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Nostalgia June 2014

Agelessly Yours

Five Fears According To...

By Karen White-Walker

Rosie and I scrambled down from the Protestant steps with a solemn promise to God and to Sister that we would stay with "our own kind." We're sure God will be understanding but not so sure about Sister, but Rosie married a Jewish man and I married  —  God only knows what I married, but we two “girls” still have our sights on heaven.

Had I had any inkling that what the priest was going to say at Mass last Sunday would have no bearing whatsoever on the Bible, or any religious doctrine, and leave me so depressed that I was tempted to guzzle down all the wine in the chalice, I would have gone over and visited the Protestants across the street. Yep, we can do that now, ya know, just mosey on right over to the different denominational churches without the risk of going to hell. Fifty, 60 years ago that wasn't the case — I know, because my girlfriend Rosie and I were severely chastised for sitting on a non-Catholic church's front stoop by the nun who taught us catechism class. Well, maybe severely chastised is too strong a description, but she had that disgusted, disapproving look on her face, that very same stare your chemistry teacher gave you in high school when you couldn't rattle off the Periodic table by heart. As if even Albert Einstein could?

"Off those stairs!" ordered Sister Mary “Maniac.” "Little girls don't sit like that when they're wearing dresses that their poor, aching-back mothers starched and ironed for them."

She made us think it was all about starched dresses, feeling guilty about driving our mothers to the ironing boards, and now probably showing off our underwear with our very improper unladylike sitting, but we knew it was really about hangin' out with those “heathens.” We were so confused, because weren't the religious supposed to love and embrace everybody?

"What word is in protestant?" she demanded, and I swear, Rosie and I almost fell off the steps with the velocity that that question popped out of her mouth with.

"Ant?" I responded with a quivering voice.

"No," she glared, "I mean yes, but the word I'm looking for is protest — they PROTESTED against the Catholic Church."

"But the prefix 'pro' is in it, and doesn't that mean for — FOR the church?" questioned brilliantly smart Rosie, so why in the heck was she hangin' around with me?

"What are you trying to be, young lady, insubordinate?" stuttered Sister.

Whenever teachers can't answer a question they try and nail the student for insubordination, so they're exempt from explaining their own stupidity. Of course I didn't realize that then at the tender age of seven, but I sorta do now, shame on Sister. Anyway, Rosie and I scrambled down from the Protestant steps with a solemn promise to God and to Sister that we would stay with "our own kind." We're sure God will be understanding but not so sure about Sister, but Rosie married a Jewish man and I married  —  God only knows what I married, but we two “girls” still have our sights on heaven.

Oh, in case you're wondering, and I know that you're just dying to know, what Father's sermon was all about –  well, here goes! The five top things man fears the most starting with (5) rejection, (4) bees, (3) public speaking, (2) death, and now for the biggie (1) old age. Can you imagine that, old age over death? Just think of those poor souls who never made it to Social Security. If you're lucky enough to live to old age, it's your gateway to death and hopefully, your heavenly reward. No, rejection should rank as the #1 fear for there's always that chance that we'll be turned away at the gate, and that should scare the hell out of all of us!

 

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