Today is Mother’s Day. I don’t have children or a mother (anymore) but I do have 3 dogs that are my world. My husband is working today so I took the dogs for a walk this morning like I do every single day. Something so traumatic happened, I’m still in shock. On the way back, less than a block from home, my dogs were attacked by 2 giant dogs. One was a Newfoundland and the other was just as big but yellow and short haired. Mine weigh 75 lbs. combined. These 2 were probably 100 to 125 lbs. each. An older man and woman had them on retractable leashes. They saw us about the time I saw them. They had just made it to the corner (passing some bushes and come into view) and I was just past the door of the corner house.

It was like in slow motion. Their dogs saw us and started pulling towards us. I saw the one leash in each of their hands. The dogs were getting closer and closer but I assumed they would pull them back while still a few feet away. I stood still as if frozen. The dogs kept coming and I saw the husband and wife “let go” of each of the leashes and the dogs charged us. It was frightening. I just screamed in a high pitch for what felt like 5 minutes but was probably 1minute until they had regained control of their dogs. I didn’t know what to do. Amber. my Shiba Inu, was laying on the ground to my side and the Newfoundland had his jaws over her back. He could almost fit her in his mouth. Ivy and Elvis were behind me and on the other side of me. I couldn’t watch it all or see what all was happening. I was holding tight to their leashes.

If I hadn’t had 3 dogs, I would’ve picked up one of the dogs and held them out of harms way. If the owners hadn’t been there, I would’ve kicked the attacking dogs away. When they finally pulled their dogs back, I lit into them. First I wanted to know their name and address in case there was some injury to the dogs. They only told me their house address, no name. I said, “I don’t know how you could let go of BOTH leashes. I’ve never had that happen before where we were charged by 2 dogs.”  Our neighborhood is FULL of dogs, everybody has at least one, two or three. Once when we were walking, a rottweiler came charging up to us but it just growled and the owner came racing up to get it. This time there was no growling, they just came to fight. I told the couple that our dogs get along well with all the other dogs. This couple never apologized once and all the woman would say was, “I understand” like 6 times to what I had said. She was obviously trying to placate me. When their dog released Amber, she cried out like 3 times in pain which she never does. I could see in her fur where the teeth had been. My other 2 gave as good as they got. Elvis had drool hanging from his mouth which I’ve never seen before. Then he started wagging his tail and growling. I told the woman that I was most afraid of the bad experience of being charged affecting them in the future when they meet dogs. “I understand.” Their big yellow dog had a bite mark on his front leg and she was carrying on about it. I didn’t apologize because, “My dogs were just defending themselves.” “I understand.” Finally we left.

I came home and called Greg to let him know what happened. I checked over the dogs and so far so good. I have been shook up all day. Now I will have to alter our walks so we don’t go anywhere near those 2 vicious dogs. Although we were closer to our home than theirs. They look like big lumbering giants but no dog likes to be run up on in an aggressive manner. I just hope the dogs don’t get mentally scarred by the event.

Now I’ve got to run to the grocery store for a special Mother’s Day sale. I’m going to get my first copy of Flea Market Style. I mean Dog Bite Monthly. Happy Mother’s Day! 🙂


A week ago we found out that our doctor of 20 years passed away. This is who I referred to on my blog as Dr. J but I guess I can just call him Dr. James now. My husband had gone to Dr. Z (who was a friend of Dr. James) on Thurs. Jan. 24th. He had been put on Farxiga and the doctor wanted him to call him on Monday and let him know how he felt. Dr. Z had told him on that Thurs. that Dr. James wasn’t doing well. That he’d gotten pneumonia on top of all his other health problems and tried to treat it at home. He ended up in the hospital and was intubated. I told Greg when he called Dr. Z to find out which hospital Dr. James was at so we could go visit him.

We never made it that far because we found out he had already died on Sat. Jan. 26th. Greg texted me and the only obituary I could find was on his wife’s Facebook page. We decided to go to the visitation on Wed. Jan. 30th. Just to honor him and his life. I made a card on the computer, wrote a letter to his wife about what he meant to us, included a poem and an antique rosary. It was pretty awkward at the funeral home but we were able to pay our respects, sign the registry and leave the card. I will never get used to seeing anyone in a coffin. I don’t care how good the makeup is, they never look the same as they did when alive. Usually the makeup is on so thick and they look dead. I find the whole business of funerals upsetting and unnecessary. If you treat people right when they alive, you don’t need to glorify them when deceased. They say funerals are for the living, not the dead. I guess that’s true.
Dr. James was a big part of our lives and a part of our family. We knew a lot about him and his life because he socialized FOR HOURS with his patients. He was from Scranton, PA, had 2 sons from his first marriage. Raised Belgian Tervuren dogs and competed in dog shows. Met his last wife who is also a doctor when he started at Gottlieb hospital. He played the guitar and owned an RV. We will miss him terribly. I haven’t been able to get him off my mind or the fact that he was so young. Only 61 years old! He would’ve turned 62 at the end of this month. He was forced into retirement from ill health but never got to enjoy retirement. He’s only 5 years older than Greg and 6 1/2 year older than me. To think that one of us could be dead in such a short time is unthinkable. To work all your life, saving up for retirement, only to never reap the benefits.
So as I said last post, I haven’t been in a mood all year. Not a good mood either. This didn’t help it. We went out to estate sales this past weekend and they were TERRIBLE. Saturday was the worst. Went to 4 sales and spent a total of $1. I know part of it is the time of year but it just makes me out of sorts. On Friday, at one of the sales, Greg overheard that someone we know who runs an estate sale company had died. He didn’t think it was true. I looked it up online and sure enough, Kathy Petricca had passed SUDDENLY on Jan. 13th. It was really shocking since she was only 69 years old. She seemed in good health. I know she’d had her knees replaced and her hip too but was doing well. I knew Kathy because she always gave us good deals when we bought from her. She was from Wisconsin like us and she had a mother the same age as mine. I found this out when I bought a big bag of clothes from her for Mom and she charged me $1 per piece. Her mother had dementia too and passed away one year before mine. She had told me the story of her mom’s passing and when mine passed, she was one of the first people I told because I knew she could relate. We found out too late to go to her funeral but it’s still took us off guard. 69 doesn’t seem that old either…
The next thing that shocked me was finding out that someone else who runs estate sales is transgender. On Friday we went to a sale run by Brad. He’s always looked pretty much the same. About a year ago we noticed he had grown his hair long. Nowdays, I just don’t think anything of that on a man. Then awhile back he started wearing makeup and nail polish. None of that really phases me. I did joke to Greg, “Should I ask when his transition will be complete?” I would never ask someone that since it’s a lot like asking someone “When is the baby due?” and finding out they’re not pregnant. So I did some research online and found out he IS transitioning. He has 2 Facebook pages and goes by the name Cheryll now. I found out he’s (she’s? they’s?) my age which surprised me since I would’ve guessed 10 years younger. He also didn’t “come out” as trans until age 52. He has 2 kids, one in college, one in high school and a wife he is now divorced from. He has a girlfriend and seems to be very happy. I’m not going to treat him any differently but can empathize with all he’s had to go through to become who he wants to be. It sounds like a lot of work. 
My husband says I’m easily shocked. Things happen and stay with me for a long time. I don’t need anything else to happen to give me cause for more deep thoughts. My mind is cluttered enough as it is.

A Cow Among Sheep

I’m in a mood. I’ve been in a mood the whole month of January but that’s a whole other thing. I’m usually late to the party when there’s drama in social media. Last night was no exception. I saw on IG references to an “Instagram Movement” to “get real”. Apparently, this has been a thing for upwards of a week. A couple of big “influencers” decided it was time to take a stand. They JUST realized that social media can be harmful. That “comparison is the thief of joy”. They had no idea that the perfect homes they show on IG for everyone to ooh and ah over are unrealistic to achieve and maintain. Everything’s WHITE–the walls, furniture, rugs, pillows, etc. What was your first clue?! Most humans have either dogs or children which makes white rooms a waking nightmare. 

All the “influencers” (I kind of hate that word. It should be brainwashers.) are trying to point out (while sobbing) that their lives aren’t the perfection that they portray. I thought it was OBVIOUS and widely known that pretty much people post the best parts of their lives. They only take selfies when they are fully made up and looking their best. They post their kids in new, clean clothes while standing well behaved. They only show their house when decorated for a specific holiday or when they “restyle” an area or get something new. So now they acknowledge they may be hurting people by portraying only the good. That it makes others feel that they can’t compete. That everything they have or are will never be enough. 
The fact that no one woke up to this fact until bloggers or DIYers decide to make it a “thing” kind of floors me. Also how everyone is jumping on the bandwagon and wanting to have their say about it. It reminds me of the #metoo movement. I’m not trying to minimize the importance of woman coming forward or speaking up when they’ve been treated badly or sexually assaulted. Quite the opposite. I think people should take steps to protect themselves by any means necessary. But what about all the women who came forward over the years and weren’t listened to?! Reported things and were dismissed. THOSE are the true heroes! Can you imagine the blow to your self worth to not be taken seriously? Especially when you’re the only one. It takes a lot less guts to stand up in a room full of like minded people than to stand up in the general public. It’s kind of why Weight Watchers works. You’re in a room with a bunch of fat people (or formerly fat) who know EXACTLY what you’re going through. When you speak they can relate. You’re not in a room with a bunch of thin men and women who are judging you before you open your mouth. Personally, I think it minimizes the individual and their story by waiting until everyone else comes out with their abuse story to tell yours. Sure, I can understand that the climate has changed and talking about it is more accepted. But it seems to be almost a fad or trend to come out of the woodwork after 20, 30 or 40 years and make disparaging statements against men.
First off, I’m not defending the men. I do believe the majority of the men did those things. I also think that   human nature exists in a way that there are people alive who will use the #metoo movement as a way to exact revenge and make things up. Not a majority but a few. One person being falsely accused is no better than a man who sexually harasses women. Now getting back to the passage of time, perspectives change over decades. I’ve seen it in things that I’ve written when I go back years later. I just feel that women should speak out and up when things happen or tell it on your blog. 
I bet every single woman has been sexually harassed by someone. Even I was at work years ago. I would never dream about coming out all these years later and making it known to embarrass this man. He was an indirect coworker and we were friendly. He wasn’t my boss. He was married and had a small child. He was a serial cheater. He was having an affair with different women at work all the time (usually from other areas of the building) and he also went to swingers parties and sex clubs. I was engaged to my husband at the time. At the time, I had lost weight and this man started showering me with compliments and attention. I was flattered but then he got aggressive. He pursued me relentlessly. We worked nights and he kept asking me to go to a motel with him after work. He made all kinds of sexual comments and hit on me every day. I thought he was joking at first because I was naive. Then it got worse and he wouldn’t stop. It made me so uncomfortable. I told him to knock it off. He still wouldn’t stop. It was stressing me out and I told him not to talk like that to me anymore. He wouldn’t listen. I told a male friend that we both knew to have a talk with him and let him know that if he didn’t stop saying those vulgar things to me, I would have to report him to the supervisor. The male friend said, “Why do you want to get the guy in trouble?” So I understand how it works. I chalked it up to the guy having problems. Lots and lots of them. I also know that as adult women (children being preyed on is always off limits), we have to not take shit from people. We’re taught to be nice and treat people with respect but they have to respect us, too. I want to see more women speak up to men that are mistreating them. Not be afraid of losing their job. There really are a lot of jobs out there and if saying NO to a man makes you lose yours, do you really want a job where sex is part of the job?! I would not want to be a man in today’s climate. It’s a lot like being a cop in today’s climate. Most of the cops are great but the ones that are corrupt, ruin it for the others. 
I have gotten so far off on a tangent that it’s hard to get back to my point. I don’t feel like riding the bandwagon of “what’s popular” is good for anybody. The gates open up and the sheep file out following the leaders. They are led from their pasture into unknown environments like small towns and big cities. You see a giant herd of sheep and you wonder what they’re doing there. They look out of place but they’re taking over. Pretty soon there is shit everywhere. You can’t walk a step without going knee deep in animal waste. Cars are unable to pass on the roadways. They are being dented and pushed out of the way. Nothing matters but that the sheep stay in a group and are led to their destination. Will they find their way back to the pasture or will they all end up at the slaughterhouse?
In the above scenario, I am a cow among sheep. I am left in the pasture when the sheep leave. I don’t fit in with them. I have never fit in and it has been a great source of lamentation for me. Finally, I had the great revelation that the reason I don’t fit in is because I DON’T WANT TO. I say I do but I can’t be like everyone else. I’ve tried and it is not meant to be. All over social media is the saying, “You do YOU!” which I believe in wholeheartedly. I guess I will start the #notme movement of one.

A New Focus

2017 would have to be defined as the year of being unfocused. At least for me. I was going to title this post that word but I’m trying to be more positive. I have a lot of goals for the year but haven’t written out the several pages long to-do list I had dreamed about all last year. I know it will happen in time. Writing it is one thing, actively completing it is another. Last year was kind of a whirlwind towards the end. We spent 15 nights in Tunica, MS in November and 10 nights there in December. None of them with wifi and our limited data dries up within 1 day after a new month starts. We’ll be home for several months in a row now so hopefully I can make a dent in things that have piled up and are ready to avalanche down on me.

We came home Saturday December 30th which was 2 days earlier than planned. The entire country has been blanketed in record breaking cold temperatures and Mississippi was no exception. Our water in the  RV froze up and it took hubby bringing in the hoses to thaw and using a blow dryer to get things moving again. Then we left a faucet drip until we left when we had to winterize for the end of the season. It was expected to be colder still over New Year’s Eve plus snow so we didn’t want to take the chance of staying and having trouble getting back. 
We got back late on Sat. and found a few inches of water sitting in our kitchen sink. This is odd since we always turn the water off to the entire house year round when we go away. Just to keep anything truly tragic from happening like a burst pipe. Well, there was no water in the sink when we left so we couldn’t figure out what happened. We assumed the pipe was frozen as it it against an outside wall and we’ve run across that before. I tried running boiling water down it several times which did nada. Hubby has worked on various plumbing here in the past so said he would work on it New Year’s Day. I told him I would help him and maybe he’d want to start it on New Year’s Eve? No, he didn’t. Well, he thought it must be plugged in the pipe in the basement where there is a large access he can open. It had clogged here a few years back and so he opened up pipes in 2 places and then dropped the clip that holds the access shut down the pipe. Oh joy. I wish I could’ve teleported elsewhere because the yelling and swearing was over and above what I can tolerate. Surprisingly, Ace Hardware was open on New Year’s Day so he went to get a replacement clip. Of course, they didn’t have the same thing so he got what they did have which didn’t fit. He also got a hose. See, besides a couple of “snakes” to unclog pipes, he has a device that attaches to a hose and you use the pressure of water to unclog pipes. First, he brought the filthy, frozen hose in from outside. I had convinced him to leave them out there attached to the rain barrels because sometimes we’ve had flooding rains in January and I want something to catch them if we did get them. So he brought the filthy hose in, tracking frozen mud and snow everywhere as he came through the kitchen. He wanted it taken in the basement so I volunteered to take it down so nothing else would get broken. One of my Virgin Mary photos was knocked off the wall. I got it downstairs and he realized the hose won’t fit on the basement sink faucet. So he had to try to hook it up outside. The water has been shut off outside since early Nov. So I had to move a ton of things so he could get to the water shut off and turn it back on. Of course, it’s zero degrees outside with a windchill of 20 below zero. There is no way the water is going to come on. So then he comes home with a new hose that still won’t connect to anything. I CAN’T EVEN.
Then hubby takes all the pipes under the kitchen sink apart. The water still won’t go down. It has got to be a grease clog. I don’t put grease down there, I always put it down the toilet or in a soup can. But I guess the rinsing of dishes could do it. Anyway, before he can get to under the sink, I have to take everything out from under there. Like 4 tubs full of cans and bottles of shit. Cleaning supplies, bug killers, too numerous to mention. These are all sitting on the floor in front of my stove and toaster. Since we got home, he has tried 2 different toilet plungers in the kitchen sink with no luck. Just the idea of having the toilet plunger in the kitchen makes me feel like heaving. Obviously, when all is done, I will be scrubbing that sink multiple times like I was going to do surgery in there. He tries putting the snake in there and gets some blackness out. Under the sink is now a disgusting mess. He is worn out and has to go to work the next day. Now things have to sit as is until Friday when he has a day off. So I’m taking dishes down to the bathroom sink to rinse them. I could clean under the sink but I know he will get it looking dirty again so I’m just going to wait. Same with the kitchen floor and everything else. 
I was going to wait until he had everything back to normal downstairs before tackling laundry. But we have so much from being gone that I started today anyway. I can’t really do cooking like I planned but we’ve gotten some good deals on food since we got back. Hubby will be grilling out in this freezing weather since he’s left my kitchen in a shambles. Hopefully, by this weekend, things will be back to normal. I can adapt and adjust to just about anything but his frustration level is off the charts. I support him wanting to do things himself around the house and am willing to help but I’m too sensitive a soul to bear the brunt when things go wrong. Enough said.
Since I haven’t blogged for 2 months and I was behind updating then, I have even more to fill you in on. This will have to do as a first step. I am going to have to ease back into writing since I’m so out of practice. I hope 2018 is full of good things for you and no plumbing woes.


Today is one year since my mom died. It seems like I should do a post about the significance of this milestone. I honestly don’t know what to say. I should have been thinking about it for some time and planning it out. Greg and I have been mentioning it to each other almost every day. Instead of grieving though, we have been living. 

Thinking where I was emotionally a year ago to how I’m doing now is nothing short of miraculous. I had spent so much time with my mother in my lifetime, that life without her was unfathomable. I didn’t see how I could handle being alone. Luckily, I’m not alone. I have the best husband in the world. Needless to say, when he’s at work, I’ve had to be alone. Of course, we’ve got 3 dogs so alone is a relative term. I have come to realize there are a lot worse things than being alone. I even relish some time alone now. You’d think having time to myself would motivate me to write blog posts, list things for sale online, write emails to people I’ve lost touch with, make phone calls, post pictures to Instagram, etc. None of this is happening. I don’t know why. When I’m with my hubby, I am active and almost bubbly. When alone, I tend to gravitate to the boob tube (tv). Sure, I’ve got lots recorded on Directv to catch up on from when we were gone. But that’s no excuse to not have goals or things you want to get done every day. 
I’m not completely sedentary. I still walk the dogs every single day, rain or shine. I do laundry, load the dishwasher, minimal cleaning, regular hygiene. As far as striving to attain or accomplish anything, it’s not happening. Maybe part of it is I no longer have anyone to tell when something good happens. I used to love to share everything with Mom, the good and the bad in my life. I know I’m not depressed like I was after she passed away. 
I have come so far and yet I feel like I still have more unseen healing to do to get back to myself. I asked hubby when he felt like he recovered from Mom’s death and he said, “I’ll let you know.” Today he sent me an email with tons of pictures of Mom in it. It didn’t make me cry, it made me happy to see her smiling face. I don’t feel sorry for myself anymore but I had a moment the other night. I asked Greg, “Do you think Mom misses me?” He said, “Of course she does!” I still miss her every day but in a good way. The other night I got to thinking about how we both would start laughing hysterically if we saw the other one laughing. There didn’t even need to be anything funny. It was just a contagious thing that felt good. 
I realize this post is “all about me” instead of honoring her. She is the wind beneath my wings and I want to make her proud again. I recently heard the Ed Sheehan song, “Supermarket Flowers” for the first time. It made my cry but it made me realize she really lived her life. I could live to her age but not have gone through half of what she did. She had no regrets and did everything she wanted to. The lyrics “A life with love is a life that’s been lived” and “A heart that’s broke is a heart that’s been loved” ring true. “You were an angel in the shape of my mum. You got to see the person I have become. Spread your wings and I know that when God took you back he said Hallelujah You’re home.” 

On A Dead Run

We’ve been on a dead run for the past month! I haven’t had any time to write but I want to fit it all in. I’ve decided to split things up so this doesn’t break the record for longest blog post ever. Wednesday Oct. 4th, we went to an Octoberfest party outdoors. The weather was unseasonably warm (70’s) and we were able to attend in shorts. It was put on by a Lufthansa Cargo that hubby dealt with when he worked at O’Hare. He no longer sees them since moving to Midway. They were nice enough to invite us. I knew no one and hubby only knew a few people. He’s not shy and went up to all the tables asking who they were with and telling them who he was. There wasn’t a huge amount of people there anyway. It started at 4:30 pm but they told him to get there at 6 pm when they started serving food.

They served everything German like bratwurst, sauerkraut, coleslaw, pretzels, beer, etc. When you first get there, they put a wristband on you. We were given a large plastic beer glass and got it filled with Paulaner beer. It was delicious! It has been months and months and months since I had any type of alcoholic drink. Of course, I went overboard and had 4. Ugh. Starting out on an empty stomach is never a good idea. The only thing I regret more than drinking that much was putting on the flashlight on my iPhone to see the inside of the porta-potty. Yikes! We stayed until about 10 pm and we were one of the last ones there. People were either leaving early since they had to work the next day or because they were going out elsewhere after the party.
There was a 2 man “Oompa Loompa Band” that played on the stage under the tent but they also were strolling musicians. They were older and really good. One played the accordion and the other a small tuba. The accordion fella also played the bells and they both played some German long horns that must’ve been 10 feet long. As the night wore on, they played more songs we knew. At the end of the night, they played my theme song, “The Too Fat Polka”. My mom had an album of Frankie Yankovic greatest hits and I used to play it a lot as a kid. That song seemed so hurtful and cruel then. Now I find it hilarious! When they started playing it, I ran up by the stage, filmed them and was singing along with it. I don’t sing EVER, especially not in public. I won’t do karaoke no matter how much I’ve had to drink. Yet here I was singing, “I don’t want her, you can have her, she’s too fat for me, she’s too fat for me, she’s too fat for me…” I’d be embarrassed if I hadn’t had so much fun… 😉
One thing I realized for sure is that Greg and I don’t need anyone else to have a good time. We enjoy each other’s company beyond words. We can have a good time, anywhere and anytime, as long as we’re together. We share memories, stories and so many laughs. This was a great way to start off a month of events that has kept us busier than a moth in a mitten!

Dickeyville Grotto

On Sunday Sept. 10th, we went to Dickeyville, WI to the Dickeyville Grotto. We were already in the area on vacation (see my last post). Greg’s mother had been there 70 years ago when her sister went to school at Sinsinawa with the Dominican Sisters for 3 years. It is really something to see! I hadn’t heard of it until I was researching things to do prior to our trip. It was built by Father Mathius Wernerus, the pastor of Holy Ghost Parish, from 1918 to 1931. It features a bunch of concrete structures covered in shells, stones, tiles, wood, glass, gems and geodes donated by people from around the world. It is not just religious, it is patriotic. Besides the shrines to the Blessed Virgin, Christ The King, The Sacred Heart, The Eucharistic Altar, The Holy Ghost Tree and The Crucifixion Group, there are depictions of Columbus, Washington and Lincoln. It is breathtaking and unbelievable. The work and dedication to finish it is unfathomable. The amount of items used to cover the grotto is mind boggling.

There is a gift shop on the premises. Plus a can collecting donations. I had to put in a few bucks to keep it going. Something almost 100 years old and still in such good shape needs to be maintained. There’s also a cemetery bordering the grotto. We all walked through it reading the tombstones. A lot of them are faded. A lot of them are extremely old like from 100 years ago. So many of them are children, only a few years old. There was one mass grave of 4 children that died on the same day (Jan. 17, 1992). I couldn’t get it out of my mind. I figured it had to be a car accident or a murder. My mother-in-law suggested it was a fire. Turns out she was right. There was also a newer grave that had a laser image on the tombstone of a truck pulling a boat and what looks like a family farm. I took so many pictures. Too many pictures. Years ago when Greg and I went on a swamp tour in Louisiana, we saw our first alligators. There were a ton of them off the sides of the boat. Tourists were feeding them marshmallows. This is 1989, before cellphones, and we’re taking picture after picture of alligators eating marshmallows. When we got them back, it was so much of the same thing and the pictures weren’t that good. The water was green and murky (it’s a swamp!!) and the gators blended in and the marshmallows are so small. Now whenever one of us (usually me) takes a ton of pictures of one thing, we say it’s like “alligator pictures”. Guess you had to be there. 😉
The sun was so bright that some of the pictures turned out too dark. I can’t see outside with my iPhone in bright sunlight so kind of have to guess how they’re turning out. From a religious and spiritual perspective, the grotto is awe inspiring. I had a hard time picking which photos to include in this post. None of them really do justice to the beauty. From an artistic perspective, it is glorious! I’m so glad we got to take it all in at our leisure and didn’t rush through it. It is free and all outside. Because it’s in the middle of nowhere, you have to make a point to go there or you’ll never see it. Now I want to make a pilgrimage to the other grottos in the Midwest. Most notably, the Grotto Of The Redemption in West Bend, Iowa.
Around the turn of the last previous century, when immigrants were coming to America in a steady stream, grottos were a somewhat common thing. The immigrants came from a culture where it was normal to promise to build something big if your prayers were answered. The type of commitment needed to undertake such a significant project seems to be missing nowdays. In any case, whether you are religious or not, I hope you can appreciate the artistic vision and all the hard work.