THE GOOLD OLD DAYS!
Growing up in Haïti, my Father was not only a good provider, but he was a creature of habits as well. We faithfully went to the Drive in Theater every Friday night. We had Ice cream every Sunday. And, he always made sure we went to church every weekend. Unless, he was driving us to the Country Side.
No, I did not say he himself went to church, rather he made sure we were in church. Yes, we believed in God. I’m sure my Father did too. But, to be honest, God had nothing to do with our faithful church attendance back then.
Of course, we greeted him with the sign of the cross, once we arrived at the Church! Don’t you think it would be disrespectful to walk inside a man’s house, and not even devote one second to say at least “Hello!”
For a fact, the most pressing reason why my sisters and I looked forward to Sunday Mass, was just so we can check out the latest fashion. Yes, we practically wore a new outfit every Sunday. For that purpose, we needed to keep up with the latest style. As for my brother? Well! I think he was pre-occupied conversing with God about all His gorgeous female creations!
So, let me share with you our typical conversation during ongoing Mass:
|My Older Sister||Me||My younger Sister||My Brother|
|“Look at that yellow dress to my right, center bench!”||“The one with the lace, or the belt? Because the lace one is mine for next Sunday!”||“Which one? Where? I don’t see anything!”||“Beautiful! She looks cultured, got to have her number!”|
|“Oh! You like the one with the lace? That’s pretty too!”||“Yeah! I can sew it with the blue fabric Papy brought me? Will wear my hair up!”||“Where? Which one? Don’t see anything!”||“OMG! Is it Angel day today? Look at that face? Truly made by God’s hands. Am dying here, DYING!|
|“Now, that’s a purse! Look at her matching shoes!”||“LOOK AT THE JEWELRY and the scarf! I bet you they are from Paris! Her mother own “La Trouvaille Boutique!”||“Don’t see anything! Oh! Talking about her? She’s in my school!”||“OMG! I’m in love! Wonder if her brother will give me a hard time?”|
|“Amen! While she kneels down. “Wow! He is cute!”||“Amen!” While I kneel down! “That ugly boy is staring at me, how freaky is that?”||“Amen!”
While she kneels down.” I wonder if the soup is ready at home!Oh! She’s in my school too!”
|“Amen!” While He kneels down. “Please Saint Altagrace, if you make her look at me, I won’t bug you till next Sunday!”|
|“It’s time for Communion let’s go! Take a good look at the dress for me ok?”||“Check out the front neckline, and any details as she walks by!”||“Is Thomas waiting for us outside? I’m hungry, hope we have some French bread!”||“OMG! She was right in front of me, she smells like fresh roses! But her brother was too close, couldn’t ask for her number!”|
|“So did you see that dress? Definitely my next Sundays outfit!”||“Oh my God, how gross? He asked me for my number!”||“His sister goes to my school, his the colonel son!”||“Who asked you for your number? How dare him?”|
So, at last while at the dinner table, while we’re sipping our traditional Sunday soup; if Papy were to ask us:
“What was the subject of the Mass today?”
“My older sister would answer: “About God’s infinite grace and providence!”
“My younger sister: “I think it was about the life of Saint Augustine, I was too hungry to listen.”
Me: “It was about God’s creations, all the beautiful jewelry, fabrics, flowers, and that ugly boy who winked at me.”
My brother: “Yes! His graceful beautiful providence left me charmed!”
Father Pierre pleasantly answered, “Good morning! And good morning to you both! But what is going on between you two again?”
Sister Morte held both of her hands together, as if she was about to say a prayer, she promptly answered, “Father, I highly recommend we transfer this troubled child to a more suitable school.” And I strongly recommend some major penance for her, or I fear she will be a lost case.”
Then I also placed both of my hands together, as if I was about to say a prayer, before I said: “Father Bald head, I think you should return Dracula’s wife back to him. If not, Sister Morte will suck all the children blood from this school!”
“Who is Sister Morte?” Father answered, as he refrained himself from laughing.
“Dracula’s wife Father. Don’t you know, all the children are complaining about her. We all refer to her as the “Nasty Unpleasant Nature” Nun.”
“Oh my child!” Exclaimed Father Bald Head. “You must not speak so unpleasantly of the servant of our Lord. She is considered to be the spouse of our Lord. Whatever misunderstanding between you two, I’m sure with prayer, it can be resolved. Don’t’ you think so little angel?”
“Little Angel?” Sister Marie, I mean Sister Morte yelled. Immediately after she took a deep breath, she said, “Father, this child is far from being an angel. I’m afraid she is as stubborn as a mule, and she’s the enemies’ offspring, therefore all the prayers of the Saints couldn’t possibly transport her soul back into the light.”
” I was so infuriated by her statement, I decided to take matters into my own hands, so I yelled back: “Well at least I’m still a child, and only had my first communion so far. There’s still hope for me!!! But I bet you had your six sacraments, and.“
“Ok, both of you, in- MY – OFFICE!” Father Bald Head said impatiently.
So both of us folded our arms almost simultaneously. When we realized we had the same habit, we both dropped them as fast as possible. We suddenly attempted to walk forward, but accidently bumped to each other. So, there I was standing in front of her, with my head up, staring at her. I felt like a tiny aunt crawling on a giant tree. Father stood there with his hand crossed, as if he wanted us to realize how much we had in common. Sister Morte finally raised her chin, then turned around, as quickly as she could, and started to walk toward the direction of Father’s office. Then, I refolded my arms, as I followed her. Father remained behind us.
As we entered his office, he instructed us to take a sit, as he pulled a book from the shelf.
“You sit there child!” Sister Morte said.
“No, you sit there, I want to sit in front of Father.” I answered her.
So Father silently got up, pulled both chairs, and placed his chair in the center. Now we were all sitting behind his desk, next to Father.
“Please read this passage.” As he pointed his finger on a particular paragraph, he gave the book to Sister Morte.
It reads: “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.”
Then Father instructed her to: Give the book to Angel, so she can read the following sentence. So, I gladly grabbed the book from Sister Morte, then read:
“You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.” Immediately I raised my head and turned toward Sister Morte and yelled “You see, I knew you were salty, even the book said it Sister Morte. With a smile I said, “But I’m a light, and.”
Father interrupted “The PURPOSE of this reading was not meant for you both to pass judgment on each other! As he lowered his tone, “But rather for a reflection on self.” Let me read the third sentence.”
“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”
After he was finished, we both remained silent. Almost speechless, as if we were ashamed. And to justify the shame and the guilt which evidently prickled my heart, I slowly whispered:
“Well she is the salty one!”
Sister Morte turned to look at me, but did not say a word. Then as Father closed the book, he said “With that being said, I have an assignment for you both to complete together.”
“TOGETHER?” We both yelled. “BUT THAT’S IMPOSSIBLE!!!”
To be continued.
I love Catholic schools. I think their academic standards are excellent, although I still question some of their religious beliefs. Yes, I respect their worldwide excellence in contributing not only on an academic level, but charitable as well. Furthermore, I have to admit, while my siblings went to Catholic school during most of their academic training, I on the other hands went there, during some of my academic years. Honestly, one day I could not stop myself. I felt obliged to squeeze the wrath out of one particular nun. That’s when I asked her the following question:
“Did you wake up on the wrong side of the bed this morning?”
Yap! She was one of my elementary school teacher. Her name Was Sister Marie, but I called her “Sister Morte,” which meant in French “Sister Dead”
“What did you say?” She answered me. So I repeated:
“Did you wake up on the wrong side of the bed THIS MORNING?”
“Venez ici – Petite impertinente!” Meaning “Come here you little impertinent!”
I did not budge. “Come here – I said!” As she slightly raised her voice.
“Not with that ruler in your hand Sister! Remember, last time you hit me so hard, the palm of my hand turned as red as a plum tomatoe. Yes, it was swollen for two days, just because I wore a blue SOCK instead of WHITE!”
So, as she proudly raised her chin, she said: “The prowwww-per uniform code is “Whittt’e shirt. Naaaa-vy blue skirt. AND “white,” Yes “WHITTT’E Sock!” But, you were wearing BLUE sock, and today, you are still wearing a BLUE SOCK!”
So I answered her in the same tone: “Well Sister MORTE, do you remember that I Aaaaaam a chiiiiiiii-ld and, this is what the sorcière (meaning witch) caring for ME, gave ME to wear this morning? For all I know, you both are probably sisters!”
“Young lady, you must not call your mother a witch.” By then she was trying to grab me by my ear.
So I started playing jump rope between the chairs, so she could not catch me, while I answered her: “For your information, I was not referring to my mother, because she lives in New York, while Im here in Haïti, with another hateful woman. I BET you wouldn’t know anything about that, would you? “Since you are stuck between these four walls, like you were in jail, where you deserve to be!”
“Ok young lady, I’m taking you to the principal office!”
“Good! Because I don’t want to be in your class anyway!” Then, I ran out of the class before she could catch me.
She took a short cut and met with me near the garden where I was standing admiring the flowers. As soon as she saw me, she straightened her posture, raised her chin in the air, made her look like a flat iron board, as she walked passed me. She occasionally turned back to stare at me, by then I was hoping on one leg, while I held the other leg with my hand. By the look she gave me, I could read in her mind; “as if she thought of me as the child from hell. But couldn’t bring herself to say it, for fear she would see a reflection of herself.” So I kept on hopping. Annoyed, she finally turned toward me to say in a calm voice:
“Young girls must not hop like this, so walk properly!”
So I replied “And dead nun should not walk with their chin up, a fly may come and hide inside their nose!”
So I kept on hoping. Then I saw another bush of pink roses. They were so beautiful, I felt compelled to at least touch them. While I admired them, I also cut a handful to make a bouquet for Sister Claire. She was my favorite nun, and she was not only beautiful but pleasant as well. But when sister Morte noticed I was cutting the flowers, she yelled, “Leave the flowers alone!” So I turned to her and said:
“Because they are not here for you to cut, but to beautify the school yard – Petite impertinente!”
“Excuse me Sister Morte, but If you were a true nun, you would understand that God created these gorgeous flowers not only to beautify the schoolyard, but for me to give them to my favorite sister, and it’s not for you either! And I bet you will never get some flowers because you are too mean!”
Just as I was shaking my little head, with my butt pointing behind, I sensed a presence. When I turned, it was my favorite priest, standing with his arm crossed over his fat stomach. Then he said: “Another feud between you two?”
“Good morning Father Bald head!” I shouted with a smile.
But she greeted him without a smile “Good morning father Pierre.”
Father Pierre pleasantly answered, “Good morning! And good morning to you both! But what is going on between you two again?”
As she held both of her hands together, as if she was about to say a prayer, she promptly answered, “Father, I highly recommend we transfer this troubled child to a more suitable school.” Furthermore, I strongly recommend some major penance for her as well, or I’m afraid she will be a lost case.”
Father Pierre turned to me with a questionable stare, awaiting an answer. Thankfully I had just watched the movie Dracula for the first time, so I had a whole bucket full of new expression. I held both of my hands together just as she did, like I was about to saymy prayer. Then I answered him:
“Father Bald head, I think you should return Dracula’s wife back to him. If not, Sister Morte will suck all the children blood from this school!”
To be continued