Old Stuff – Part 4

Nun

As the youngest of nine Catholic children, the wife’s two oldest siblings, through no fault of their own, both became nuns. The eldest rather vainly insisted one day, that she was not 20 years older.  Careful calculation revealed it was only 19 years, 11 months and 17 days.

Not being terribly Catholic, I knew that priests moved from parish to parish as needed, but thought that nuns more or less served where they enrolled, or were sent where needed – and left there. Watching these two women over the years, I was amazed at the frequent-flyer miles they racked up.  Join a convent, and see the world.  If I’d known that there was this much free world travel, I’d have become a nun.

They both became School Sisters of Notre Dame (SSND). The younger of the two was a better administrator, so she got more trips.  She was sent for two years to Le Pas, Manitoba, to organize a school district for Aboriginals, although that was more cruel and unusual punishment than reward.  She went for six months of missionary work to Ecuador – in our winter.  She flew to Rome, to the Vatican, where she met the then-Pope, and spent six months with a world-wide think-tank group.  She was brevetted to Mississippi for two years to reorganize their Catholic school system.

After several years of break-in period at a local Catholic girls’ school, the elder sister went to work at the Mother House in the Hamilton Diocese, which administers most of Southern Ontario. Not exactly world travel, it’s only an hour’s drive away and, if nuns owned cars, she could have commuted home each evening.

She returned after a couple of years, and worked as an aide at the Catholic School Board offices. Finally she was awarded a real trip.  While her younger sister, the Sister, spent six months in Ecuador, she was parachuted into the jungles of El Salvador.  She returned to Canada, and spent another couple of years at the Hamilton Mother House.

She so impressed upper management with her rigid, assertive attitude, that they offered her a five year post as a house mother to about twenty teenaged Catholic girls at an upscale private school in London, England. These were the privileged daughters of ambassadors and minor foreign royalty.

The boarding house, along with its convent and school, were hundreds of years old. With solid stone outers, there wasn’t much need for interior repair and redecorating.  The dining hall had gorgeous oak wainscoting on the lower halves of the walls.  Oxidization and polish had turned it almost black, but the grain still glowed beneath the shine.

The same oxidation eventually deteriorated the plaster walls and ceiling and it was finally decided to redo them. The Sister watched in dismay, as the glorious wood was pried off the wall and thrown away.  As the tradesmen worked, suddenly something fell from between the wood and the wall, and rolled almost to her feet.

When she examined it, it was a very thin coin. At first, she thought it might be something one of the girls had inserted, a toy, like Monopoly money.  A closer look revealed that, as thin and worn as it was, it was a real coin.  It is still a prevalent practice around the world to add a coin to a new building or addition for good luck.

Knowing that I collected coins, she held it until she returned to Canada and gave it to me. Study reveals that it is an Edward II, short-cross, silver sixpence, minted between 1547 and 1552 – Eddie didn’t rule very long – back then coins often weren’t dated.

From the wear on it, it probably didn’t get hidden till near 1600, but it gives you an idea how long ago the building was erected. Because of the wear, it’s worth ‘only’ about $25 today, but would have had about that level of buying power when it was minted.  Someone was serious about this one.  It was more than mere pocket change.

At over 450 years old, it’s the oldest thing I own. I’ve also included a few photos of my older, 1850 – 1900 Canadian coins, including a couple that were minted before the government got around to producing coinage, and allowed individual banks to issue their own.

For those who can’t see the detail, Tails side first;

Pre-1858 Bank of     Bank of Upper    Two-headed 1965
Montreal token        Canada token      Churchill commemorative
one sou.                      one penny            crown

Edward VI                 Hanover                Victorian penny
short cross               love token              186?
sixpence                   penny equal

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Ball and Chain

ball-and-chain

Two men were talking and one says to
the other, “You’re having an anniversary soon,
right?” The other replied, “Yup, a big one… 20
years.”

“Wow,” said the other, “what are you going to do
for your wife for your anniversary?” The other
replied, “I’m going to take her to Australia.”

“Wow, Australia! Now that’s something!” said the
other man. “That’s going to be hard to beat. What
are you going to do for your 25th anniversary?”

“Go back and get her.”

***

I haven’t spoken to my wife for 18 months –
I don’t like to interrupt her.

***

If there is a tourist season,
why can’t we shoot them?

***

I like to make jokes about ugly people.
I figure who’s gonna complain?
***

There cannot be a crisis next week.
My schedule is already full.

***

A carelessly planned project will take three times as long as expected.
A carefully planned project….will only take twice as long.

***

A girl realized that she had grown hair between her legs. She got worried and asked her mom about that hair. Her mom calmly said “That part where the hair has grown is called your monkey. Be proud that your monkey has grown hair”. The girl smiled. At dinner, she told her sister “My monkey has grown hair”. Her sister smiled and said “That’s nothing – mine is already eating bananas”.

***

A bus full of Nuns falls off a cliff and they all die!

They arrive at the gates of heaven and meet St. Peter. St. Peter says to them, “Sisters, welcome to Heaven. In a moment I will let you all through the pearly gates, but before I may do that, I must ask each of you a single question. Please form a single-file line.” And they do so.

St. Peter turns to the first Nun in the line and asks her “Sister, have you ever touched a penis?” The Sister Responds “Well… there was this one time… that I kinda sorta… touched one with the tip of my pinky finger…” St. Peter says “Alright Sister, now dip the tip of your pinky finger in the Holy Water, and you may be admitted.” and she did so.

St. Peter now turns to the second nun and says “Sister, have you ever touched a penis?” “Well…. There was this one time… that I held one for a moment…” “Alright Sister, now just wash your hands in the Holy Water, and you may be admitted” and she does so.

Now at this, there is a noise, a jostling in the line. It seems that one nun is trying to cut in front of another! St. Peter sees this and asks the Nun “Sister Susan, what is this? There is no rush!” Sister Susan responds “Well if I’m going to have to gargle this stuff, I’d rather do it before Sister Mary sticks her ass in it!

 

Stuff You Should Know

 

Vegetarian is an ancient tribal name for the village idiot, who can’t hunt, fish, or start a fire.

The crap that gullible people believe, coupled with thought processes that make a plate of spaghetti look neat and well organized, have led to some of the strangest, often dangerous, shit.  In the Middle Ages, the cognoscenti, the intelligent, educated (?) men noticed that ferns never produced seeds….and yet, ferns grew, and multiplied.  Therefore….Careful!  Don’t hurt yourself on this….fern seeds were invisible.  If you could find and gather enough of these seeds that couldn’t be seen, and ate them, you would become invisible too.  Can you say Dark Ages, or Inquisition??!  Or Westboro, or just Duh!

Once upon a time, (Wasn’t this week!) people had respect for themselves and others, and various institutions.  Perhaps society was a bit too restrictive, and change was an improvement, but the pendulum swung too far the other way.  I blame the hippie generation.  With the best of intentions, they tore society down, but failed to put up anything in its place, and society needs structure.

If it feels good, do it.  Like my young senator, they weren’t doing anything that their parents hadn’t done, but, you damned young fools, that’s what doors are for.  I believe this was the beginning of the downfall of the education system, no penalties, no failures, no need to work.  Spell it as it sounds.

Back then, only criminals committed criminal acts, and if caught, went to jail for them.  One did not break into neighbors’ houses, or steal or vandalize their cars.  One did not steal from neighbor-owned businesses….but, the wheel has turned, and society has changed.

Cities have grown larger, and more impersonal.  Companies are not owned by us, so there are more and more among us who are willing and anxious to steal from and damage them.  Then, if they get caught they blame parents who didn’t raise them well, and teachers who didn’t understand them, and claim they are the victims of some plot.  They’re not criminals!  Give them a GPS anklet and six months of house arrest.

Businesses have had to modify their buildings to reduce loss and shrinkage, two words that mean being stolen from by outsiders, and being stolen from by employees.  Many stores are now laid out so that you can’t get back out the door you came in.

On a trip to South Carolina, the wife and I shopped for groceries at a Piggly-Wiggly store, simply because we’d heard Jeff Foxworthy make fun of them on his comedy albums.  We found out that the entrance doors had no motion sensor on the inside.  As we approached them from the outside, they slid open for us, and a young man lugging a hockey bag zipped out past us, with the head cashier and store manager in hot pursuit through the exit doors.

He’d been spotted on the closed-circuit, dropping meat into the bag.  They were going to approach him, when he used us to facilitate his getaway.  They chased him into the parking lot, but he got into a car and got away.  We got the manager as a bag-boy as we checked out, and I asked what happened.  They had good video shots of him from several cameras, and they got his license number.  The manager said the state troopers would probably be waiting for him by the time he got home.

The same kind of thing happened out near Benzeknees, but the pursuers were too impetuous.  When the thief drove off, he struck and killed a clerk.

Many Canadian stores, including my cheap newspaper favorite, are installing double-bar systems.  As you enter, pushing on the outer bar allows you to open the inner bar.  They’re almost impossible to reach over the inner bar from inside the store, to get the outer bar to release it, and allow egress.

Recently, as the wife and I entered to pick up (and pay for) a few items, we were met by a pair of shoplifting Nuns.  Actually, they had used the pharmacy, which is located at the entrance end of the building.  Since they had nothing else to purchase, they wanted to exit at the nearest door.  We had to explain to them that they would have to go to the other end and show their paid-for packages to a cashier, to sidle out past shoppers checking out.  Neither of them was toting a hockey bag.

Sixteen Amish in eastern Ohio were convicted of hate crimes.  The leader of a strict, break-away sect apparently was miffed that other Amish did not follow him.  Declaring that some of the non-followers were not pious enough, he ordered his sons, and some of their friends, to break into homes in the middle of the night.  Men were pulled from bed, and their beards were cut off.  The two to three-foot long hair of women was lopped off, sometimes down to the scalp.

The suspects argued that the Amish are bound by different rules, guided by their religion, and that the government had no place getting involved in what amounted to a family or church dispute.  It’s the, “My religion is better than your laws.” all over again.  Other Amish testified that the religious teachings and methods of punishment of the firebrand ideologue deviated from standard Amish traditions.

The season of festivals/drive the daughter places, is upon me.  Last Saturday I took her to her BarterWorks meet.  This Saturday will be the Cherry Park Festival.  The wife was busy tonight, pouring beeswax candles for her.  Sunday is a 50 mile drive to visit the crazy cat lady.  Next Saturday will be an Anti-Violence Festival in the big Victoria Park, and Sunday we will visit our friends at the Free Thinkers meeting.  Since the son is doing a week of day shift at work, perhaps he might wish to join us.  I’ll keep you updated, whether you want to be or not.