Catholics have a great affection for Mary, the mother of Jesus. We consider her to be the great intercessor with her Son, because, after all, if you want a kid to do something, you ask his mother to tell him to do it. The wedding at Cana was Jesus’s first public miracle, and naturally, it was His mother who told Him to do it. So, we figure that, if we need God’s help, we can talk to her and have her put a bug in her Son’s ear.
May is the month dedicated to Mary, the Queen of Heaven. One the ways Catholics would celebrate the month was to hold a May Crowning, where we sang songs about her and, at the climax, sent a girl from the school (usually dressed in her First Communion dress) to a statue of Mary with a wreath of flowers, with which she crowned the statue as we all sang "Oh Mary, We Crown Thee With Blossoms Today"…
(There’s a lot more to this, both the devotion to Mary and the whole theology behind it, a lot of which probably sounds loony to many of you who didn’t live through it. I’m trying to keep this short, so go along with me…)
When I was in first grade, my teacher was Miss Disselhorst (she shortened it to "Miss D" for the benefit of six and seven-year-olds). Miss D and I didn’t have the most cordial relationship because she taught us how to print and I was really awful at it. I recall one day she gave me an "F minus minus minus minus minus minus minus" on one of my printing papers (I might be a "minus" or two off), and when I responded by sticking out my tongue at her (the six-year-old’s equivalent of giving her the finger) she pulled me to my feet and dressed me down in front of the whole class until I was at the brink of tears.
Anyway, Miss D decided one day in May that we would hold our own May Crowning, and the honor of who would place the crown on the statue of Mary in the corner of the classroom would be determined by pulling one kid’s name out of a hat (or a Kleenex box, I’m not sure which). And guess whose name she pulled out of the box?
Naturally, I was embarrassed as hell, because first of all, the job of crowning Our Lady was women’s work, and second, this would be in front of the whole class, who would be giggling (I know I would be if I weren’t the star of the show). But I survived, didn’t fall off the chair I had to stand on to reach Mary’s head, didn’t drop the crown (which was Miss D’s bracelet) or knock the statue over, smashing it into a million pieces. I heard about it from my classmates for the rest of the year, though, which, thankfully, was only three more weeks.
Epilogue: Miss D lived across the alley from my best friend, and I ran into her during that summer. We greeted each other by sticking our tongues out at each other.
Epilogue 2: I ran into Miss D’s great-niece on Facebook in a group dedicated to my old neighborhood, and told her to tell Miss D that I still can’t print. The niece wrote back that her great-aunt said I was one of her favorites. I wondered aloud who she was really thinking of….
Stream of Consciousness Saturday is brought to you each week by Linda Hill and this station. And now a word about Ballantine beer, with the fire-brewed flavor that chill can’t kill!