Super Hero’s on the Half Shell

Before Spiderman, Superman, The Hulk and Cat woman became popular Catholic’s had to rely on the saints as our super hero’s. In my family Saint Anthony was our chosen holy super hero. His super power was to help find anything lost. It’s a tradition to conjure up his superpower by chanting  “St. Anthony, Saint Anthony please come around… something is lost and must be found”

I know it doesn’t sound as sexy as saying “Up, Up and Away” and leaping tall buildings in a single bound like Superman, but dam …It was a great way to invite someone with experience finding things to help you out in a pinch.   Like the milk money your mother repeated.. Do Not Lose This!…six times before you lost it on the way to the store.

Tony get’s Cement Shoes: In fact St. Anthony was such a big figure in our family my mother had me cement a statue of his likeness in our front yard to show the world that we were part of his holy gang and therefore under his protection…. Kind of like a God squad auxiliary unit …

Until ironically he went missing (was stolen) from our front yard… I can tell you though that praying to St. Anthony to help to find him doesn’t work.  Like all super hero’s he does have an Achilles heal.    Kind of shakes your faith in the saintly power there doesn’t it?

saint anthonyIt helps to understand that I grew up in a town with a dozen colleges in a 5 mile radius…and college pranks are common in our neighborhood. So the thought that Saint Anthony may be subject to prank was why I anchored his statue in a hole with a full bag of post cement when I planted him in our yard.

My mother was beside herself when she realized that someone had taken her patron saint…who would do such a thing?? What has this world come to??? she repeated over and over again.

My little brother decided to use my mother’s confused state to have a little fun… He called the house and my mother answered the phone…

Hello? ….

(in a gangsta voice) Ya Lady..   Listen up..

If you ever want to see Saint Anthony again …

Put $20 and two tuna fish sandwiches in a brown paper bag and leave it on the park bench across the street…  By noon today.. or else….click!

Little did he know that her instant reaction was to call was to the Cambridge Police Department Detective bureau … She is well connected there as most of the cops were members of the local VFW where she was president of the woman’s auxiliary.

Detective:  Mary, Mary…Calm down for a sec….sounds like one of your nit wit sons is playing a trick on you…  Since he asked for food it sounds like that little fat bastard Kevin… check with him and let me know.

I’m glad I was not home that day…because I understand that even the super powers of St. Anthony could have helped little brother find a safe haven from Mad Mary’s revenge.

And speaking of Mary… another popular Saint in my neighborhood was the Blessed Virgin Mary.  Her super powers seemed to cross all lines as people prayed to her for just about everything.  She was a mother and like all mom’s she had the power to do anything and everything.. all you had to do was ask… and not make her mad of course.  Kind of like an all purpose Super Hero saint.

That’s why I believe she was the odds on favorite as far as statues in the front yard goes…  Her statues are loving referred to as “Mary on the Half Shell” or “The Bathtub Madonna” …

No matter who your super hero’s were or what there super powers are…I think having Saints on the half shell has taught me a few lessons..

  • Never going to find a guy named Tony who is wearing cement shoes, saint or no saint.
  • Never mess with a Mother … especially when she is in the bathtub.
  • Never request Tuna Sandwiches as part of a ransom demand
  • In order to be a Super Hero today, you need to come out of your half shell…

Up, Up and Away….







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