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Baring Arms for the Cause

Opinion by Father Pat Killilea, St. Francis Church, Kalaupapa

Confucius, the great Chinese philosopher, is credited with many witty sayings, most of which I dare not quote here, but this one I can. It goes, “Man who wears short sleeved shirt supports right to bare arms.” He has also been quoted as saying, “He who sits on needle gets the point.” Now I believe that most people would agree that getting a needle in the seat would not be something to look forward to, unless absolutely necessary. However, there are millions of people on our earth today who are looking forward to baring their arms and inviting some lovely young nurse to give them a shot or needle in the arm containing the COVID vaccine. Of course, they might like a shot of brandy first.

So it was that on Jan. 25, a cavalcade of vehicles drove up the driveway of Bishop Home complex where our Franciscan Sisters’ house stands. I call it the Manor House. I myself joined the cavalcade at about 11:35 a.m. right back of the now familiar red truck, driven by Marco who happens to be Kalaupapa’s head cheerleader for the Kansas City Chiefs. I would have loved to get out of my van and needle him about the Chiefs’ chances against Tom Brady in the upcoming Super Bowl. I resisted the temptation because Sister Barbara Jean was doing guard duty in my vicinity and motioned me to move on to the place of “execution.” It was time to prepare for the sting of the needle which would administer the long anticipated COVID vaccine.

As the procession of vehicles did a “stop and go,” two lovely young nurses, Kerry and Holly, administered the vaccine. I hardly felt the prick of the syringe needle when it was my turn to bare my arm. A lovely young nurse has that effect on me. Then it was time to move down the circle for a pause of 15 minutes of recovery. Sister Alicia was there at the head of the line to make sure that we did not jump the gun and leave prematurely. She and Sister Barbara Jean were like sentries at their posts. After a break for lunch, the operation continued into the afternoon until all had offered to bare their arms for the cause.

For myself it was an overall pleasant experience and, on returning to my hermitage, I had my usual repast, then did my customary meditation on the horizontal. Some people call it siesta. It has been written that, “He who sleeps on a bed of nails is a holy man.” Well, I guess that I’m not yet ready for that degree of holiness because my bed is very comfortable, though narrow, and I can now rest up until the next time that I am called upon to bare my arm for the cause. Aloha.


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