I remember the winter cabin near Incline Village Nevada. There I was, a young man, sitting on the front porch. They called me Charles Liston back then. The main light in the living room glowed with the warmth of the fire in the fireplace. I sauntered into the living room and sat in my recliner. My wife, Virginia, sat in her back room meditating on her rosary as I meditated on my favorite song, “I am a Rock,” by Paul Simon.
When Virginia finished her rosary, she came out and began this angry discussion. “You need to stop feeling so sorry for yourself and meditate on the rosary. You are a successful hotshot with the Nevada Fish and Game.”
I put my part into the discussion with the words of Billy Joel, “Only the Good Die Young, “Come out Virginia, Don’t let me wait. You Catholic girls start much too late but sooner or later it comes down to fate. I might as well be the one.”
Virginia argued back, “I might as well be the one what? My Catholic faith is the ultimate reality. I am not late to anything!”
I retorted, “They showed you a statue and told you to pray. They built you a temple and locked you away. They never told you the price that you pay for the things that you might have done.”
Virginia fought back, “I pray to God and he does what I ask. I am not some bird in a cage. I choose to spend my time with God and not in the secular world.”
I asked, “Does your mother say a prayer for me?”
Virginia Liston gave the information, “There is an eccentric man in Sacramento who is the son of a deacon there, I want you to meet. He is not like the others. He spends most of his time out of doors, goes fishing, and hangs out with the working class folk. Go talk with him and see what he says.”
I said, “Done!”
I was talking with Curtis E. John by Christmas. First, I must tell you that before I arrived at the Folsom Lake on the American River I met some conservatives passing out pamphlets.
One person from their group came up informing me, “We are from the tea party up the street. Take a pamphlet; help stamp out abortion once and forever.”
I gave my opinion, “Where do you stand on the living wage and the right of all people to live life to its fullest in dignity?”
The man from the tea party presented his view, “We can’t stand up for all issues. I see you are passionate about yours. Join us in ours.”
I retorted, “We are a minority in support of our issue and need your help.”
The man argued, “We can’t stop abortion until people stop making excuses and join our cause.”
I chirped, “You say it well. We are each a minority. Neither of us can accomplish our goals as long as the other insists on making excuses for not participating. Let me know when you are ready for a true pro-life stand.”
I turned and faced them, “Let me know when you support a pro-life stand that begins at conception and ends at natural death. Let me know when you agree that true life is life lived to its fullest. Let me know when you agree that pro-life means pro-life for all people and not just a couple of rich guys from Texas.”
As we strode away, Curtis E. John told me, “There is no need to talk with that kind. They already have all the answers. They do not need to listen to the views, and the pains of others. They already have their solutions.”
I sighed as I thought, “You cannot hope to convert them to your way of thinking; you don’t want to give up your salvation by being converted to theirs. They bear the seeds of their destruction. There is nothing to do, but walk away and leave them to their own end.”
I must tell you that I was one argumentative cuss.