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She is 87 and lives across the street.  She played tennis regularly until the age of  83 (I’m ten years younger and lost my last match twenty years ago.)  On Saturday evening she had a fall and found she couldn’t move.  Her husband has Alzheimers and was no help at all.  The bottom line is that she survived and has since been operated on for a broken thighbone.  I won’t bother giving you the details of a story that could have had a less happy ending.  But she was unable to move for nearly twenty-four hours before being discovered prostrate on the floor.  When I expressed my admiration for her courage, I was told that she steadfastly maintained hope that assistance would eventually come, because right above the place she fell there was an icon of the Blessed Virgin . . .

People keep telling me that I have no right to attack religion which provides such comfort, solace and hope to so many.  Unfortunately some non-atheists take such benefits as “proof” even of the validity of religious belief.  Whatever about that extreme of credulity, I must insist, as I have often in the past, that my broadsides, my book and my blog are not meant for old folks comfortable and secure in their piety.  I offer them my assistance; I would never personally attack their faith.  My target audience remains Believers on the Brink, who long ago moved beyond praying to icons.  You may be surprised to learn that I have no less than five Russian icons in my home.  But if I have an accident like that of my aged neighbor, I will not depend on them or on Our Lady of Perpetual Succor for help, but on my cell phone.