Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Till Death Do Us Part

I pulled into a parking space and turned to my wife and sister (NOTE: even though my wife is from West Virginia, I am not, and therefore she and my sister are in fact different people).

"I want to apologize in advance in the event a bolt of lightning strikes as soon as I walk into the church," I said. They nodded, affirming the likelihood of such a smoting.

The architecture of the building was beautiful, a Catholic cathedral situated right in downtown Akron. I know, downtown Akron is not much of a selling point, but you have to trust me on this one. The inside was very nice, and the stained-glass windows kept the reality of its location at bay.

Now I mentioned this was a Catholic cathedral, so that means it was a Catholic wedding. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the tenant s of Catholicism, this requires a full mass before the actual wedding. Minimum run time of 45 minutes. I am a recovering Catholic (went to Catholic school grades 1-7), so I wanted to challenge myself by seeing how much of the rote memorization of the Catholic mass I remembered. Plus I want to see how many times I can use the word "Catholic" in this paragraph. It turns out, quite a lot. Catholic.

If you haven't noticed from my writing, I have a short attention span and an over-active imagination. My thoughts turned to the walls, upon which many things were written. One of these things read "Joseph, pray to Jesus for us" and all I could think was "Damn, that's lazy. Can't even take the time to pray yourself, have to ask someone else to do it for you?"

The priest actually had a good homily, but I couldn't stop thinking about how his squinty eyes looked like Mr. Magoo without his glasses.

The bride and groom wrote their own vows, and they were very good. They were also long. The groom went first, talking about the first time they met. When the groom flipped his paper over and kept reading from the back, an image crept into my mind of him standing there in paper up to his knees ("And then on our sixteenth date..."). Honestly, though, he made a lot of people cry (in a good way). Of course, I was not among those numbers. My mind was already wondering elsewhere.

The most precious part of the wedding was when the priest said, "Frodo, the ring."

At least that's what I heard him say. Everyone else may have heard something completely different.


Vodka Logic said...

Good one. I am going to a catholic wedding in the fall and was glad to hear there would be no mass.... not being catholic and all.

I am now following, nice to read a male blog for a change.

scott g.f. bailey said...

Happily, not all Catholic weddings involve a complete mass. Mighty Reader and I went to mass a couple of months ago (Feast of the Ascension). Beforehand, I prepped MR by telling her that whenever the priest said, "In the name of the Father..." she should say, "Amen." She was on her own for the rest of it.

Catholic school! Oh, I the memories, though mine was upper grades, not grammar school. A wonder we survived.

Rick Daley said...

Vodka Logic- Welcome aboard! Hopefully I will keep your interests.

Scott- I didn't know they let you leave the mass out. Although the one I just went to was somewhat abbreviated, it still followed the standard first reading, second reading, gospel, homily, communion. I think The Apostle's Creed was left out, but I may have just been daydreaming while I recited it along in my head out of reflex.

I only had two actual nuns as teachers, second and third grade. third grade, Sister Margret, was awesome and we all loved her.

Second grade, Sister Angela, embodied many unpleasant stereotypes.

scott g.f. bailey said...

Rick: Ahem. I said, "not a complete mass." There were still the readings, but no homily nor communion.

Nuns! I still get both scared and pleased whenever I see them.

Rick Daley said...


Charlie said...

Rick, you are one funny dude.

My first wedding was a complete church affair. I wrote the music for the ceremony, except for Ava Maria; Shubert helped with that. A beautiful cocktail hour with Raphael Rudd (from Renaissance) performing his own compositions and then the typical Italian/ Staten Island wingding before a week in Disney in Florida. I spared no expense and started my life heavily in debt.

My second (final) wedding was this past December in City Hall. Two days in Atlantic City was about all we could afford. I couldn’t be happier. (Just in case she reads this) I am really happy. Oh boy!

Laurel said...

This is funny! My husband is Catholic so obviously his family is, too. They had never been to a Baptist wedding. We did the whole Pre-Cana thing and had a priest sign off so the wedding would be recognized by his church. The future in-laws were unsure what to expect.

They thought he was kidding when he told them we were shooting for 15 minutes. We had some very confused members of the wedding party. The whole thing took 14 minutes and change. We could have kept it to a respectable 13 minutes except we let Mark's grandfather read from his grandmother's Catholic prayer book.

We explained to them in the trolley afterwards that Baptist weddings have to be short since you can't drink at church and no one would sit through an hour long wedding with no liquor on board. We're in a hurry to get to the reception where the fun can start.

The other fun thing about our Baptist wedding and Catholic reception was my brother. He is crazy and not in an endearing way. He would not be in the wedding since I married a Catholic (and therefore non-Christian, according to insane brother). At the reception neither he nor his family danced (because that would be sinful) and they prayed a lot for the bride and groom who marched around all night alternating champagne and hard liquor. I don't think he realized he was part of the entertainment.

Rick Daley said...

Charlie- I'm glad you appreciate my sense of humor, that are some who don't ;-) What instruments do you play?

Laurel- Dammit, posting a comment that's funnier than the post and upstaging me is NOT cool! Just kidding, I always respect teh funny. You had me laughing out loud ;-)

Laurel said...


Delighted to amuse. We have had countless fun at brother's expense through the years. I guess Billy Joel was right about the sinners and saints.

You and I are cut from the same cloth. Here is a little taste of what's inside my head at church:

click here

Scott said...

As a recovering Catholic . . . this was too funny. I love the part about your wife not being your sister.

The majority of my family is from KY. At a recent family reunion one my cousin's 16 year old daughter found this guy pretty cute. We were like "uh, that's your 2nd cousin". She was so bummed until I pointed out she was from KY after all and could marry her cousin. Ah, the humor of living in the south (even though I'm a Yankee at heart).

Now, I guess I'd better say a few Hail Marys to redeem my eternal soul! I did say I was recovering, not recovered, ya know!


Charlie said...

Piano / Keyboard

At one point in the future, I'll post a link to my Myspace page.

Rick Daley said...

Charlie- I play bass primarily, and also rhythm/lead guitar. I can get around a keyboard, but not really proficient other than basic chords and arpeggios. My left hand keyboard is usually locked into simple octaves for a basic low-end.

Looking forward to giving your stuff a listen some day...

Rick Daley said...

Scott- The easy reconciliation is the best part about Catholicism.

It's amazing what sins can be absorbed by a round of rosary prayers. It's like a spiritual Sham-Wow.

Jenna Alexander said...

Great story. Ahhh a trip back to a Catholic church – a simulating experience for Recovering Catholics. I suffered the plaid dress and white knee high socks through sixth grade. Were you trying to remember the stations of the cross? What you’re supposed to say as you enter the confessional?

Most important question – did you take communion or are you past that stage? I’d say this rule changes for me depending on which family members are present. Mom just passed away in April and Dad is already gone – so I think my pseudo Catholic role playing is permanently over.

Sham-wow - funny.

Rick Daley said...

Were you trying to remember the stations of the cross?
I can't remember the specifics of what you're supposed to do, other than walk around and pray at each one. The carvings near my seat were toward the end of the 12 (or 13?) stations.

What you’re supposed to say as you enter the confessional?
"Forgive me father, for I have sinned. I has been a loooooong time since my last confession."

Most important question – did you
take communion or are you past that stage?
Way past that stage.

Laurel said...

You're all heathens. I'll get my brother to pray for you.

PurpleClover said...

LOL. Sounds agonizing and entertaining at the same time!

Robert A Meacham said...

Was this a scene from a reality show? Just kidding but you made it sound fun.
I don't know much about Catholics, even a recovering catholic but I do know about getting married at my wife's house December 9th.
The preacher stood inches away from a roaring fireplace in a beautifully decorated living room.
al I could visualize as he gave his part is how he wriggled around dancing to Chesnuts roasting on an open fire.

Rick Daley said...


My life is a reality show, just with a blog instead of cameras.

And infrequent episodes. My attention span is too short and my interests too diverse to post every day.

Shelli said...

this made me smile - thx

Laura Martone said...

Aw, Rick, as usual, you've managed to make me laugh... every time I've attended a Catholic wedding, the communion part makes me squirm. What is the deal with that?

And I totally agree with your "sham-wow" analogy - it's always mystified me, that idea that a few Hail Marys can purge you of almost any indiscretion.

Of course, being an atheist can be a buzzkill sometimes... I have no one to blame but myself for my, ahem, indiscretions.

So, because you always seem to make me laugh (and think), I decided to nominate you for a Kreativ Blogger award! Congrats, D-man!

P.S. Laurel's wedding tale cracked me up, too! Her brother would hate my heathen butt!

Rick Daley said...

Shelli- Glad ti did the trick, thanks for the feedback ;-)

Laura- communion is just symbolic cannibalism (take my body and eat it...when the priest hands you the wafer he says "the body of Christ" and you say "Amen" and chow down).

I'm tempted to take the sham-wow line and make it its own post, I cracked myself up when I wrote that.

Thanks for the nomination. My inner smart-ass is battling with my common decency to determine how I respond!

Laura Martone said...

Ah, yes, the age-old battle of humankind. To be funny or to be decent. 'Cause never the twain shall meet. :-)

Anita said...

I am a very devout Catholic and totally love the religion. Seriously. And husband and kiddos are the same. I feel bad for people who didn't have my fab experience, but my parish is packed every week and many are young families, so I know husband and I aren't the only ones who love our faith.

We had a full Catholic Mass for our wedding, if I had it in the proper format, I'd email it to you! :)

Vodka Mom said...

"I'm not his bodyguard. I'm his gardener."

that's what YOU should have stood up and said.

Vodka Mom said...

you had me laughing out loud.


Vodka Logic said...

Congratulation on winning The Superior Scribbler Award. Visit my blog to collect your prize

T. Anne said...

Right. Asking Jo to pray for you is the epitome of laziness that's why I just go to the big guy himself.

BTW, glad Frodo could make it.

Rick Daley said...

Anita- I'm happy for anyone who is able to make a fulfilling spiritual connection. A church may inspire me from an architectural and artistic standpoint (and Catholic churches are the best for that type of admiration). But that's an appreciation for the people who designed and built the church, not the deity to which the building is dedicated.

For me, divine/spiritual inspiration strikes best in the woods surrounded by nature, where I can really feel the diversity in the life that surrounds us with all of my senses. The wind in the trees. The bird songs, and the scampering sounds of small animals. The sounds of a river or creek. That's what makes me feel closer to God.

T. Anne- I'm really glad Sauron didn't show.

King of New York Hacks said...

Laughed my ass off, funny stuff. I'm a "recovering" catholic too...Grades K through 10...never forget that nun dumping my school bag over my head every week telling me it was messy !! Great Story !!

Penney said...

I was a hugely pregnant bridesmaid during the only Catholic wedding I've ever heard of where they don't let the wedding party sit down. Seriously... I almost peed on the groomsman's shoes walking down the aisle on the way out of the church 2 hours later...but thought the bride might not have appreciated it as she was a bit...intense shall we say? Ahhh, you just have to love Catholic weddings.

Dee said...

I know exactly what you mean. I call myself a reluctant lawyer and realize I have to add Catholic to the list too.

The last two Catholic weddings I attended I found I kept referring to as funerals. I swear it was not deliberate that word just flew out of my mouth. Maybe it was all that intercession.Must have remindedme of another word with the prefix inter ending with ment.

He did not say Frodo.

Phillipia said...

Hi Rick, I found your blog from a post on someone else's (too lazy to research whose).

I am not really a nun, so put your fears aside...

I found a way to get the Mass out of a catholic weeding...my ex was Methodist so we used his church with my priest (in Akron, Ohio) ...I quit practicing shortly thereafter.

Love your blog...I'll be back...