It is the memories of lives lived with faith and courage that impress, sustain and inspire us.

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BishopSwainby Bishop Paul J. Swain7/2/2015

Summer is a wonderful season. Every season has its hopeful signs. Spring is uplifting with the lift in temperatures and the greening of the landscape, fall has the beauty of leaves turning color and a haunting aroma, and winter has its crisp air and freshly fallen snow. Summer is unique because it is a time of being outdoors in ways that the other seasons do not encourage.

There was a song from my ancient past which praised the “ lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer.” Recently I went for a walk on a Sunday afternoon. Usually I walk in the early morning with few stirring about. So it was with great delight to see family and friends and especially youth outdoors and together playing sports, fishing, chatting and picnicking. Happy folks enjoying themselves in simple summer ways prompted me to recall the summers of my youth.

For many years we picked raspberries on a farm operated by a wonderful Catholic family of immigrants from Italy. When our pay increased from six cents a quart to seven cents we felt rich. At the end of the fruit bearing season we were served a hearty home-made Italian meal. When the matriarch passed away and her son took over it became less an occasion of joy and more of a business. The business soon closed but the happy memories remain.

My siblings and I were raised by our grandparents. My grandfather worked in greenhouses and helped develop new varieties of roses. Our house was full of roses as they were tested for beauty and longevity.

The company my grandfather worked for maintained a public rose garden. Each year there was a rose festival for which my grandmother would take the roses my grandfather grew and create beautiful bouquets and crowns for the little girls who competed for rose princess. I helped out in various ways, though not always willingly. Though the garden has become an apartment complex, whenever I see a rose, which is a sign of life, happy memories of those family summer moments return.

The village I grew up in and surrounding towns housed canning factories. As a result vegetable and fruit would be trucked on our streets. How devilishly fun (but unsafe) it was to run out and grab a few low hanging vines laden with pea pods as the trucks drove through. To this day peas in a pod are among of my favorite snacks, though none have the splendid taste as they did when I was nine.

These memories seem about such simple and little things, and they are. It is often the little things that impact and form us and reform us after we fall.

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