Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Heathen Bound for Heaven?

Forgive me father for I have sinned. It has been 20 years since my last confession. (It has been awhile, so shoot me.)

This was my planned introduction for when I finally got back in the swing of church going. I was raised Catholic. Mom dragged us to church every Sunday until we were Confirmed and then felt bold enough to put up a fight.

Surprisingly, I ended up at a Catholic College, but somehow avoided all but one religion course in 4 years. (That one was required.)

But, lets get to the heart of the matter.

NEWS ALERT: Scandal! I am divorced.

And since I am divorced and therefore a sinner, I have been banned from the Catholic Church.

When Joe and I first got married we visited the Catholic Church in Freehold, NJ (where we were living) and inquired about joining. We were told flat out that we could attend, but we could not be members because I am divorced. So, we said $crew this and we moved on. Meaning, we haven’t been to church in oh, seven years save for a few weddings and christenings.

When my sister got married I could not be her maid of honor, because I was not Catholic. Really? I’m not Catholic anymore? If I start eating Italian food does that make me not Irish anymore?

But, I digress.

When my niece was born I could not be her Godmother because I was not Catholic. Or so we thought … After new Godparents (I call them the B Team) were selected and it was discovered that the Godfather was not Catholic (more scandal) we learned that only one Godparent had to be Catholic. Now, you tell us!

So, my sister gets knocked up again, asks me to be Godmother and I say, “of course” and then go on to suggest that despite the fact that I do not have to be a member of a church, maybe we will re-visit joining the Catholic Church. Surely, there must be some wiggle room …

So, I draft a lovely letter to the local church – an excerpt of which is provided below…

"Dear Father:

Now, we both understand the rules of the church, but we had hoped that there would be some level of forgiveness and that we would be welcomed back – after all isn’t confession and forgiveness a key component of the church?

We realize that we were divorced and are remarried, but it is rather upsetting when we are told that we cannot be a part of our family sacraments because of circumstances that took place many years ago.

So, I am writing now to see if we would be welcomed to join the church.

I attach our completed Parish Registration Form and look forward to your reply..."

Well, we were shocked to receive a “Welcome to the Parish” letter just days later. Really? We’re accepted woo hoo! Oh, and look they even included offering envelopes in our welcome package – I guess they really want us to start “participating” immediately.

And then, the phone rang. Um yeah, they forgot to mention that in order for us to really be members I would have to track down the dead beat that I married in the Catholic Church 10 years ago and get an annulment. Oh, and I would have to pay for my sins to the tune of $1,000. Really? What a bargain!

We just received our second set of offering envelopes.

I think it is time to break the news to Father Flanagan. It’s a no go father. I paid enough in that marriage.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Red Sox Naughton: My Life with a Red Sox Fan

It all started six years ago when I went against the grain and married a Red Sox fan. As the daughter of a devout NY Yankee fan and having grown up in a Yankee household this was considered a "mixed marriage".

Six years ago though, the Red Sox still sucked and the Yankees were still in the midst of their reign.

But, I'll admit I caught the fever. I've always been a fan of the underdog. I'll always pick the losing team in the hopes of a momentous comeback. I love watching grown men rush to the middle of the field and cry. It is hard not to get caught up in the moment.

I can remember sitting in my living room in October '86 watching game 6 of the Mets / Red Sox world series. The rest of the family was asleep and I was stunned as the Sox' first baseman let the ball roll threw his legs. (I was secretly rooting for the Mets that time 'round, which is why I waited for my Dad to go to bed before I turned the game on.) Nothing like a blooper to change history.

Ironically, later learned that Joe's greatest heartbreak wasn't a result the girlfriends who came before me, but instead it was a man named Buckner who broke his heart in '86. Yes, his deepest heartbreak came from an unwavering love of the Red Sox.

When the 2004 playoffs rolled around pitting the Red Sox against the Yankees I chose the Red Sox (much to my family's dismay) -- after all they were the underdog. And, I cheered right along with Joe as they broke the 86 year curse.

This past January as Joe's 40th birthday loomed, I decided to give him the best gift of all. You see, my love had never been to Fenway to see his love.

We purchased tickets for three games opening week. We flew out of Savannah in 70 degree temperatures and landed in Boston amidst snow, sleet, and rain.

That first night, we got off the subway and started the short walk to Fenway from the station and I could sense Joe's anticipation. As we rounded the corner and the Green Monster came into view Joe stopped dead in his tracks and stared. He was brought to tears and admittedly so was I. He was finally living his dream and I was honored to have been standing by his side. I never believed that the love of the game could be this powerful.

Joe worries about his Red Sox hat rotation with the same fervor that Francona worries about the pitching rotation. Today, Joe selected the Saint Paddy's Day green hat. Hopefully, Francona's decision to start Lester will not find Joe in his old school blue wool hat tomorrow night.

Here's hoping. Go Sox!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

When Grown Men Cry

Ok, they weren't crying, but it looked like they wanted to.

I speak of Joe, his best friend Joe P (we call him Pickles) and Billy Mentor, the two Joes's friend since grade school.

The highlight of our trip last week was not the air travel, as you may have guessed, but instead was witnessing the reunion of these three life-long friends.

It was moving, it was entertaining and it was downright hilarious to watch the three of them try to play touch football in the street. Just like the old days with seventy-five collective years added on ...

Grown men in their forties trying to turn back the hands of time with a little pigskin ...

Here is what I learned:

1. 40 is not the new 30 (This was actually Joe's quote.)
2. Men, in some cases, forge stronger relationships than women (a surprise to this communication scholar.)
3. The time between visits with good friends feels like minutes. It has been a year since our last visit to Pickles' & Ev's, but when we walked through the front door it seemed like it was yesterday.
4. Laughter is the best medicine.
5. No matter how much you love where you live, there is no place like home.

The four of us - Ev, my Joe, me, & Pickles.

Billy, Joe, & Pickles.

Note: My Joe is the only one with hair that isn't gray or missing!

They sure look winded to me!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Air Travel: The Threequel

Ok, I lied. I said we were done traveling for the year, but we had one more trip left in us. So, we packed the bags in preparation for a long weekend in the ol' homeland to visit with old friends and party like rock stars (well actually, old rock stars, who went to bed by 10:00 p.m. 2 of the 3 nights.)

It is no secret that I am less than thrilled with the status of air travel today. I don't know if it is the airlines or my fellow passengers that tweak me more, but I digress...

All our bags were packed, we were ready to go and then our flight from Charleston to Newark was cancelled. Yup, completely wiped from the board. Weather had backed things up pretty bad in Newark so rather than try to work out the problem, Continental started scrapping evening flights all together. This is when the stress began to mount...

"Um yes, we were booked on flight 2874 scheduled from CHS to EWR this evening and it has been cancelled."

"There isn't another flight for two days? Are you kidding me? You can't just cancel a flight and tell us it will be two days before we can get anywhere. Ok, thank you for checking."

"Fly out of Savannah tonight? That would be great! Can you change our return flight so that we arrive in Savannah as well? No, well then we would have to get sometime to pick us up in Charleston and drive us two and a half hours to get our car in Savannah, is that something you would like to do for us? No, I didn't think so. Yes, I'll hold."

elevator music -- elevator music -- elevator music

"Tomorrow morning is fine, Charleston to Newark, fine. Noooo, thank you!"

Fast forward 60 hours and we are back at Newark airport.

Rental car returned; bags checked; 60 minutes in the security line (this is when you really appreciate little ol' Savannah and Charleston airports) and we are at the gate ready to board.

"Ladies and gentlemen on flight 2322 to Charleston, we have oversold this flight and we are looking for volunteers to give up their seats ..."

Can you see the steam coming out of my ears? How do they "over sell" the flight"?

Dear Continental - 19 rows at 3 seats to a row = 57 seats. Once you hit 57 seats sold, STOP for the love of Pete, STOP!

Fast forward 60 minutes ...

With two $300 continental vouchers in hand and eight bucks a piece in airport food vouchers we are on our way back to Hertz to re-rent our car and re-drive back to Joe and Ev's to re-sleep one more night in the homeland.

This my friends, is our final trip for the year.