The server came over and my cousin ordered another round. I went into full reporter mode and asked her about the party and the Friar. I pumped her for information and she took a little step back at my pumping. I dug out a Keno card and started scribbling notes with a gold pencil.
It was a going away party for the local priest of the Hammond Catholic church (pictured here). He hadn’t been posted all that long and now faced his flock for perhaps the last time—in a dive bar—and received their earnest well wishes.
I asked the server the good Friar’s name. She didn’t know and I said I had to know.
“I’ll work on it.”
She was working both rooms.
“Does the congregation meet here often?” I said.
“I would say yes, for meetings and gatherings,” she said.
“What are they like?”
“Sometimes they can get a little rowdy.”
My cousin listened and somehow tried to take it all in. He appeared a little dizzy.
“What’s their favorite drink?” I said, expecting to hear Black Velvet or Seagram’s.
The white threw me but also made me clap my hands in glee. I could see oceans of Chablis from boxes and jugs. Carlo Rossi and gravy! Monks and gravy!
The server left and my cousin launched into what we’d just heard. I felt I was verging on mania. I wanted to get up and interview the priest, get his take on coastal Oregon Catholicism and Catholic OTAs. We would talk long into the double Benedictine afternoon about the spirituality of rain, too. Maybe I would convert and confess right there!
The server returned with our beers.
“Ben, Father Ben is his name.”
I looked into the dining room and the Friar turned my way. I got a straight look at his face. It was the most feminine face I’ve ever seen on a man in an OTA joint. There was more going on in that face than any face I’d ever seen in an OTA joint and it wasn’t even an OTA face.
There was mighty, mighty, wondrous, cataclysmic change in the Friar’s face and I think it bodes well for the future of the faith.
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