As you were picking up the Aug. 4 edition of the Daily Pilot to read with your morning coffee, I was on a Delta Air Lines flight to Minneapolis via a connection in Salt Lake City. It was one of my three trips in 2010 to visit my older brother, LeRoy, who now lives at the Benedictine Health Center in Minneapolis.
In 1952, upon graduating from St. Louis Park High School, LeRoy was admitted to Harvard on a scholarship, but a couple of weeks before he was to leave for the Ivy League university, he contracted polio and was left paralyzed from the neck down.
He spent a year-plus in Sister Kenny Institute and then at home with our folks. They not only cared for LeRoy, but Dad drove him to classes at the University of Minnesota and Mother would push his wheelchair into the classroom and help him take notes. After our parents died, LeRoy lived in the family home with help from aides.
Six years ago, LeRoy moved into the Benedictine Center as we sold the family home of 50-plus years and moved a couple of dozen boxes into a temporary storage unit, until we had time to go through them. Well, this visit was that time.
We downsized from a 5 x 10 unit to a 5 x 5 unit and kept eight or nine boxes of photos, letters, newspaper clippings and other memorabilia, much of which brought on good memories and some tears. We donated a lot of items to Goodwill Industries, gave some items to the Benedictine staff and filled a small Dumpster with the rest.
On Saturday I drove to Sioux Center, Iowa, for the annual de Boom family reunion at the Pizza Ranch. Gone are the aunts and uncles and now we cousins are the seniors of the de Boom family. We had 24 first cousins in attendance and five second cousins.
I hadn't been in a few years and suggested that we should have name tags. Well, when I arrived, they were out of name tags. I had my camera and took photos of the cousins to show to LeRoy when I got back to Minneapolis. Unfortunately, I didn't have a photo of LeRoy to share but was saved by cousin Rich, who had one in his cell phone of LeRoy that he had taken in March when he visited LeRoy in Minneapolis. As cousins we had as many laughs as our aunts and uncles did when they were the seniors at the reunions! It was a fun time!
LeRoy always has a projects list for me when I visit, and we finished a lot of them this time. We met with the center's director to confirm that they would be getting the Big 10 Network before the kick off of the Minnesota Gopher football season. I had offered to pay for the Big 10 Network, but the center's residents voted to drop the Weather Channel instead.
The flight home was easy and my seatmate on the leg home from Salt Lake City was a 19-year-old Mormon named Elder Simmons. He was part of a group of 10 starting their two-year mission commitment in the Riverside area. He read the Book of Mormon while I read USA Today. We had some good conversation about his mission, the Newport-Mesa-Irvine Interfaith Council and religion in China. It was a most enjoyable flight home!
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
"Kindness is more important than wisdom and the recognition of this is the beginning of wisdom."
— Theodore Isaac Rubin
SERVICE CLUB MEETINGS THIS WEEK
You are invited to attend a service club meeting this coming week to learn more about opportunities for service. Most clubs will buy your first meal as you get acquainted with them.
7:30 a.m.: The 10-member Newport Harbor Kiwanis Club meets at Denny's Restaurant, 290 Bristol St., Costa Mesa.
Noon: The Exchange Club of Corona del Mar meets at the Bahia Corinthian Yacht Club, 1601 Bayside Drive, Corona del Mar, to hear a talk by John Mattson on identity theft.
5:15 p.m.: The 10-member Rotary Club of Costa Mesa meets at the Ramada Inn & Suites, 1680 Superior Ave., Costa Mesa. Visit http://www.costamesarotary.org.
6 p.m.: The Rotary Club of Newport Balboa meets at the Bahia Corinthian Yacht Club. Visit http://www.newportbalboa.org.
7 a.m.: The 20-member Costa Mesa Orange Coast Lions Club meets at Mimi's Café, 1835 Newport Blvd., Costa Mesa.
Noon: The 45-member Kiwanis Club of Newport Beach-Corona del Mar meets at the Bahia Corinthian Yacht Club. For more information, visit http://www.newportbeachkiwanis.org.
The 95-member Exchange Club of Newport Harbor meets at the Bahia Corinthian Yacht Club, 1601 Bayside Drive, to hear Jim Fornier speak about his new book, "A Book About Balboa." For more information, visit http://www.nhexchange.org.
The 65-member Newport-Irvine Rotary Club meets at the University Club, 801 E. Peltason Drive, UC Irvine, for a program by Irvine City Manager Sean Joyce. Visit http://www.ni-rotary.org.
The 45-member Kiwanis Club of Costa Mesa meets at the Costa Mesa Golf and Country Club. 1701 Golf Course Drive, Costa Mesa. http://www.costamesakiwanis.org.
7:15 a.m.: The Newport Beach Sunrise Rotary Club meets at the Five Crowns, 3801 E. Coast Hwy. , Corona del Mar for a talk by Barbara Rothman of the Newport Mesa Schools Foundation. For more information, visit http://www.newportbeachsunriserotary.org.
COMMUNITY & CLUBS is published Wednesdays. Send your service club's meeting information by fax to (714) 921-8655 or by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.