gospel version of "Jesus loves me" (in English), and several club-style numbers in French and Haitian Creole. At one point, three little girls from the audience got up on stage and were dancing around with her, having a marvelous time. She ended with a cover of "It's gonna be a bright, bright, bright, sun-shiney day" (from the 1970's?) which had everyone on their feet. Well. Everyone except one dignified elderly lady in my row who had had enough and left. I would have pictured her more clearly at the first concert.

The Salle Ste Cecile has some of the best acoustics around, a real asset not only to the school but to the community. I had thought it was new; it is not, just very well cared for. It even has a little bit of air conditioning, which you could feel upon entering, although it disappeared fairly quickly. Without it, we all would have been dripping much sooner, and I can't imagine how the artists would have been. Sr. Marie Margaret had brought two fans, and the rest of us used our programs.

It was, however, the theater group that was most striking. I had a sense of being completely over my head - a sense that, even had I understood the words, I might not have understood the play at all, so culturally specific did it seem. However, the choreography and rhythm of the piece, the chant-like nature of parts of it, the clear portrayal of poverty and misery, and the facial expressions hit me at some deep gut level. There was laughter in the audience, which confused me for a while; Sr. Marie Margaret explained that it was in appreciation of their being so very accurate in their portrayals. Dead on, to use an appropriate expression; death was central in both pieces.

We came home that evening to a late Vespers and supper, then Compline on our own. As I was reading in bed around 10:30PM (BTW, I recommend this biography of Gertrude Bell: Desert Queen. Fascinating woman!), I heard crowds coming down the street quite noisily. It had been quiet. I finally got up and went across the workroom window to see what was going on. They were all headed in the same direction, and I wondered if a concert had let out. Then I heard what sounded like shots. And I told myself, Sarah Margaret, don't let your imagination run away with you. Maybe it's just fireworks. It occurred to me that standing in front of a window wasn't the brightest thing to do if it were in fact gunfire, so I went back to my room. Hearing noise on the porch leading to the bathroom (which fortunately is on the other side of the convent), I went out and had a conversation with Sr. Marjorie Raphael. We conferred about the noise. She said that since it came from the direction of the palace, which seemed rather more lighted up than usual, perhaps they were chasing off some protesters. Well, nothing to do but stay away from windows and get some sleep; we'd find out if it were anything serious. Um. Well, indeed, what else would there be to do? So I did. And a while later, still awake, I heard her call to me from outside, "Sister, it's just fireworks for Mother's Day." Sure enough, it was.

Fireworks for Mother's Day. As I said, Mother's Day really is big around here. Next Mother's Day, perhaps I will paint my mother a card with fireworks. I will not, however, set any off.