Tuesday, February 28, 2006

I'm What!? For How Long?.. 

Some years back, when I was still in elementary school, I attended my aunt and uncle's wedding which, since It was a Catholic wedding, proved to be a unique experience for me at that point in my life what with all of the "getting up" and the "kneeling down" and the "hey, how are ya's" and the "things" and the "stuff" that were part of the ceremony. Faced with such a challenge at that young age, I figured that my best bet, since I really didn't want to make Baby Jesus cry by genuflecting improperly or something, was to pick out (in my estimation) the oldest person in the church and simply mimic that person's actions, allowing oldie the oldster's OBVIOUS experience to carry me through the service. This (shrewd) strategy worked well for quite a while and, at one point, my target senior citizen left her seat and got in line for what appeared to be a "light snack" that was being passed out at the front. I figured that, given all of the religious calisthenics which I had just been put through, I had certainly earned an hors d'oeuvre or two. As such, I got myself in line and, ultimately, was handed a little wafery thing and a tiny little cup of juice...

Not a feast, but just enough to keep me goin'...

As I returned to my seat, careful to keep an eye on the wise old one who would unknowingly help me through the day's activities, I suddenly realized that I had been the only member of my immediate family to proceed to the front and acquire said "snack." This fact struck me as slightly odd, but hey: you snooze, you lose...I quickly forgot about that, however, because in no time we were all involved in another round of "Sweatin' to the Arias." Eventually, after what proved to be a pretty good workout, my aunt and uncle were "officially married" in the eyes of "the church" and gym class was over...

Finally...Man, was I beat...

Given all of the aforementioned "exercise" which I had been subjected to, I'll admit, I was pretty thirsty...As such, at the reception following the wedding, I remember putting away 28 (or so) cans of Sunkist® orange soda (and making a number of trips to the bathroom). Later, I don't quite remember how, while I was talking with my aunt and uncle, the topic of having had that "light snack" at the wedding came up. When I revealed that I had, in fact, had said "snack," my aunt was shocked.

"You took communion?" she said. "But you're not Catholic!"

"Do you have to be Catholic to have it?" I replied?

She thought for a couple of seconds and then said "well...You took it. You're Catholic now."

"I am!?" I asked, shocked. "For how long?"

"I don't know." She replied. "four years, I think...At least 4 years."

Given my young age, I was mostly mortified. How was I ever going to last four whole years in such an exercise-intensive religion? I had no idea that that little chip-thing and the dollhouse-cup full of grape juice had enough magical power inside just that little bit that I had to turn me into something completely different for FOUR WHOLE YEARS!

Right about then, I really started to feel guilty...

Ok, that last sentence was just a little joke. A Catholic joke! ha ha...Anyway...

It's been more than 20 years since that first unofficial foray into Catholicism for me. Since then, I've accepted communion at several different churches covering at least three different denominations (including nearly choking to death on some of Christ's body and blood at a Methodist church in Florida - try getting around THAT without hundreds of devout southerners collectively thinking that you're the Devil). My buddy Andy even allowed me to perform a reading at HIS Catholic wedding. While I'm no longer an official Catholic, I do feel a slight connection to the religion given my past experience. While I'm not going to confess my sins today, or enjoy special pancakes, or observe Lent or anything I support you Catholics out there who WILL be...As such, to all my real-live Catholics out there, Happy Shrove Tuesday!


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