In and Around Hannibal: Nuns on the Bus

By Rita Hooper

I’ve mentioned before that I attended Ecumenical Advocacy Days in Washington in April.

I had the opportunity to meet Sister Simone Campbell and even to share a few minutes with her in the lobby. I had dropped by to get a signed copy of her book but they weren’t available yet, so she signed a piece of paper and I placed an order for her book: Nuns on the Bus.  

This week while in New Hampshire, I’ve had a chance to read it. For people of faith, any faith or none, it’s a great read.

For people who work or volunteer in the social service sphere, it’s right up your ally and for people who are increasingly becoming convinced that no matter how many soup kitchens, food pantries and clothes closets we have, we will never make a dent in the issue of poverty or the plight of the working poor – it is a MUST read.

The reason I’m up in NH is to help out with a friend’s great grandchildren. The great grandson, age 2, fell in Nana and Poppa’s driveway, while playing football with his two brothers, age 7 and 8.

He didn’t fall over them and they didn’t cause the fall. Accidents still happen and they are no ones fault.

As a result of the fall he is in a body cast of sorts that keeps his leg immobile and he now weighs 65 pound to lift and move. Mom is awaiting brain surgery and attempting options in the meantime to drain fluid off her brain.

As a result of that, she has excruciating headaches and numbness in her hands and is not permitted to drive due to the possibilities of seizures.

It’s impossible for her to change diapers and maneuver the 65 pounds of babe and cast. So Hubby, Nana, Poppa and Auntie are all trying to fill in when  work schedules permits.

My main activities here have circled around the active 7 and 8 year olds….the boys and I have been fishing, built a fort (I wish I had been a Boy Scout), had campfires, shot baskets, played Monkey in the Middle, fed the ducks (which are rapidly growing in a box in the garage), dug worms and helped with the garden.

When I’m just about worn out, we play Triominoes (my method of helping with math). One of the boys stays nights at Nana’s and the other goes home after supper.

Nana and Poppa  are pulling a heavy load — they are up and at ‘em at between 5 and 6 to get the boys ready for school and then Nana transports one or both of them back home to see mom and dad and catch the bus.

Then it’s time for Nana to get to school and put in a full day. Dad stays home until the boys are off to school and the babe is situated. In the afternoon, Nana or Poppa pick up the boys from home and one stays with mom to help out ‘til Dad gets home.

The boys get into bed at 8 after baths and Nana and Poppa collapse into their bed at 9. In any spare time, meals get prepared, laundry done and food and prescriptions shopped for.

If it’s confusing for the adults it is really tough on the boys. The family doesn’t qualify for much help and it’s a physical presence they need. They have pretty good insurance…expensive but they can’t afford to be without with mom’s health issues.

At least in the olden days, the extended family was around to pitch in…

I have a ‘couple’ friend in Fulton in a similar position as they are raising their granddaughter – they are older than Nana and Poppa so keeping up with an active 7-year-old girl is not easy for them…grandpa has health issues of his own and they are caring for an older parent as well.

While on my trip to Appalachia, I learned that most of today’s ‘orphans’ are created by the court system, often times creating problems of its own. God bless grandparents who are able and willing to fill in the gaps to provide ‘family’ for the children.

The Nuns took to their bus in response to the Ryan-Romney budget – that budget would have made drastic cuts to those least able to deal with any more cuts and bring the working poor to the brink.

I’m still waiting for Trickle Down/supply side economics to work…have they worked for you? How close are you or your adult child or children to being on the edge?

Even those with a college degree or technical licence? A car that quits and you can’t make it to work? An unexpected medical expense? A toothache? The washer that overflows causing a real hassle with the landlord?

Easy to pronounce judgments, not so easy to walk in another’s person’s shoes!

People, real people are standing in peril, many of them children. I’m reminded of a time when Burton Ramer was supertintendent of BOCES and Hannibal schools were having a rough time; a few of us paid Dr. Ramer a visit and he told us, that all we could do was ring the bell, sound the alarm.

I guess that’s what I’m trying to do!  Please join me! Help those you can, then write letters, make phone calls, lobby your legislators to make real change. In the meantime, pray and ask for God’s presence and protections in these difficult situations.


The Hannibal Country Cruizers car club will hold its annual “Cruise-In” and chicken barbecue on Sunday, June 1 at the Hannibal American Legion.

Club members will have their classic vehicles on display and car owners from the region will “cruise-in” to show their vehicles and enjoy the barbecue. The public is welcome to stop in to see the cars, visit with the owners.

Dinners and halves will be available for purchase, starting at noon.

The Country Cruizers is an organization of class car enthusiasts who also are dedicated to serving the community.  Each year the club donates the majority of money earned  to local charities.

Three $500 scholarships were donated to Hannibal Dollars for Scholars for 2014 Hannibal High School graduates and $1,500 was donated to food pantries for the 2013 holiday season.

The Senior Meals Program meets Monday, Wednesday and Friday for lunch at the Senior Center promptly at noon.  The Center opens at 10 for those who like to work on puzzles, read the paper or just have a chat over coffee.

The center is located in the Library across from the Hannibal Fire Hall on Oswego Street. Give Rosemary a call at 564-5471, and make your reservation.

Monday, June 2 — Barbecue chicken breast, roasted potatoes, vegetable blend, pudding

Wednesday — Baked ham w/pineapple, scalloped potatoes, spinach, Mandarin oranges

Friday — Hamburgers, garlic red potatoes, vegetable, juice, ice cream

Activities: Monday — Wii bowling and other games; Wednesday — Bingo after lunch;  Friday — games

Sterling Valley Community Church will be hosting the Gospel band  “Different Brothers” a 6:30 p.m. Tuesday June 3. The concert is free, but a free will offering will be received for the Women’s Fellowship to support its mission projects. Refreshments will be served.  Members of the band are Ernie Terpening, Keith Smith, Neil Shortslef and Chub Shortslep.

Friends of the Library June raffle is “Say Cheese” and includes an oak and wine cheese server complete with glasses, cheese, crackers, photo albums and more.  The drawing will  be June 27.

If you’re looking ahead to the Festival of Trees, the theme for the People’s Choice Award is A New York Christmas.  The date is Nov. 22 and 23!

The Hannibal Senior Band will present its final concert of the year at 7:30 p.m. June 10 in the high school auditorium.  Titled the “Senior Send-Off Concert,” it will honor the graduating seniors and foreign exchange students, featuring many of them on solos with the band and jazz band.

Alumni and Friends are once again invited to join the band for the final two selections, “The Crusader Concert March” and “Into the Storm.”

Please check the Senior Band web page at for more details.

Save this date:

The Hannibal United Methodist Church is busily working on the 175th Celebration Revival planned for 11 a.m. June 22.

Rita F. Hooper

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