Today is the Optional Memorial of Saint Stephen of Hungary, King (died 1038). And the Games of the XXXI Olympiad continue.
Born in 969 as Vajk, the son of Grand Prince Géza of Hungary in Esztergom, Hungary, the family of today’s Saint was pagan (although his mother had been baptized into the Orthodox Christian faith, she had ceased to maintain her faith). At age ten both he and his father were baptized Roman Catholics; the boy took the name of Stephen (István). When he reached adolescence, Great Prince Géza convened an assembly where they decided that Stephen would follow his father as the monarch of the Hungarians. This decision, however, contradicted the Magyar tribal custom that gave the right of succession to the eldest close relative of the deceased ruler. Stephen married Giselle of Bavaria, the daughter of Henry II the Wrangler in or after 995. By this marriage, he became the brother-in-law of the future Henry II, Holy Roman Emperor. His bride arrived at her husband’s court accompanied by German knights, who came in handy when Stephen’s father died in 997; his uncle claimed the throne, they fought in battle, and Stephen emerged victorious. In his first decree, issued at the beginning of his rule, he ordered that each ten villages would be obliged to build a church. He proceeded to found several dioceses, and to set up a full ecclesiastical hierarchy in his land; whenever he acquired new territories by treaty or conquest, his first concern was to establish Christianity. He discouraged pagan customs and strengthened Christianity by means of various laws. He also invited foreign priests to Hungary to evangelize his kingdom. According to Hungarian tradition, Pope Silvester II, with the consent of Otto III, Holy Roman Emperor, sent a magnificent jeweled gold crown to Stephen along with an apostolic cross and a letter of blessing officially recognizing him as the Christian King of Hungary. Later this tradition was interpreted as the papal recognition of the independence of Hungary from the Holy Roman Empire. The date of his coronation is variously given as Christmas Day, 1000, or January 1st, 1001. In his external politics Stephen allied himself with his brother-in-law, the Emperor Henry II, against Prince Boleslaw I of Poland. After the death of Henry II in 1024, Stephen broke with the German alliance, because the new Holy Roman Emperor, Conrad II, claimed supremacy over the Kingdom of Hungary, while Stephen demanded the Duchy of Bavaria for his son Emeric who was the nearest relative of the deceased Emperor Henry II (who himself had been the last male descendant of the old dukes of Bavaria). Stephen and Emperor Conrad II concluded peace negotiations in 1031, and the territories between the Leitha and Fischa Rivers were ceded to Hungary. Stephen intended to retire to a life of holy contemplation and hand the kingdom over to his son Emeric, but Emeric was wounded in a hunting accident and died in 1031. Stephen mourned for a very long time over the loss of his son, which took a great toll on his health. He eventually recovered, but never regained his original vitality. Having no children left, he could not find anyone among his remaining relatives who was able to rule the country competently and be willing to maintain the Christian faith of the nation; in fact, an assassination plot against him failed. Without a living heir, on his deathbed, the King raised with his right hand the Holy Crown of Hungary (given to him by the Pope because he had civilized the pagan Hungarians by the tenets and sacraments of the Holy Catholic Faith) and prayed to the Blessed Virgin Mary, asking her to take the Hungarian people as her subjects and become their queen. He was canonized in 1083, becoming the first confessor king, a new category of saint. The King’s right hand, known as the Holy Dexter, is kept as a relic, and he is the Patron Saint of stonemasons, bricklayers, and kings, and of the country of Hungary; his aid is invoked for children suffering from severe illnesses. And the Games of the XXXI Olympiad in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil continue. Today competition is in Badminton, Basketball, Equestrian, Field Hockey, Football, Handball, Volleyball (Beach), Volleyball (Indoor), and Water Polo, and Gold Medal Competition takes place in Athletics, Boxing, Canoeing (Sprint), Cycling (Track), Diving, Gymnastics (Artistic), Sailing, Swimming, Synchronized Swimming, Table Tennis, Weightlifting, and Wrestling.
Unbeknownst to me, as I went to bed before Richard did, he wheeled the trash bin out to the curb.
I did my Book Devotional Reading, and Richard gathered up the trash and put the trash bag in the trash bin out on the curb. The water was yet higher by the sides of the road, not yet in the roadway. I did my Internet Devotional Reading, and it was raining when we got to the casino. After clocking in we signed the Early Out list, even though there was a good chance we would not get out early (Richard had all of his hours, but I had gotten out early last Tuesday). He was on Three Card Poker, then changed Blackjack cards, and was out at 4:00 am. I was on a Blackjack table and was out oat 4:30 am. We arrived home at 5:15 am; I read the morning paper (which had been delivered before we had left for work), then took a nap.
At 9:30 am I woke up, and got on the computer to work on my Advance Daily Update Drafts.
I left the house at 11:30 am, with every expectation of going to my psychiatrist’s office in Lafayette, eating lunch at Piccadilly, putting in some comfy chair time at Barnes and Noble, and attending the Third Tuesday Book Club Meeting at Barnes and Noble to discuss Quicksand House by Carlton Mellick III. I knew that there was some high water, but decided to see if I might need to take alternative routes on an as-needed basis. I went down LA 367, and about five miles from Rayne was turned back due to high water. So I worked my way west to LA 13, turned south, was turned back again by barricades, and by casting farther west I eventually reached the berm on the Interstate by 12:30 pm. At the Crowley Exit, the police had barricades and police cars set up, and said that the Interstate was closed going east. I went back by a somewhat more direct route, and followed LA 365 east to LA 367, then went over to LA 35, headed south, and was turned around again by barricades and high water before I could reach the Interstate. I brought up Google Maps, figured out that the orange on the Traffic screen meant high water, sent an Email to my Book Club expressing my regrets on not being able to get to Lafayette due to the high water, and I called Richard to tell him I was on my way back home. Not only had I figured that I would have to get half-way to Baton Rouge and work my way around to Barnes and Noble to get there, but I was starting to get worried that I would not be able to get back home from Lafayette after Book Club.
I arrived back home at 1:30 pm, and called the Billing Department of my Psychiatrist’s office and got a new number and a new name of a person in Texas with the lab that had sent me the statement I should not have to pay. I called the person in Texas, who told me that she would talk to her supervisor and get back to me. Michelle came over; she was concerned about her car (it had stalled in the water, but was now working), then she had to leave to babysit for a friend. The person in Texas called back; she will send me a statement to sign, which will be our proof that we do not owe the amount on the bill. I then worked on Advance Daily Update Drafts; Jeopardy! was not on a 4:30 pm due to flood coverage. At 5:30 pm Richard and I went to D. C.’s Sports Bar and Steakhouse, where I had a dinner of fried shrimp. When we came back home I continued working on Advance Daily Update Drafts. And it has been raining off and on all day; with the bayous already swollen to beyond capacity, I am fairly certain that I made the right choice not to attempt to get to Barnes and Noble.
With no Saints to honor, we will recall that tomorrow is the anniversary of when Hurricane Camille hit the Mississippi Gulf Coast in 1969; until 2005, it was the worst storm to ever hit that coast. Tomorrow is also Black Cat Appreciation Day. And the Games of the XXXI Olympiad continue in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Tomorrow there will be an Exhibition Gala in Gymnastics (Artistic), competition will take place in Basketball, Canoeing (Sprint), Cycling (BMX), Diving, Field Hockey, Football, Golf, Handball, Volleyball (Indoor), and Water Polo, and Gold Medal Competition will occur in Athletics, Badminton, Boxing, Equestrian, Shooting, Table Tennis, Taekwondo, Volleyball (Beach), and Wrestling. I will be doing the Weekly Computer Maintenance and doing my laundry, but my big project will be taking books out of the little bookcase behind the door in my bathroom, moving that bookcase out to the dining room, putting one of the new bookcases Richard put together behind the door in my bathroom, and rearranging the books I have not read yet.
Our Parting Quote this Tuesday evening comes to us from William Windom, American actor. Born in 1923 in New York City, New York, his father was an architect, and his great-grandfather (for whom he was named) was a Senator, a Congressman, and United States Secretary of the Treasury in the 1870s and 1880s. He attended Williams College and the University of Kentucky, then during World War II he served in the United States Army in the European Theater of Operations as a paratrooper with Company B, 1st Battalion 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division. After the war, he studied at both Fordham and Columbia universities in New York City before settling on an acting career. Trained at the American Repertory Theatre (1946-1961), he made his minor Broadway debut with the company in November of 1946 with revolving productions of Henry VIII, What Every Woman Knows, John Gabriel Borkman, and Androcles and the Lion. The following year he continued building up his Broadway resume with roles in Yellow Jack and as the White Rabbit in a production of Alice in Wonderland. During the 1950s he shifted between stage, which included Broadway roles in A Girl Can Tell (1953), Mademoiselle Colombe (1954), Fallen Angels (1956), and The Greatest Man Alive (1957), and TV drama, with stalwart work in such programs as Robert Montgomery Presents (1950) and Hallmark Hall of Fame (1951). He played the prosecutor in the film version of To Kill a Mockingbird (1962). From 1963 through 1966 he played Congressman Glen Morley in the television series The Farmer’s Daughter; he can be heard doing a television promotion for the show shortly before ABC news preempted programming with the news of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination on Nov 22nd, 1963. Windom also played Commodore Drecker in the “Doomsday Machine” episode of Star Trek in 1967. He played hundreds of guest appearances on television shows during the 1960s through the 2000s. Windom enjoyed critical notice as the cartoonist / protagonist whose vivid imagination causes problems on the homefront on the Thurberesque weekly series My World and Welcome to It (1969). Despite the show’s critical merit and Windom’s Best Actor Emmy win, the show, years ahead of its time, lasted only one season. In 1971 he played the President in Escape from the Planet of the Apes. He became a regular for over a decade on the Angela Lansbury series Murder, She Wrote (1984), joining the show in its second season as Dr. Seth Hazlitt. He briefly left the show to work on another series, Parenthood (1990), which was based on the highly popular 1989 movie starring Steve Martin. The show was off the air within a few months, however, and Windom was invited back to Murder, She Wrote as a semi-regular until the show folded in 1997. He was also a chess enthusiast, and was profiled twice in Chess Life magazine. In the 2004 episode “In Harm’s Way” of the series Star Trek New Voyages: Phase II, he reprised his role of Commodore Drecker (died 2012): “There are two essentials, two and two only, to have any performance in the world in any medium. One is the audience and two is the author. The rest fills in. The two essentials are someone to have the idea to say it and someone to hear it, Without either one of those two, you have nothing.”