Tag Archives: football


Health, Longevity and Community in the Pandemic

I have been eating better than usual and sleeping at least as well and as much during most of the quarantine associated with this pandemic. The truth is that this overall period of rest and sufficiency was interrupted by a couple of opposite realities. I had an injury or source of chronic pain that tormented me for a while. I seem to be mostly pulling out of that. I am feeling like the stresses of the quarantine itself or not really getting to me all that badly. I have remained connected to a lot of people and a few people a little more. If I do not get Covid-19 then it seems likely that I will come out of this crisis at least as healthy as I went into the crisis. Of course, that is a big if. I am a very long way from getting out of the woods. I will be out of the woods when I get a vaccine for the coronavirus afflicting the world, I have plans to get better healthcare but if the past is any guide then I will never get the vaccine. The other option is that I get the Covid-19 and maybe its next strain mutation and then build up enough immunity to be out of the woods. So far now this event means living with an added personal risk of death for an indefinite period of time.  . 

There is a great deal to try to understand as we deal with this pandemic and live our lives. Scarcely a business plan, a family tradition or leisure activity is left unaffected. So we have to try to redefine many things under the new conditions of the coronavirus pandemic. What will life mean in any of a thousand specific contexts with the Covid-19  pandemic factored in? That is the constantly and endlessly visible aspect of life. These days we are all beset by the same pandemic,

Someone who received a gift from someone to whom I gave a gift. We all experience the pandemic and the quarantine.



The pandemic is having a powerful impact on the world and on the United States of America where I live. What is going to be the outcome of this vast interruption. For me, the biggest question has been what is the place of this episode in my life story. I wonder often enough, is it the tragic episode where I survive the loss of those near and dear? Is it the final episode in my life — the very end of this mortal journey. Whatever readers believe or have experienced intimations of from beyond the curtain of death it is not the play that I have been performing since birth. The pandemic makes me aware of the fact that death may well have come for me just now may be waiting just outside for the proper time to introduce himself and he may wait without tiring or discouragement for quite a while to make my acquaintance.

But I do not want to forget that most people survive Covid-19 with little apparent short -term injury and even if kidney and heart damage occurs it does not seem likely to be a huge factor in the case of those with few symptoms during infection. So along with the efforts of many people to save lives that in theory include my life — there is also a good chance that I will survive this pandemic. In addition it takes more planning for me to prepare to keep living than it does to prepare for dying when even funerals are virtually impossible. Therefore, I am looking at the future as though I will live.


So what is the pandemic really? What does it seem like? For all of us it seems to some degree like we must constantly be dealing with the risk of any contact with those people we would like to contact and those with whom we come into contact because it is easier and more sane to come into contact. Thus is an era of separation as a primary objective when we think of other people. 

The layer of another reason to avoid getting together with other people is a matter that has greater or lesser significance for different people considering their state in life and other factors. For me there has been a long trend to isolation and a growing aversion to almost everybody as a close companion that predates any effects of the pandemic. One of the realities of this time is that I have invested what is a significant amount of money on top of what is an unspeakably huge amount of time to try to publish a book I call one of my novels . But this book is actually a mixture of meta-fiction and fiction. In the book there are connections between myself and other people that are discussed to some degree. But it is true that long before the virus rampaged across the world those connections had diminished in more than a few cases. So the pandemic is just another isolating factor. It isolates me from some family members, from some work colleagues and from some students. It makes my interaction in shopping and other contexts more strained. But it does not really turn a fully socially immersed person into a hermit in my case. Like a lot of people, I am trying to survive and get by in these trying times. I am not committed to a hardship of isolation that is entirely new to me.


Image from Josh Hild on Pexels

I watched a good bit of the NFL Draft on ABC. I was excited for LSU Quarterback Joe Burrows to continue his tour de force as NO 1 pick overall. I was happy as well for Justin Jefferson to continue the Jefferson family tradition of excellence at LSU and continue the Purple and Gold tradition at Minnesota. But for me he NFL has lost a good bit of its magic. So have a lot of other things — but I was aware of the sense of people reaching out for community. It is a limited kind of community in the first place but now it is somehow more tenuous.  I was glad to see the Draft-a-thon charity. I was happy to see the Head Coach Sean Peyton say that he feels well recovered.  I have been a football loving person and a good deal of what I did in my days involved football. But I never played anything close to a full and organized season.  But when I think of building community and of a legacy of engagement — I have to include football in those thoughts.





Football is one form of community that has not yet felt the full force of the pandemic. There is nothing determined yet about how great the overall impact of this pandemic will be. I think football is a kind of bridge on the landscape of my mind and life.  I never will be a football player in the sense that makes me comfortable saying I played football. But I have a lot of memories of playing football.

So there is the fact of isolation creeping into so many areas. But there is more than that going on here. We are aware as sport fans that sports are really not happening. We are aware of the role that sports have played in our lives and culture and yet we know that this huge absence is far more than we have experienced before but is only a relatively small part of all that is not happening. Churches, theaters, schools, synagogues, cafes, barbershops, hair salons, civic clubs, social clubs, casinos and family reunions are shuttered. Movies are not getting made. We are exposed to what life has to offer when all those forms of sharing are abolished. Although postponed and abolished are very different things the shock of so many postponements at once has the fell of some vast social revolution sweeping across our lives.

It seems like there is a good chance that my novel will not get self-published. But that is not so strange. I am used to being frustrated, However, if it is published it will bring a lot of factors to light and there will be plenty of distraction within its limited readership. Part of this coincides with events shaping the life of one real person deeply included in the meta-fiction portion of the book. I can live with how that will all play out and I think that other people can live with it as well. But the main thing to me is to get this book finally into the form of a decent book. Then I can decide how to pursue or abandon all my other literary projects. It is more like a chance to set a floor on these things than it is a chance to make things open up for a new career.

Superbowls, Superegos and Superlatives

Last night, (as I started typing this post), February 5, 2016 I watched the new England Patriots led by Tom Brady play the Atlanta Falcons led by Matt Ryan. Coaches Belichik and  Dan Quinn dueling things out at a more cerebral level and many other match-ups taking place as particular members of each offense conflicted and struggled with particular member of each defense — all this on the great autonomous stage that is the Super Bowl. This Super Bowl was one for the record books certainly. Robert Kraft certainly got more attention than Arthur Blank but he was  very much in evidence from events like the NFL Honors which  aired on Fox the night before the game to other events and to the big stage itself. Lady Gaga performed at half time and there was a pregame presentation of Hall of Fame players who hailed from Historically Black Colleges and Universities The after game interviews featured the many African American players and their family stories in some cases. The commercials had a strongly multicultural flavor. But even more than I ever remember seeing it before the main story line in sportswriting and sportscasting was the duel between these six rich, famous (Blank being the least famous) white guys in formal leadership positions. More than usual that was appropriate. This was a clash of very different franchises. It was a clash of a relatively up an coming coach and an old legend. It was the clash of a 2017 MVP quarterback without a ring  and a quarterback playing in a season he started with a suspension who was playing to set himself outside the debate as the most successful quarterback in NFL history. It was the clash between the uniquely successful Kraft and the hungry Blank. Somehow all this multicultural tension and celebration mixed   powerfully with regional competition and the anxieties of the recent Presidential election. And somehow the duel of the six rich famous white male leaders provided a uniquely bright frame for national emotion. This was a function many other Super Bowl contests have performed this on was not more stark and clear than other games but more stark and clear than much of the confusion of life just now for many in America and the World.

No Super Bowl is ever likely to measure up for me to the Super Bowl forty -four (XLIV)  that was the first in which the Saints ever played and the one that they won. But of course, if they won another  I would be very pleased. But it was still grand and super, we also had a super meal. I brought catfish fillets brought in courtesy of a complex reciprocal relationship with a friend and my mother mad a courtbouillon  as well as many other snacks and side dishes. Dad and I and Mom and a a guest whose invitation I arranged but who is also my mother’s godson enjoyed the evening together. The event shared among us competed with the game, related events and halftime show more than if it had been the saints or we had been more hard core Super Bowl fans. But still we mostly watched the Super Bowl and related events and observed a great American tradition. Our guest was joined by brief drop-ins passing by. The guest himself had just returned form a long stay abroad and is here without his recently wed wife. But we all discussed travels and homecomings and enjoyed good food and good music in ways which sometimes interrupted the game.

In some ways our Super Bowl party reminded me of the different ways there are to participate in and observe the institutions and events associated with citizenship in the United States. Right now I am more obsessed with politics than most of the time. But still I like to think that this blog is a bit like that little Super Bowl party. It is about the big events but also about smaller events  and bigger events that are not known in a big way. The change from the Obama Era to the Trump Era has been momentous but so was the living breathing experience of being a human being as millions have experienced. I had coffee this morning with my sister and enjoyed being with her children as often happens on Monday. I wrote down the dates of the play her older son is in. Yesterday, having been to vigil mass on Saturday I did lawn work most of the day in the unusually pleasant weather. I also have lots of negative experiences and woes which best my thoughts, pocket  and health. All those are human realities more immediate and just as relevant to me as my current concern about politics as we know it from walls, travel bans and Senate rules. Sports play a special role in joining public communal interest and private concerns and values. The Super Bowl party is often a bit more than it seems.

Inauguration Day as Required by the Constitution: A Facebook Note

by Frank Wynerth Summers III on Saturday, January 19, 2013 at 10:09pm ·
Barack Hussein Obama is to start his second term at about the time that I will be arriving for Brunch at the home on the banks of the Bayou Vermilion where a family is hosting my cousin and her newly betrothed for a brunch. All around the country people will be giving birth, being born, dying, going to houses of worship and going out to eat among other things. Millions will be getting ready to watch football with a few friends or family members. I am hoping that my manner of dress will be sufficiently and not excessively “country club casual”. I really do wish the couple well. I also have worries not everyone brings to a party of this kind when they attend. My life has left me with a little bit of what some people might call PTSD but is not reallly serious enough to be a disorder. Within the spectrum ofrisk awareness I am simply at the high end and when there are not so many factors known as unkown it is easy to worry even about security.

But while all sorts of things are on my mind I am also aware of the troubles of the country and the difficulty of addressing them. I am further aware that the USA is addressing its own set of serious crises. The countries own parties this week will celebrate the vision and hopes of one man and the team he has gathered. They will celbrate that he has been returned to office. I may have fewer enemies or more enemies thatn President Obama. I may live to see many more presidents of these United States or none at all. But President Obama will face many challenges as will all Americans in the coming years. Perhaps things will turn out very well and perhaps they will not.

Unlike my own worries, which are often tenuously connected to me but extend to people far and near who are in real danger, the worries of a President are largely structural and known I would suppose. There are so many ties between him and all those he needs to worry about or chooses to worry about. The party planners, hosts and guests in Washington are able to connect the man to a wide range of policy questions and issues very directly.

However, for me and others at more personal parties our problems risks and connections are less openly public and national. I have written here and elsewhere about the troubles I have seen. Many of those I hope the happy couple will be spared. I also hope for a better occasion on which the party will occur than the most tragic days of my life. But the party will not be world-wide news. With hostages possibly, or possibly not still in Algeria or Mali there is another factor to complicate inaugural security. However, the President has a large team to engage any perceived threat. However, those of us at smaller parties will not have large protective details. Does the inuguration matter to all of us at our varied parties?

I think it can matter and I God grants me chance I will watch all or most of Monday’s proceedings. I have not been a fan of the President and I have never voted for him. But amid my many criticisms of the man, his policies and flaws in our system I have also written about some good and agreeable qualities of Obama and his team. It seems to me the President will matter to the betrothed couple and to many others. Whether his presidency will matter much to me is harder to say. We are close in age and both have had some experiences which are both rare and similar. What will happen to either or both of us is hard for me to say. Perhaps it is impossible to say.

I do not even know all that will happen tomorrow. I am going to a nearby place to which I have never before traveled. I may be posting my last note before Monday’s big inaugural affairs. Like many American my attention is divided. But the President will matter. It is not possible to say how much he will matter but he will shape the future. Many Americans will be celebrating the future and I am also celebrating a new future. The future of a newly engaged couple is what I am celebrating mostly. Will there future be a good one? I hope so…

As I type this I am preparing to go to what may be a small or larger brunch to honor a cousin’s betrothal. I have just sealed up a gift for the occasion. These will be the last few hours of President Barack Hussein Obama’s first term legally. However, the public inauguration will not be until Monday. Monday is Martin Luther King Day. He drew huge crownds to many places including the Mall that will be used Monday. Obama is to use his bible in one of the ceremonies. I will be far from the hundreds of thousands gathering in DC. I will be with a smaller group the whole time.

I spend more time online than in large groups these days. My access to the internet is not that secure. But I trust that these virtual crowds are not like Manti Te’o’s girlfriend. I trust that his principal remaining tie to the world for me is mostly authentic. It usually seems to check out. It is easier todeal with than thousnads on the Mall would be probably. My uneasiness about crowds, groups and gatherings increases a great deal over time and more than a little bit from day to day. I have no regular job, occupational license or mortgage. I no longer own real estate and I have not even had a compensated by-line in several years now. Those factors of isolation combine with the many troubles and problems I have seen in the world to remind me of all the risks that I must face in the world. I can hope for something good to happen for myself and those around me and still be aware That I have a darkening view of the world. Yet I am drawn to try to honor a couple’s brightest hopes. Perhaps many are doing that this week in Washington. I do not know what the scene really is there. I know less and less of the scene around me…

Louisiana State University loses to Arkansas

LSU  lost the contest for the golden boot trophy yesterday which is held by the most recent winner of the University of Arkansas and Louisiana State University football game. They lost the game in fifth and to a twelfth ranked opponent and will surely fall out of the top ten finish in the BCS rankings this season. They almost surely fell out of the BCS bowls and most of all the Nokia Sugar Bowl.


Nonetheless, I hope to see them in a pretty good bowl. Congratulations LSU on many more wins than losses and the memorable victory over Nick Saban’s Alabama in a difficult year.

GO Saints! How about some professional glory? We could have seconds, mmm it tasted good last year.

Autumn in Acadiana

Around Abbeville Anglo-Acadian Americans as appellation for autumn say fall.

Unless there are reasons not to say things for cued content or audience.

There is gumbo, TV baseball and football.  We hunt and play or watch ball.

Untill November it is too early for the apt application of “fall” present tense.

Mostly  life looks like summer although  so much nicer to most us for the cool.

Not like summer where comfort comes from the AC or, better yet, the pool.


I love this time of year in average terms though storms can make it nearly hell.

Now Yankee Autumn in Acadiana‘s tale was a worse time yet for what they tell. 


Abbeville, Breaux Bridge, New Iberia and Ville Platte will no Vermont rival.

Colored leaves beyond the imagination of most folks exist in that state.

Around here we get the generous chicken tree to call out fall’s arrival.

Dour grow our perennial oaks and hold shabby green out even late.

In conifers too we have more poverty of leaf than color’s carnivals.

As among these greens, greys and browns we look we see bursts of blaze.

Now we see more game and fowl amid the wildlands less lush maze.

Autumn in Acadiana is our autumn and acceptably summer lulls.

My Thoughts about Homecoming Twenty Years after Graduation


I am planning to buy a ticket to my alma mater’s homecoming football game more or less as soon as I get finished with my blog post.  I will be buyuing it with my mother’s credit card. I sometimes do this and pay her back with cash but in this case she is giving it to me as a gift. I feel a sense of obligation to be there and I have often been to Homecoming games over the years. But I have not gotten an invitation to anything except those sent out to all University students and have not had the resources to  initiate much organization although I did start a Facebook group for my classmates nobody joined it. Nonetheless, it discharged another sense of obligation. I do love my school and watching football. However, I certainly am not proud or happy to be going alone and in many other ways in the situation I am currently in at this time.

The bulk of this post is a Facebook note I wrote a while back. I had a really miserable time copying it in here (a process which is often very easy). That means I had more of a chance to correct spelling, mechanical and minor factual errors than usual because I spent longer reworking it. However, I know from experience that there may be a gross error of continuity from pasting parts together and have lots of irritating glitches. I hope not. If you read it and wish to comment I will try to address errors and questions.



Approaching 20 years since my Bachelor’s Degree
Sunday, March 22, 2009 at 10:58pm
I graduated from the University of Southwestern Louisiana in May of 1989 with a degree in English and the honor of a latin phrase after the designation of a bachelors degree. There have been many days since mid May of 1989. Each of them was a bit different from the others. Suddenly I am coming up on 20 years. Sooner or later it had to happen. Actually it had to happen exactly 20 years after I graduated unless I died. It was always likely to make me feel that my life was not exactly where I had hoped it would be. Twenty years ago was a rather high mark in my life. But not a perfect time at all.

In the years since then there have been opportunities to do things that I had not done. Perhaps I resemble some huge portion of the human species in that I would define the last twenty years as having been much better and much worse than I would have predicted. However as a generalization I would describe my last twenty years as being profoundly different from any plan I could have made or discussed in those days. First of all the most important person in my life in those days was Michelle Denise Broussard Summers and I have not seen or spoken with her since about 1995. We had gotten married in December of 1987 while still in college. I graduated in May of 1989 and she graduated in December of 1989.

I think both that we always had our problems and that when I graduated our best years were still ahead of us. But the time of my graduation was a more difficult time than most of our time together up to that point. In those days I still had high hopes for many things that no longer draw forth that response from me. What Michelle’s hopes were becomes less clear to me with each passing day and month and year. I do know that we were very much together at that time. Her support meant a great deal to me. On the day of the Blue Key reception for the Outstanding Graduate award for their colleges and were nominated for the overall award only one person had no guests for company — I was that nominee. I did win the award however. That of course makes the approach of the 20th year anniversary even more ominous somehow. It is harder to measure up to expectations announced in those days. Of course, no matter what I had that happy summer when I had been so honored and before a life I would often categorize as horrible reverted more to the norm and became fairly horrible again. In the years since there have been lots of good and bad times. I have ended up with more self-respect than I would have ever imagined possible and very little else in many ways. Yet also blessed to have lots of people in my life and memory who have meant something to me. The journey has had its surprising joys. Instead of only following a chronology  only I wanted  to kind of set this up as journey story — because it is.

Mary graduates from UL L as I did. A young mom who does not make time for Facebook yet.

Watching one brother Joseph and one sister Mary graduate with higher Latin honors than I earned from my college alma mater has been a joy and a blessing. It has been a joy to see another sister Sarah graduate with a perfect GPA from Louisiana State University where I got my masters degree. It has been a joy to have my middle sister Susanna graduate with honors from the Franciscan University of Steubenville where I won one of two Sophomore Class Awards (one for men and one for women) in 1985. I look forward to having my youngest brother graduate from UL-L which is my renamed alma mater this May. My handicapped brother Simon received his certificate of Academic completion of merit from Abbeville High School when I was working for the school board in which they are located and which administers them. All of those were joyous milestones. But Michelle was not around for any of those events. After my Bachelor’s ceremonies, hers and my Master of Arts Degree graduation we were not to be together much longer.

Michelle and I lived in Abbeville, Lafayette, Kenner, New Orleans and Baton Rouge  all in Louisiana when we were married. We traveled to Mexico but otherwise never left the country together. We did make trips to Arizona, Texas, Kentucky, Tennessee,  and Illinois. But all though we were not absolute cave-dwellers we traveled less together than has been typical of my life. In this post I have included pictures of places I have been since. I had many pictures of Michelle and I together and would put some up but they have been among the many casualties of my trips and dislocations. I do not have access to a single image of her and I together or of her as I type this.

The picture below is of the Shandong Institute of Business and Technology in Yantai. The SDIBT  was the China Coal College a few years before I was there.Set on the Shandong Peninsula where Confucius and Mencius began Classical Chinese scholarship the Campus overlooked the glorious Yellow Sea.
These are some of my students and advisees graduating two years after I left.
Front page of an article I wrote about my journey to China and time there. The top photograph is of English Corner which was largely organized and facilitated by Lu Ting ting who is on my Friends List although her name appears in characters I cannot reproduce.

However, China is not the only place that I have been. There were journeys to Micronesia, Mexico (on numerous occasions) as well as to Nova Scotia/ Acadie. All these trips were since my divorce . Each of these journeys has added to the long route across and just above the surface of this planet which I have had other distinct good things and times. My trip to China ranks near the top of these life enhancing events one recalls at a time like this. I have posted the link to the university level institution where I taught.

The theme of of travel in my story is rather huge and important. It can be minimized and still seem drawn out in my life. Prior to graduation the Philippines, Europe, Colombia, Mexico, Tonga, Samoa and New Zealand were among the places that I had visited long enough to feel that I had lived there.  It bears repeating yet again that extensivetravel has been a very large part of my education and personal development both before and after my undergraduate studies.

 Soren, Alyse and Anika in Zacatecas, Mexico in the center of town.
Alyse in the mines which were the source of wealth for Zacatecas as a Spanish Colonial City and in the precolumbian days as well.
I have also been a bit below the surface of the planet a few times. Mammoth Caves is one of my favorite US National parks and I have enjoyed visiting mines like those in the beautiful Mexican city of Zacatecas. Michelle was not a great outdoors woman and now I seldom participate in the outdoors in Louisiana which were such a huge part of my life before because I have had a lot of bad experiences and am not very happy here in any way but Michelle and I once camped at Mammoth Caves in a very happy exception to the rule of our time together. 

What I know is that my life has been a journey in a very literal sense. When I graduated from UL I went to work that summer for the law Firm of Mangham, Hardy, Rolfs and Abadie in the offices near the top of the First National Bank Tower in downtown Lafayette. It was as close as I have ever come to feeling like my life was on a smooth and established track and not a trek through dangerous places. I was headed off to Tulane Law School in the fall. A lot of people in my life who have always behaved badly toward me when they were around chose not to that summer. I had been on television and in the newspapers a great deal when I won the Outstanding Graduate award and it seemed like I would be given some space to do things one step at a time in a way that I have never really known at any other time.

My time at Tulane Law School that first run was one of the worst times of my life. That is from my point of view saying a great deal. We lived next to a family who were in charge of our floor in student housing and screamed and roared many hours every day. Michelle never found any job of significance which wrecked our financial plan, I got hit in a horrible traffic situation and got the ticket, I was chronically sick, we had several family crises. Someone who owed me a substantial amount of money skipped out on payment and it was an informal exchange without legal recourse. Those patterns were established early on and then there were a lot of other bad things. Michelle told me she was pregnant fifteen minutes before my first moot court competition and that she was not (either never was or had lost the pregnancy) just in the middle of my real examination preparation. Then my relationships already included a lot of people who were the opposite of supportive. Despite being a harsh, grim and critical man my grandfather Frank W. Summers I came across as a major source of counsel, social and financial support. He and I had been close of years and this put a strain on our rebuilding relationship but it was a time when he really shone in several ways. When Michelle and I left Tulane after a semester and a bit then in almost every way the life I had sought to graduate into was  dead. The journey since then has been an entirely different journey.

When I left Tulane we engaged in that activity my associates in life often refer to as “licking one’s wounds”. That took a few weeks. Then I was working in seafood sales and brokering as I had done many times before including even during my time at Tulane Law. I went down with the owner and chief sales manager of the privately held company that was my employer on a buying trip to Merida. This was typical of a lot of things about my seafood crowd. The owner paid for four tickets, four registration packages, four hotel and food packages and in me provided one of the two or three best interpreters on the trip. However, the trip was supposed to be a sales trip sponsored by the US Department of Commerce and we were there buying. While that exact event was unique it somehow encapsulates all of my considerable experiences in the fishmongering world. While there Lieutenant Governor Paul Hardy presented me with the honor of Honorary Lieutenant Governor of Louisiana. He gave me a very large and beautiful certificate that I was proud to display as I was to mention the honor on my resume.

When I got back I set up those purchases and set up a series of chain and institutional sales for catfish and catfish products of sizes which were not in the main stream of demand and commerce. That was about all I did before quitting my job and going to work for St. Thomas More High School. I knew it would annoy him but I left my employer with a proposal for changes needed in the company. From a distance over the years I watched many of them take place. (Since I wrote this note however the company has closed because it imported much Mexican labor after the ties established on this trip and has had trouble gettibg the paperwork in order in recent years according to one of the former owners).

My story must return to the subject of St. Thomas More High School.  My Mom had helped me hear about and get an interview for the job at STM and I took Sarah to school there as I commuted to work. Michelle soon found a job in Lafayette in a career field she would follow in for a good while. I added a part-time job as youth minister at St. Mary’s Parish and then we moved from Mom and Dad’s neighborhood in a rental house to an apartment in Lafayette. Mom and Dad soon moved to house only a few miles away. My sister Susanna was registered to go with Sarah to STM the next year. However, by that time I would be a Board of Regents Fellow at Louisiana State University. Michelle had a good job in Baton Rouge with the same company she had worked for in Lafayette and I had the fellowship money and some other sporadic income. We were pretty happy and pretty successful as far as living in a rental townhouse can be considered successful in America. We had two new vehicles we had bought new and although I was getting really fat for the first time since early adolescence we were more in love and happy than at any time since just after our wedding. So if Law school was really brutally bad then graduate school was pretty good. I was tired and stressed but not as alienated as I have often been. It was a time for maintenance and restorations. Then two things did happen when I was in Grad school at LSU that had a big impact on my life between the two of them. One was that my half-brother Paul Nicolas Jordan came into my life. The other was that my grandfather Frank W. Summers I died. These things and earning my Masters really defined those years.

Paul came into my life as a huge surprise since I had been assured of his impossibility. I had devoted a huge portion of whatever positive focus of energy there had been in my life to being the oldest sibling of seven and an older brother. I had become involved in a whole web of transgenerational things on all sides of the family to pass them on to another generation. When Paul came many of relatives who have always perhaps been happy to make me uncomfortable liked to point out that he was both older and my sibling. All the ways this was done I will not get into here. It so happened that my grandfather Summers was not related to Paul by blood, marriage or memory and was busy dying. I had worked for him, lived with him when in from the Franciscan University of Steubenville, bore his name, had discussed genealogies, family traditions and acts and orders of chivalry. He had brought me into some secret and other semi-secret groups and other groups with tasks that were not entirely clear to me and I had tried to humor him even when it was tough. So at this time we drew closer together. His mind, body and poise were all failing but they all were a noble ruin. Old men I had never met came and began to ask me questions about him and some of our activities and talks together. Many of those men I never saw again.

I undertook a research task or two in Acadiana at the time to deal with these odd meetings and with my dying grandfather. I had often been angry with and resentful of “PauPau” as I called him.When he did die I had seen him dying only a day before and the pain was raw and shocked me in its intensity. There were reasons for that which I will not go into here but the biggest reason was personal loss. I was the only primary pall-bearer with streaming tears and shaking sobs as we gave that last shove of his coffin into the elevated stone mini mausoleum where his remains rest. Typical of he and my grandmother there was a space beside him with her name on it and four other spaces for some (but not any dead) who might need a resting place in our extended family. My grandmother was there and many others and my wife. But I felt a loneliness I had not known before, it may not have been my loneliest moment but it was a very lonely one. I pulled through that semester, took my general examinations and went through commencement. I thought I might go to LSU Law school but I would work in large scale food sales again before returning to Tulane Law School. My marriage was almost suddenly falling apart in real earnest.

During the year I worked we still had some good times but by the summer before Law school we were seldom together as I worked in a law office in Lafayette and she lived in Baton Rouge. Then we moved into a town house in Kenner where we last lived together. This time at Tulane things were smoother in some ways but smoothly bad. My first time at Tulane I had organized a petition and a protest along with other woes and distractions and I am quite certain some faculty there still had it in for me. My relationship with my nuclear family was strained, I missed my grandfather, he had promised me several keepsakes when he died all unsolicited by me and I got none of them just as had happened before when his mother died. My marriage was for the first time cold. It is unacceptable to talk about sex between married couples but our sex life had always been very good by all standards that can be quantified or verified. Now it was not. We were sentimental about splitting. We seldom discussed it and when we did it was usually over a nice dinner calmly. We knew it was coming and I began to seek treatment for depression. We both sort of moved from not quite newlyweds to forty years of marriage in our frank awareness of the opposite sex. It was clear that we would not be happy together and we had tried Marriage Encounter, made Engaged Encounter before exchanging vows and read books as well as making a couples retreat. We had no kids or prospects of having kids soon. I had some concerns my grandfather had entrusted me with that we could never really discuss. My relationship with her parents got pretty bad and hers with mine was not good. None of this was all that obvious or even serious in a certain sense.

I am adding this paragraph for no particular reason to the original note in my Facebook page.  I was never sexually involved with anyone while married to Michelle. That is an absolute fact and in addition I did not pursue things that came up as that marriage ended. However, it is dishonest ( by my high standards of candor) to leave out the fact that I did meet a woman at Tulane the second time who made a big impression on me and she seemed to feel something too. We have never seen eachother since then and I really did stay with a miserable and hopeless marriage instead of a new and compelling relationship. I am not even the tiniest bit ashamed of her, my behavior, or of Michelle and I being old fuddy-duddies who tried to play things by the book.  

Suddenly I was out of law school, legally separated and living with my parents in a two storey thatched building overlooking Micronesia’s Truk Lagoon as the GIs knew it on the Island of Weno in the country of Chuuk. Another point of no return had been crossed. Another re-invention of a life and a future. Among the markers of that transition I had a truly horrific sunburn that almost defied description. I have been hospitalized twice for sunburn and none of those burns were in the same category as this. I think I could easily have died except that a clinic there sold my mother a few hundred dollars of Silvadene cream for a few dollars. The agonizing physical pain and baseball size blisters were oddly soothing to my shredded soul. I healed and snorkeled again as I had that first burning day. I ate Eggs Benedict overlooking the gorgeous lagoon, spent time with my brothers and sisters and found a job teaching at the local community college which I never undertook because I left before school started. I heard rumours that made me think a reconciliation might be possible and decided to come home and try. However, I have never seen Michelle since the day we were separated. I have never spoken to her on the phone or seen a convincing video of her. Except for third person testimony I have no reason to believe that she is not dead. I now reached a place in life where I was not to cut my hair or shave for about three and a half years.

When I was in graduate school at LSU I published one book review in the Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television as well as two note length letters to the editor — on in Time and one in Newsweek. I did a lot of writing during my marriage but what was most notable was how little publishing I did. I wrote novels, plays, short stories, book length rough drafts on international law, rocketry, ethnicity and theology. This was in addition to countless papers, exam essays, lesson plans at Saint Thomas More, tutoring materials and half of the  catechetical materials Michelle and I used together to teach our faith in two dioceses and sales materials as well. But now, in the wandering in the desert phase of my life (involving very few deserts) I began to fill composition books titled as journals. With hair down to my waist almost and long journals to write Mom got me a chance to work out every day almost at Olympus health club in Nunez which is a small community with a  gymnasium (in the old sense), a steak house, a gas station and a lot of houses and fields. I got into pretty good shape while not losing weight. In my journals I was able to deal with the absolute and enormous wrongness of nearly everything in the world of humanity from my point of view. It was amazingly soothing to say what was wrong and what might be done about it even though it would not change anything. In many ways life was more hellish than it had been in my worst nightmares but I could at least express that thought in an environment not entirely toxic. I might fell that I was living a nightmare but at least I could say so in peace. I do find the world to be a kind of nightmare made real as much as I find it to be anything else.

I acquired some land from my father after a few years and began a very small business. I did a wide variety of odd jobs and my parents donated mortgage payments on the land to me this was our symbiosis. When they were paid off it was about the year 2000. I also had started a small business subsidized by payment made for driving a few people back and forth from jails and hospitals and other government agencies. My little business was distributing books, cards, prints, jewelry and prints produced in Acadiana or by artists connected with Acadian in a surprisingly large number of the United States, countries and cities. But my income was not nearly (not even approaching nearly) enough to live on.In the year 2000 I returned to the Catholic sacraments after having been a regular mass goer who never received communion, I cut my hair and shaved my beard, I took out a $10,000 signature loan on the land and I applied for and got a substitute teaching job starting in the fall in the Vermilion Parish School board system. Most of this happened in May of 2000. Then I went up to New Haven Connecticut for my sister’s birthday and my brother in laws graduation from Yale Divinity School. I had a wonderful visit with Sarah, Jason, Alyse and Anika as well as others gathering there. However, I did sense before I left that there were serious problems still in their marriage which had been evident last time I had seen them. Some of these and other tensions spilled over into the latter part of a great visit. However, for me this would be a blessed renewal of a closeness with Sarah and her children which would be a large comfort of the following years and had always been there largely. I stopped in at EWTN headquarters in Birmingham, Alabama and at the home of the relative who owned the adjoining piece of land and lived in Virginia. Both these stops and a stop in New Orleans were on the route of my round trip Amtrak ticket and were a mix of business and pleasure.

For three following years I devoted myself to family affairs, kept my little intellectual properties distribution business going, built fences and acquired tenants for all the land while maintaining the mortgage. I also did a great deal of substitute teaching sometimes a week and a half for each week or even more after storms like Hurricane Lilli closed down facilities and caused schedules to be consolidated.

I also began to write again publishing sports pieces at the Daily Advertiser, sports and feature stories in the Abbeville Meridional and features and a column in the Bonnes Nouvelles (Vermilion). Meanwhile, I continued researching, filling composition books and writing a great deal on topics related to my first big efforts in doing my own thing when I left Tulane. About the end of that time a lady I liked ( and might still like) a whole lot and I really pronounced the death of a long term on again and off again relationship.

Towards the end of that period I considered and sort of attempted to return to graduate school in a different discipline. Then I traveled around to see my sister now living in Mexico and to look for a job. I also had applied for a teaching job in China. As it turned out I did teach there in 2004 and into 2005. It was a very powerful experience that deserves more space than I have here so I will skim over it. Having graded dozens of term papers, directed numerous student workshop dramas and advised hundreds of students I returned here because of paperwork problems. I saw many terrible problems in China and faced many but they did not oppress my spirit in the way that the woes of my homeland and of my life in this land have oppressed it.

I got back in time to settle in and then took a job caring for my brother Simon Peter in a home health agency. This went on as I also volunteered during hurricane Katrina but ended with hurricane Rita. I left badly injured to in California and to look for a job. When that failed I spent a very nice few months with Sarah, her children and the missionary team in Mexico. It was on that trip that we took the pictures in Zacatecas which I have included here. My last paycheck, an anonymous gift and some FEMA money went far in Mexico. They would have gone farther if I had not spent so much in California.

I got back healthy for Christmas and have not really been gainfully employed since then but have lived here at Big Woods. Nor is that the extreme underemployment the only lack in my life. But I have gone on with my life each day doing a variety of things. When I think back on the last twenty years since my graduation there are many events not mentioned in this note. Many blessings and joys as well as many horrors and woes. While I have used the skills and knowledge I gained in the university studies I completed twenty years ago many times this is not a career that sounds like a career.

Now I am coming up on twenty years since graduation. I feel very much the absence of many things. I have no legal marriage certainly, no net worth, no significant US credit or income profile or ownership of a car. My views of many institutions is very dark and my interpersonal relationships are perhaps possessed of some of the worst qualities of the modern and some of the worst qualities of the ancient. Yet there is some good in them as well. I have been to pretty many of my alma mater’s homecoming games but not to any organized class reunions. Despite advanced credits and generally good grades I had distractions and preoccupations which prevented me from graduating in four year and that lessened my ties to the people I actually graduated with although not my ties to the school. Now I wonder what the twenty year mark will bring.I doubt I could some these years up to my satisfaction in a single line or a one paragraph program entry. Yet I do note the occasion and find that it commands my attention. I am aware that twenty years as an alumnus only comes once and there is no guarantee that the multiples will come at all. So I look towards May’s anniversary and October’s homecoming week with a varied mix of emotions. Life does not delay so we can explain it well.


Now, those who really know this blog will know that I correspond with some influential and privileged people and believe in leadership. However, there is a tone of resentment and profound unhappiness with the status quo that is hard to miss in much of what I write and say. First, I would remind people that although the Baron of Louth and I (for example) may correspond it does not mean we are really living in the same circle. Second, this tension (which some see as a contradiction)  has been a part of me almost all my life. In an age where people who are unhappy with Bishops join a church with no bishops I choose to complain (when I have reason to) about the episcopacy. While I could have found a way to leave many ties of my youth behind I tend to stay and raise a little hell about the things I dislike.  Those who know me best no that my self-concept is very distinct. I am far from perfect but not at all inclined to give up all that I am for some lie about equality and sameness which is not even understood by its advocates. So this is my thinking about this twenty year milestone.