Monday, January 2, 2012


According to Bill Bryson's book, "At Home," the idea of a weekend did not exist until the 19th century.  Until then the weekend was considered Sunday at that was it.  The term itself did not even exist until 1879 and even then it meant the latter part of Saturday (after work) and Sunday.  So having Saturday AND Sunday off is a rather modern thing for which we should be very thankful.

Unless you do not have Saturday and Sunday off.  There are plenty of these.  Postmen, firefighters, policemen, many of those who work in the medical field, clerks, cooks, waitresses, . . . the list could go on and on.

Priests could be added to that list also.  It depends, of course, how busy one's parish is and how much you are willing to work, but the weekend is not generally a "day off."  Even after the Mass schedule is over we usually might have a program or service or event to attend - or even help out with one of the evening Masses at a local parish.  But once in a blue moon, for example New Year's Day, there was NOTHING.

Well that is not entirely true.  Fr. Pfeiffer had something to do - but I had NOTHING and nobody wanted anything from me.  "Got no deeds to do, no promises to keep . . ." 

The last of our people left around 3PM and I locked the doors and daydreamed about what to do with the remainder of the day.

Okay, I'll admit to not doing anything exciting by other people's standards - but by me, it was a glorious afternoon!  The rectory always - ALWAYS - has people in it.  It is very rare to have the whole joint to myself.  So I did things I usually can't - walk around in PJ's, drinking coffee, playing music too loudly (I don't even like to do it but the point is that I could) and left the toilet seat up in the downstairs necesarium.
Another advantage to living at a church is that there is so much stuff to do when there is nothing to do.  I enjoy going up in the choir loft and playing the pipe organ.  Since you use your feet, you can play Heart and Soul all by yourself.

Just kidding.  I would never play Heart and Soul in the church.  But even if you do not know how to play the organ there is an advantage, if you are adventuresome, to having a pipe organ.  One can go exploring among the pipes.
This is not so interesting if you have an electric organ.

Same goes for climbing the bell tower to look at the bells.

That reminds me of a story from when I was a seminarian.  I was working at St. Augustine to help earn money for the school year.  They had fake bells in the bell tower BUT they also had a real bell that was not longer in use.  When it was time to take a break, I would turn off the artificial bells, take my lunch up into the bell tower and ring the Angelus manually.

My sister joined me one time.  I warned her that it was going to be MUCH louder than she could imagine.  She did not believe me.

So we were up there ringing the Angelus when all of a sudden the bell just went absolutely quiet.  It still swung back and forth but it was no longer going BONG! BONG! BONG!  After a few moments it occurred to me that the clacker, the big heavy thing inside the bell responsible for making it go BONG had fallen out!

Now this was particularly disturbing because the way to get into the bell areas was through a trap door located DIRECTLY UNDERNEATH THE BELL.  From there it was SEVEN STORIES straight down.  At the base of the bell tower is the shrine to St. Joseph.  At first the only thing we could think of was that this heavy bar of medal had fallen seven stories right on top of St. Joseph's head.

Fortunately, it has missed the trap door (by inches) and had landed safely (safely being a relative term) on the floor of the bell chamber.  The pin that held the clacker in place and shimmied out so my sister did her best to hold it back in place while I tried to put the pin back in.

We were very thankful that more damage was not done than there was.
Since then the bell has been taking out of the tower for safety reasons.
I hope we did not have anything to do with that decision.



lgreen515 said...

This is a fantastic story. Thank you for letting us share your afternoon vicariously.

Anonymous said...

Oh Fr. thanks for give me a real gut-busting giggle. What a good start to 2012

Sara Beis said...

Father, Glad you enjoyed your New Year's afternoon and evening!!!! Also, please you didn't knock St. Joe's head off - could have been a bad omen!!! LOL
I love your drawings! Sara

Anonymous said...

Everyone needs a day like this once in a while -- so glad you did! And the bell story was quite funny!

Anonymous said...

did you and your sister go to confession after that naughty caper in the bell tower?


De Liliis said...

What a story! :D

Julie Keeler said...

I remember ringing the bell when the bell was still rung by the acolytes (in the sacristy I think). I was 5 (So 1991). My Grandma Ozbolt (who used to help clean the church) took me back there with permission of the residing priest. It was sooooo neat to be able to be the one to make such a loud sound!

Anyway, this story is so hilarious. I think this one might be my favorite! Keep these cartoons coming!