Saturday, January 9, 2010

Our rich American Heritage

Well, could there be a prettier place to be in January than Florida? If there is, I have not seen it.
Elaine and I just returned from a quick week trip to Florida. We took Fr. Anthony with us for a part of the trip. He had to return a bit earlier than we did, since Fr. Beiting was leaving for Florida prior to our return and Fr. Anthony had responsibilities while Fr. Beiting was gone.
The flight from Huntington, WV to Clearwater/St Petersburg was a bit rough. In fact, it was one of the more turbulent flights Elaine and I have had. For Fr. Anthony it was particularly difficult. During the roughest part he said he was able to get a rosary in! We found out later during a meal with my family that he was so concerned that he gave everyone on the flight absolution!
Fr. Anthony was like a little kid at Christmas, he was so excited to go to Florida, even though he had no idea where Florida was. We told him Punta Gorda would be like ½ way between Disney World and Miami. He had never heard of either of these. I was surprised, and after a little bit of prompting he figured out who Mickey Mouse was but had never heard of Disney World. Miami, he was clueless about. When we asked him to name any cities in the USA he knew (other than the towns around us) he could only name four. Which ones do you think they would be? See the end of the post for the answer. But on reflection I could only name three cities in India off the top of my head, and India has a population 3x the USA! See my three cities below. How many can you name? Sorry, Miami, you aren’t that big of a deal to an Indian!
After the rough flight, I thought the trip might be a little lackluster for Fr. Anthony, but was I wrong! We only had two full days, so we were pretty short on time to see things. We decided to go to visit Fort Myers and see Thomas Edison’s home, a place I love to visit. I remember that the largest banyan tree in the world was somewhere in India and the second largest was on the Edison estate. Go to the link to see what a banyan tree is if you do not know
(This feels like an educational paper as opposed to a blog post, oh well!)
So the conversation continues, “Ok, Fr. Anthony we are going to see Thomas Edison’s home …. I know you do not know….”
Fr. Anthony suddenly interrupts me, “Thomas Edison! The man who invented the light bulb and the phonograph! I studied all about him in school!”
He was so excited, his face lit up like a light bulb! Sorry, Mickey Mouse and Don Johnson (Miami Vice), you loose.
What a great joy Fr. Anthony was! He was so excited about everything and everyone. How much the Indians can teach us about the joy of the little things of life, thank you Fr. Anthony!

(Answers: NY, Chicago, LA and SF/Bombay, Calcutta, Delhi)

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