Happy Trails to you, until we meet again!
The theme of this editorial is "until we meet again." We write this because it will be ten days before we next communicate with you for we are following the example of the Pope and taking a break. As we type this, the Holy Father is resting comfortably in a mountain chalet in the remote mountain range of the Dolomites in the extreme northern regions of Italy in the Alps that border Austria and Switzerland. He is on a well-deserved two week vacation for the summer. When he goes on his annual sabbatical the Vatican doesn't exactly close down, but activities are few. Therefore, we feel this is the perfect time for us to also take a much needed break and take next week off. Like the Holy See, we are not shutting down completely, not leaving the reader out in the cold. You still have all the articles that would have run all next week and links to those that you need daily to keep abreast of for the news and meditations, etc.
It won't be all relaxation for us for next week promises to be a busy week with both our sons scheduled for three golf tournaments in the Junior Golf circuit on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. This will afford family time to enjoy their prowess on the links and help remind them of keeping their head straight, shoulders squared, well, you know the golf strategies dads love to impart towards a sport that make it both the most exhilarating and frustating game in the world! Add an annual physical for yours truly and a few other doctor appointments and you can see we need the time off. Won't be going out of town this year, but then, other than a pilgrimage, there's no reason to leave for we don't long to go anywhere but just enjoy the balmy summer breezes here and take in the beach since we've promised the boys we'd take them boogie boardin' and body surfin'. So we'll return on Monday, July 20th with issue 140. For now we have incorporated all the articles for the week in one mega issue. This includes all three feature series, columns, etc. as well as a full week's worth of the Liturgy and time capsules in Church history. Because of the massive amount of material from five issues squeezed into one, we are not able to bring you the opportunity to print out the entire issue on one or two printings. For now, you'll need to print out each article in text only. Backgrounds will not print so you don't have to worry about that. We are still providing a text only front page for those who want to bypass the graphics. Be assured you will be able to print out the entire issue on July 20th when we meet again.
Before we meet again, we'd like to leave you with this memory of a hero - a real life hero. You remember in the last editorial we talked about the age of innocence and when it all went awry. Those who are still loyal to the cause, we suspect were also, in some way, always loyal to good ol' Roy Rogers, king of the cowboys and upholder of all that is right and proper and morally good; proper buckeroos who were obedient to the core. It may be passe in today's politically correct society to admit that we admired and emulated this good guy in the westerns of the late forties and fifties. We grew up with Roy and if he said do this, or that, we knew it was in total alignment with what our mom or dad would say, as well as our parish priest, or even the Pope himself. That's how solid Cincinnati-born Leonard Slye was. Oh, in case you didn't know, that was his given name at birth, but then don't think it would have had the same ring as Roy Rogers and Trigger. This editor never had the opportunity to meet Roy in person, but I felt I knew him as a personal friend, a friend that would never do you wrong. As we all know Roy passed away last week at the ripe old age of 86. Despite the decline of civilization in the late sixties, seventies, eighties and now the nineties, Roy remained the epitome of morality and good. He and his only wife Dale Evans remained married to each other for 51 years. He was not immune to sorrow and hardship, having lost two children to tragedy and raising a down-syndrome child. Whatever God handed Roy, he accepted willfully, often remarking that "if I didn't have faith, I don't know what I would have done." He had faith in God and we had faith in him and that, in turn, made faith in God easier to understand. To his dying breath Roy promoted morality and God's will in his own smaltzy way that somehow never seemed smaltzy or superficial to this die-hard Roy Rogers afficianado. I can't remember how many RR lunch pails, lassoos, Rough Rider kits, comic books and even bedspreads and towels my parents secured to make this buckeroo a proud pardner with ol' Roy. I was glued to the set when Roy would ride in on his golden palomino along with Dale on Buttermilk, Bullet by their side and ol' Nellybelle chugging up the trail with Gabby Hayes - the oatmeal man - at the wheel. Roy epitomized all that was right with that innocent age. Never was anyone accused of being a detriment to society because they followed Roy Rogers. Could the same be said today of the film fare or television garbage such as the "Simpsons," "South Park," MTV, the talk shows, or the other filth that passes for entertainment on cable, the internet or at the box office? Afraid not.
In finalizing this final editorial before going on a week's hiatus, permit me to emote some melancholy. With Roy's death, another piece of innocence dies. Only Gene Autry, Bob Hope, my own dad, our special spiritual director Fr. Al Svobodny, OMI and Pope John Paul II remain for this editor among those linked to that innocent age. These are five men who have not let the modern mania disturb their convictions and have clung to the values they grew up with. We have all lost a member of that fraternity with the passing of Roy Rogers. It first began with the death of Bishop Fulton J. Sheen and has eroded since. Cyndi's father was a member of this faithful brotherhood - a solid, loyal Catholic like no one has seen before. No one was more dedicated to the Chaplet of Divine Mercy and no one upheld the values of morals and ethics like her dad Leonard Kreke who left this world on the Solemnity of the Ascension shortly after Mass on that fateful Thursday in 1990. Over the years we have lost great men in history, great priests who embodied the values exhibited by Roy Rogers. I'm sure you also have known these type of men and women, possibly within your own family or parish; the kind of people that promulgated all that God willed for His children. And all of those people we are referencing expressed God's will within the framework of their particular talents and faith, whether it was raising children, compassion and counsel in the confessional, or conveying a way of life that was wholesome and constructive through that medium of film or television which used to be a good thing way back in the 50's. My how times have changed! And now, as we pass the halfway mark of the three-year preparation for Jubilee 2000, we must pray all the harder that those remaining icons of virtue will remain with us for a while longer for God knows, whether we realize it or not, that we need them now more than ever before. In these dire times these kind of stalwarts are the only link left to keeping us all focused on what is right and virtuous in the eyes of God. And so, Roy, from all of us: it's not goodbye, but, as the French say - a plus tard - which translated in westernese means: "Happy Trails to you, until we meet again!"