The Ave Maria ringer

April 9th, 2011 by John Morris

The Ave Maria is sung after the communion at Catholic funeral masses. It is often performed by a singer other than the usual song leader. The singer is usually a female selected by the family for just this purpose. I call her the Ave Maria ringer. Each time I hear these women sign this song I think of my Dad.

Dad died after a long bout with heart disease. He was an ideal patient and lived longer than the Doctors expected. This extra time allowed me to deal with his decline in small doses. During this phase, my tears leak out slowly, and when he died, I had closure. However, I had problems crying for my Dad. I wondered if I was repressing my emotions. A savvy, older cousin even counseled me to let the tears out. He knew what I was going through.

My time did come during the Ave Maria sung at my Dad’s funeral mass. Hot tears filled my eyes and drifted down my face. I felt release and gratitude.

Now, whenever I hear the introductory bells for the Ave Maria, I think of my Dad. I remember the man who dealt with his illness with strength and dignity. The tears come again, and I feel better each time the final bells close the song down.

Maybe the Ave Maria is the song best suited to bring memories of my Dad. Its English version, the Hail Mary is recited fifty-three times during my Dad’s favorite daily prayer regime, the rosary.

It pleases me to have this memory.


The old boy writing this blog wears many hats: Vietnam Veteran, husband & father, salesman and techno-dude. After my service with the Army Security Agency, I operated a sign company for nineteen years, The sign industry changed after CAD/CAM machines made the task easy enough for the non-talented. I sold my company and never looked back.

Life has granted me a life partner better than I deserve. My wife, Lyn is a transplanted Kansas gal. Her bliss is teaching kindergarten and first grade.

I am the most proud of my children. My son, Adam lives an international life teaching English and living in Sozhou, China. He is married to one of life's truly lovely women, Yuri Kim. My daughter, Beth grew up in a small town and found her way in life means working and living in major cities like Chicago and New York. She and her life partner, Julie Sterling married in LaJolla, California in 2010.

I like getting the newest gadgets, but also I like to use things until they are useless, i.e., my last personal car was an 88 Honda Prelude Si.

I wrote a Vietnam Veteran newsletter for nine years. During this journey, I learned I like to write. It is a harmless exercise that rewards honest effort while tolerating failure gracefully. I been away from it for too long. My son gave me the blog, and it was a lifeline back to writing.

My best advice is to show the world what you can do but to accept only your opinion of who and what you are.

Update: In August 2008, my job became one of the half-million jobs that went away that month. I took the following year getting the home ready for my official retirement.

In October 2009, I took a part-time job as a saleman at the vaulted Maxwell's Hardware.

On November 29, 2011, I reached my 66th birthday, and I officially started Social Security. I intend to stay with Maxwell's as long as I can contribute.