From the Pastor: Thanksgiving With My Family
Thanksgiving is always celebrated on a Thursday and, like many places, the Friday following it is a day on which the parish office is also closed. Unfortunately, the work that normally gets done during the last couple of weekdays still has to get done, so it means trying to race through all of the paperwork, pay all of the bills, and even print the bulletin before going home to do all of the necessary work preparing the house for guests, fixing the huge feast, and other such relaxing things. So, once again this year, I had to write about my family get-together before we actually got-together or else you would right now be staring at an empty space in the bulletin. Of course, you may have been able to make up a better story than I did!
Thanksgiving morning started out like any normal day. Two morning Masses, Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, Confessions and Benediction are all standard. The congregations were a bit larger than normal as people came to turn a secual holiday into a Catholic one. But since we are not cloistered monks and monkettes we cannot spend all of our time in church, so eventually everyone departed to get together with family and friends at home. As for me, I went with Fr. Dorvil, Fr. Claude (who is staying with us for a few months as he works to improve his English for his next assignment), and my mom (and her dog) over to my sister Karen’s house, where the family was gathering this year.
The house was packed. Brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, cousins, aunts, uncles, parents and grandparents, friends and neighbors and, of course, pets, were all together eating and drinking and playing and, far too often, yelling at the television whenever one of the Detroit Lions players somehow forgot, right in the middle of a play, that he was supposed to be playing football. Everyone was having a great time but one important member of the family had not yet arrived. Aunt Irma had called to say that she was running late. She also announced that she was bringing some bishops with her, so we had better be on our best behavior. I guess at this point I had better explain a little of the background to the rest of this story. A couple of weeks ago the US bishops were holding a meeting in Baltimore and Aunt Irma was one of the thousands of Catholic Faithful who stood outside greeting them, praying for them, and trying to ask them some rather pointed questions. Aunt Irma is nothing if not creative and she devised a plan which she was sure would get the bishops’ attention. A grocery store chain was advertising a free turkey to anyone who got the flu vaccine at the store’s pharmacy. So she went to AAA and got a Trip Tik which included directions to each store branch within a few miles of her route to Maryland and got a vaccine and a turkey at nearly a dozen different stores. She made little bishop’s outfits for the turkeys and outside of the conference hotel she set out ten big fat butterballs dressed in pink cassocks and zucchettos (I, um, suppose she must have run out of the red color which a bishop usually wears). Above them she placed a large banner stating in bold letters, “Let’s talk turkey, turkeys. Salmonella sickened dozens and we recalled every damned one of them. We ask less than that of you. Demand a recall of your fellow bishops who are poisoning us still! Your silence makes us sick!” I am sure you saw the coverage of that in the news.
So now back to the story. Aunt Irma did not bring any real bishops with her. Instead, she brought the turkeys still dressed up in their clerical attire. Unfortunately for everyone involved, it seems that there are some side effects to receiving so many flu shots in such a short period of time. Or maybe it had something to do with being in such close contact with such a large group of bishops. But for whatever reason, it had never occurred to her that the turkey bishops needed refrigeration. She had simply kept them in her car on display for one and all to see. Oh, and her olfactory nerves were completely disabled, as she never realized that the putrid stench of rotting turkey bishops, “which outwardly appear to men beautiful, but within are full of dead men's bones, and of all filthiness” (Mt 23:27) not only completely saturated her entire car but also her, its driver. Although she was, due to her clever, brazen confrontation, our family hero, we simply could not allow her into the house, for the fetid bishop smell clinging to her would have been unbearable for the rest of us. So we convinced her to stay out back with the younger boys. You all know that for some reason boys seem to be fascinated with stinky, rotting things, and we enticed them further by letting it slip that Aunt Irma had battled the bishops and had been turned into a zombie. They were thrilled to stay, play and eat with her the rest of the day. (You don’t get to smell the zombies while watching them on TV, but I bet you cannot get that stench part out of your mind the next time you sit down to watch another zombie movie!) So, how was your Thanksgiving?
With prayers for your holiness,
Rev. Fr. Edwin Palka