Author - Francis X. Hezel, SJ

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Christmas, 2023
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Ken Urumolug: 1965-2023
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Furlough to the Mainland IV
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Furlough to the Mainland III
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Furlough to the Mainland II
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Furlough to the Mainland
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Too Late for the Party?
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Typhoon Mawar Up-Close

Christmas, 2023

I wish this were a personal visit instead of a written greeting, but let this note with its brief update suffice until we do meet again. 

Any honest update from me would have to deal with the challenges of getting old, but you’ve heard all this from guys like me before. Maybe you’re even going through it yourself. If so, you know that becoming an old-timer does take a bit of adjustment. Not only to the aches and pains in the joints, but other things are just as bothersome:

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Ken Urumolug: 1965-2023

I always thought of Ken as a kid—but a big kid, for sure. He had that playful smile that made you feel that, sincere as he seemed, he might be stringing you along just a little bit. But the smile was real. The earliest vivid memory of him was sitting on the hull of our overturned boat with that triumphant smile as Xavier freshmen splashed in the water around him. The boat had been swamped by waves not too far from shore, but Ken and a couple of his buddies held tight to the food packages they had saved from the floor of the lagoon.

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Furlough to the Mainland IV

Back to Hawaii

There may have been no problem running down the Hudson, transiting to New Jersey railroad and checking into the hotel, it was a different story the next day a the airport. Check in was was no trouble, but the line for security defied belief. It was the longest I’ve ever been in, winding as it did around the entire terminal. The wait of an hour didn’t seem as long as the walk.

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Furlough to the Mainland III

Family Time in the Adirondack Mountains

Within minutes of greeting my brother Rich and his wife Jan, we were in deep conversation. The same happened when I met my brother George at the beach just before dinner. In fact, George was so caught up that he volunteered to join us for dinner that evening. We chatted about the usual family topics: What are the real family traits? Who got along well with whom when we were young? How have we changed over the years?

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Furlough to the Mainland II

Two Days in the Hudson Valley

On September 3, I took the plane to Newark after a series of annoying run-ins with airport officials. Maybe the early hour (5 AM) was responsible, but polite old Minnesota didn’t seem quite as warm and tender as Garrison Keillor represented his state on “Prairie Home Companion.”  The TSA people were especially rude, as I went through a surprising delay while they checked out a Kindle in my carry-on bag.

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Furlough to the Mainland

First stop: Minneapolis

My two-week furlough began on August 31 when I left for Minneapolis. The seven hours to Honolulu was painless, but then again I was seated next to Bernie Helstrom and so had a companion. When she exited, I was left on my own to negotiate the Honolulu airport—ie, picking up baggage and going through customs before traveling the length of the terminal to go through customs again along with the screening (not required in most places) and then the long journey to our departure gate. As I hobbled along, a couple of other passengers muttered that the Honolulu system made no sense at all. I had to agree completely.

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Too Late for the Party?

Many years ago I was invited to a party at the home of an acquaintance who lived out a ways on the southern shore of Long Island. It wasn’t just another party, but something special in a home that was more than just a house. Let’s call it a mansion. The locale was not just any old suburban town, but it was like one of the Hamptons—a plush community that could have been the setting for “The Great Gatsby.”  I didn’t know the hosts too well, but I was looking forward to the party for other reasons, as you might suspect.

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