‘Who dun its’, punk poets and the magic of Christmas

 12346527_10156434300805372_5227706340313434401_n

 

Dear Clara, my wish for you today is that you will save the world. No pressure, but this responsibly starts tonight. On Christmas Eve all babies wield special super powers.
(This power also extends to couples in love, puppies, kittens and any furry creature that doesn’t bite.)

 

You have been using mind control from the centre of your magical orb, bending all beings to your will, but this is something different. On Christmas Eve there is a real chance for wonder, awe and a glimpse of the Divine. Your job is to work in tandem with this mojo.

 

Each night your great grandmother and I sit in the sparkle of Christmas lights, we are silver haired children delighting in the transparency of the angel shifting colours as she watches over the manger. The TV glows on repetition. I read Patti Smith on my tablet and mom watches Forensic File re-runs. Each night the routine is the same. As the battered corpses pile up, mom becomes mildly indignant. ”This is a fine bed time story!’ She forgets that the show is on at her request. ‘Lets find something else mom.’ ‘No no! Its a ‘who dun it’ and I need to know who dun it!’

 

Many nights our ritual is happily broken by a quiet tinkle announcing a new gem in my messenger box. Jazmine (your mom) sends us glimpses into the fairy world that is Clara via random images and video clips;
Your first time rolling over appears to be a herculean effort and produces a sound track worthy of champion weightlifter.
One of your first consonants comes in the shape of a Parisian style tiger roar.
We watch in trepidation as you struggle, stumbling and teetering and finally execute your first pull up.
Joyously,  we see your first Christmas exploration. Your fingers touch the ornament on the tree with the delicacy of a ballerina.

 

We watch these gifts over and over.

 

Clara, if you had arrived looking like Tom Waits, I would still have been blinded by that amber glow about you, my breath stolen. From the moment of your arrival, those cerulean eyes were wide open, observing us from your secret place next to God. That’s what startled me the first time I held you, the sense that you were in transition between this world and the last. In your eyes I could see the divine and feel it in my own body like a drug.  Maybe this is a release of endorphins or serotonin, but it still feels like mainlining God.

 

So your mission, if you should choose to accept it, will be to join forces with the spirit of Christmas and simply hold someone’s gaze until they experience the power of this night. On Christmas Eve, everyone who holds a baby, a lover or a furry creature has the chance to experience the Divine and awaken to the best natural law;
every bit of love that we toss to others will bounce off the heavens and come back three fold.

 

I’m looking forward to the transformation my world will undergo during the next spin around the sun. It will be a thrilling experience, no doubt interlaced with ‘who dun its’ and punk poets.

 

 Merry Christmas. xoxxo Nanny A.
 

 

Rock & Roll Faerie from Hell

1399616_10201270916229893_716663895_o

Dear Clara Jane, today I wish you Rock and Roll and a decent car.

It is 2:30 in the morning circa 1983 and for the last ten minutes I have been breaking the sound barrier with the ruinous thunder of my ancient Volvo. I am navigating the back road labyrinth of French Village on my way to your grandfather and the farmhouse we share on the Peninsula. The entire exhaust system is now dragging beneath the car on the dirt road. I don’t know if there are sparks flying, but I am in a panic because I fear the gas tank is going to explode. I stop and crawl beneath the vehicle in the dark, attempting to rid my self of this hateful appendage. It is tenacious and will not budge. Giving up, I notice a light in yonder window and approach a tiny dwelling while shifting into damsel in distress mode.  I begin by politely tapping on the door and eventually switch to insistent pounding. The man finally gives in and comes to the door, but he seems nervous and peers behind me as though scanning the bushes for my junkie boyfriend. I have forgotten that I am in full rock and roll regalia.

I was returning from a gig at the Golden Lion with the rock group Airtite. I was their lead singer. We were a theatrical rock band, spearheaded and managed by John Ellefsen. John’s creative and wonderfully bizarre exploits were key to our success. He played bass while donning moose horns and fake dog dung. The two guitarists, Earl Chisholm and Paul ‘Mort’ Mortimer were exciting and bounced off of each other seamlessly. Ron James’s soulful keys brought a grand stadium sound. Fred Allan, as Ron puts it, was our human clock on percussion. Every weekend gig started with set up on Wednesday night. We played Thursday to Saturday, sometimes with a matinee. Airtite was a community effort. George Sterling, with his great sense of rhythm, gave us a fantastic light show and the sound by Brian Larabee was loud and clear, aided by giant speaker stacks. We had a gang of amazing roadies headed up by tech repairman Dave Carson with Kim Logan as truck driver.

The wives of my band mates were constantly digging into their tickle trunks to provide costumes. The night involved three or four costume changes. I loved donning the black sequin dress and feather boa for the R&B set, but my favourite character was the pigtailed, freckled face, screaming punk baby in platform sneakers. I would arrive stomping on stage, wildly shoving the players around to a punk rock version of ‘My Boyfriend’s Back.’ When the adrenalin kicked in, it was like dancing with Peter Pan and the White Rabbit. It was an odd state where you would completely lose control while steering a space ship with perfect precision. I would return home wired and sleepless until sunrise. The mojo expended for each show was always borrowed from the next day. It was borrowed from the audience as well. There is such a dynamite exchange of energy when the crowd catches the voodoo properly.

So anyway, the guy from the lonely forest dwelling grudgingly gives in, crawls on his belly and releases the offending apparatus. Still suspicious, he quickly makes his retreat. The lights of his home and any further welcoming signs are quickly extinguished. Looking back, I can’t believe how I simply took it for granted that this poor stranger would come to my aid in this way. I can barely remember that girl with her audacious sense of power and entitlement. She was a silly fiery creature that roamed the earth back when your  mother was still a dream. She is long gone, traded for a bit of wisdom, a decent car and cell phone…so some small comfort.

I continue on my ridiculous way, muffer-lessly shattering the peace of all who lie between me and my Whitehead home. It’s not until I catch a glimpse of myself in the bathroom mirror that I recall the quiet terror in my saviour’s eyes with compassion. Though the other costumes changes of the show had some semblance of reason, there was no rational purpose for the ensemble of the last set. The look was an 80’s nightmare fairy crossed with a chambermaid out of Beetlejuice; a bright red satin baseball jacket over a glitter top, Nike satin sports shorts over tattoo designed leggings with a pair of 50’s style black and white sneakers, gigantic hair wildly displayed in the fashion of the decade with Joplin-esque purple feathers plus indiscriminately sprinkled glitter. It was all bad, but the struggle under the car had also provided an accent to the sticker hearts on my face by smearing dirt everywhere. I was looking at the only child of the artful dodger and Sid Vicious. Richard Hell would have been proud.

Creature Comforts

12316133_10156406533625372_3663128473961570935_n

Dear Clara Jane,

Today I wish you creature comforts. Did you know that if you are very still and gaze long enough you will see God in the eyes of a baby? Well this also works with dogs. Did you know that dog spelled backwards is God? Horses are like that too, they have deep pools that go as far as the next galaxy.

Be very careful with Parrots. I’m pretty sure with Parrots it’s the reverse of God and you end up staring into the eyes of someone who looks a lot like Alan Rickman. Before you can blink you’ll start to hear oddly pitched singing causing you to do stuff…like painting a mural with molasses or juggling with fresh eggs.

I hope you make good friends with Zoey. Don’t listen to John Cleese when he says those terrible things about Parrots. He thinks they only repeat what they are taught and have no idea what they are saying. It’s not true. You know how she makes that whistling bomb sound followed by an explosion?  I’m pretty sure she is patiently waiting for the day it works and we will all blow up. I’m kidding. I know you will have a long and happy relationship with Zoey. Remember whenever you approach her, to always wear work gloves and a metal colander on your head. Parrots are a much maligned and misunderstood species but they have rich diverse cultural practises. Some of these rituals include digit dismembering and fly-by hair pulling.

I hope you will fall into the ecstasy that is horse fever. In the spirit of living vicariously, I set your mom up with horseback riding lessons when she was nine. Turns out she’s allergic, so now my frustrated equestrian visions will be experienced through you. No pressure. I’m just back from a trip (December 2015) to Aunt Holly’s and a euphoric afternoon visiting a horse farm near Hamilton. We spent the day carousing with dogs, kittens and horses. I took a bath in animal love. I walked a welsh pony through an ancient wood and pretended I was a weary traveller. I imagined weaving my way through a cedar labyrinth to my secret hut and settling down with my pony to write in the style of Thoreau…only less miserly. Later on, I told a Palomino foal about all the wonderful things that would be coming into his life and how lucky he was to be blond and sleek. He knew this to be true and kissed me with his velvet nuzzle.

Be careful how you play with puppies. Your uncle once had half our neighbourhood scouring the newly fallen snow for signs of our missing puppy. We persevered for most of the afternoon following possible puppy tracks into the bleak November forest. Visions of hungry wolves and witches flicked through my brain. At dusk we returned home defeated and heartbroken. Mom sadly began to prepare supper and promptly uncovered a sleeping Lab pup curled up in the soup pot, compliments of baby Glenn boy.

ps. If you are lucky enough to hang out with cats, remember to ignore them completely. It helps if you are allergic and can’t touch them, if that’s the case they will shower you with cat rubbing and affection.

All for now, xxox Nannie A.

Apple Pie laced with Salt

10504912_10154539624705372_8113556212417088421_o (1)
I once held a dinner party during which the guests were served apple pie laced with salt. Before the dust settled on that episode, I realized that earlier in the day I had given out sugar to cure a deer hide. *Note to self; label glass canisters. I once filled our home with the lasting and pungent aroma of cornbread made with garlic power instead of cornmeal. I have tasted hand cream instead of toothpaste and greasily arrived at a social event having washed my hair with conditioner.
The wandering mind is pretty much the human condition and these days we are aided in our natural distraction by the infinite pathways of the internet. Just when you begin to educated yourself on the Isis crisis or the latest ecological atrocity, up pops a link for reducing abdominal fat or that video of the dog dancing with a parrot. I’ve often wondered what might change in a world where we were all actually paying attention. Would we have less capacity for randomly killing one another and pissing into our own winds or for that matter running red lights? Have you noticed how everyone is running red lights now?!
About thirty years ago I started to practise meditation. My brain was getting in the way of my sanity. If I were to bestow diplomacy on myself, I would tag this attribute as an active imagination. Or maybe brilliance! I take keen comfort in the story of an absent minded Einstein having to use a rope to keep his pants up. I’ve spent many years on and off the cushion, well mostly off. It’s really hard.
In the west we have a tendency to spin gold into manure. The great eastern philosophies have been hi-jacked, dressed in hooker outfits and pimped out to e-bay. That’s all right, it’s our tradition, we like to sell stuff. We offer gurus on book tours, yogis hosting elite retreats and magical knickknacks to fill your mediation corner and speed up your journey to nirvana. It just that sometimes it’s hard to see the mirror for the smoke…or the looking glass for the rabbit hole…ok I’ll stop that.
I don’t really notice that I’ve been dangerously distracted until I’m not. But once I’ve gotten back on the cushion, then it freshly dawns on me that we are sharing an incredible and brief ride. There is also a renewed sense of acceptance and tenderness. And if I’ve practised for maybe a week, then stuff starts to happen. I slow down for yellow lights.

Flight of the Bumble Me

 

 

 

10496916_10154531764970372_4730051328642767965_oAll the details were in order, but a few days before our departure, I discovered to my dismay that I had booked our London to Lisbon fight on ‘The World’s Most Hated Airline’. This was alarming and I decided some deeper research was in order. It turned out Ryan Air had a notorious history, but it’s future was terrifying. Although some clause in health regulations had prevented them from installing pay as you go toilets, they had plans to concoct stand up seating. Their refurbished planes would have skinny poles with tilted seats for bottoms to lean on. This had me imagining us in a tin box filled with little sardine people, all happily saving money. We all have experienced tortuous travels in a world where bums are increasingly gaining in a disproportionate ratio to the steadily decrease in the size of airline seats. I remember picking up a long neglected thread with God, as I watched a bountifully bodacious woman approached my row. God unkindly sent me a disturbing vision of a Kardashion ass and then delivered. And then there are the muscle men with elbows suspended in the air, far beyond their hard earned bulk and their intimidating knees sprawling out on either side, way beyond acceptable boundaries. I think there must be some exclusive natural law meant for sociopaths and the alpha-inclined folk.

It’s never been the fear of crashing that has me in a heightened state of vigilance when I plan air travel. I play a decent game of chess but in real life I’ve never had the facility to understand what the logical conclusion might be if I were to park my Queen diagonally opposite my enemy’s Bishop. I think I would have entered the arena blissfully bowing to the cacophony of the Roman spectators, oblivious to danger until looking into the lion’s mouth. And if Goliath appeared before me, I would fearlessly drop my gauntlet with the same abandon Rick Mercer used while challenging Rex Murphy to a game of Scrabble.
Anyway, the fear has mostly to do with my checkered past involving the logistics of travel. I did a short stint as an almost/at any minute, internationally renowned singer. My status was such that a well know promoter referred to me as being in his ‘stable’. That didn’t work out and it may have been due in part to my unsophisticated abilities in the art of transporting myself. I can still remember that winter’s day in the Toronto airport. As usual, I utilized my directionally impaired sensors and found myself outside the building on the Tarmac beside a plane that looked to me like it might be going to Saint John. Looking up I met the eyes of the Pilot in his cockpit. I mouthed a question to him and his head disappeared for a moment, reappearing soon after, along with his co-pilot. I’m not sure how it came about, but though I missed my connecting flight, I was placed on one that arrived sooner.
Filled with trepidation and joy, I began to plan a fantastic journey. To coincide with our twenty-fifth wedding anniversary my husband and I would spend three weeks in Europe. It would be the trip of a live time! My well travelled daughter gave me a gem of wisdom, ‘There is as much joy in the planning’. I set to work in earnest, but in the months leading up to our grand tour, my husband became increasingly uncomfortable. At this point in time he had resisted all interaction with the cyber world. He was beginning to realize that he had just placed his life the hands of a woman who could at any moment get lost in her own back garden.
I have travelled that highway to Antigonish instead of Halifax. I am probably the only human who managed to do 10 km on a dirt road while on a trip from Saint John to Halifax—in my defence this had to do with an ill-timed bathroom break and trust in a demonic-minded GPS device. And one time, leaving the Sussex Balloon Festival with my little girl, I decided to practise ‘meditative driving’. I watched my progress between the ditch and the line with calm precision, I flickered my attention between the speedometer and the tack and counted off “1000 one – 1000 two’, keeping the proper distance between cars. We were into the journey about 40 minutes when I noticed a lake that had miraculously appeared for the first time on the road to Saint John. When I relinquished my meditative state, I found a detour off the road to Fredericton and we had a delightful side trip to Nannie’s place in Wickam.
Anyway, the planning for Europe began a year in advance. Did you know that there are videos showing how to work the ticket machines in the Paris Metro? I downloaded and cached maps of airports, streets and train schedules on my tablet. I studied Rick Steeve’s bible and with monk-like determination distilled our life into two carry on knapsacks. Luckily, these days most chain stores are happy to provide us with lightweight disposable clothing. My daughter was right, the planning was as intoxicating as the trip itself. I spent countless hours, burning the midnight laptop, google-earthing the icon of that little man down onto the streets of London and Paris. I expertly ferreted out cheap but safe hotels and out of tourist district dining. It was a huge education. At least a graduate degree.
As it turned out, we enjoyed our Ryan flight and arrived in Portugal unscathed. There was one uncomfortable moment where we were suddenly set upon by stern faced, doberman eyed, carry-on baggage Police. They marched towards our line-up armed with threatening tape measures. We watched helplessly as fellow tourists were shamefully pulled away and exiled to the checked baggage area, credit cards in hand.
It was a fantastic and almost flawless adventure. We successfully aligned with my brother and his family and travelled the road to Bath, wildly careening on high ridges– occasionally on the wrong side of the road. We negotiated the various transport systems like children on a scavenger hunt. We became masters of the underground. There were no disasters. Well, there was that one terrifying moment on the bus to Paris. The horrid revelation slowly unfolded. The bus was not boarding the Ferry where we would romantically view the white cliffs of Dover and blue skies, it was descending into the bowel of Mordor and the ‘Chunnel’. I swear I felt the weight of the English Channel hovering over my head. Generally though, all connections were made, no lives lost. My finest moment came when I successfully navigated the complex lab-rat labyrinth of Gatwick airport to arriving with precision at our Oxford bus stop. My husband still tells the tale at night around the fire pit.

The Hidden Swan

1799961_10154540175845372_3502693017964268944_o
It was like one of those dreams where you suddenly realize you’re naked or that you are naked on the toilet in a room full of mixed company, you know. Only this is real. I’m almost sixty years old, crossing a dance floor as a ballerina, but my arms and legs are doing things that make me want to pretend they don’t belong to me. They actually don’t seem to belong to me.
I like to think of myself as innovative, creative and intelligent, with one major flaw. My memory has never been of any practical use. Everyone likes to say things like that and that’s pretty frustrating for those of us with a real affliction. It’s like being a natural blond in Hollywood. You are surrounded by fakes and get no credit. One of my favourite detectives created by one of my favourite authors -sorry I forget which ones- said that intelligence is three quarters memory. Living without a memory is a major handicap, but I like to think that under this blank dust mote of a mind, I’m still pretty smart. The problem is that without a proper memory, you can’t remember all those things that you should never do–ever again.
I still regard people dressed up at social engagements or on TV reading the News, as the grown ups. I realize I need to acknowledge the fact that I am now at least thirty or perhaps forty years older than these grown ups. I’ll be sixty on my next birthday and I know I should be pursuing whatever pursuits the grownups and venerable veterans of life move to at this point. Trouble is I have no idea what that might be and I’m still not sure I’ve properly finished with my childhood. My life has been littered with a myriad array of winding paths… lovely garden paths really. I have been summoned, cajoled and led down these paths, always on the lookout for that glowing exit sign, the one that will lead me directly to the glories of the fast lane. So far it’s been a series of dead ends and u-turns, just this side of the turnip patch. Basically, most of my personal road trip thus far makes no real sense.
I grew up in a lake and forest suburb ingeniously called ‘Spruce Lake’. As a child the most common instruction I was given was; GO OUT AND PLAY. I had a wonderful friend and we would trip lightly on secret paths disappearing for entire days through the forests to the lakes, streams and ocean. We made shelters from sticks, branches and muck. We found meadows that looked over the ocean with no visible sign of civilization. We pretended our parents were dead, killed in some nebulous world war three and we were survivors. We played our flutophones – black and white plastic recorders – and dangled out feet into icy streams. We read Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden.
I should give thanks for the beauty and richness of that self made heritage, but at some point I became aware of Other People’s Childhoods. Other People’s Childhoods sounded pretty good, something like Other People’s Facebook Walls. They just seem better. So despite countless experiences that have clearly shown my inability to follow simple instructions, to learn any kind of fine technique or deft skill, when my neighbour suggested enrolling in an all ages ballet class, it sounded perfect!! I have limbs that can still bend upside down and backwards. My knees touch the floor in cobbler. This is a trick….I’m pretty sure my hips aren’t properly attached to my body. A few pounds off the lithe mark these days, but still relatively limber. I reasoned to myself that I have a wonderful sense of rhythm and my dancing is filled with that rhythm. Graceful energetic rhythms!! I can move to music and I will tell a wonderful story with my performance.
It’s just the instruction….I am unable to follow simple instruction.
We are a variety pack class. Young stream-lined beauties, middle aged and senior women of various proportions. Most come to re-connect with their childhood passion. I am happy to connect with someone else’s childhood. I’ve borrowed one that includes horseback riding and perhaps even piano lessons. I begin my warm up by dancing lightly, allowing my yogic grace to flow. Tiptoeing, I ease into the mock ballet movements I developed as a child. Most importantly, I have on new leather slippers. As a vegetarian, this purchase created a dilemma, but I was outclassed by my inner budding Diva.
Our Beautiful teacher enters and music box piano wafts from her computer. So I begin, with optimism unscathed by past embarrassments. The warm ups are simple. Directions for one limb at a time. Perfect, I execute these with grace. Long limbs soar, giving me distance. I can count!!…. and keep the time. Well! I love and understand that the power of graceful hands comes from the magic spot on the palm just below the fingers. I lift my arms and spine and stretch into infinity. I bend like a willow sweeping my fingers to the floor. I am content. Now we are to cross the floor in pairs on a diagonal line. The instructions have begun to change….no, they have morphed, it’s become an enigma code. Plie, jete Arabesque, triples grande plie….pirouette. “Begin with left foot, it’s simply hopping and skipping” our instructor helpfully says. Left arm at second position first arm at third. I now have information in regard to four limbs requiring individual attention. I regress to default and my organic computer crashes. As I move across the floor, I try to coerce one or two of my appendages into behaving themselves. They have developed some sort of solidarity and it’s mutiny on the dance floor. Having placed myself last in order to pass unnoticed, I find that I am now the only one on the dance floor. My graceful new friends watch with embarrassed concern as I turn into a creature that could only exist in a world where Mr. Bean and John Cleese were allow to mate and produce a child.
By the end of class, I am cruelly transported back to the second grade. We are to partner up and I am politely avoided. The women are lovely and show me how far I’ve fallen by smiling at me too much. I realize they have to protect their dignity and how disconcerting it must be for them. In the midst of executing their arabesques, plies and pretty fluttering, they can’t help but be distracted by this creature galumphing along beside them. I’m sure they know I am harmless but I fear that maybe, if only from the corner of their eyes, I am coming off like some sort of escapee or at the very least someone who is a danger to themselves. I am in disgrace.
The class begins to wind down and we return to our line. We practice bowing for our finale and instantly I am transformed, executing grand graceful sweeps. My swan-ish limbs reaching for infinity with silky abandon. I brush the floor with my delicate fingers. I soar. I am reprieved. The humiliation is already fading from my memory….my forgiving, my forgetting memory.

My Guardian Angel is a Snitch

 

PhotoScan (70)

It’s 1962, the Beatles audition for Decca records, Jackie is decorating the white house and John Glenn orbits the globe. It’s also the year Fidel Castro gets excommunicated and now I’m about about to join him. (not in Cuba, just as an outlaw from God.) I move down the aisle to the confessional like a prisoner to the gallows, it’s like wading through molasses. Candle smoke and the musk of incense fill the air. There is divine presence in the heavenly shafts of light radiating from the stain glass. Tiny angels dressed as dust motes are floating in this essence and God is quietly judging me.

Trembling, I make my way into the bleak box. I’d always felt the confessional was like a little clubhouse, only holy. I’m seven years old and don’t realize that the sin I’m about to confess requires at least two people to carry it off. All I know is that somehow it involves naked women. The priest slides the tiny window open and I blurt it out. ‘Bless me father for I have committed adultery.’

Only a few months earlier my classroom was preparing for our first communion and official debut into the Catholic church. I was too young to understand the miracle of the virgin Mary, but I liked the way she looked. We learned about things like mortal and venial sins. Mortal sins are bad, like when you kill someone or you miss church. If you die with one of these on your soul it’s straight to hell, no parole. Die with a venal sin, like lying or stealing a cookie, and you do time in purgatory. To get to heaven from purgatory you need someone to pray you out. Purgatory was not a ghastly as hell, just grey and boring like a hospital waiting room. It all sounded a bit like a complicated board game. There were other rules too, girls couldn’t enter the church with a bare head and we must eat fish on Friday and beans on Saturday night. Wait. I think the beans thing was my mom’s idea not God’s.

The biggest news was that we were to have our own personal Guardian Angel. This turned out to be a nebulous presence that acted as a liaison to God and watched over us…all the time. I began to feel that my privacy was being violated. I had a sense of being watched and became increasingly paranoid. The scariest part was the suspicion that this angel could read minds as well. It occurred to me that my guardian angel could be doubling as a snitch to God. Years later Nixon pulled something like this off when he had CIA agents spy on the democrats under the guise of offering security.

The glorious morning of of our first communion came and went. I got to wear a beautiful bride-like dress, a gossamer veil and white gloves, plus I was given a set of amazing glow in the dark rosary beads. The bonus: I now had a perfectly pristine soul, no bad marks. I vowed to keep it that way forever.

On the Sunday following first communion, the girls and boys were asked to come to regular Mass wearing their communion dresses and nifty black suits. I was so excited! I envisioned myself flowing down the aisle like a saint on a catwalk. This was not to be. In order to take this sacrament you must be sin free and fasting. That morning an inexplicably dark force drew me towards a Cheerio box. When I came to my senses, I had a single heretic Cheerio in my belly. After a brief but tumultuous argument with myself (mediated by the guardian angel)I fessed up. I was sidelined, sentenced to sit in my now glaringly white gown, while the congregation side-eyed me wondering what atrocity I had committed. I pretended not to notice as an endless line of smug saintly classmates flowed past.

Later, I kept up my religious studies by watching a series of Cecile B.Demille films. I was enthralled to hear God’s rumbling voice through the silver lined clouds and see Jesus wandering on and off screen scored by a Hollywood choir of angels. I became fascinated with the half naked woman (Ann Baxter) who loved Moses. Wrapping herself around him she slowly keened ‘Moses Moses Moses’ with a deep and sultry voice. But it was after watching a movie about Saint Bernadette with her beautiful face illuminated by the Virgin Mary that changed my life for…well for at least a few weeks. A misguided epiphany fired and I began to believe that I too was made of such stuff as could attract the attention of the heavens. I began practising in the mirror, rehearsing for my audition with the saints. I cultivated an ethereal grace and piety and allowed it to radiate from my face. I patiently waited for some talent scouting angel to take note and invite me into the loop.

Time passed and so did my holy aspirations. Life went on, our scuffed up souls occasionally needing the shoe polish of confession. It’s the morning of the afore mentioned wicked sin and I have forgotten my hat. My quick thinking Aunt bobby pins a kleenex to my head and I enter the church. Most weeks, my sessions in the box are embellished. Rather than bore the priest I make stuff up ‘I lied, I cheated, I hit my sister, I stole cookies.’ So, usually my only real sin was lying to the priest.

It’s no surprise, that once adultery enters our conversation, the priest requests some background information. I told him that I had been innocently nosing through my brother’s stuff when I happened upon a magazine that brought to mind those fascinating Cecile B. Demille women, only with less clothing. A lot less. I don’t remember the exact number of rounds I had to make on my ‘glow in the dark’ rosery beads but I do know it took awhile and that my mother looked quietly alarmed.

When I think back on that brief moment of sin, I realize that I could have shrugged it off and reasoned that I had done no real harm. I might have gone about the rest of my day carelessly stealing cookies. But I was not alone that day. My old familiar nemesis cast it’s shadow and I felt the unmistakable breath of an avenging angel. I was busted. My guardian snitch to God was in the room.