Pony Tail and the Parking Lot Prisoner.

countrySometimes in life it’s just more fun to go with the flow. When we are “in the flow” we see more of the humor in things. This past Sunday was one of those perfect spring days, warm and sunny… The kind of day when you just want to enjoy basking in the warm sunshine… and smile

Mary FergusonOn days like this I load my 95 year old mom into her wheel chair and we roll ourselves out of the Nursing home and into their parking lot to catch some rays.

I think from growing up in a cold water flat, during the depression she has always craved the heat.  The hotter the better she always says…

She’s happy to be outside and tells every passerby that she’s an escaped prisoner from the Home, enjoying her last bit of freedom before the warden returns her to jail.  My mother thinks she is pretty funny.  So I call her the prisoner to play along until something happens which shows the importance of vulnerability or more specifically for being open to connecting with people.

While I stand guard with “the Prisoner”  in the Loading Zone outside the entrance way to the Country Health and Rehabilitation Center,  up the driveway walks a young guy holding an infant. The baby is a beautiful baby girl with flaming red hair and her father is a tall, pony tail, 60’s hippie type.

The Prisoner calls out “hey your baby is beauuuutifuul, what’s her name”?

He smiles, heads into the loading zone and responds with a smile… “Mary”.

My mom responds with a smile………..Hey, that’s my name too!

I’m thinking these two are going to break into a chorus of john jacob jingleheimer Schmidt..  When he says… She was named after the Blessed Virgin Mary…

Again she comes back with…… me too! …. She then tells him the story of how her mother prayed to the Blessed Virgin to have a girl and promised if she blessed her with a girl she would name her Mary and dress her in blue dresses (Virgin Mary’s signature color) until she is 7 years old. Which she did…

He responded back with a litany of superlatives about the Virgin Mary, she is the most generous, most virtuous, the best example of godliness, strength, and maternal instinct.

My mom waves her hand to interrupt him and says “the similarities stop there for me”….. Just when I was thinking the conversation is going to start his walk to 1st base… he sends the ball straight to LEFT FIELD…

Pony Tail: Are you Catholic??

Prisioner: Yes…

Pony Tail: Would you like to receive communion?

Prisioner: Sure…..

Pony Tail: (passing the baby) Please hold Mary….

Pony Tail: Let’s pray…Our Father who art in heaven….

The Pony Tailed Preacher and the Prisoner finish a chorus of Our Father and roll in a prayer to the Blessed Virgin. When the prayers complete he offers her a communal wafer from a gold pocket case…which I’m thinking is like a Holy Pez dispenser.

The preacher then turns and offers me communion. Now I know all the rules, associated sins, and protocols from serving nine years of parochial school with receiving communion when you are not in a state of grace.  But…it’s a sunny day and hell…. I’m in the loading zone of a nursing home parking lot guarding my 95 year old mother…I figure that should count as enough grace credit …so I say…… sure!

I hand the red haired baby back to the pony tailed preacher and they both move off into the nursing home… I assume to administer communion to the other prisoners…

We sit together for a moment in silence taking in what the hell just happened…A few minutes later,  my mother leans over to ask. Do you think that was legit?

I say sure…if you can’t get to the church then the church has to come to you…

I don’t know ….she says…not sure if that was legit…

Curious….. I ask… Well then why did you go along with it?

The prisoner smiled and said…Sitting in the loading zone at my age …I’m not taking any chances.

Me: I know what you mean…me neither.


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