Yes, I know someone is going to tell me they have heard this story before, but my family has been fighting the various sick bugs that have been floating around and I'm just plain tuckered out. I just don't feel like writing a new story this week. It always feels good to confess one's shortcomings, so I guess numerous confessions ought to bring me up a notch or two with my maker. Therefore, I am re-running this story entitled Confessions of an Altar Boy.
I wonder how many families have spent Thanksgiving dinners learning old dark secrets held by the men in their families?
You know the type of stories I am referring too, don't you? Johnny used to smoke cigarettes in the barn or Dan used to slip out at night through the window to ride his bicycle into town.
I can still remember how smart I thought I was, when I would climb in the big cedar tree down at the pond to smoke a cigarette. It was several years later that I found out my dad knew all along I was sneaking down there to smoke! I was shocked that he was so smart! I thought I had outwitted my parents numerous times, only to find out later in life that my parents weren't as old fashioned as I thought they were.
Well, this is one of those stories of confessions. My mom has heard it before so I'm good to go on this one – then again she probably already knows I wasn't always the sweet little boy she thought I was.
While growing up in the Tomball Lutheran School, we took daily confirmation classes in the seventh and eight grades. Part of the right of passage was to become a candle lighter for our Sunday morning services.
Of course when we would enter the sanctuary of the church we were in full robes and gave an appearance of being a cut above the normal antics of young boy's. The truth of the matter is we were acting like devils in the back room before service began and, as I have always said, God gave boy's hair to cover the growing horns.
One of the first small things we always wanted to do was taste a communion wafer. It was to our great surprise one day we found a whole box of these things under a cabinet in the same room we kept our robes. I can't remember who found the wafers, but I still remember indulging myself in the first taste of a piece of cardboard like substance that melted in your mouth into a distinct glob of yuk.
We soon acquired a taste for these things and for several days we would enter the back room of the church on our way to our confirmation classes and get our daily dose of wafer.
I don't know if they had anything to do with a rash of constipation, but I do recall after a week or so the wafers were eventually moved. I guess one of the ladies noticed the disappearance and hid them from our sight. It's a good thing the wine was kept elsewhere!
On better days we learned the value of fire. Of course one of our duties was to make sure the wicks on our candle lighters were always fresh and in order. Regardless if they really needed a new wick or not, we would practice and practice lighting the wick and putting them out. We soon learned the longer the wick the bigger the flame and the flame soon put off soot. We also discovered the idea of running the wicks at high speed and writing on the ceiling of the room with the black soot emitting from the wick.
Now before you start wondering why there wasn't an adult in the room, you need to understand all of this went on a few minutes before the service actually started. The pastor of the church would be in the room with us, but he would then move to another room and we were left alone. It was assumed we would behave since we were in church, but somebody forgot we were still boys. Robe or no robe we still had a lot of mischief up our sleeve and our sleeves were real long while we were in those robes!
More next week as I continue the Confessions of an Altar Boy.