Future Priests of the Third Millennium

A little insight into the life of seminarians from various dioceses preparing for ministry as Roman Catholic priests, including daily activities, personal interests, special events, the spiritual life, news from the seminary, and almost whatever comes to our minds!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Saint Paul, the city

I don't know if it's ever really been said on here, but Saint Paul is really a beautiful city. Two nights ago, a few of us (yes, the same group Dcn. Tyler mentioned in his post yesterday) went out for a stroll through the city streets of Saint Paul for relaxation, a little exercise, chatting, clearing the mind, etc... (though one of us wanted to go for a speed-walk, or so it would have seemed). As we walked around, we entered upon a neighborhood where the lawns were all filled with tricycles, wagons, and other yard toys for children.

One of my companions commented, "Must be families that live around here." I tried to joke and say, "No, just freshmen in college," but it didn't garner the laugh I had hoped for. But, there's something more to this lawn ornamentation which has its own sort of beauty.

You see, in Saint Paul, there is such security and neighborliness (so I am learning) that one need not erect a whole fence around one's property to keep his kids safe. Nor, must they always play in the backyard or anything of that sort. When I first arrived three years ago, I was surprised when I would be out walking or driving to the grocery store and see lots of dads and moms out with their kids for an evening stroll. It was great to see!

I have fond memories of my own neighborhood growing up. One of the great traditions was that a couple of times a year, during the summer, the husband and wife who lived next-door to my family would host a bonfire and "weiner-roast" for the whole neighborhood. Many would show up, gathering around the fire, roasting hot-dogs and eating burnt marshmallows. All would be laughing and having a good time. Assuredly, the men would be re-telling hunting stories (only a little exaggerated from the last time).

I have, for the most part, only a vague memory of these times. One memory that I do keep with particular fondness took place when I was probably only three or so. At that point, I still sucked my thumb, which is the detail from this story that Dick - the next-door neighbor - will never let me forget. So, it was one of these evenings that we were all out for a bonfire, and apparently it was getting late. Well, it was late for a three year-old. So, one of my folks brought me into the house, put me in the crib and set me down to sleep. The only problem was that I was not ready for sleep, and there was no way I was going to let all the grown-ups have all the fun without me. So, after about 15 minutes, I crawled my way up and out of my crib for the first time, worked my way out of the house in the dark and sauntered back over to the bonfire, thumb in mouth. This last detail provided great entertainment for most of the neighbors.

Dick will never let me forget the night when he saw me walking over to the bonfire after having crawled out of bed, characteristically sucking my thumb. He even was sure to make mention of it in the card that they sent me for my ordination to the diaconate. Thankfully, there was no real reason to be concerned for my security. Our neighborhood was a safe one, with concern for one another and the well-being of the community.

Perhaps this is a bit lacking in many places today - as it may have been 22 years ago, just not in Gaylord. It seems, though, that Saint Paul is a unique place in that there is a significant amount of this sense of community, security and neighborly charity yet existent. I am thankful for such a great area to live in during the school year. I hope that the kids growing up here and now may one day also have fond memories of growing up in this great location, Saint Paul.

1 comment:

Adoro te Devote said...

Hee hee!

St. Paul IS a nice city. I lived in Minneapolis for awhile, and while Minneapolis has its perks, St. Paul is "homey" in all the areas that Minneapolis is sterile and trendy. Besides...St. Paul has MUCH better churches!

Your story made me remember the neighborhood we lived in when I was little. Again, no problem with safety there, not back then. It was a rural neighborhood, a conglomeration of houses and trailer homes and riverside homes that flooded out every spring.

We had a large corner lot, and on one side, we had an elderly couple we often visited. They often remarked on my own habit of sucking my thumb, and for some reason, when I entered Kindergarten, Jim especially latched onto that detail. And for years, even as we were moving out of our house en route to Minnesota, Jim would yell out to me, "ARE YOU OUT OF KINDERGARTEN YET????"


Jim passed away many years ago...I don't think he lived to learn about my high school graduation. No doubt his query to me would have been his famous line.

Thanks for reminding me of home. :-)

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