Monthly Archives: December 2014

The Switch

By Mary Slattery

Last month I called my brother, Patrick at about 6:30 in the morning in tears and told him that I thought my 4Runner was totaled. In the middle of me wailing and explaining that my car had slid over a rock wall, off an embankment, and into the woods he interrupted me and said “Praise be to God the piece of junk is wrecked. You are a Subaru girl. Get one.”


Patrick is a pretty direct guy who I lean on a lot. He is the one who told me nearly 2 years ago that we should both sell our cars and get something cheap. Both of us ended up doing so. He got a jeep and I ended up the owner of a 22 year old 4Runner. Ironically, we then went into competition over who could have the highest SUV. After 2 tries at purchasing lift kits he won, and proceeded to win because his jeep has been for the most part problem free.

Unfortunately, the 4Runner has kept my life exciting in a chaotic messy way that makes for many stories, but has not been such a fun trial.

4 runner somewhere

Within the first week of owning a rear tire randomly detached from the entire wheel well. Since then the problems have continued at a steady clip.

4 runner race

That solid stubborn streak that flows in my veins campaigned for the thing even though it sucked up gas like a suburban, was extremely difficult to shift and in more recent times it needed a lot of yanking at the wheel because it leaked power steering fluid on a regular basis. Most recently it became stuck in 4 wheel high on a daily basis which drove me crazy but I was informed by my brother that it was a “safe gear” for me to be in constantly. Drive I did, often and slowly with at least one rosary hanging off the rear view mirror and endless amounts off coffee that fuels my energy throughout the day.


There were a lot of things that I really liked about my white mess of a SUV. I liked how it was 22 years old, rust free, and still running with a good engine. I liked how I could off road in it at the ranch and not car how banged up it got. This summer my brother smashed into it with a gooseneck trailor full of horses and the dent didn’t phase me in the least. I liked how much space I had in the back of it to store whatever I had on hand like saddles and flats of plants, or buckets bursting with beautiful flowers blooms and splashing water all over the interior. There were a few times that I was able to move sheep, goats and my huge Akbash sheep dog from point A to point B.

4 runner in field

However, the novelty of my rugged and ancient vehicle really wore off this winter after the back door and window stopped working completely which put a kibaosh on my eccentric transportation endeavors. Worst of all the heater that runs off a light switch (I kid you not!) has never really worked which makes driving in my both cold and radio-less car pretty grim at this time of the year.


Yesterday I got a Subaru. How I hate letting things go. But I think it’s time to switch things up… and let go of my old heater switch.


Tomorrow I need to pick up a buck to breed my goats. I promise I won’t try to put him in my new car’s trunk because after all, this car is not that kind of car. That’s okay, I’m a Subaru girl now!

A Prayer for my Mother

By Kate

When did you become your mother? For me, it was yesterday, in the dark, with stained glass windows above spilling gospel stories into the silent night.

It was the feast of the Immaculate Conception and I had missed every other mass in town. Just past what should have been supper time I was late, and hurrying up the hill for the 6:30 mass. The December wind blew cold against my soaking wet hair. A long and complicated series of events resulted in the hair being washed and combed just before I flew out the door to church, but the chilly winter air was foiled by my extraordinary coat. This coat, a gift from my husband’s grandmother, enveloped me from hood to shin in expensive, extremely dowdy, goose downed splendor. Against the coat I spread the fingers of one hand protectively against the tiny infant swaddled in a blanket against my chest. My other hand was wrapped tightly around the small hand of my four year old daughter, and I turned to show her the light shining into the darkness, to ponder for a brief moment the simple beauty and mystery of Advent and our church at the night.

Up the hill and around the corner, we ducked into the back door and the very back pew where, when settled, I had plenty of time to ponder her outfit. My four year old was wearing a sparkling party dress, appropriate for a feast but layered over a mismatched outfit, and her curly hair formed a rather fantastic halo due to the fact that it clearly hadn’t been brushed for days. As she quietly played in the pew next to me, I noticed that her cheek and palms had been decorated with markers, and her fingernails were dirty.

The choir sang, the mass proceeded, the four year old behaved beautifully (dirty fingers and all) and the baby nursed. After communion the four year old leaned over and said “Mama, this wasn’t very exciting!”, so I told her that after we sang Salve Regina and the mass ended we’d head to the side altar and light a candle at the Black Madonna who is bejeweled and beautiful. And so we did, and I said a prayer for my mother, whom I realized I’d just become.