Thursday, March 5, 2009

It's usually a dangerous thing....

when the first words out of someone's mouth back to me go something like: "You wouldn't be related to Tom Schnippel, would you?"  Oh boy, what did my father do to this guy?  Hmm.... should I run, I think I'm quicker than him.....

I had the evening shift at the Cathedral, and family was present to commemorate the year's anniversary of the matriarch's death.  Grandfather, Father and Mother, Son and Wife, were all present at the Mass, and simply asked me to pray for their departed wife, mother, grandmother.

I didn't think much of it, we get these requests all the time.

I de-vested, and since I am the only one in tonight, I was on my own for dinner.  Ah, it's Lent, so a good chance to fast, so I run to the Quik E Mart over a block, and returning to the Cathedral, was heading for the main office entrance, as I had dropped my books in that stairwell back to the residence.

This same family was parked on the street changing a tire on their minivan, when I got the dubious question above.  "Father, you wouldn't be from the German Ghetto up north, would you?"  I am, actually.  "Minster?"  HECK NO!  (Sorry, Kurt H, couldn't resist.)  Botkins.  Then the father looked at me and asked: "You wouldn't be related to Tom, would you?"

Hmm... My father is in a business where he meets many, many folks, and some (really, just a few) are not always pleased with what he has done.  But he looked pretty friendly, smiling a bit as he said it.  So, I admitted, "He's my father."

This man lit up like a tree!  "I went to High School with your father!"  (and my mother, too.)

What was looking like a somewhat dreary night was turned into a night of joy as we told some stories, caught up on different details, and eventually grabbed the cell phone to call north: "Mom, do you know a F. B.?"  "Yeah, why?"  Hold on, as I had the phone over.  Talking to her later, she was mightily impressed that we made the connection.  Turns out, he had left town a few days after high school graduation, and hardly been back.   (Echoes of my own story?)

Anyway, we got the tire changed, with the help of the Cathedral's Floor Jack, and sent out on their way to have dinner together in honor of the Matriarch.  But promises were made to connect back up for dinner sometime soon.

Hmm... A chance encounter turns to a new friendship.

See, Fasting for Lent is good for you!

(By the way, before I get acused elsewise, I do very much love my family and am very proud of who they are and that I can call them Mom, Dad, brothers and sisters; it's just part of the family contract that we have to bust on each other.  Just part of the deal, ya know?)


Kurt H said...

The German Ghetto, eh? I have occasionally wondered whether we live in the equivalent of a Catholic ghetto, in the sense that the neighborhood is overwhelmingly Catholic, and we're isolated from some of the prevailing culture. That makes it a great place to raise our kids, but it also makes us complacent.

gramps said...

I too am blessed with a good German name which means that no one with that name is not related no matter where they are in the world. I usually stop them in mid sentence and say yes, if this is their name, I am related.