In 2008, Bill and I took the trip of a lifetime. We took a two week cruise to Barcelona and then spent three months traveling around Western Europe. I had just retired when we took this trip for which we had spent two years planning.

I wanted to keep some sort of a journal during our travels. In those days, blogs were on the cutting edge. Now they have kind of gone the way of My Space. I’m not interested in learning new communications technoIogy, so it better stick around for a few more years. Anyhoo, I decided that’s how I would share our travels with friends and family and store my memories for posterity.

Every once in a while, Bill and I will begin to reminisce about the trip. If our reminiscing happens between April 26 and August 7, we are likely to look back on my blog and see what we were doing on that particular day back in 2008.

That happened the other day. We were trying to remember where we were when we got the news that our granddaughter Maggie Faith was born. Somewhere in the vicinity of northern Italy or southern France, we both guessed.

The correct answer was Lourdes, France. I know this because I announced her birth on my blog.

Lourdes is the place where Catholics believe the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to three peasant children in 1858. When the parish priests doubted the youngsters, they asked the trio to have Mary provide some sort of proof. The children made the ask, and Mary complied. The next time she appeared to Bernadette, Mary told her to begin digging in a certain spot. Bernadette did so, and after a great deal of digging, a water spring began bubbling. The priests believed, and the spring has been providing curative waters ever since. Or at least many people believe the water to be curative.

Believing that Mary appeared to three poor children is difficult- to-impossible for some people. As Christians, we believe in a lot of things that are difficult- to impossible. I can’t prove that she appeared in this little French town over a century ago, but I love to think that she did. And I love the message she shared with Bernadette: pray the rosary.

Bill and I, of course, visited the grotto and gathered some of the water from the spring. It is believed to have cured many people with serious illnesses. Bill and I both put our hands into the spring and splashed the water on our faces. My arthritis didn’t disappear, but it made me feel blessed to stand on a spot where it’s possible Our Lady stood 150 years ago. People come from far and near for a possible cure, as evidenced by this line of nurses taking patients to the spring…..

I remember Lourdes not only for the grotto, but also for the beautiful mountains we looked at from our hotel window. I also recall eating bleu cheese flavored Pringles we had purchased at a little market because BLEU CHEESE PRINGLES. As we sat and ate our picnic, a dog came up and looked hungrily at our food. I greeted him, but then remembered he spoke French. I offered him a potato chip. He sniffed, and turned his head away from it.

“That is not real roquefort cheese,” he seemed to be saying. “Hmph. Americans.”

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