I really don’t have a title for this one. Had to put something up there though, so “Whatever!”
I should begin by wishing everyone a Happy Labor Day. Kick back, feet up, fire up the grill and enjoy the day, but please do so safely. Observe the suggestions from the people who know and wear masks, no more than 10 people per gathering and stay six feet away from each other. If we all do this around the world we have a chance to get closer next summer, but this virus is serious and non-discriminating and just lying in wait for people to get too close this year. We have a chance of getting out alive, but only is we all observe the suggested regulations.
Now, I started thinking about telling this story Sunday morning while attending virtual Mass being offered by my brother. Incidentally, he’s a priest so is allowed to do this — um, offer Mass, that is. I suddenly began thinking about a tall tale my dad used to tell us about back when Mass was in Latin. It seems there was a new young alter boy named Dominick. He was serving Mass for the first time and eager to please. Near the end of Mass there is a final blessing and in Latin the words are “Dominus vobiscum”, English translation — loosely translated — is “The Lord be with you”, and that is very loose because I haven’t used Latin since 1965! Okay, so the presiding priest intoned Dominus vobiscum, and then watched little Dominick head out to the rows of pews and begin to frisk all the gents. He proudly took his loot to the altar and handed it to an astonished priest who then asked him why he did that. Dominick looked at Father and replied, “You just said Dominick, go frisk ’em!”
After this I remembered something that actually happened one Sunday in my parish in Whitesville, KY. I was doing the music that Sunday morning and standing at the microphone that gave me a clear view of all that was happening. Father was supposed to read a letter from the bishop that morning but had forgotten to bring it out, so he tapped one of the servers on the shoulder and asked him to go back and “get the letter”. It was a live view of someone hearing something wrong! I was doing a meditation song at the moment but could see it all, the little boy went past the “letter” on the table in the Sacristy, out the back door and began searching for something while Father stood in the pulpit waiting, asking questions of me that I didn’t have an answer for while attempting to watch the child and not lose my place in the song I was attempting to lead. All I could do was shake my head and shrug my shoulders as much as possible with a guitar slung across them.
As I continued to watch, the child finally found one of the church maintenance men and spoke with him for a moment, then followed him as he went into a shed and finally came out carrying an extension “ladder”. Phonetics are very important at times like this. They reentered the church by a side door because the ladder was too long to bring through the back. Father stood there, mouth dropping open, the congregation slowly caught on to way there was a delay and a few giggles broke out in several places and the little boy and the man strode over to father and delivered the “ladder” instead of the “letter”, which Father, not taking any more chances left the pulpit and retrieved the letter himself.
I never asked why the maintenance man didn’t question the child about the ladder, but regional accents had a lot to do with what the priest said and what the child heard. So, Dominick, go frisk ’em while I go look for a ladder! Have a wonderful day.