This Thing Called Courage

Sunday, July 08, 2007

The Virgin Mary in a Seattle Korean Laundrymat

MY BEST FRIEND CHRIS IN CALIFORNIA, who now lives in Virginia, has called to say that he and his partner Joseph were in Seattle recently, walking around town and doing the touristy thing. They passed the side of a laundrymat with a vast glass window and Chris could see all the way to the end of it. He noticed a big old dryer in the back, and he stopped to regard it for a second because he thought it looked very Fifties and funky and he likes that sort of thing. On the side of this machine he noticed a large rust stain. An image popped out immediately. He turned to Joseph and said, "Look at that stain. Do you see anything?" Joseph (born and raised a Southern Baptist by the by, and therefore, one would think, not greatly inclined to seeing Marian visages) instantly replied, "Oh my God, it's the Virgin Mary!" "Exactly!" Chris said.

They went inside to further investigate. The shop was owned by a Korean family and two Korean women were inside at the time, one of whom was (curiously) reading the Bible. They didn't seem very interested in the Virgin Mary; nevertheless, Chris somehow got them not to throw him out when he started snapping away with his disposable camera. The apparition was even more detailed up close.

When the pictures came back (they were back in Virginia by then) none of the BVM photos had come out. They were all gray blanks. Ever frugral, Chris used the backs of the blank pix for note and scrap paper. He was cleaning up the other night and re-reading these notes, readying to chuck them out, when he turned one over and saw to his surprise the BVM image from the Seattle laundrymat plain as day. Disbelieving, he called Joseph and showed it to him. Even more details were present in the picture, and they saw that the image was looking heavenward, hands joined in prayer. The reflectioon of the flash had caused a perfect halo around the BVM's head. Three square boxes were over the BVM. "The Holy Trinity," Chris explained.

I'm running out of acorns and have to find another stash, though admittedly this is difficult at this time of year. But I'll preservere. Every night I leave out nine acorns (I don't know why nine-- that's always seemed the correct number to me somehow) on my back porch railing. These are for the Night People. I don't know who they are, but they come by night and eat, or at least take, the acorns. It's not the birds, or squirrels-- nor the chimpmunk family that lives beneath my back stairs-- as they are gone before dawn. It'll be at least another month before this year's crop of acorns begin appearing on the forest floor, and on the sidewalks and what not. Speaking of Momma Earth's bounty, my friend Robbie and I took a hike in Happy Land Friday afternoon/evening, and ate lots of black raspberries-- but most of what we saw won't be ripe for another week or two. I love to gather them, but try to leave most of them for the critters that depend upon them. Blueberries should be ripe soon too, and ditto for them as well. We heard a Great Horned Owl hooting as we left, and also the sweet song of the thrushes.

Lastly, last week was the Horribles Parade in Nahant. This is a very old tradition and no one seems to know how it started-- I think it's similar to the Irish lads going 'On the Wren' on St. Stephen's Day. At any rate all the little ones in town dress up in outlandish costume on the night before July 4, a crazy ragtime band shows up, and they have a little half-mile parade from the center of town down to a municipal field. It's really wonderful, and my nephew and godson Will Malachy Hayes (21 months of age) was taking part in it for the second time, so naturally I had to be there. He was dressed as a lobster. We filled his red Radio Flyer wagon with sand and starfish and American Flags (the latter not being my idea, as I identify the that too much with the Crime Syndicate currently running and ruining America) and the idea was that he would sit in the wagon while I, or my brother Mike or sister-in-law Carol, pulled the wagon. Will however had other ideas, and insisted on walking along with the band, marching in a funny way keeping time with the music, as the antennae of his costume bounced up and down. It was precious!!! Anyway, here's a pic or two from that.


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