Sunday, October 12, 2014


Many years ago when I was still a pup, my best friend, Jerry Murray decided to become an altar boy, and of course along with smoking asked me to go with him and become one too.  Since he was a new best friend and my living out in Hagerman, coming from Brooklyn, this was a hick town with not much to do. I didn’t own a bike yet, no one roller-skated and it was too far for a schoolyard to play in.

I go home and announce to my mother that I was going to join the altar boys, and Mom, being she knew me well, dropped to her knees thinking I would be saved after all, her prayers were being heard, yes there is a God kind of thing.

Joining was simple: it was learning the responses in Latin that got me. They gave me this brand new crisp card like folder to learn from. Mom would be the priest and I the altar boy, she would say something in Latin and I had to respond.

Mom: “Dominus Fobiscum” (Translation-“Dominick go frisk him”)
Me: “Ecum Spirit tutuo!” (Translation-“He’s good for two C-notes”)

After about a week of practice, the card was worn and I passed the test and came home with a surplice, that white cotton covering altar boys wore. Mom looked at it and said: “Sure, something more to clean and starch!”

My first Mass was on a Sunday at 9:00 am, and Dad, an occasional church-goer (Mainly his baptism, first communion, confirmation and wedding_) called all his living relatives to the event. You couldn’t get in the church because all my aunts and uncles were there: squeezing out the parish regulars. Jerry, two other altar boys and myself stood on the stage of the All Mighty Himself, ready to pounce on any prayer in Latin the good Father threw our way.

There are three parts of the Mass that an altar boy worth his weight in candle wax wants: One is to ring the bells, two is to race through the Confiteor to see who says it the fastest in Latin, head bowed on our knees and third was the patent that an altar boy held under the recipient of Communion. This was of particular interest to me since if I had one in my hands, I could stick it under a pretty girl’s chin and tease her with it. Yes, even on the altar!

Here I was, a few weeks out of Brooklyn and trying to make a name for myself in the East Patchogue-Hagerman area.

There were other occasions where I may have strayed a little from the norm while being in the service of God, nothing that keeps me away from open windows during a lightning storm, but things that happened from time to time.

Address: 1231 Taft Hwy, Signal Mountain, TN 37377
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  • Used to love the ringing of the bells and the pounding of the heart. Such wonderful memories. Still find it hard to believe you were an altar boy (now they are called altar servers). Young ladies were not allowed at the time. But that's a whole different blog!!!

    By Anonymous Princess Pat, at 12:30 PM  

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