pigwa dreams

I’m not saying , for sure , that the pigwa had anything to do with it . Not necessarily . As Scrooge said , it could have been something I et .  It might well have simply been a coincidence that I happened to be relaxing with a little glass of pigwa when the ghost of Sister Agony revisited , out of the blue ( well , out of the darkness , actually ; it was just after midnight ) . Agony again , with her bullhorn .PIGWA 002

I’ll try not to pick on her too much , here . Let the old nun rest in peace. I will say , however ,  that the prospect of meeting her in heaven or hell did occur to me as I leaned back in the tub listening to the wind blow through the one tree out there behind the building . A loud neighbor with a voice that could cut glass was being yelled at by , I think , the man downstairs . It was all in Polish , so I didn’t get the specifics other than a repeated curse word that he began to use a few minutes into the harangue . I got the gist of it , though . It wasn’t hard to figure out . It was too late for her to be making so much noise . She quieted down a little after the minutes-long shouting match . She gave in , eventually , but had to save face , of course , with a few more minutes of loud talking . U.S Steel could have used her voice to cut steel plates . Anyway , she quieted down , and I was left with my thoughts .

I wondered for awhile whether Agony went to heaven or to hell . She , being a nun , was married to Jesus , you know , as they say . Maybe with the immigration policies in heaven , if you’re married to a citizen of heaven , then you’re in . Does it work that way ? No one ever came back to tell me . As a kid I waited for a string to drop from the sky with a note giving me a little inside info , but  it  never happened .  That doesn’t mean it never will . Eternity is a long time . Souls up there must be on heaven -time , and who knows what that schedule might be like . I could  be waiting a long , long time , for a note .

Sorry to say , but I doubt very much that Sister Agony made it to heaven . I wouldn’t like to say that she’s sitting in hell , roasting away and dripping fat , either , though . I wouldn’t like to say that because I suspect plenty of my old friends will be hanging around there too , and I might like to see them again at some point . I wouldn’t like to get there to the hot place and see Sister A sitting in her teacher chair , leaning forward menacingly in her intimidating way  , and staring at me aggressively  with that evil smirk she wore so well . That would really be hell . Well , now that I think of it , I guess that’s the point .

Can’t win !

On the other hand , if I ever make it up to heaven , and she’s there …………….   That would sort of defeat the idea of heaven , too .  Sure it would . See ? Can’t win !  An eternity of Sister Agony ?  If that happens then God better have an eternity’s  supply of single malt  and a big glass .

I’ll work this out a little more in my tiny brain and see what I come up with . Maybe all this rising panic is just the pigwa talking . Or a bad perogi .

The memory that popped into my mind tonight was the time Agony had just unwrapped her shiny new bullhorn . This one had a little length of cord attached to a microphone . The old bullhorn was just a bullhorn , the kind of thing used at AFL-CIO rallies , anti-war protests , and in Tom Waits songs , the kind of thing used by Aimee Semple MacPherson in the 1920s and 30s  to gather her flock and talk about the possible peril for people’s eternal souls . In other words , Agony needed an upgrade , and it arrived  in a trim cardboard box from the bullhorn factory . She might have had a coupon . The thing was hatched from its cardboard carton on the very morning that my class of fifth-graders was assigned to help with the morning assembly .FAIR Szczecin 2014 013

Agony was in charge of the morning assemblies . Every morning the student bodies ( all 350 of them ) lined up and Sister Agony bullhorned them for a few minutes . The principal stood meekly off to one side as the drill sergeant nun shouted orders and bits of information to the troops . Truth was she didn’t need a bullhorn at all . But now she had a nice brand new blue and grey one with the microphone on a flexible cord. It  gave her more mobility . She could word-blast one group of students while giving the evil eye to another group . The power of the Lord knows no bounds . ( Or , in this case , the power of one of the Lord’s wives ) .

Each class was assigned a week to ” help ” with the morning assembly . To “help” meant that two students must be assigned to hold the bullhorn . My class was up . Two shy little girls from my fifth grade class held the instrument of disruption . It was the horn’s maiden run and all was going well for the first few minutes .

Cinco de Mayo was coming up and Agony had planned , in her way , a school-wide celebration of the event . ” You will all dress up like Mexicans ! ” , she said in a bullhorn blare .. Well , she barked the words out over her new bullhorn . Now , what you should know is that the school population was almost totally Mexican . Most of the parents and many of the students were immigrants from Mexico . The command to    ” dress like Mexicans ” dropped like a ton of stone as the kids looked around with confusion on their faces and the teachers shared  stifled sneaky little smiles , trying to catch one another’s eyes to share the secret mirth . Agony didn’t get the irony . It’s irony , isn’t it ? Maybe it’s something else . It’s not onomatopoeia . But you get the point .

There was an awkward silence for a moment . You could have heard a pin drop , as they say , during that moment . Yes , and then Charlie B. in my class raised his skinny little hand high to ask a Charlie question . . Charlie was always good for the appropriately probing query . Charlie’s mother was Mexican . He was surrounded by children of Mexican descent .

” How do you dress like Mexicans ? ” Charlie asked . How indeed .

Sister Agony began her answer , mentioning  “serapes and big sombreros” and stumbling awkwardly on when it happened . My students , the two shy little girls , lost their grip on the shiny new bullhorn and it slipped onto the concrete . There was a loud clatter and Sister Agony’s heart ( I assume she had one ; perhaps not , though ) must have skipped a couple of beats . She rescued the bullhorn as if it were her baby but it had a grapefruit -shaped dent in it now that wasn’t there before ..

The principal rushed everyone back into their classrooms  as Sister Agony bent over her bullhorn baby , temporarily speechless and perhaps in shock .

And then there came a loud knock on my classroom door . It was Agony .

” I want to see the two girls who had assembly duty today ,” she demanded . There was rage in her beady eyes . Fire might have been   coming from her ears , too , but I had to focus my attention on her fists so that she wouldn’t be able to administer any sucker punches while I wasn’t paying attention ;  so I don’t know for sure about the ear-flames . Maybe just smoke . To say that there was a slight odor of sulphur would probably be unfair . As I said at the start , I don’t want to pick on the old girl too much today . These guys are full of stomp and vigor and so is the crowd!

” I have a class to teach , Sister , ” I said . I said it in a bland , bored sort of a way . She wasn’t giving up , though , and she repeated her demand . This one had an implied threat contained in it . She was an expert at that kind of thing . She stepped a half-step closer , but I didn’t back away . She could’ve taken me in a couple of rounds , easily , but I wasn’t going to throw the match from the get go .Dances and costumes from different parts of Mexico can be quite unique.

” Let me in ! ” she said . I saw to two shy little bullhorn-bashers cowering in the aisle behind me , scared to death .

” I have a class to teach , ”   I  said again . ” Please come back later  , Sister , and we can discuss the matter . ” I must admit that I said those words because I knew that would make her mad . Agony and I never discussed anything . Certainly and absolutely not with the likes of me  she didn’t discuss matters . She issued orders and admonitions .  Dickens

I closed the classroom door in her face and locked it . She had to have liked that when she heard that little click .


Filed under humor

11 responses to “pigwa dreams

  1. Maybe with the immigration policies in heaven, if you’re married to a citizen of heaven, then you’re in. Does it work that way?

    Dan, It’s 12:30 AM where I sit right now. That’s late for me these days. I usually begin to wilt at this hour. Tonight (this morning?), though, I’m laughing. That line I quoted above, it’s an instant classic in my book (looong book, more of a tome in nature). Your sense of humor is a gift to the rest of us. You should be reading this stuff on stage somewhere. Come to think about it, maybe your performances in Heaven’s coffee houses will be your heaven, and her . . . .

    Oh, and on a serious note, protecting those two children, that was another gift — to them. I’m sure that many children, now become adults, remember you as a gentle man. Oh a second time, thanks for the link to Tom Waits. I haven’t thought about him for many decades.

    • Thanks , Mr. T . About the coffee house stage idea : As a brother-in -law of mine used to tell me : ” Hey , Dan , you belong on the stage …. ( pause )… The first stage out of town . ” And then he’d laugh and laugh .

  2. Good for you (closing door in face) and Nice Touch (click)! I love this story Dan. Good triumphs over evil in a habit. Those two little girls probably thanked you in their prayers that night. If Sister Agony is looking down on you, you probably just made her mad. Score one more for Dan 🙂

  3. Reblogged this on No Facilities and commented:
    The “other” Dan, sorry “Hen” has been writing up a storm lately and putting some great posts out there for us. I love his writing style, the way his mind works and the things he shares with us. It was hard to choose just one post out of the last three to share, but hey, you can read as many as you like once you get there.

  4. Hey Hen, you made it hard to choose, but I reblogged this one out of the recent string of great posts, but saving little girls, I mean that’s over the top.

  5. Hey , Hen , this is pretty good , even if I do say so myself .

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