Monday, August 2, 2010


On Friday our facilities manager was going about the parish grounds making sure that everything was hunky-dory before he left on vacation – a week which was writing in my calendar as the “Week of Darkness.” Why? Because that is when everything goes wrong.

We were joking that Friday that nothing big ever – EVER – goes wrong on Monday at 10:00AM. It is always on Friday night at 11:00PM or Sunday morning. So we laughed about it and he left.

He just left.

And we were here like unprotected fledgling in the nest waiting for fate to rear its ugly head.

And it did.

During confessions on Monday morning the church felt a little warm. That was not so unusual. It was blistering hot outside. Perhaps the hottest Saturday of the year. Is it any wonder the AC was not quite keeping up in such a large space?

A couple of hours before Mass I headed over to the church to see how things were. To say the least they were hot. Not just warm. HOT. It was like Hades in the summer after years of global warming on Mars.

I wish I were kidding.

So I get on my cell phone and call our man who is on vacation. He calls back a little while longer. “I am SOOOOOO sorry to disturb you,” I say, “but the AC isn’t working and it is a gazillion degrees in church. If I go down into the basement can you talk me through what needs to be done to get it working again?” As I say this I am running back to the church basement with my cell phone cassock and all. I keep some small chit chat going until I make it there, unlock the door and turn on the lights.

“First, you have to find the control panel. As you walk into the door turn right . . .” I follow his directions and assume that I am at the right piece of equipment. “Now, look for the read button and push it.” I push the button. “After you push the button you will have to . . .”

Guess what. There is very poor reception in the basement. So now I have to leave my phone out in meeting room, talk to him, run into the boiler room and perform the next step or two and then run back out to report. Eventually the thing gets running. But to no avail. For one it is too late to really cool down the building as a few hundred people show up. And on top of that it starts kicking off again. I run upstairs to shake some hands and say some hellos, run down to try to start the beast up again all the time trying to look suave and having everything under control – which is against tenant one of the spiritual life – rarely is anything under your control.

That night, from his vacation, our facilities manager called a repair man to come in. So we were cool for the rest of the week. No more vacations.

Speaking of things out of your control – last night we took Sebastian for a walk. He took off after a skunk. I started screaming, “STOP! THAT’S A SKUNK!” as if in realizing the nature of the creature he wanted to chase up a tree he would think better of it and stop. He charged. The skunk calmly turned around and lifted its tail. Fr. Pf. and I braced for the inevitable. Within a couple of feet Sebastian just stopped. So did the world. He took a couple of steps back and then ran to us. He missed out on the fun.

Was it a particularly kind skunk?
Is Sebastian incredibly lucky?
Was God intervening?

I don’t know.

I do know that whatever it was I am VERY grateful that I do not have to go out and buy tomato juice today.


Margaret Comstock said...

A priceless rendition of two fascinating events. You have made my day!

Anonymous said...

Just a little helpful hint in case you DO have to deskunk Sebastian. Tomato juice does very little (except taste good). Try this conconction:
1 Qt 3% hydrogen peroxide
1/4 cup baking soda
1 tsp. liquid soap

We had to deskunk our dog. It was a Friday morning. Let Jake out for his morning ritual then had to go to work. That evening we invited the Abbot & some friends over for dinner and to bless the house. I was going to get off work a bit early in order to prepare the dinner & tables.

Jake came to the door yelping ... and smelling of a nasty combination of garlic, onions, and skunk! The skunk had sprayed him right smack dab in the face and ran out of the yard. NICE! How are we going to keep Jake out of the house during the day so everyone who is to be arriving at 6:00pm will not be revolted by the 'new' smell of the 'new' house. My sister found the concoction above on the internet. We tried it and it worked like a charm! No skunk smell when we got back home (yeah!) and the blessing of the house was wonderful.

MJ said...

Sean wasn't so lucky Saturday evening. His dog decided to make friends and play with a skunk! He used the solution that anon. has in the comment (you may want to save that) and it worked. The smell didn't come out of her face and muzzle though so they took her to Petsmart yesterday and their groomers took care of that. Good to know they groom on Sunday. Have a feeling since we back up to woods it's only a matter of time.

Trad Tom said...


Did I read correctly: "As I say this I am running back to the church basement with my cell phone, cassock and all." ?????

Cassock? Really?? Deo gratias!

Robert M Kraus Sr said...

Cassock noun a full length garment of a single color, worn by priests, altar boys and girls, choir boys and girls, etc

Trad Tom said...

Thank you, Robert, but I am well aware of what a cassock is. I was just amazed that a parish priest of today (esp. in the Diocese of Cleveland!) would be wearing one. For some of today's pp's, just wearing his clerical blacks is a rarity!

Deo gratias!

Norah said...

We don't have skunks in Australia and we only have a few priests who wear soutanes (cassocks) or any kind of clerical garb unfortunately.