Monday, January 23, 2012


Not too long ago I told you about the story of my sister and I almost knocking out Saint Joseph during my time as a seminarian working at Saint Augustine in Barberton.  That brought to mind another story that took place that summer.  Now that I think of it - it is amazing that they kept me employed there.

This took place before the bell incident.  I was sent up into the bell tower to see what condition it was in.  To get up to the bell one has to climb a number of stories on a rung ladder that has not breaks in it all the way up.  It was quite a climb. 

The bell housing itself was in pretty poor condition and there were a couple projects that needed attention.  One would be to paint the metal so that it would stop rusting. 

The other job was to clean out years of accumulated bird donations.  This was not a fun job but I was grateful to have something to do to earn money to return to seminary so I got a shovel and some industrial sized plastic bags and got to work.

Now, the trick was trying to get the donations from the birds OUT of the bell tower.  I couldn't just toss it out onto the city sidewalk below.  No, it had to be carried down the ladder and disposed of properly.  That meant trying to climb a vertical ladder with only one hand and my chin.

The above is what I saw.  The bag was so heavily full of bird droppings that the industrial bag slowly started to rip.  What could I do?  I could not let go of the ladder.  Even if I did, then what?  Like watching an inevitable car wreck, there was nothing to do but watch the bag rip away from my hand.

And that it did, plummeting seven or so stories straight down the bell tower into the upstairs sacristy where it made a terrible explosion of filth.  But that was not the worst of it.  The disgusting cloud was not content to remain confined in the upstairs sacristy, it sent it's deathly plume up the tower like a chimney - or like an explosion in an elevator shaft in some actions packed movie.

It was horrible.  And the door to the server's sacristy downstairs was also open and so the whole place filled with years of disintegrated droppings.  I would have fired me at that point.  But kindly Mrs Z said not to worry and she helped me clean up as much as possible. 

Now I always buy quality trash bags.


Baron Korf said...

Is it bad that this made me think of the rock climbing scene from Princess Bride?

lgreen515 said...

Even funnier than the St. Joseph story. Mrs. Z. was the soul of Christian Charity.

Bear Paw said...

Fr. V., the road to the priesthood is even more difficult than I ever would have imagined!