Wednesday, February 16, 2005

They Just Don't Make Them Like Him Anymore

The female staff at work today were treated to lunch at a wonderful Italian restaurant. If you have been following my blog posts, you know that I work at a church. The pastor took the ten of us as a goodbye luncheon for Lynn who is moving on to work with her son in an educational supply store. The pastor is getting ready to retire in a few months, so we did some reminiscing about some of the past pranks and assorted shenanigans that have taken place over the past few years.

Now if you think working at a church would be dull, you are very mistaken. It helps to have a wonderful Irish pastor with a good sense of humor and a Director of Religious Education who just can't help pulling pranks. I will attempt to give you a couple of examples that you will be able to picture in your minds.
OK, here is the cast of characters...
  • Director of Religious Education... we'll call her "Mary." It's a Catholic church, so any female over the age of 30 has a 50-50 chance of being named Mary or some form of Mary... like Mary Ann, Mary Ellen, Mary Jane, Mary Lou, Marianne, Maria, etc. Mary is in her late thirties and attractive.
  • Young priest in residence... we will call him "Young Father."
  • Youth Minister... we will call him "David."
  • Rectory housekeeper... we will call her "Marlene."
  • Older Irish Pastor... we will call him "Irish Pastor." He will be retiring in June.
  • Older Irish Pastor's good buddy who loves a good joke and is always ready to help with a prank or instigate one himself, and is also Irish... we will call him "Fr. Tommy." He is retired and works part-time in the parish.
  • Cantankerous Maintenance Man... (do they come any other way?) ... we will call him "Joe."
  • Middle-Aged Polish priest... we will call him "Fr. Ed"

Example 1

Mary, who can't help herself, was in the church helping to decorate for an upcoming event. Young Father and David, the Youth Minister, were up in the sanctuary discussing some of the details of the event. Mary had a brilliant idea.

Deciding to take a break from decorating, Mary started to walk up the center aisle of the church towards the Sanctuary. She carried with her a long garland which she had yet to hang in the church. That is when it happened. It just popped into her head without warning. She had a vision of a Dr. Seuss book. Some of you may be familiar with one of his books about someone who wished they had duck feet. The wishes go on to include other body part exchanges including a monkey tail. Are you getting the picture?...Garland and monkey tail?

As Mary proceeded up the aisle towards Young Father and David, she proceeded to lift up the back of her dress and tuck one end of the garland into her underwear. When the garland, now a monkey tail, was secure, she put her dress back into place and continued up the aisle. Her backside was away from the sanctuary so that her exposed underwear could not have been seen from the Sanctuary. As she approached the steps to go up into the sanctuary, Mary tossed her new tail at Young Father and David. She noticed that David was doing his best to stifle his laughter. A glance at Young Father, however, showed a different look. He was almost stone faced, but Mary could tell that Young Father was not happy.

Mary said a few more words and then turned to go back to decorating since Young Father was certainly not appreciating her antics. As she turned around the look on her face turned to one of horror. Near the back of the church in a pew was an elderly man praying. She turned back to David and Young Father, who now had the glimmer of a smile on his face, and asked in a hushed voice if the man had been there the whole time. Affirmation of the elderly man's presence the entire time was given by David, who was now really, really trying to stifle his laughter, as well as by Young Father, who was now almost grinning. Realizing that the elderly man was probably witness to her stuffing the garland into her underwear, Mary did her best, as discreetly as was possile, to remove her monkey tail from her underwear.

Mary knew what she had to do. She walked back down the aisle of the church, being careful not to look at the elderly man, and went out the door of the church. She then walked over to the administration building. Irish Pastor was in his office there. Mary knew that Irish Pastor might get a complaint from the elderly man regarding her exposing herself in church, and it was her responsibility to warn Irish Pastor of that possibility. It would not do to have him taken off guard.

As meekly as she could, Mary stepped into Irish Pastor's office. She did her best to explain her actions and the presence of the elderly man. Irish Pastor sat quietly and listened to what she had to say. Occasionally, he would nod his head. When Mary was done, Irish Pastor sat quietly for a few more moments. He then said, " Well, Mary, maybe now he will come to church more often."

Example 2

Mary, who can't help herself, had another brilliant idea. She had brought to work a child's broken stick horse to see if Joe, the cantankerous maintenance man, could repair it for her. After a few weeks, Mary realized that Joe had no intention of fixing this horse. So now she had a prop. A prop and time on her hands can be a dangerous thing when Mary is involved!

Young Father had been a bit annoying of late. He was going through a stage where he was a little too filled with his own self-importance. This was not to be. We are a fun-loving staff and no one gets away with things like that for long without paying the consequences. Who else to to take on this important mission of instilling priestly humility and bringing back Young Father's sense of humor, but Mary!

Enter the prop... the broken stick horse. Now if you ever saw the Godfather movies, you might remember that a horse's head has some special significance. Mary now had a useless horse head looking for a use. Along came the other chief prankster in the parish Fr. Tommy. Fr. Tommy is known for his visits to Ireland to recharge the Blarney Stone, so he was the perfect co-conspirator for Mary's caper. It took little convincing to get Fr. Tommy to agree to sneak the horse head into Young Father's room and put it under the covers in his bed that evening while Young Father was not there. He couldn't resist this opportunity to harass Young Father who fiercely protected his privacy.

When Mary arrived home later that evening, the message light on her phone was blinking indicating a message. She picked up the phone and listened to the message from her co-conspirator... in serious and hushed tones came... "The deed has been done." Click. Mary went to bed that night thinking she had just scored a great prank and couldn't wait for all of the laughter the next day.

The next morning when Mary arrived at work, she did not find laughter. What she found was a hysterical housekeeper, Marlene, trying to tell one of the priests, Fr. Ed, that she was not responsible for what had happened. The accents were flying. Fr. Ed, being Polish, was trying to make sense out of what Marlene, being Puerto Rican, was saying. Now both of them speak Spanish, but in her excitement, Marlene was trying to do her best in English. Enter Mary.

Now Mary figured out fairly quickly that her prank had backfired, but her first concern was to get Marlene to lower her voice and pronounce her words correctly. Parishioners stopping through the office were wondering what on earth was going on. It seems that Young Father had been accusing first Fr. Ed, and then Marlene of putting the horse head under the covers in his bed. Young Father was angry. Marlene was loudly exclaiming, "I no put de head of de hore in de bed! I no put de hore in de bed!" Fr. Ed was also being adamant about not being responsible. And Mary was trying to explain to Marlene that the word was pronouced "horsssse" and not "hore."

Once again, Mary knew that she would have to hang her head, apologize to Young Father, and when Irish Pastor returned from his trip, meekly step into his office. She, once again, would have to explain what she had done, and warn him that there may be some parishioners indignantly complaining about a whore being in the rectory while he was gone.

When Irish Pastor returned from his trip, Mary attempted her best meek and humble posture, and walked into Irish Pastor's office to explain herself. Fr. Tommy was also there discussing the latest sports news from Ireland appearing on Irish Pastor's computer screen. Fr. Tommy knew what was up and did not say a word. Once again, Irish Pastor sat quietly and on occasion nodded his head. When she was through, Irish Pastor sat quietly for a few moments. "Now Mary, you know, at times you probably should think before you do these things." After a few more calm words, he dismissed her from his office. Seconds after the door was closed, the dam broke and very loud gufaws could be heard coming from the two old Irish chums inside Irish Pastor's office.

They just don't make them like that any more! We are all hopeful that Irish Pastor's replacement will not be too much of a shock to our systems. Mary, especially, hopes that.


Carol (Smiles and Laughter) said...

Hi Rhodent!

Saw your comment on my blog. Thanks for linking yours to mine!!

I enjoyed reading yours, too. And, considering my husband is a minister, I know the anctics that can go on. It's not boring at all! :)

Hey, I noticed in your links you visit a lot of the blogs I do!

Woody said...

Hi Rhodent! These are a couple of great stories. I'm grinning all the way to work tonight! Thank you.

L said...

ha ha ha ha ha! GREAT post!! I laughed so hard when I read about the monkey tail :)

You could probably fill an entire blog with just amusing posts about your job!

Green-Eyed Lady(GEL) said...

I *so* enjoy reading your mouse-tales! Nice color usage.

(Even if I weren't an artist, I think I'd still have fun playing w/ the colors.) Off to read other blogs you've recommmended. :)

CG said...

Excellent post! I couldn't imagine working somewhere where I didn't get along with coworkers. Sounds like you have a great job!

happyandblue2 said...

Great post. Very funny. Not anything like I would have expected it to be like working in a church.