Saturday, April 23, 2011

Easter Sunday - April 24, 2011

Good morning to you all on this absolutely BEE-YOO-TEE-FULL Easter Sunday, April 24, 2011. We are so blessed to continue to grow as a parish and as a chapel family. We welcome back Miss Merry and her crew who inadvertently got left at a rest stop on our way to Rome a couple of weeks. We are so happy to have them with us again.

We also have the honor of welcoming our first duck into our parish, Fr. Graham Quacker of Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. He is an Indian Runner duck known for his chocolate and marshmallow markings, and also for his unusual height. He's quite tall for a duck and writes very well.

Fr. Quacker (Fr. stand for "feathered", by the way)...Fr. Quacker has asked that his adoptive mother be allowed to tell his story for him. He's quite shy about his inability to enunciate the English language, and he hopes that you will extend a warm welcome to Miss Allie, Duck Rescuer Extraordinaire.

We received several submissions from our volunteers within the parish to deliver an Inspirational Message this Sunday, and rather than randomly select someone we decided to invite them to the podium in the order received. We will dedicate next Sunday's service to Sweet Pea Magnolia Press, and our speaker will be her adoptive mother, Sam.

Easter is a time of life renewed, of birth and rebirth. We are blessed with miracles every day that reinforce our unwaivering belief that there are powers or forces beyond us that illustrate the balance that exists in our universe. We witness random acts of kindness between species that confirm that we are one in our life spirit.

With that being said, please welcome Fr. Graham Quacker and his Speech Therapist, Miss Allie, to the podium!

(applause...clap.clap..."WELCOME"....excited mutterings...more applause...and as it dies down....Miss Allie steps to the microphone as Fr. Quacker signs to the congregation)

Allow me to begin with some background for this inspiring story about 2 old people and 2 faithful ducks who evidently, have a better memory than we supposed.

A couple of years ago, my son-in-law Tom's grandparents, Mel and Anne, were feeding some wild ducks in their yard in Mill Creek, WA. A pair of mallards would come often to eat. One day, they got a letter from the City of Mill Creek telling them that it was against the law to feed wild animals in the city limits and they must stop. So, sadly, they stopped feeding the ducks. The story made the rounds of the family and we all chuckled at the thought of Mel and Anne being arrested for feeding ducks in tiny Mill Creek.

A little over 1 year ago, they had a wonderful trip out here to meet Tom's fiancee and my daughter, Abby. Just after returning home, Tom's grandfather died suddenly. This was such a shock to the family. To give you an example of how close Tom was to his grandfather, he figured out a way to name his boat after him. "Mehem" Mel's initials - the initials written so that backwards or forwards it reads the same. Thus "Mehem" (pronounced "mayhem" was christened.)

Anne's health, not good anyway, began to decline further as time went by. It was touch and go whether she could even make the trip out here for Tom and Abby's wedding last June, but she was able to come and we were all so grateful for that.

Several months ago she had to have some surgery. There were complications and she needed another procedure done, but by this time she was too sick for any corrective surgery. They were able to get her strong enough to transfer to a Life Care facility nearby. After a few weeks, finally she got a little better and about 3 weeks ago had this second surgery. Tragically, an infection had set in near one of the drain tubes, seemed to infiltrate her entire body within minutes, and one day she "crashed" with Tom's mother right there to watch the terrifying scene of nurses and doctors trying to save her.

Finally, Tom's mother Julie said "STOP. Stop, she is suffering. You can't fix her back 100%, please just let her go. " So they made her comfortable and in a few hours, she passed away. Tom, who was extremely close to his grandparents while growing up, was devastated and everyone was very sad. Julie was exhausted and stressed from so many months of this emotional situation. Having to drive up to Seattle from Napa - back and forth every few days or weeks - not being able to work - had completed sapped her strength.

Julie's husband George, whose own mother is ill at the moment, immediately travelled up to Seattle to be with Julie. They were staying at the home where Ann and Mel had lived for so many years. Next day at the house, George was just so antsy he had to find something to do so like a typical man's man, he said "I'll go start Mel's truck and make sure it's okay". The truck was destined to be shipped to Hawaii and given to Tom. George went outside and started the truck, and puttered around a little. Julie came outside too, trying to relax for a few minutes. They both saw something out of the corner of their eyes, and they turned to see what it was.

Here, up the driveway they came - the pair of mallard ducks. In solemn, meaningful waddles they made it all they up to the door, looked inside the house, looked at each other, then turned around and went back down the driveway. Their statement seemed to be "Mission Accomplished".

Julie said "I know that my parents sent those ducks to tell us that they are together again, and that they are okay now". "If George wasn't here to witness it, I'm sure everyone would think I had lost my mind." Who ever imagined that 2 wild ducks would bear such a loving message in the most special and unique manner?

Tom and Abby flew out a few days ago to help and the ducks have been coming into the yard and resting. She has a picture of them. It's posted in my album in the Chapel Library for you to view.

I hope that the next owners of this home realize what a special place it is, full of the love that defined Anne and Mel's life!

(as Allie steps down, Fr. Quacker bows deeply in appreciation to the congregation to show his appreciation)

(we hear applause again, getting more enthusiastic and soon the audience is on their feet. Tissues and pawkerchiefs are taken out and eyes dried. Mary-Margaret joines Miss Allie at the podium and extends her paw!)

Thank you SOOOO much for that wonderful presentation, Feather Quacker and Miss Allie. This is truly an example of how every ending is also a new beginning. You've given us much to think about in this coming week.

Thank you....thank you.

And now, parishioners, please turn to your neighbors and wag your tails (and fluff your feathers) as a sign of peace and friendship. You humans are welcome to shake hands (paws, wings....whatever), too.

In this world we are not alone in our relationship to our God or our universe. Life itself is a gift that we share with all living creatures. We are grateful for our life, and we are respectful of all others, regardless of the genus, the species or the substance.

We honor this gift by showing our appreciation to others throughout this next week. Life as we know it is temporary, but the memories of your life, your love, your kindnesses and your deeds are carried on by innumerable generations to come. This is immortality. This is Easter.

Blessings to you all.

Mary-Margaret O'Brien
Lt. Chaplain - Yorkie Brigade Chapel
"Yorkie prayers are Angel's wishes!"
"Pups for PPL"
"A dog has lots of friends because he wags his tail and not his tongue." Anonymous

1 comment:

April said...

I just can not tell you how wonderful these Sunday sermons are! I love to start my day with a smile.