A Priest, A Minister and a Drunk Walk Into Paradise

paneraTrue story:  I was sitting in a local Paradise Bakery working on my laptop.  A local priest took a seat one table over and got out his laptop to work on his own project.  A woman came in, spread her coat across a chair back and started talking on her cell phone…very loudly.

As an aside, I’m not sure why people think that their conversations are private when they talk at full volume in public places…but this woman had no idea that every word was broadcast for all to hear.

Back to the story:  And so, as she went on at full volume, everyone on our end of the establishment were privy to many details about her life that I would rather not know.  For example, I now know that her boyfriend, who was on the other end of this call, won’t shut up or believe anything she says.  I know about her undying love for her boyfriend, her commitment to him, her promise to never, EVER to be angry with him no matter who he looks at or how many nights he stays away.  I know that she went to the liquor store to purchase his “booze for tonight”.  I know that there is another woman now staying in a hotel because of “the pictures” (I am not making this up).  After ten minutes of this, I looked over to the priest and said, “Well, I’ve heard a lot of stories in my time but this is one of the best.”

He mentioned that if he wasn’t wearing his collar, he would sit closer and just stare at her and soak it all in.  I explained that as a former pastor, I’d heard my own fair share of interesting stories…And together we just laughed and laughed!!

And it was at that exact moment then the woman got up and walked over to the priest, stood in front of his table and said, “Father Patrick?”  He stammered a response but before he could say anything she went on, “It’s me!  Judy!” she threw her arms out wide, her eyes were bright with excitement to see the Padre.

Father Patrick replied, “Why, yes…uh, Judy.  Of course.  How are you…J, J, Judy?” his lack of memory of this woman was obvious and Judy was on to him.

“You don’t remember me do you?”  She put her hands on her hips and tilted her head to one side and a sly grin came across her face.

“Of course I do!”  He smiled but it was too late.  That ship had sailed.  “How are you?”

“I’m great.  Three years sober.  Remember?  You use to drive me to my AA meetings each week?” And her story went on from there.  I won’t bore you with the details but suffice it to say, this section of her story wasn’t nearly as juicy as the cell phone section.  I suspect she toned it down for her former Priest / Chauffeur.

After what seemed like an eternity, she finally said good-bye.  When she took her seat across the restaurant, Father Patrick leaned in and whispered to me from across the table, “I’m just glad my foot isn’t any bigger or it wouldn’t be able to fit in my mouth.”

And together we just laughed and laughed!!  Well, I laughed.  Father Patrick, not so much.