Our Lady of Fatima... Pray for us.
Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament... Hear us.
Our Lady of the Rosary... Strengthen us.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Funny Guy Friday... They're a modern... electronic-age family...

    Funny Guy Friday is written each week by my husband Mark. So, I married a funny guy...
    I remember the days when we had telephones that were attached to the walls.
    Your dad had to put a time limit on calls because there was no call waiting... only busy signals.  And if you happened to be talking to a girl on the "upstairs phone"... there was a pretty good chance that your brother was listening in on the "downstairs phone."
    On a side note... I hated my brother when he did that.
    We also had televisions that did not have remote controls. You had to lie on the floor in front of the set and change the channels with your feet... or if you were a complete loser... a.k.a, the youngest member of the family... a.k.a., me... you would actually be forced to get up and turn the channels by hand.
    Nobody wanted to go through that hassle. Of course, there weren't a whole lot of reasons to turn the channel because we only got ABC, CBS, NBC, Channel 20 and channel 5.
    Who can forget Je t'aime bien from Channel 5? I learned all of my foreign languages from Channel 5.
    Further, TV's then had no DVR, pause or rewind feature. If you had to get up and go to the bathroom, you were out of luck. Shows stood still for no man! You learned to "hold it" until commercial and to finish up "your business" as quickly as possible so you would not miss a minute of your "regularly scheduled program."
    Beyond this miracle of network television, if you were really fortunate, you had the Atari Gaming System. This provided you with a variety of games to play right there on your TV. And by "variety of games," I mean PONG and TANK. That was it!
    Nowadays, things are different.
    Our kids have everything they need and/or want at the click of a button on their phones. They can watch shows, text, email, listen to music, check their stocks, check the weather, play a variety of games (and by variety of games, I mean a real variety of games), add, subtract, multiply, divide, make a bank deposit, pay a bill, make dinner reservations... and they can even make phone calls.
    The problem is that everyone is watching shows, texting, emailing, listening to music, checking their stocks, checking the weather, playing games, adding, subtracting, multiplying, dividing, making bank deposits, paying bills, making dinner reservations and making telephone calls... twenty-four hours a day... seven days a week.
    Our kids' noses are simply way too attracted to their cell phones.
    The other day, we were on our way to Damascus for a baseball tournament.
    We had our kids, plus one of Matthew's teammates. The friend sat in the back with our three kids, and at one point, after noticing complete silence with an occasional giggle, I looked in my rear-view mirror and saw all four of them looking down at their phones. I mentioned...
    I don't want to offend any of you, but you all look like a bunch of little girls checking out your little twitters about who likes who and who is wearing what.  
   Cheryl chimed in as she always does on these occasions... That's it, everyone put away their tablets... pay attention... live life! Live life is Cheryl's "go to" admonishment when the kids are overdoing the electronics. It applies only to the kids because sometimes Cheryl "just needs to look something up." I continued...
    Yeah, put away your tablets. Back when I was a kid, the only tablets we had were stone tablets... and we had to use a hammer and chisel in order to send a message. Like the Flintstones!
    The what-Stones? from the way back.
    Please, don't tell me that you do not know the Flinstones! They're a modern stone-age family... from a show we watched when we were kids.
    Like a caveman reality show? You know... like when you were a kid?
    No, Noah. Not a caveman reality show. Please tell me you're kidding? 
    I am kidding about the show... but I do think that you are old!  
    I believe that, as a parent, I have failed you all if you guys don't know who the Flintstones are. It's time for a quiz: What was Fred and Wilma's daughter's name?
    Silence... chirp, chirp.
    Finally, Gracie answered correctly... Pebbles!
    What about Barney and Betty's little boy?
    Matthew's friend answered "Dino."
    Too bad he lost twice the points for getting the answer wrong and pronouncing it "Dyno," as in dynamite.
    Someone mentioned that it was pronounced "Deeno," and that that was the dog's name anyway.
    Grace once again chimed in:  Dino wasn't a dog. He was a dinosaur!
    Ah. Good one Gracie.
    Matthew finally broke his silence...   
    I got it Dad... I will Google it up! Wikapedia baby. 
    No Wikapedia! Stay off those things.  
    Gracie nailed it again: The Rubbles' son's name was Bamm Bamm!
    At least I can comfort myself with the fact that we did a good job raising Gracie.
    Now the floor was open for conversation about the Flintstones. Of course the conversation included just Cheryl and me.
    That show was so over once they had to bring on the Great Gazoo! 
    Yeah, it "jumped the shark" once Gazoo was introduced!
    "Dumb dumb."
    "Yes Yes Yes... No No No!" 
    What great names... Mr. Slate, Perry Masonary, millionaire J.L. Gotrocks, Joe Rockhead, Ann Margrock! Great writing!
    That show was way out... way out. That's where the fun is... way out!
    Then the kids chimed in...
    Mom... Dad... stop. Can we turn on our tablets? 
    Since I am a benevolent dictator, I offered them a bonus opportunity to get their tablets back.
    If you can sing the Flintstones theme song, you guys win.
    Miraculously, Matthew who had offered nothing up to this point... other than a request to Google... began: Flinstones, meet the Flinstones. They're a modern stone-age family. From the town of Bedrock, they're a page right out of history....
    He nailed it.
    That was great. How did you do that?
    It is one of my songs for piano! 
    He hates taking piano lessons and only does so because Cheryl and I force him, in hopes that he will someday become a well-rounded individual that can do more than push buttons on a phone. Hopefully, he now sees how his piano lessons can come in handy in life.
    So let me recap:
    My kids, like many kids, spend a little too much time on their cell phones.
    I took away their cell phones and would only give them back if they could answer all of my simple questions about the Flintstones.
   They were powerless to answer all of my simple Flintstone questions correctly, without the crutch of Google.
   They were given one last opportunity to get their cell phones back by answering a bonus question... and were only able to do so because Cheryl and I, in hopes of raising well-rounded children, forced them to do something other than play on their cell phones.
   Oh, the irony!
   Maybe if we could somehow attach their cell phones to the wall... Or make them text only with their feet!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Funny Guy Friday... Memories of proms and state titles...

     Funny Guy Friday is written each week by my husband Mark. So, I married a funny guy...
     Quite a nostalgic week for me.
     I was transported back to my senior year of high school... and two big events that had more to do with each other than you might guess. One was my playing on a State Championship Baseball team and the other was my senior prom.
     The trip down memory lane started on Saturday, when I had the pleasure of seeing my stunningly beautiful daughter off to the senior prom. Believe it or not, I loved her date and I hope that they continue to see each other for the rest of their lives. In fact, I would not even care if they moved in with one another and lived together some day.
     Okay, full disclosure... she went with two of her girlfriends... sans boys. This would have never happened back when I was in high school.
     Today's proms are different in a lot of ways.
     One disturbing trend is the promposal. Apparently, boys go to great lengths to ask girls to the prom these days. For instance, one young man showed up at a girl's home carrying two tennis balls, two baseballs, two footballs, and two basketballs... and a sign that read that he finally "had the ba--s to ask you to Prom." Some kid in Baltimore bought a thirty second TV ad to ask a girl. Another yo-yo dressed up like a Pokeman character and brought out the school cheerleaders to ask a girl during lunch in the school cafeteria.
     Nitwits... all of them... just plain nitwits.
     Why would they go to such lengths? What happened to the days of yore when you just called a girl... hung up... called her again... hung up again... threw up... called her yet again... and finally muttered something like you wouldn't want to... you know... go to... uh... the... uh... prom with me... would you? Oh... this is... uh Mark... uh Palumbo... that's P a l u m b o.... I'm in your math class. 
     Actually, I can't quite recall how I asked my date to the prom.
     We had been dating for a few months, so I am guessing it was just assumed that we would go together. I can assure you that I did not rent out a mariachi band and do the Mexican prom dance.  My guess is that I called her one night and said... we're going to the prom, right? 
     Funny thing is that she and I almost never made it past the first month of our "budding relationship."
     We had been dating for a few weeks before my first baseball game that season, and I went hitless in four plate appearances. On the bus drive home, I decided that the reason for my failure was the girlfriend... too much time with her. Clearly, it could not have been my fault... she had to go. I never got a hold of her that night to deliver the bad news, and the next day I went 5 for 5. She got a reprieve!
     Had I reached her that night, I probably would have missed my senior prom.
     The day after Gracie's prom on Saturday, we headed to Aberdeen to watch my nephew coach the Archbishop Spalding High School baseball team to a State Championship win Sunday evening. As I watched the team celebrate its victory, I flashed back to the day when I was a slick fielding, scrappy hitting (scrappy is a good word for a dink and dunk hitter that had no power) second baseman for your 1981 Maryland State Champion Bowie Bulldog baseball team. It was quite a year... we went undefeated, and four of us were named to the Washington Post and Washington Star All Met teams.
     I was captain of the team, dating the Mayor's daughter, and needless to say, I was kind of a big deal!
     Apparently, not that big of a deal. This is where the baseball and the prom collided. Our team was practicing the day before the big dance. We had planned to go to dinner in Baltimore with another couple before heading off to the prom. Halfway through practice, my assistant coach called me into the dugout, sat me down and told me that my date and I were no longer going to Baltimore for dinner. I assured him that we were... that we had made plans... had reservations and everything.      
     Plans change 'Lumbo... your mother-in-law called me, and she thinks Baltimore is too far away for you to drive! 
     Get out of here.
     Nope, you are going to dinner in Annapolis.
     Wait, wait, wait... who is my mother-in-law?
     Your date's mother. The Mayor's Missus.
     Oh! Do we have reservations in Annapolis?
     Sure do... all taken care of! 
     Thanks... I guess! 
     And with that, we went to Annapolis for dinner.
     I remember thinking that I knew so much at that time.
     It is funny now to think how little I did know. But what a great time in a kid's life. I am sure that Grace will always remember Saturday's prom at Ravens Stadium... and those kids that won that championship game on Sunday will always remember winning the championship at Ripken Stadium.
     Come to think of it, Spalding's prom was the night before their championship game. I wonder if my nephew changed anyone's dinner plans. I can attest that if he did... it would make for a great story that those kids will remember for the rest of their lives!

Friday, May 16, 2014

Funny Guy Friday... What happens on the patio... stays on the patio...

     Funny Guy Friday is written each week by my husband Mark. So, I married a funny guy...
     This past Saturday night, Cheryl and Gracie went out with a bunch of women to see a movie called Mom's Night Out. I found it kind of curious that fifty women could all manage to go out together on the same evening... the night before Mother's Day, no less.
     That same night, Matthew was invited to a party... by a girl. A friend of his from church.
     I found great delight in teasing him about this event. Should I come in to meet your girlfriend's parents? What does her father do? Maybe after a few months dating he can get you a job! I think this "party" will just be the two of you and a few of her parent's friends sitting around the table sipping coffee talking about how they met! How did you two love birds meet?  
      I did wind up walking him to the door, but before we got close, three girls squealed Matthew is here! Turns out he had no idea who the girls were, but somehow, they knew him. In a sign of the times, the girl hosting the party had a photo of herself and three boys, including Matthew, from their Confirmation class as a screen saver on her phone. I understand why she would want the other two guys... but Matthew? a screen saver? C'mon, sweetheart, you can do better than that.
     I had to laugh as we approached the girl's door.
     Typically, Matthew will kiss me good bye. On this day... with five teenage girls staring on... he just turned, waved his hand and told me I could go now. No kiss, no handshake, no nothing. He wanted no parts of his dear old dad.
     This is all understandable.
     Matthew turned fourteen last week, and he is getting older and entering into what my brother has dubbed "the lonely chicken" phase of life. That age where you slink off to your room and hang by yourself... or stay home when everyone else goes out to the store/mall/post office, etc. But you always have time for friends.
     And boy, do Matthew's friends do some fun stuff. He used to always have time for me. We still hang out... but not like we used to. Now he has what I like to refer to as "a life."
     Speaking of having a life... Grace is going to be 18 later this summer and is officially a baby woman.
     In fact, Cheryl's friends like Gracie better than they like Cheryl. This is not a new phenomenon for Cheryl because her sisters have been stealing her friends for years. You know how this works: Cheryl invites one of her sisters to go out with her and her friends, and the next thing you know, the friends are calling her sisters for a good time. I can't say I blame them... I've often said that had I met the sisters first, I would have made them fall in love with me instead. Oh well, that is all water under the bridge.
     So, Cheryl and Gracie were out hanging with what I affectionately referred to as their "girl posse," and Matthew was hanging out with I teasingly referred to as his "girl posse," and what was I left with?
     My. boy. Noah.
     Men... just hanging out... being men.
     What do men do, you ask? Men build fires. Big roaring fires in the fire pit.
     Okay, full disclosure... Noah brought me a Dura-Log and asked if we could hang out on the front patio. I am embarrassed to say, it took me thirty minutes to get the Dura-Log up and running.
     What else do men do? Men drink beer... while... while some men just get sips of beer. And after every sip, they make a goofy face because they really don't love the taste of beer and they wipe their mouths with their sleeves and they mutter, Mmmm... that's some good beer! in their best pirate voice.
     Okay, again, full disclosure... that was me making the goofy faces, wiping my mouth on my sleeve and muttering silly pirate quips.
     What else do men do besides sitting around the fire drinking beer? We have marshmallow roasting contests and video game contests (because everything is a competition), and we make fun of the other family members that had the audacity to go out and leave us on the front patio to fend for ourselves. I may not have been very good at starting the fire... I may not have been very good at drinking the beer... I may not have won the marshmallow roasting contest or the video game competition... but I was quite good at making fun of our absent family members.
     I cannot repeat what was said because, as I told Noah, What is said on the front patio... stays on the front patio! I can disclose, though, that there were at least a text or two to Matthew... who we affectionately dubbed Loverboy for the entire evening.
     I thought I had saved my best barbs for Cheryl, but apparently, Noah had other things on his mind. Instead of razzing his mom... as he had done with Matthew and Gracie... he thoughtfully mentioned that we had not gotten anything for her yet for Mother's Day. This was true; we hadn't. You know what else was true? It was a quarter past nine at night, and the only store I could think of that would be open was Home Depot. On a side note, there were other stores open, but we are men. And men go to Home Depot.
     Anyway, off to Home Depot we went.
     Upon entering, after savoring that pungent lumber smell for a moment or two, we set about finding Mom the perfect gift. Noah immediately spotted a pink sun hat that he knew his mother would love. I was not sold on the hat, but we agreed that Cheryl does indeed enjoy a good seaside coverup. She would dress like a mummy if she could get away with it. And it's about time for her to give her go-to pashmina/burka-look a rest. The hat went in the cart.
     I tried to convince Noah that Mom would like a new lawn mower... a big one with a 30-inch mowing deck, so Mom could mow the yard with ease. He was not convinced.
     Oh, but he thought that the deck furniture set looked nice. It comes with cushions and pillows!
     I noted that it was a little over budget, and in no way would it affect the amount of time it takes to mow the yard. Other than that, it was a great idea. Noah shrewdly pointed out that the deck furniture was actually less expensive than the mower... and... Dad, we all know, she will never mow the yard. Dang!
     We went with the deck furniture.
     But not just the deck furniture. While sitting on the front patio, we had earlier hatched a plan to prepare a delicious dinner for her. Deck furniture and a yummy meal under the stars! Yes, we would sit at at our new outdoor table, under the new big umbrella (sold separately, of course), and enjoy our Mother's Day feast.
     7 p.m. sharp!
     Unless, of course, the furniture needed assembling... which it did!
     Usually, whenever assembly is required, Cheryl reads through the instructions while I do the assembling. Mind you, it is not always in that order, but we seem to make it work. Because this was a surprise for Cheryl, I had to rely on Grace to read the instructions.
      Public Service Announcement: Don't ever rely on a seventeen-year-old girl in the midst of prom drama to read the directions. She will tend to be distracted. You're welcome.
      Noah, Loverboy, and I finally figured it out. It was quite a learning curve. The first chair took an hour to put together, and the next five took twenty-five minutes. I am proud to say... I never used the directions until about thirty minutes into it. Hey, wait a second... what if I had just... forget about that... all you need to know is that Noah insisted we eat off our new furniture... so dinner was at 9 p.m.
     Not to toot my own horn... but... it was worth the wait!
     I can't take all the credit because the kids chipped in, but... you know... if not for me... there would not be any kids to chip in so... yes... I can take all the credit. We had a great time dining at the new outdoor furniture, by a crackling outdoor fire.
     These are the best of times for me.
     I love when it's time to wrap up the evening, and all three kids insist they don't want to go because they are having such a good time just sitting around talking. That, or they don't really want to clean up. Either way, these are the best of times.
     So... who would have thought? Everyone goes out and leaves Noah and me to fend for ourselves... and we do nothing but plan a perfect night for us all to be together.
     Okay, we may have done a few other things, but I can't really go into all of the details... because we all know... what happens on the front patio... stays on the front patio!

Friday, May 9, 2014

Funny Guy Friday... Frankenstein? I don't think so...

     This past Sunday, our little gang attended the 8 a.m. (that is correct... a.m.) Mass.
     It is not unusual for me... and occasionally the boys... to hit the eight o'clocker. It is a bit unusual for Cheryl and Grace to join us, though. Cheryl... because she goes to adoration every Sunday at that same time... and Grace because... well... she, kinda sorta... likes to sleep.
     Except for the early start, I love the 8 o'clock Mass. It is all business. But, if you get there five minutes late, you miss the first two readings and part of the Gospel. If you're ten minutes late, forget about it, you might as well hit the 9:00 Mass down the road. The key is that there is no music to bog things down.
     Anyway, this past Sunday was special because both Noah and Matthew were serving on the altar. Matthew is a seasoned veteran altar server, and to be frank... it would not be a big deal for us to miss a Mass where he is on the altar. I mean he knows what he is doing, so we know that he is not going to be part of a disaster. It is not that we go to church looking for a NASCAR-type pile up on the altar... buuuut if that should happen, you want to be there for your boy.
     This was Noah's first time out and we weren't sure what misfortune might befall him.
     He was in charge of bell ringing and that is kind of a big deal. The way I understand it, if he rings the bell at the wrong time during the consecration, the bread remains bread and the wine remains wine. I'm pretty sure the power of the bells trumps the powers of the priest. I could be wrong about that... but I don't think so. Let's just say that there was a lot of pressure on the boy.
     I am happy to report: Noah was outstanding. However, he did have a few, teensy weensy, hardly noticeable hiccups. Being the keen-eyed observer that I am, I noticed. I would now like to take this opportunity to make those hiccups part of the public record.
     First, as the whole crew... priest, deacon, cross bearer, two acolytes, and another rookie first-timer... bowed and approached their assigned seats, Noah was caught like a deer in the headlights, frozen in his tracks. He had to hustle up there in a full out sprint.
     Second, he smiled too much.
     Third, when he wasn't smiling, he was yawning.
     Fourth, when he sat down, his feet did not touch the floor, so he sat up there swinging his feet. And finally, he scratched his face during prayer time. I told him we can remedy the scratching with a little training. I suggested that we make him stand with his hands folded and we could tickle him with a feather and slap him silly if he ever goes to scratch. Tough love, but God would understand.
     Because the boys had to be at the church early, Cheryl and I took separate cars. After Mass, as we left the church, all three kids jumped in my car. Why did they all drive with me, you ask?  I am the cool parent. As if! 'Nuf said. Holla! ( I am pretty sure those are all cool things to say).
     As we were leaving the parking lot, Grace was exasperated as she looked in the mirror. I assumed that she was frustrated by a bad hair day... forced upon her by the early wake-up call. As she huffed and puffed, she said the words that will be burned in my ears for the rest of my life.
     I got your worst traits and mom's worst traits!
     What are you talking about? 
     Look at my nose!
     Do you think it looks like my nose or mom's nose?
     It is your fat nose with mom's bump!
     What else do you have from me?
     Your bad vision, chubby cheeks and double chin, short height and less-than-perfect teeth. 
     Is that it? Anything else from me?
     What terrible traits did you get from Mom?  
     Her personality!
     Not sure which is worse, being the "blind date guy"... short, ugly with a fat nose, bad vision, bad teeth, chubby cheeks with a double chin... but a good personality?... or the hot chick with the crummy personality. It's a coin flip!
     Well Grace, I feel bad for you... you are kind of like a female Frankenstein! Sorry about that. 
     I didn't mean anything bad by what I said, Dad.
     Oh, Sweetie... I don't see how anyone could possibly take what you said in a bad way. I am not upset... Maybe your crazy nut-job-of-a-mother won't be too happy if she ever hears about this conversation... but what are the chances of that happening? 
     I never said Mom was a "nut job." It's just that Mom is too nice... and I am just like her.
     So let me get this straight... you think Mom is too nice and you think that I am too short, have bad vision, bad teeth, chubby cheeks and a double chin!
     Yeah, I don't see how anyone could possible be upset by those statements.    
     And this, ladies and gentleman, is what children do to parents. They take you to great heights, fill you with pride and joy, and then in the blink of an eye, they bring you right back down to earth. Heck, in this particular case, it would seem that Cheryl and I actually collaborated in creating a monster of sorts.
     Funny thing about it is that I know, and Gracie knows, that her mother has a great personality. There is no such thing as being too nice. And I'll be honest with you... I know that I out-kicked my coverage when I married Cheryl. She is way more beautiful than I am handsome. But at worst... I am slightly, and I mean ever so slightly, below-average looking. I am certain that we can all agree that I am hardly the hideous beast that my daughter described.
     Most importantly, I happen to think that Grace is a beautiful girl with a perfect personality... much like her mom's... and I have no idea what other "bad traits" of her own that she is talking about.
     Every Sunday, after I receive the Eucharist, I get back to my pew and say a prayer for my children. As part of that prayer, I ask God to look after their future spouses and to guide those unknown individuals in the right direction. Despite all of my faults, I think Grace would do alright to marry a guy just like her dear old, albeit malformed, dad. Similarly, our boys would be lucky to marry a woman as "nutty/nice" as Cheryl. God has been pretty good to us and I am hopeful that He will continue to answer my prayers.
     But, in order to hedge my bets, I will continue to send my boys up on the altar to serve. What could that hurt? In fact, I will send one of them up there walking... and the other one I will send up there in a full-out sprint.
Right... "Frankenstein."
Photo credit : Hannah Harger Photography

Friday, May 2, 2014

Funny Guy Friday... Matthew's Confirmation...

     Funny Guy Friday is written each week by my husband Mark. So, I married a funny guy...
     I remember when I was confirmed as a boy. I remember it not because I was filled with the Holy Spirit... excited to embark on a new relationship with Jesus Christ. No. I remember it because I was rocking a new light blue, three piece suit with some sweet white, shiny, leather shoes.
     I looked good!
     I was thinking back to that day because Matthew was confirmed last night.
     The bishop, a very tall man with what appeared to be hands the size of oven mitts, came out from Washington D.C. to confirm my oldest son. While he was here, he confirmed a bunch of other kids too, but I'm pretty sure he was there mainly to confirm Matthew.
     The kids have been taking CCD classes for eight years in preparation for tonight's festivities. I am not really sure that anyone really knows what CCD stands for. I used to have a football coach that used to always yell at us that we had to have CCD!!! But I don't think that the Matthew and his gang were taking Courage, Confidence and Desire classes.
     Or maybe they were.
     Anyway, every Saturday morning (elementary classes) or Tuesday evening (middle school), Matthew would leave his basketball/baseball practices and head off to the church. When Matthew would have games on Tuesdays or Saturdays, it would spark some heated discussions between Cheryl and me.
     He should go to his CCD class... it is more important that he do that than play in some silly game.  There will be another game in two days.
     The games are not silly. You practice all week so you can play in the game. Imagine if you studied for a test you never took. Besides, there will be another CCD class next week, and the week after that, and the week after that. 
     He will set his priorities based on our priorities. He should go to CCD.
     He has made a commitment to his teammates. He should go to his game.
     Look Cheryl... he has made a commitment to the Lord. I am putting my foot down... he is not going to his game; he is going to CCD. That is that!
     Eventually, Cheryl came to see it my way!
     That's my story and I am sticking to it!
     If you have ever been to a Catholic confirmation Mass, you know that the Bishop asks the Confirmandi questions to give them a chance to demonstrate that they are, in fact, ready to be confirmed. I am not really sure what would happen if a kid blanked on one of the answers. I mean, if I were watching Matthew get confirmed and he failed to correctly answer Name one of the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit, and was then humiliatingly asked to leave the church... I would be bummed.
     Anyway, tonight was no different. The Bishop asked for volunteers... four boys and four girls to stand up and "take one for the team." The first kid to stand was a young man and then the girls rose in rapid succession. Then two more boys... but no Matthew. I whispered to Cheryl that Matthew was a coward.
     And then he stood up. Oh no, so did some other kid who was sitting in front of Matthew. So there were five boys standing and Matthew looked like one of the idiots that couldn't count to four.
     Neither boy relinquished his spot. I suppose I should have been proud, but then I thought that this was an unmitigated disaster. I whispered to Cheryl that sometimes being a coward is not a bad thing. Matthew should have just stayed down and played dead like he originally planned.
     The Bishop, a forgiving man, (I mean what would you expect from a Bishop) just ignored the whole number debacle and pressed on with his homily, insisting that five and four was just fine. In the course of his talk, he would ask a question, and if he called on you and you answered it correctly, you could sit down.
     I had flashbacks of law school.
     I hated law school and the whole Socratic teaching method. The only time I ever got an answer correct was when I said, I would like to pass! and my professor thought that I had said, it would affect the taxes!  
     I was nervous for Matthew.
     I was sure that he was going to be the last man standing and the Bishop would just keep firing question after question until he got one right. Then everyone in the church would get upset because they had to wait and wait and wait for Matthew to answer one correctly.
     Fortunately, the Bishop asked Matthew what each student would have spread across their forehead as they were confirmed and Matthew confidently choked out: Chrism! 
     Phew, glad that was over... I never had a doubt! 
     On a side note, you should have seen the amount of chrism this huge Bishop could spread all over a forehead with his generous hands.
     As the sacrament progressed, we came to the part of the Mass called the Prayer of the Faithful. Right before the Prayer of the Faithful, I saw our parish priest whisper to one of the altar servers, Go get Matthew!
     Wait, was chrism wrong? Were they going to go to the booth and look at a replay?
     The altar server went and accompanied Matthew to the altar, where he stepped up to the mike and flawlessly read the Prayer of the Faithful. Perfect pace... not too fast. Clearly spoken without a single  stumble. Perfect tone that everyone could hear. In fact, all of the readers did beautifully. I was impressed.
     Maybe CCD does stand for Courage, Confidence and Desire.
     One of the prayers that Matthew read was for those in our lives that have departed. This got me thinking about my father. I miss him, and although I am a fifty-year-old man, one of the things I miss the most about my dad is his telling me how proud he is of me and of my family. I thought to myself that at that very moment, my dad would have been proud of me, er uh... I mean Matthew. Don't tell Cheryl, but it brought tears to my eyes. I don't think she noticed.
     At that very moment, I decided that I would be sure to tell Matthew how proud I am of him. Not because he knew the answer to the Bishop's question or because of his flawless performance while reading the Prayer of the Faithful. Those things were great... but I am most proud of the young man he has become... and that he really does receive the Holy Spirit,,, and that he does have a relationship with Jesus Christ.
     I think that Matthew knows how I feel.
     I tease him a bunch, but I have told him, Whenever I tell you that you are a knucklehead... or that you may never... ever... get a date... just translate that into: I love you!  But just in case Matthew isn't sure how I feel, he can read this week's Funny Guy Friday.
     He may not know how to count to four... but I know he can read!

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