oxymoron67: (dino head)
[personal profile] oxymoron67
This memory jarred loose by the LJ Idol topic "Burnt Sienna".

When I was a child, our parish (and I think the American Catholic Church in general, based on conversations I've had with others) treated the Catholic school kids much better than those of us who went to public school.

For instance, after his First Holy Communion, my brother became an altar boy. However, he was rarely scheduled, and, when he was, it was for the masses no one else wanted.

So, he quit. Which made the nuns say things like, "See, this is what happens when a public school child is allowed to do this."

As you can imagine, the nuns and mother had words.

Anyway, after that, I was informed that I was not going to be an altar boy. This didn't bother me. I had no desire to be one.

Fast forward to the early to mid 90's, and my eldest nephew decided to become an altar boy. By then, things had changed. The parish's school had closed and the nuns had all retired or left. The church had no choice: if it wanted to have enough altar boys, it had to use public school kids.

So, my nephew got in.

One night, he was the altar boy assigned to light all the candles on the altar. Keep in mind that this was during the Christmas season so there were about a gazillion of them. And the altar was covered in pointsettas.

Seriously, our parish priest loved pointsettas and would buy a hundred or so of them (not exaggerating) and just leave them out all over the altar.

Anyway, the nephew came out in his cassock, except that he just grabbed the first one he saw without paying attention to its size. So, instead of it covering him from head to toe, he looked like he was wearing a stylish white cocktail dress.

With pants on underneath.

He went up to the altar and started lighting all the candles.

Then he missed one. No, I'm not sure how, but he did. Instead he lit one of the pointsettas on fire. At first he didn't notice. Honestly, none of us did at first until we saw the plant burning away merrily as my nephew lit the other candles.

Then one of the burning leaves fell off the plant and onto the carpeting.

By now, my nephew realized what was had happened, but for some reason, he just froze. standing there, staring at the ... um... burning bush and the small patch of carpeting that was now also smoldering.

Honestly, we were all just kind of staring at what had happened. It was like none of us could quite believe that a) my nephew would light a plant on fire instead of a candle, b) then just continue on his merry way and c) said plant would then cause issues with the carpeting.

It was odd.

Fortunately, my sister shook herself out of the fiery stupor, and ran up to the altar, stamping out the carpet and then carrying the plant into the back, where it was put out.

Until the church closed a few years later, that patch of carpeting stayed there.

The nephew was still an altar boy, Heck, he ever got to light the candles again.

Still, my nephew set the church on fire. I'm kind of proud of that.

Date: 2013-08-15 02:27 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] michikatinski.livejournal.com
Rebel in the making!

How did he turn out, religion-wise?

Date: 2013-08-15 03:02 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] adoptedwriter.livejournal.com
Holy smokes! Lol.

Date: 2013-08-15 03:29 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greyduck.livejournal.com
Missed the candle, lit the plant. That's... a neat trick. I don't think even I could be quite that scatterbrained...

Date: 2013-08-15 03:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] furzicle.livejournal.com
This is a great story, one with universal appeal. BTW, is this the way you want this sentence to look?: The nephew was still an altar boy, Heck, he ever got to light the candles again.

Date: 2013-08-16 05:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] oxymoron67.livejournal.com
Nope. A typo in there. Will fix. Thanks for pointing it out.

Date: 2013-08-15 09:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] halfshellvenus.livejournal.com
Wow, two Home Game entries in one week!

I didn't know you COULD set a plant on fire that easily. Did the priest never water them?

I personally never would have let your nephew wield matches again, but hey, why learn from the past? o_O

Date: 2013-08-16 05:59 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] oxymoron67.livejournal.com
The groundskeeper had been away for some reason. So things slipped by that normally wouldn't.

Date: 2013-08-16 11:54 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gfrancie.livejournal.com
I was an altar server. I was the VERY first girl in the history of the church to do this. It was just after JPII said in the early 90s, "hey why not". My Godmother who was in charge of training the altar servers came to me and said, "You should do this." I was kind of keen on it because it looked like fun (you get to help mix drinks, decorate the place, and jingle some bells. Totally in my wheelhouse of a good time.) AND I knew it would totally twist the knickers of the more conservative members of the parish. WIN WIN. It really threw people at first but they didn't say shit because the Pope said it was cool. And Father was supportive. Soon after that loads of girls jumped into it. It was kind of neat because everyone kept it up until they graduated high school.
I never sat fire to anything. I did nearly trip and drop the wine on a few occasions. And I was known for having the most creaky knees ever seen in a teenager. (fucked up knees from ballet)

Date: 2013-08-16 07:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] heartlines.livejournal.com
Oh dear. I'm just glad he didn't end up burning down the whole church :D


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