Jim O'Leary

Waverly Star

By Jim O'Leary

An e-mail newsletter for and about Waverly people, used with permission in the HLW Herald and on this web site.

 Feb. 24, 2003

And that's not gossip

Dear Surviving Readers of The Waverly Star,

Jay Leno does a piece called "Headlines," which are actual newspaper headlines.

The headlines are often products of tired or careless proofreaders who let things go by such as "Ham Hawks for $1.24" or "Smith Marries Wesson."

I have collected a few of my own from The Corpus Christi Caller-Times and The Minneapolis Star and Tribune. Here they are:

"Pohlad remains unappreciated." (I'll say!)

"Police shoot vacationing family's dog by mistake." (At whom were they shooting? I saw a bumper sticker here in Corpus Christi that said, "If it's tourist season, why can't we shoot them?")

"Authorities converge on 400-year old tree." (Hunting squirrels no doubt)

"Minister loses lawsuit after arrest for loud preaching." (This keeps happening in Texas. We had a southern Baptist preacher arrested here back in the 60s for running his loudspeakers full blast late at night during his tent revivals. He blamed his arrest on the Communists and got away with it. His name was Brother Roloff, whose voice still shows up on our local Christian radio stations, even though the Lord called him home several years ago. He had crashed his plane on the way to pick up a "Love Offering" from a church in Missouri.)

"Skeleton found behind Wal-Mart store." (This happened during their Halloween specials. It may have been the skeleton of one of the many small businessmen put to death by this monster from Bentonville, Ark.)

"Day care center closed amid allegations of Nyquil-spiked pacifier." (After spanking was prohibited by law in day care centers, the staff got very desperate. They couldn't get their hands on vodka, so Nyquil was the next best thing.)

"Man bites dog back." (The man had been drinking, in case you were interested.)

The following offerings were not in the newspaper but came in, of course, over the Internet. You may ask, "Why don't these people get a life!" I'll tell you why ­ so they can supply desperate columnists.

Can you drive a French motorcycle? Harlez-vous Francais?

Honk if you're Scottish. Respondez s'il vous plaid.

Fast French Food. Haste cuisine.

Larry and Curly got wet. Apres moe le deluge.

And that's not gossip. Ca va sans dirt.

Thanks for nothin'! Merci rien.

I'm bossy around here. L'etat, c'est moo.

Well, all I can say is: "Laisser le bon roulear de temp."

Here are some others, just as good, but not in fractured French. Thank you, Internet!

Veni, vipi, vici ­ I came, I'm a very important person, I conquered.

Cogito eggo sum ­ I think; therefore I am a waffle.

Rigor morris ­ The cat is dead.

Pro bozo publico ­ Support your local clown.

Posh mortem ­ Death styles of the rich and famous.

Felix Navidad ­ Our cat has a boat.

Ireland's exports

It isn't all shamrocks, linen, and crystal. There are also gems like this one every time you turn around in Ireland.

I was in the Church of Ireland (i.e. Anglican) Cathedral in the City of Cork in the County of Cork where O'Learys are as common as dirt. I saw this prayer hanging on the wall in the Cathedral gift shop:

17th century nun's prayer

"Lord, Thou knowest better than I know myself that I am growing older and will some day be old. Keep me from the fatal habit of thinking I must say something on every subject and on every occasion.

"Release me from craving to straighten out everybody's affairs. Make me thoughtful but not moody; helpful but not bossy. With my vast store of wisdom, it seems a pity not to use it all, but Thou knowest, Lord, that I want a few friends at the end.

"Keep my mind free from the recital of endless details; give me wings to get to the point.

"Seal my lips on my aches and pains. They are increasing, and love of rehearsing them is becoming sweeter as the years go by. I dare not ask for grace enough to enjoy the tales of other's pains, but help me to endure them with patience.

"I dare not ask for improved memory, but for a growing humility and a cessing cocksureness when my memory seems to clash with the memories of others. Teach me the glorious lesson that occasionally I may be mistaken.

"Keep me reasonably sweet; I do not want to be a saint ­ some of them are so hard to live with ­ but a sour old person is one of the crowning marks of the devil. Give me the ability to see good things in unexpected places, and talents in unexpected people. And give me, O Lord, the grace to tell them so."


More about prayer from Ireland

Sacred Space

In 1996, I had the great good fortune to meet Fr. Peter Scally, S.J., at the Head of Old Kinsale, where I came upon him reading his Bible with nobody in sight for miles around.

I interrupted him to ask him if he was a priest. Even though he was wearing jeans and a T-shirt at the time, he looked like a priest. He had just arrived from England.

Neither of us knew then that he was going to set up an Internet site for prayerful meditation that would, by March, 2003, record over five million visitors, including Dick Mattson, our Wright County Commissioner, who tells me he likes the prayer site and looks at it every day. The website is: www.jesuit.ie/prayer

A poem on the web site Sacred Space

Each day when work is done, the call comes, hushed, insistent, a breath of memory that urges me to switch on.

My choice then to connect ­ wait while the computer whirrs into life, the bright screen mapped out with shuttered icons;

link with the world wide web, go through the sunlit portal, hold still in the tall space where water flows over stone;

select with the bright white cursor that swoops like a bird on a backdrop of sky where each cloud is a window;

look through to the measured words that lead me step by step to a considered pause, while the cathode ray dances;

click with the mouse to move on in this vast cathedral where thousands pray with me, our thoughts like incense rising.

­ Composed by Helen A. Overell, United Kingdom, as a tribute to Sacred Space.

Prayer from the Navajo

In beauty may I walk.

All day long may I walk.

Through the returning seasons may I walk.

Beautifully will I possess again.

Beautiful birds . . .

Beautiful joyful birds . . .

On the trail marked with pollen may I walk.

With grasshoppers about my feet may I walk.

With beauty before me, behind me, above me, all around me may I walk.

In old age wandering on a trail of beauty lively, may I walk.

It is finished in beauty.

It is finished in beauty.

- From the Navajo

And, finally, this helpful thought from Maryanne of Tallahassee:

"Whenever I feel blue, I just start breathing again."

Jim O'Leary, Corpus Christi, Texas\

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