Parish Politics #1LinerWeds

Another story that requires some setup:

Back at our parish in Chicago, we had two groups, the Ladies Club and the Holy Name Society. Most of the members of both groups were elderly (to quote Groucho Marx, the average age was deceased), so it generally fell on the younger members to do things if anything was to be done. The Ladies Club had an annual spaghetti dinner to raise money. It was the highlight of their year, and Marge, the president of the Ladies Club, spent her entire year preparing for it. In contrast, the Holy Name Society did basically nothing. We met for Mass once a month, and had a meeting afterward where we had coffee and donuts.

I was a member of the Holy Name Society, and was one of several younger men in the group. We started having more activities, such as a quarterly “smoker,” a chance for the guys to get together, drink beer, play cards, watch movies (not stag movies, obviously) and in general get out of the house on a Saturday night.

We decided we needed to do something to raise money, and the president of the club decided “let’s have a spaghetti dinner!” I knew that Marge, who was a friend of ours, would go ballistic if we did that, and tried to talk him out of it. I said to him, “Martin, you know Marge is going to kill you if you have a spaghetti dinner,” and he said, “don’t worry, it’ll be a spaghetti smoker!”

Mary and I were there when Martin told Marge of his plans to throw a spaghetti “smoker,” and of course Marge pitched a fit, and it took Father Bob, who was moderator of both groups, to settle everything down and to negotiate a peace between all concerned. In the end, the men had an Oktoberfest, which didn’t interfere with the spaghetti dinner, everybody was happy, and no one got hurt.

Fast forward a few years. Mary and I now live in Atlanta. It was a tradition at our new parish for the Pro-Life Ministry to have a flower sale on Mother’s Day. One year, we heard that the Knights of Columbus were planning their own flower sale on the same day.

This upset Mary, and as we sat in the lot of the church waiting to get out, she was expressing indignation at the K of C upstaging the Pro-Life Ministry. I turned to her and said…

She laughed all the way home.


One-Liner Wednesday is brought to you each week by Linda Hill and this station. Now a word about Howard Johnson’s, under the orange roof.

14 thoughts on “Parish Politics #1LinerWeds

  1. Love the “flower smoker”! Reminds me of a similar floral conflict I heard about, except the conflicting flower seller was a local friar. It took direct intervention from his old friend, Father Hugh, to convince him to stop. Remember, only Hugh can prevent florist friars!

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  2. hahaha! That was funny John. Thanks for sharing. A “spaghetti smoker”… Lol.
    And I loved seeing Howard Johnsons. I sure remember those. We had a lot of them in Niagara Falls/Buffalo. And my Mom would bring them up frequently when either me or my brother complained about what we were having for dinner. She’d say, “There’s no orange roof on this house, is there? This ain’t no Howard Johnsons!” In other words, Eat what I cook and shut up about it… đŸ™‚

    Michele at Angels Bark

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  3. What a great story, John. I remember Howard Johnsons. We never stayed at one but would go there for food and ice cream. They used to be considered a great place to stop at while traveling.

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    1. Trust me, you didn’t miss much by not staying at a HoJo. Food was good, though, and ice cream is always good, even if it’s bad. They used to have the concessions on a lot of toll roads up north, and they were good places to stop.

      Liked by 1 person

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