Editor’s Note: Please continue to hold Jackie Hudson in your thoughts and prayers as we await word of how she is doing since being admitted to the hospital this past weekend.
Thanks to Karen Havnaer for this reflection on Bix’s, and his trusty sidekick and chauffeur Joe’s, return to Tacoma.
Word went out that Bix and Joe’s estimated time of arrival was Sunday, July 10, 4 p.m. so around 3:45 we began gathering behind Jean’s House of Prayer – Peter and Jim on drums. Sunday was a sweet afternoon, just enough thin, white clouds in the sky to keep us cool but not so many as to keep the sun from Bix’s back yard. Last month, students from St. Ignatius in San Francisco – they visit us every year – fixed up the grounds with help from the usual suspects – Catholic Workers, of course, and our friends, the Dominicans, like Srs. Peg and Mary Pat.
If you’ve never been in Bix’s backyard – no one goes in the front door – it is gently terraced, bordered on the north and south sides by mostly maple trees, laurel shrubs and lots of flowers. A stunner, though, is the pool beside the seated Buddha – with tiny live fish dedicated back to the water after our 4th of July picnic last week. House resident, Mark Brandt helped get the pool “running again” with a typical for the neighborhood apparatus – a salt shaker! Another stunner is the tall shrine, located at the entrance to the yard, with a large painted image of our Lady of Guadalupe, supported with cement bricks embedded with bits of glass, tile, mosaic and all kinds of tiny, mysterious objects. You enter the garden, just across the alley from Guadalupe House, through a tall, wooden arch, hung with flower baskets.
Mara, Bob, Connie, Heidi, Maggie and Bridget, Nick (Nativity House) and Nora’s darling little girls, Patty (subbing for Lynne at New Connections – our residency for women from Purdy) – gradually we all come to wait. Then at 4:10 they drive up to everyone’s squeals and cries for hugs. More people arrive: Dan, Jandi (Catholic Worker cook and resident mom), Joanie, James. I ask Joe where they started their day and he says, “Nesplem.” They slept in the chapel besides the cemetery where Chief Joseph is buried. Bix looks good, if a little tired, in a green shirt and happy to be home.
It’s Theresa’s birthday so Joe has brought a chocolate cake to celebrate his wife’s birthday. We drift into Jean’s House – fixed up for the occasion. All along the tops of the windows in the kitchen and dining/living area, large sized sheets, painted with flowers, prayers and greetings are hung on a cord running around the rooms and above the windows. I finally get a moment with Bix. He tells me that when he was in Tennessee (and we know where he was in Tennessee) he was talking about “what we did at Bangor.” He explained some of the facts about Trident and described the event. “Oh,” one of his housemates exclaimed, “he was trying to steal a submarine!”