Parting Glances: And don’t bring Toto, either

By |2008-04-04T09:00:00-04:00April 4th, 2008|Uncategorized|

I keep running into Sister Scatterpin — Renegade Sisters of Mary — in the darndest places. This time the express checkout of my neighborhood, nothing-over-a-dollar, everyone-under-the-counter, Old World Super Mart.
[If you recall, the good sister and I once spent a day in the park feeding undernourished squirrels with bushy tails and beady-eyes.]
Sr. Scatterpin blushed demurely under her DKNY wimple when she saw me — probably because she was five items over limit, not that it makes a difference to a bargain queen like myself who enjoys big discounts in the fast lane.
But sister did hasten off, only to turn stage center in her Joan of Arch wedgies, look me straight in the eye, and give her opaline rosary beads a fleeting snap and her Scraparelli scapular a fetching toss.
“Not to spoil your after-church buying spree,” she said demurely, picking up the incense sticks that tumbled from her Yves St. Lourdes tote bag. “But have you — by the slightest of misguided intentions — purely innocent of veniality, of course — seen ‘Beyond Vanilla’?
“I rented a copy for our convent,” she added, “thinking it was about low-cal cooking — you know, a Julia Child stir-through on Nutra-Sweet Lenten goodies. Mother Superior was not amused, and Father Everhope — three weeks later — hasn’t said a blessed peep. He just tics around a lot.”
“Sister, this isn’t the place to discuss matters of such, er, culinary intensity,” I hesitate, hoping for time to whip my thoughts shipshape for a gourmet nun to nibble on. “How about a latte with a little whipped cream? There’s a small cafe nearby. Over there — with the candy striped flag and the Madonna blowup.”
“Madonna! You doooo have Catholic taste! And the flag. O, my! (Somewhere over the rainbow . . . where troubles melt like lemon drops . . That’s where you’ll find me.) Sorry, my coloratura’s not what it used to be. Say, my child: can you cash a twenty for me?
Quickly seated — I offered to pick up sister’s tab — I thought maybe I’d made a secular boo-boo. Our winsome waiter in an ecumenical mood decided to wax poetic.”Wow! Nice drag, hun. What’ll it be, nun?” he dripped.
“You’re certainly sparky,” sister answered, full-profile. “My habit — if that’s your idea of ‘drag’ — was hand-sewn at a little specialty shop round the corner from the Cathedral of Notre Dame. It came COD Air France. Thanks for noticing. My saints, this latte’s a bit spicy pour moi.”
I knew the moment Sister Scatterpin opened her Gucci compact that the angel cake was about to be frosted.
“Confidentially,” she paused, lightly glossing her biblically correct lips. “I know ‘Beyond Vanilla’ isn’t about making fudge– not in the traditional sense of a pinch of this and a lick of that — but are those guys in the leatherette chaps — I know designer cuts when I see them — part of some religious order the church keeps tightly under wraps and on the back burner?
“I mean, everybody adores those penitents with the fashionably pointy hats lashing each other Earthy Black and Heavenly Blue (from here to kingdom come). But honestly: isn’t this a lay ministry for folks hellbent on travel mercies with mind-blowing R&R perks? Not that I’m about to switch trains at the next station of the cross — metaphorically speaking.”
“It beats me, Sister, I reply, cruising our winsome, cafe-au-lait-me stud muffinette. “But it never hurts to ask. Just don’t beg for answers — kneeling, standing, or sitting down on somebody front-row whew, er, pew.”

About the Author:

Charles Alexander