Archive for May, 2006

Treebeard Came Over Today

// May 26th, 2006 // No Comments » // writing

Well, actually it wasn’t Treebeard, but it sure could have been.

We had some overgrown trees that were blocking our satellite dish and that’s what started this whole thing. I called the Brookfield Tree Service over to get an estimate to remove these trees, some bushes and do some trimming. All in all, it wasn’t that bad, but he couldn’t actually come out until this morning.

The reception was so bad that I went out earlier this week and performed a small miracle. No the miracle is not that I fixed it (although I did), but rather that I still live. I sawed off the branch at the highest point I could reach (which wasn’t very high). Here’s where the miracle happens.

The tree branch just wobbled a bit to get out of the way of the dish, but it was stuck up there. I couldn’t move it or dislodge it… yet it was obviously separated from the branch. The miracle is that it didn’t fall and break something crucial (like my body).

They called last night to say that they were coming this morning at 7:30. Then they said they’d be here at 8:00. Since this is right when I drive Lisa to the train, I was worried. They’re on a schedule, so he said they couldn’t wait. So I said, “Go ahead and start without me.”

And they did. When I came home, I couldn’t park in the driveway. I asked Peter to look at some other trees I thought should go, as well.

The second after I explained this, two men immediately went over and started dragging this tree out of the way. I discovered quickly that it was important not to point things out unnecessarily. I mean there was barely enough time to stand clear. Maybe they have machetes for hands, like Edward Scissorhands. I wasn’t standing around to find out. In fact, I was lucky that I didn’t point to the wrong tree, or even my leg. They were that quick!

Ten minutes later, they were gone. The trees are gone…. the bush is gone. If Peter didn’t need a check from me, he would also have been gone.

Just to be careful, I’m not going to point at anything haphazardly today!

The Rosaries

// May 25th, 2006 // No Comments » // archive, writing

While I was in Sunday School one day, a someone in class told us about a Catholic belief that if you went to sleep with a rosary under your pillow, you would go straight to heaven if you died. I don’t know if a student told the class or the teacher himself, but no one could refute this, so I believed it with every ounce of my being. The opposite thought, that if you didn’t do this, even if you had led the most saintly life imaginable but had no access to a rosary, of course meant that you were going straight to hell. This didn’t occur to me until much later after I lay in bed with no rosary in sight.

I lay awake staring at the top bunk, the room mostly dark and the sound of my brother’s breathing. I couldn’t sleep with this going through my head. I don’t have rosary under my pillow, so I must be going straight to hell if I die. Over and over, this went, in my 10 year old mind. I don’t want to go to hell, I thought. Plus it’s just a simple thing to do, right? Just put it under your pillow and you’re fine! I knew that I had one in my dresser, so that’s what I did feeling its reassuring presence under my pillow. I breathed a huge sigh of relief, smiling as I started to nod off.

So even if I die in a fire tonight, I’m set, I thought. No problem! I’ll wake up and be in heaven because I haven’t done anything really wrong and I did remember the rosary. Saint Peter would see me at the gates of heaven, look up and see that I had my rosary and I’d waltz right on in there. Plus the rest of my family will be there and –

Oh NO! I gasped! The rest of my family! If they die, I’ll go to heaven, but they’re going to hell! I’ve got to make sure that they do the same thing. I sat up, narrowly missing my head on the top bunk (but safe because I had my rosary under my pillow). I ran downstairs into the den where my parents were.

Without asking them, I started rummaging through the drawers in the living room. I knew we had a bunch of them in one of these drawers, probably near these bibles, no maybe in this drawer… There’s one, that’s fine, there’s another. I counted two extra. I still needed at least 3 more. I knew we had to have more in the house! Plus I needed one for the dog, too! That’s 4 more rosaries! I wonder if Mom and Dad can share?

Now I did peer wildly in the den. My parents were watching television and I tried to explain to them why I needed 3, no 4 rosaries. My Mom said that we probably had enough for everyone, but that she was sure that we didn’t need to search for them all right now. We could think about it in the morning.

I burst into tears, two rosaries in one hand, one in the other (and one under my pillow) and told her that if the whole family was going to Hell, then I was, too and that I didn’t need one under my pillow!

“Who’s going to Hell?” my father asked, distracted by the news. “What’s the matter?”
My mother held me and in between small giggles explained that she was sure we were good people and that we’d wake up fine in the morning and that no one was going anywhere. (”Except to sleep,” my father grunted).

I did go to sleep, after first putting all of the rosaries away, including the one under my pillow. I felt that rosaries were meant to be prayed over anyway and not to be smushed under your head while you snored! I also felt that it was kind of hard to sleep with it under there because it reminded me that I might not wake up — and who can sleep at all like that?!

Batman Versus Jesus

// May 20th, 2006 // No Comments » // archive, writing

One day in 2nd grade class, we all gathered into groups to put on plays. I forgot what the intended lesson was, but I did learn an important thing that day. Our group performed “The Nativity” scene. I was the infant Jesus, because I was the smallest. Another group performed Batman and Robin. At such a young age, I didn’t have much knowledge of theatre, action or audience appeal. Most of the kids in our class had a quiet respect for our play and we all got high marks. However the Batman play had action, two fight scenes and the Joker and the Riddler. Not only did that group receive high marks but the class cheered and they won best play. Our play didn’t really have action unless you count when Jimmy Autrey knocked over one of the cows (it was really a desk).

I walked home with Ricky, who played Batman in the play. He and I were both proud of our time in the spotlight and Ricky had decided that his play was better. In fact, he told me that Batman was better than Jesus! I was amazed!

“Batman is not better than Jesus!” I scoffed.

“Yes he is,” he declared. “Batman is a crime-fighter. He’s got the Batmobile and a sidekick. Then he countered with his ace in the hole. “Plus he’s got a utility belt!”

A utility belt! I gasped. It was a pretty good argument. It was certainly useful and I tried to come up with a counter argument. I couldn’t think of one. To my knowledge, Jesus didn’t even have a sidekick and I’d never even heard of his fighting abilities. He didn’t fight at all, in fact, and that was one of the things I liked about him. He was always saying “Turn the other cheek” which was something I could relate to.

By this time we had reached Ricky’s house. He said goodbye, confident that he had bested me. I walked on, confused. How could he not believe in Jesus? was the question I was thinking. It was fine to talk about superheroes and sidekicks, but I couldn’t understand the rest of it. It was like he didn’t even believe in God!

By the time I arrived home, I had worked myself into a frenzy. I was convinced that by even comparing Batman and Jesus that I was doomed. I was sweaty, dizzy and I had an upset stomach to boot. It was time to talk to Mom.

When I think about what my mother had to put up with, I can only shake my head. We asked her everything under the sun. My Dad got the mechanical and electrical questions - How things work, How the toilet worked, etc. My Mom got all the tough, philosophical questions. It was just the way that things worked around our house. We all thought that my parents had all the answers.

Today’s question was a doozy and I flat out told her as I barged in the house. “Mom! Ricky says that Batman’s better than Jesus! How can he think that?! I mean even with the utility belt, how can he not believe in Jesus?!”

I’m sure she hid her giggles well, because I don’t remember her laughing. I know that she sat me down and explained that not all the world believed in Jesus or even God and that our country was founded on religious freedom. They were free to believe whatever they wanted.

“Well I still think Jesus is better. Even if He doesn’t have a utility belt!”

As an adult, I can now say with certainty that Jesus must have had a utility belt. He was a carpenter! Plus he didn’t have one sidekick; he had twelve of them. It’s too bad I don’t see Ricky anymore, because I have a good answer!