Recollections of My Life and Reflections on Times and Events During It: A Memoir by Father W. J. Howlett

Page 82

neophytes in the south. A housekeeper I once had gave me fresh vegetables all winter, but when Spring came I got none, and her excuse was that everybody had those things and they were too common. Another went to the opposite extreme, and when I asked her what she would do if company came for dinner, she simply said she would open another can. A great part of my missionary days were spent with a housekeeper and I took my meals at a hotel or a restaurant, but sometimes I would tire of their meals and open a bachelor’s hall and then I had what I wanted and cooked it, not to the queen’s taste, but to my own taste, and if I do say so myself, many a visitors envied my menu. In some of my missions this manner of living was a necessity, for only thus could I have paid the debts or made any improvements. I never cared for exotic or dainty dished, but I did want a good bed, and I always managed to have it. Father Rosswinkel at a retreat told us to get a new bed every year. I never did that, but did so as often as the old one grew uncomfortable. I do so yet, for not bed is quite as comfortable to me as the one I break in myself and fit to my own corpus.  

          As the years passed the inhabitants of Central City and the mountain towns would move away and locate in the towns and country in the level districts. I myself felt that mountain scenery was good for a time, by the attractions began to wear off and I longed for a place where the view widened out and one could move about without the feeling of being hemmed in even by those beautiful barriers. It was generally a treat to leave the mountains for a day or two, such little trips aroused the desire and increased the hope that some day I might find a home not quite surrounded by everlasting hills. I did not let the thought worry me much but I felt its force and when in 1886, Bishop Machebeuf called me to Denver I left Central City without many regrets. A good man was to be my successor and I felt that the congregation would be in good hands. 

          At Denver I was supposed to be the rector of the Cathedral but my position was an anomaly. I was rector in name, but in reality there was no such position. The bishop and vicar general had been so long at the head of affairs that they could not stand aside and let another assume charge. The people did not realize that there could be a change nor did the persists of the parish change their allegiance from the bishop to the new pastor. It was only as if another priest has been added to those already there, and marriages, baptisms, ect., were arranged without my knowledge, just as before. My coming added no authority, but little help and no beauty to the situation. My duty seemed to be to collect funds and pay the bills. How long this might have lasted I do not know, but an unexpected event changed it all. In February my brother James died, leaving five motherless children ranging in ages from four to twelve years. He had a good farm in a recently settled district about forty miles from Denver, and the relatives and neighbors looked upon me as the proper one to take the guardianship of the children and the management of the property. I did this and for seventeen years the care of those children was an essential duty of my life.

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