A St. Patrick’s Day Memory
Some folks have a problem with authority,
legitimate and otherwise, and I have spent
a lifetime festering in that group.
An event in youth convinced me that
big people are no different than little people
despite their titles and the homage paid them.
The event that changed me was in third grade
when a nun asked me if I was cousin to a cardinal
in the Catholic Church. She had heard my father,
an immigrant blue collar worker, was first cousin
to Cardinal Stritch. Little as I was I had no idea but
I said I’d ask my father and I did that night at supper.
He kept eating his cabbage and potatoes
then finally said we were cousins to the cardinal
whose people also took a boat from Ireland to America.
So I blinked and said to him, “Pa, Sister wants to know
why don’t we call Cardinal Stritch and tell him we’re here.”
Looking up from his cabbage and potatoes,
my father took a sip of tea, shot a laser in my eye,
sniffed a bit and said, “Ask the good sister
why the good cardinal doesn’t call us.”