Taking Tampa by the Tale – Part III

Looking at UT across the drawbridge
Looking at UT across the drawbridge

Ah, the next day.

Horrible sleep.  Horrible headache.

I tried to start out the day light and got a ride to UT.  Good idea.  But then I chose to walk back to the hotel at lunch.  Not such a good idea.  In fact, perhaps a straight out bad idea.

Because first, I had heavy bags.  Second, it was hot.  And third, as I walked across the drawbridge, I heard a metal-on-metal jangle.  I didn’t see anything, even though I stopped and looked, and I kept going.

I got back to the hotel – hot, tired, and realizing what the noise was.  My best pen.  My most expensive pen.  My newest pen.  My lovely lovely Cross Spire that I had just gotten during my trip to Milwaukee.

It had been attached to my binder.  Yet somehow it had unscrewed itself as I walked, and all I had left was the lid, still firmly attached.

Not an auspicious start.

Lots of wailing and moaning on my part.  Complaining.  Insert your own –ing verb here.

But it was lunchtime.  And life could still be worse, right?

So then my travel wife (we’ll keep on calling her “Sandra” for this third and final installment) discovered that there was a church gift shop in the neighborhood.  And, honestly, who doesn’t want to go to a church’s gift shop?

We went, and I found a necklace with Saint Dymphna on it.  I had never heard of her.  But apparently she’s the “Patron of Those with Mental Illness.”  The little pamphlet tells us that she was the daughter of a chieftain whose wife died.  He went crazy, got hot for his daughter, and she ran away.  He followed her, made advances, and she refused so he chopped off her head.  I’m not quite sure how that makes her a patron saint for the crazies, but it didn’t matter.  I knew I needed it.  My pen was making me crazy for sure.

I bought it and tucked it into my bag.  Then it was back to UT.

And it happened.

I found my pen.

It hadn’t fallen all the way through the slats.  It was somehow still there, wedged in, but visible to anyone who was scanning the silver metal.     So was it my patron saint looking out for me?  Or just the fact that people don’t look down?

Either way, I got my pen and my patron saint.  And I’m still in Tampa.



Real Life “Father Ted”?

Father Ted was an awesome series from the late 1990s that stared Dermot Morgan as Father Ted Crilly, the priest with a shady past who had been “sentenced” to live on Craggy Island off of Ireland with two other completely incompetent priests and a strangely effective yet scary housekeeper. Father Ted wasn’t above rigging a drawing for a car, judging a beauty contest, or letting some money “rest” in his bank account.

Apparently, he’s not the only priest in the UK that has an interesting life.

Vicar Paul Shackerley in northern England, who has facial piercing and a tongue piercing, posted on his Facebook page on a Saturday night that

“I think I will put my feet up. I’ve done f— all today other than jazz lesson and visit a friend. I hear the fizz of tonic in my gin beckoning.”

“Alas, I have religion tomorrow. At least I’m not preaching this week.”

He also talked about a photo of himself with a snowman, posting to
“Forgive my sin of frivolity. Sin is such fun! But I haven’t been having an inappropriate relationship with Snowy, who can longer be called a `snowman’ in the name of political correctness.”

Here’s the thing – I’m not sure he should get into trouble for it.

What’s so bad about what he said? He used a curse word. Oooh. How naughty. And he complained about having to work. Who doesn’t do that? And what’s the big deal about saying sin is fun? Can anyone argue that point?

I don’t know. For some reason, this vicar reminds me of our parish priest when I was growing up. I went to Trinity Episcopal in Irvington, NJ, and while the church has since closed, at the time, we had Father Bob.

Father Bob was cool. There’s no other word for it. I don’t know that I ever heard him curse, but he took karate, did karate as part of his sermons (including the one time when he tried to break boards to show how we can do anything if we believe, but then having to go down to fewer boards because he couldn’t do it), and finally left the church (not the priesthood – just the church) to join the army and be a chaplain and jump out of planes. He made everything fun. I remember confirmation classes when we played a game where he’d tell us a bible verse, and we’d have to flip through and find where it was.

I still have the Jerusalem Cross that I “won” when, during a Passover Seder, my sister and I stole the afikoman. (Really? Who offers a cross as part of a Jewish meal? Somehow this made perfect sense when I was a kid, but now I look back and shake my head just a bit…)

Yeah, and I was a shepherd every year in the Christmas pageant.

Anyway, after Father Bob left, the church started going downhill. My guess is because it became boring. Stale. The fun was gone.

And now it’s for sale.

So maybe Vicar Paul Shackerley shouldn’t get in trouble. Maybe he’s just what the church needs…