Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Last week the middle gel came home with a cutting for Mrs. R from what I suspect is a hydrangea.  (I’m really only familiar with the oak-leaf variety and this seems to be one of the spade-leaf kind.)  She stuck it in a cup of water and set it on the kitchen windowsill.  A few days ago, I noticed that it had sprouted some long, fine roots, so I moved it from its cup into a pot full of Miracle-Gro.  The cutting seemed happy enough with this, so yesterday I moved it out on to the back porch at Port Swiller Manor.  I dunno if it was the direct sunlight, the chilly temperature or the brisk breeze, but within an hour or two, the cutting made plain that it was not happy with this new setting, curling and drooping its leaves in an ominous way.   I brought it back inside and put it back in the kitchen, where it once again seems to be content.

I’ve never worked with cuttings before, but my suspicion is that this one hadn’t had time to really establish its root system to be ready to face the change in climate.  Does this sound right?  My instinct is to wait until it actually starts showing signs of growth before trying to move it again.

Somehow, this little episode meshed in the mind of Robbo very nicely with another one from yesterday.  The 10:30 Mass at my church ran way, way long – it was the first Mass said by a very recently elevated priest who had been a deacon at our church for some time, and it seemed as if half the county had come out to participate.  The result was that us noon rad-tradders spent a good bit of time hanging about and waiting for the crowd to disburse before we could go in.

I found myself chatting with a woman who I’ve always thought of in my mind as Miss Marple’s Crabby Elder Sister.  I’ve sat next to her nearly every Sunday for the past five-plus years now.  In fact, it was from listening to her that I learned how to chant properly, eves-dropping madly in my early days as I floundered to find my own voice.  But it is only within the past couple of months that we’ve had any kind of social contact.  Indeed, I still don’t even know her real name.

Anyhoo, she started filling me in on the details of the new priest, remarking that he had come up as a Dominican and that this particular order has reformed itself mightily since its rayther more wild and lawless days back in the sixties and seventies.  She then went on to relate a number of anecdotes about various people I’ve never heard of before; people who had rediscovered their faith after walking away from it, people who had maintained their faith despite adverse circumstances, and the like.  (She told me about one fellah who recently graduated from Harvard.  I was astounded that Harvard even allows Christians – and Catholics at that – to receive degrees these days.)

At one point I said, “Boy, just when you’re about to throw your hands in the air in despair of the world, you hear stories like these that lift your spirits right back up.”

“Yes,” she replied, “Little miracles.”

And I guess that’s the tie-in with the hydrangea cutting.  It’s a mistake, I think, to get too worked up over the grand strategic situation, or to forget that God’s real work is being carried out daily on a much smaller, more subtle scale.  And it’s a reminder that I should be paying the most attention not to what I read on the innertubes or in the papers, but instead on what’s immediately in front of me.

Anyway, just thought I’d share that.