Ricky you must be exhausted! Digging so many holes to plant my azaleas! Why don’t you come up on the porch and have a couple of hot dogs? I put some of my home made chili on top and there’s some baked beans I’ve had in the crock pot all morning. There, now you just sit down and I’ll bring you some iced tea. Pull the table out. Gus–shoo! I declare, that cat will just climb up anywhere! When you want him he won’t come. When you don’t want him he just hangs around being a nuisance.

Here you are. There’s more where that came from if you’re hungry. I know what you mean dear about the monks at the Abbey. I’m so glad you went there for a visit, but I never thought you’d go back so often! I’m so pleased you like it there. Isn’t Father Joe something? Eighty three and still going strong. Of course it’s fine to talk to me about your future. You’re a junior in college. If you’re not thinking and worrying about your future you ought to be, and let me tell you. The fact that you don’t know what you should do with your life is a good sign. I’m always rather worried about those boys who go off to college to get a business degree and never give anything else a second thought. They end up living an unexamined life and then after they’ve been successful and got everything they think they wanted they go crazy and run off with some silly blonde and get a wig and a sports car. Never mind. We won’t think about them.

I think you might have a vocation, and why be ashamed of it? If I were your age and a boy I’d be very attracted to the monastery. My Henry was you know. He was much like you. Loved reading and being quiet. Why, when Henry first came back from the monastery he was just beside himself with excitment. I remember him joking about the silence saying, “Mother, I can’t think of anything better than to have my own room, a big library, a nice church to worship in and think of it! They actually don’t want me to do small talk!”

You’re like that aren’t you? It’s alright to be that way. Henry would have made a good monk. Well, he never made it you know? God had other plans for Henry. I’ll tell you all about it one day, but it was very sad, and I was just beside myself when I got the news. It was a dark time, but I pulled through. That’s the way it is when you have faith. God doesn’t always take you out of the problems, but he always take you through them.

I think you should give it a try Ricky. Go to the monastery and see that they make of you. Don’t worry about loving it too much. If it seems attractive to you, then God is drawing you. He doesn’t call you to do something you don’t want to do–not at first anyway. It’s like marriage. Don’t get married if you don’t want to, but if you want to get married and do get married, then there will be a time when you wished you hadn’t.

I expect it’s the same in the monastery. You want to do it, then once you’ve done it you wished you hadn’t, and that’s when the real fun begins. You know what Fr. Joe says, “We don’t call it the monastery. We call it the moanastery…” But he doesn’t really mean it. He loves being a monk, and if you go over there he’ll look after you I’m sure.

Now, let’s not talk anymore about it. There’s work to be done here, and when you’re finished I’ll drive you back to the college, and I don’t know about you, but I’ll be ready for a strawberry milkshake and the drive in on the way back…