Saturday, May 07, 2005

Prince of the Church

I saw Father McSweeney today at Whole Foods. Had not seen him in years…..He had not changed a wit.

We chatted briefly. He no longer plays golf: too expensive. He used to play for free at Rancho Canada, and wondered if perhaps Nick the Dick had remembered him in his will.

I am thinking…..Not.

Father M is one of the great Irish priests: a gentle, quiet man. Never occurred to him to grab a dick, I am sure.

My favorite Father McSweeney story:

On Christmas in 1986, I took my whole clan to Mass. Why? Lord knows. I had worked from 7am to 11pm every day since July 4th on our restaurant Secrets…where Tarpey’s Roadhouse is now. I was way into the Jolt Cola….maybe half a case a day. I am was a case. Whatever.

My first day off was Christmas, and even then the evil in-laws from Ohio were visiting. Too cheap to rent a motel room, they were sleeping everywhere in our little house. My brother Steve was there as well…he got a room at Blue Sky. No wonder I went to Mass.

Anyway, Mass was fine. On the way out, the old Italian baker that lived where Holly Farms is now gave me a panatone. Quite nice. Father M said Hi, and was not even too shocked to see us all.

Then I went home, tried out Brendan’s controversial skateboard (you'll shoot your eye out!), stepped off it at a dead stop, and shattered my leg in a million pieces. Turns out that mass quantities of caffeine leaches the calcium from your bones….Ooops. I was screaming away in the driveway, and no one in the house could hear. The neighbor lady heard me and came over and said,”What is wrong?” “I broke my fucking leg, what does it look like?” I am a charming patient.

Anyway, three weeks later…in the post office….on crutches, big cast.....I run into Father McSweeney.

“Michael, me lad. What in the world has become of you here?”

“Well, Father….I went to Mass at Christmas, collected my panatone, went home and broke my leg…..Come to think of it….I’d like my twenty dollars back…..”

“Michael…..For shame. Twenty dollars at Christmas! No wonder you broke your fucking leg!!”

A Prince of the Church……


Blogger Joey B said...

Father McSweeney. Oh! My! God! Lovely man who use to come into the deli and order a large soup of the day. He would walk away somewhere - who knows? - and come back to collect his soup. A little forgetful he was and when he forget to pay, well, I have been waiting for the strike of lightning all my life and I didn't want to push it with such a sweet man. Hoep he enjoyed all the free soup. We enjoyed giving it to him. Dad is resting in heaven now just as he rested during Father McSweeney's sermons.
God Bless him.

8:00 PM  

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