The Friday morning poker club and its ordinary saints

The weekend of the papal canonizations, I visited my hometown of Lima, Ohio, to give a presentation for a local Catholic group. This is the fourth time I've been invited, even though my message is a bit unconventional for some. I get away with it because I'm a local-girl-makes-good celeb in this struggling Rust Belt city with a huge heart.

Lima is big on family values and even bigger on helping each other out when need arises. It's a town filled with ordinary saints, the kind who will never climb a canonization ladder but who, without fanfare, bless everything and everyone they encounter. Some are precious lifetime friends I met at Lima Central Catholic High School. It's that kind of town. Friends are lifetime friends, even though you may have only exchanged Christmas card greetings through the family-raising, career-building years.

When my parents relocated back home after Dad's stroke, high school chums came out of the woodwork to support my sisters and me. They visited Dad at the nursing home and sat with me when Mom lay unconscious in intensive care. When I needed a break, they cheered me up with margaritas and memories of our madcap youth. My childhood pals comforted me when nothing else seemed to help very much.

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