Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A Small Part of Something Great

Last Friday, we had to skip the March for Life for three reasons: 1). I was scheduled to substitute, 2). We were driving to New York that afternoon/evening, and logistically it would have been impossible to attend the March and pull that off as well, and 3). Two of the kids were sick. Moe hadn't been feeling well earlier in the week; he had a cold and cough for several days, developed a fever, and stayed home from school Wednesday and Thursday. On Friday morning he felt much better, but Curly announced he didn't feel well. Knowing I was subbing that day I hoped he would be able to tough it out, but when he threw up I knew we were in trouble. The school ended up cancelling music classes for the day. Curly had a slight fever, and it was by Divine Providence that I was able to get him in to see the doctor that morning. The doctor's office performed a Strep test, and it was positive. No problem! With antibiotics he would be fine. (She even perscribed some drugs for Larry too, after I casually mentioned that he had a sore throat that morning). After we arrived home, Curly and I were eating lunch and watching EWTN's coverage of the March when the school called to tell us Moe had a fever (again). Once more it was by the grace of God we got an appointment. Turns out Moe had bronchitis and a sinus infection. More antibiotics, and the trip was on! (Unfortunately my mother-in-law, who was planning to come with us, was sick at home. She's much better now.)

After a couple of uneventful hours in the car, we decided it was time to get something to eat. We pulled into a service area--you know, one of those combination rest area/gas station/convenience store/food court; and my father-in-law commented on the large number of buses that were in the parking lot. We prepared ourselves for the place to be somewhat crowded, and went into the building ready to wait in line at the Roy Rogers. We were met by a sea of people shoulder to shoulder, all milling around between the restrooms, the restaraunt area, and the convenience store. Here was a group of high school kids; here was a priest with a long beard, dressed in a gray habit similar to the one Father Benedict Groechel wears when we see him on EWTN. Nearby were a couple of nuns. It wasn't until I spotted a woman with a bright orange sticker on the back of her jacket identifying her as a member of the Philadelphia Archdiocese that the light bulb went off. A huge grin crossed my face when I realized that all of these folks were traveling home after a long day at the March for Life. Even though the place was jam-packed with people, everyone was cheerful, and although most looked tired, they all seemed happy and there was a sense of brotherhood among everyone in the crowd. Suddenly having to wait a long time for a meal didn't seem so bad at all. I'm sure most people there thought we had been to the March too; especially if they noticed the goofy smile on my face.

After we all had used the restroom, it was decided (by everyone but me) that it would be better to leave and find someplace to eat that wasn't so crowded. I couldn't help but feel a twinge of disappointment, not being able to hang out with all these fantastic pro-lifers (it always blows me away when people accuse pro-life activists of being extremist or even terrorists. There was such a sense of love and fellowship in that room you could feel it.) I knew deep down that with three tired and hungry boys, there would soon be some whining, and it would be VERY late by the time we arrived at our hotel. Reluctantly I followed my family back to the car, and as we left the parking lot we saw dozens upon dozens of buses. They say there were at least 300,000 people at the March in Washington; I think half of them must have been at that service area that night.

We pulled off at an exit a few miles down the highway, to a Burger King with almost no one inside (and more importantly, no line to wait in for food). I was thankful, though, that we had come across the Marchers for Life at the rest area. Even though I hadn't been there, I still felt for a brief moment that I was a part of it. (Click here to read my blog post about attending last year's March for the first time.) Will we be at the March in 2011? I hope so; but if we can't be there in person we'll be there in spirit--just as we were this year.

In my next post, I'll tell you about the fantastic weekend we had in New York City!

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