Monday, March 07, 2016

Tall Brother

Last Wednesday, I got an email from one of my two TWMC interviewers asking if, along with contacting my other references, she can speak with Bob Deel, who supervised me at Laguna Honda. I wrote back that indeed she can, and to tell him hello from me if she thinks of it. I was glad to see her name in my inbox and glad she is planning to check my references.

My classmate Sam wrote me, “To review: I’m not sure when we spoke, but it didn’t really feel that long ago … and from there you have written your essays, applied and now gone to interviews. Shazam!” He will be a great chaplain, too. (Along with the male interviewer at TWMC, I mean.)

Last week I finally got to sit down and open a book, which I’ve been meaning to do since my last day of work, nearly three weeks ago. I’m going to read Ron Chernow’s books about George Washington and Alexander Hamilton this spring if it kills me. While I was reading one afternoon, I noticed Hammett giving me a severe look, as befits a cat who earlier that day had been stuffed into a box and conveyed against his wishes to the vet’s to have his thyroid checked. His weight had edged up slightly, which is good, and the next day, I learned that his kidneys and thyroid are both looking great, so I can go four to six months before the next recheck if everything seems fine.

I spent a bit longer at the soup kitchen than usual last Thursday, moving around as gently and consciously as possible. After observing me for a while, one guest told me, “You’re really kind.” I’m glad that my efforts to take great care are interpreted that way. That is how they are intended.

On Friday I got an email inviting me to be a part of the summer clinical pastoral education program at VFMC and have sent in my acceptance letter. Doing CPE in the summer is a key part of my plan for best use of the next several months and a crucial step in discerning when, how or if to pursue becoming a certified chaplain.

F. and I had a very pleasant and harmonious weekend, during which called me his “beautiful chaplain,” as he now and then does, and I responded that he was an “hombre guapo y alto—is that how you say ‘tall, handsome man’ in Spanish?”

He said that wasn’t quite right.

“Well, then, how do you say it?”

“It depends on the time and place.”

“OK, then how did you say it in Pittsburg, California, in the 1960s,” which is where and when he was a teenager in a Spanish-speaking family.

“Tall brother, how you doin’? You look good!”

By the weekend, I was on page 100 of Ron Chernow’s 817-page book about George Washington. I thought it was going to be a laborious ordeal to read, but it’s genuinely captivating.