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Football, freedom and fight for White House dominated this month

By Steve Stricker

It is 8:20 am on Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2016 — All Soul’s Day, and I have exactly two hours before heading off to Mass to get this to the EAGLE.

Having already spent hours writing a column that was ready to submit, early this morning the Holy Spirit (to whom I pray to help me write these things) prompted me to change it all and start over.

“If you believe, no explanation is necessary. If you don’t believe, no explanation is possible.”

First things first: tonight, Game 7 of the 2016 World Series between the Chicago Cubs (last win 1908) and Cleveland Indians (last win 1948) will be determined in Cleveland; GO CUBS!

Our Ole Miss Football team is struggling (Y’all, Chad can’t do it by himself) GO REBELS! Four games to go and we need at least three wins to be Bowl eligible.

Although we are suffering from severe drought (at least at my house) the weather for weeks has been nearly perfect, awesome and healing.

Terrorist attacks continue sporadically and we have to be alert, but we are free to move about at will, to attend sporting events, shop, enjoy our “Camelot” Oxford and Ole Miss, sip a beer with friends, drive or fly wherever, vote, choose to do our own thing (within the law), and especially important to me, go to daily Mass and freely worship our Lord without fear.

This election season has been brutal. My applause to all candidates who have fought an unbelievably long, at times ugly, race to the Whitehouse; talk about endurance!

Because of freedom, we can cast a vote for our choice or not vote at all. But, please vote on Nov. 8 or shut up and let’s move on.

As a “Cradle Catholic,” having attended Catholic School from Kindergarten through High School, taught by Ursuline Nuns, and devout faith modeled by my parents (especially my hero mom “Gert”) I love the Catholic Church.

Had my parents been of another denomination, I am sure I would have loved that as well. And, I have the freedom of choice to change my religion or have no religion at all.

But my faith is a constant struggle even though I attend Mass daily, am involved with our Oxford St. John Church, partake of the sacraments, say my Rosary daily, confession once a month, and do my best to do the right thing — pull your head out of the sand y’all; the devil does not want me or you to do the right thing and will attack our weakness and once that crack has been opened the attacks will come more often and more intensely.

On my first trip to Scotland with then-Scottish fiancée, she said her dad, a retired university professor and ordained Presbyterian minister, “Liked to keep the enemy (me) nearby.” Ha!

I loved her dad (mom, brothers, and yes, her). She also said if asked if I was Catholic or Protestant — I had “A 50/50 chance of getting it right.”

That might still be true here in Oxford, Mississippi and “Bible Belt” but because of freedom and choice; I don’t fear for my life answering that question and thankfully can openly write about it here.

It was not my choice to serve three years in the U.S. Army or a year in Vietnam — a “war” that I frankly did not totally understand, but followed orders and went.

Believe me, many of us did not understand this war, fought the North Vietnamese not just because they were invading the South, but also because they were trying to kill us.

I wonder how many soldiers who fought on both sides during the Civil War did so because they were ordered to and defended themselves, not so much because of ideology, but because the other side was trying to kill them.

War is stupid and the evil one is the cause.

Freedom, freedom, freedom — I never take those words or the ability to do what I want within the law for granted.

So next month, I’ll update you on “blabbering stuff” and swell progress since spring on my 1964 Land Rover Series 88 II-A, 1971 MGB/GT, 1996 850 Volvo 5-speed wagon/truck, and 2012 KIA Soul.

Speaking of choice — you made the right one Ole Miss students so hang in there!

Happy Thanksgiving, Freedom, Vote Tuesday! GO REBELS-BEAT STATE! God Bless America. Amen.

Steve Stricker received his Ph.D. in counseling from Ole Miss. He can be reached at sstricke@olemiss.edu.