By going easy on drinks and late nights we build lives that stay around for many happy days.


Does today’s Gospel about the relentless rain bring up memories for you? Have you ever managed to get through a hurricane or a typhoon? Forgive me for telling a  Korean story from 1954.

Father Pat McGowan, before the fighting was over, had accompanied our Marines to north of the 38th parallel on Korea’s East Coast. After those Marines had taken the port town of Sokcho, they gave Pat a truck-load of cement.

 South Korea’s Police force had also moved up to this town in what had been North Korea. In the winter of 1953-1954 when Pat was putting down his three foot concrete foundations, the police, between our hill and the harbor road, were putting up a large frame building for their police station.

The typhoon hit us one afternoon in June, and it put down two feet or rain before the next morning. Even though the winds and rain were so furious that I couldn’t put a foot outside our door, Pat’s concrete walls never let a moment of fear enter my heart.

When I could get out in the morning I made for the edge of our hill to see how the police barracks had fared. I saw no remnants of its fine frame or its windows. Every last splinter had washed across the harbor road into the sea.

Our cemeteries are full of people who built their lives on smokes, drinks, and late nights, while people who lived temperate lives stay on to appreciate their old age.

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