Started the New Year right on a trip with my kids to our local IMAX for the latest helping of Star Wars. IMAX is one of our holiday treats to ourselves, and this year’s was SUPER Spectacular!! It always takes me days to “come down from a Star Wars High!” But what always helps me to “get back to reality” is the recognition that as great as those stories are, as marvelous as those motion-pictured battles of Good versus Evil, and as darling as is the newest “Rey,” the young woman who looks to become perhaps the greatest warrior of them all, THE ONE THING WHICH IS EVEN BETTER IS TO FIND A REAL “REY.” Reading a book or watching a film, as exciting as either may be, CANNOT COMPARE to finding “a True Jedi.”

AND SO,  i present to you, ladies and gentlemen, my real, live Ray of Light and “HUNNA BUNNA” of the WORLD – JANET ORTQUIST!!!


In the city where i live, God planted two natural Wonders, Jan Ortquist and her classic Copper Beech, who preceded Jan by half a century. Of course, in my lifetime i have encountered many a wise and genuine “Jedi,” but few so grand as this lady, who has perfected the Art of Living. i have come to know her only recently, as i am sometimes given the great privilege of “caring for” her, a sufferer of Alzheimer’s (although at the end of every visit i walk away laughing over “Who Cared for Whom?!”) So well does she make anyone in her presence feel as if he or she is a natural wonder loved and cared for, as if you were the only other person on Janet’s Planet.

What better model can i present for this New Year of Peace than Mrs. Ortquist!?! All of these stories, whether in books or movies, keep us spellbound (and pouring out trillions of bucks), as we are all so vividly aware of what great evil remains in our world – it NEVER goes away, but we also want and need to know that there are those among us who have the know-how and the courage to keep fighting it. And YES! Jan is one of the Real REYS, one who needs no mighty saber of Light to fight. Rather, SHE IS THE SABER, and hers is the simple Power of Love, with just a smile or a touch, a kind word or a song, or one of those Ultimate Hugs, to do her daily battle against the Dark. She will SLAY you with her declaration that you are her “HUNNA BUNNA!”

And not just you humans, but “all creatures of her God and King!” One day we were taking a walk, and as we crossed quite a wide road, she suddenly called all traffic to a halt, as she noticed a tiny worm who was trying to make his way across. “Oh, My Darlin’, let me help you. We would not want anything to happen to you, hunna bunna” she declared (just the very scenario which i once read about in an early biography of St. Francis of Assisi.) In this sad world of misunderstandings and angry conflicts we will never stop needing such a new Francis, the REAL YODAs, who hold the key to Peace on Earth.

{Love all of God’s creation, the whole and every grain of sand of it. Love every leaf, every ray of God’s light. Love the animals, love the plants, love everything. If you love everything, you will perceive the divine mystery in things. Once you perceive it, you will begin to comprehend it better every day. And you will come at last to love the whole world with an all-embracing love. – Dostoyevsky}

Once the wife (the “better half”) of the Pastor of the Reformed Church in town, her door and her hearth were always open to anyone and everyone. Take a stroll with her down Main Street, and you will be pleasantly stopped over and over and over again – though she does not remember any of them – by countless souls who WILL NEVER FORGET her CARE for them, as if they were the only persons on earth. Her “FORCE,” call it GRACE, emanates from within her giant Heart, like the heart of her Copper Beech with its long and mighty limbs.

Talk about “the Evil One,” just look at how she handles the Monster, Alzheimer’s Disease. It is as if she tamed him, she made “the Beast” her partner. Why, it compliments her like the lovely pearls around her lovely neck! They go together like old pals. Those of us who have come to know the “Troll” so intimately know that Alzheimer’s actually has a kind of “good side” or “light side,” especially for anyone who is able to put all other agendas aside and simply to “GO WITH THE PRESENT.” Today in the Christian churches of the world we are celebrating the Memory of the Three Kings or Three Wisemen. It is known as “Little Christmas” to all of those on earth who leave December 25th to Truly Celebrate Jesus, as it is, after all, HIS Birthday, and then today is the day for presents. What a day to speak of Jan Ortquist, who is the very essence of the wisdom that “the Best Present is to Be Present,” then you will be the Present in the Present, for the Present is all that we have, really. This is what Jan is to me and it is what i learn to be to her and to others. AND THE ONE WHO ALWAYS WINS FROM IT IS THE ONE who can be present. The present, the GIFT, is always yours for the taking.

i have another friend with Alzheimer’s, whose name is Joe. One day at his home he was trying to say something to me about “those goose things.” As he has a pond near his house, i thought he was complaining about all of their droppings. But that wasn’t it! We did not figure it out…until hours later, while driving in the car. And suddenly a song came on, which Joe has always loved so much, the BeeGees’ classic, “Too Much Heaven.” Joe got so excited that all over his arms and legs were GOOSE-BUMPS!!! He shouted out, “That’s it! Look at them. That’s what I was talking about! What are they?” he wanted to know, though in his mid-60’s. Tears came to my eyes, as i said to him, “Joe, it means that YOU KNOW HEAVEN! Heaven is here with us RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW!” But as the song cries, “Nobody gets too much heaven no more,” because i guess they just don’t know how to be PRESENT. So worried about so many things, even while so much Heaven awaits us. Today is also known as the Epiphany, which means that “God makes Himself KNOWN!” To all the Hunna Bunnas of the World…

Thank You, Jan and Joe! Show us the way today….through your gentle, grateful Rays…


Author: friardad

what's it like having a wife and six kids after having been a friar for many years and being still married to St. Francis' Lady Poverty?

5 thoughts on “HUNNA BUNNA OF THE WORLD”

  1. Jan was my teacher in high school, I remember her before school prayer class well. I spent many a day at her home while a teen. Later on I was fortunate enough to work with her . Jan is truley one of those people that can be considered a friend to everyone. She exemplifies all that is good in this world. Lovely article about a wonderful woman.


    1. Thank you so much! Yes, Jan is in perfect communion/harmony with everyone, be it human, animal, insect, tree, flower, even stones. i love her so much and count every minute with her among my highest blessings.


    1. Hi Mike, always love you posts, if I may, please keep me in your prayers, having prostate surgery on Fri, 1/8. thanks in advance.


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