When I was 8 years old I was given the highly sought after assignment of being one of the two Angels leading the children taking the Sacrament of their First Holy Communion! I was thrilled! My Mother sewed a beautiful long flowing white angel costume, a real halo and a HUGE set of Angel wings with gold glitter, of course. I practiced fervently and with humility!
The Friday night prior to the BIG event, my brothers and I were practicing putting with our child sized golf putter. I had my turn and missed the hole all 3 times. My oldest of three brothers took his turn...he missed the first, then the second and when he was ready to attempt his third shot...I decided it would be funny to look over his shoulder and tease him. BIG MISTAKE! He swung that club like a pro...and it hit me smack dab in the face. Well, I knew I had an out....SCREAM...and scream I did! I ran into the house. My Mother grabbed a dishtowel to cover my eye. My Father grabbed me and his keys and off to the base dispensary (clinic) we went. I was thinking to myself...this is a little more attention than I counted on...but decided I would go with the flow. Well, 3 stitches later, lots of screaming from me, a threat from the poor physician dealing with me and the promise of a Coca Cola from my Father if I would just be quiet...the medical deed was done.
Needless to say I was wallowing in a bed of care, concern and great and I mean GREAT attention from family, neighbors and friends alike.
Then came Saturday morning...my Father took one look at my humongous black eye and called our Priest. I listened as my Father explained that there was no way I could be the processional Angel for the First Communion. Then I heard him say, "Yes Father." He told my Mother that our Priest couldn't stop laughing and thought it would be an even more spectacular event with the addition of a "Black Eyed Angel"!
Sunday morning came, I was thrilled with my Angel costume and most especially proud of my HUGE shiner! Off to church, everyone lined up, the door opened and everyone in the church turned to look at the processional...The nuns had told me during our practice that my responsibility as an Angel was to walk slowly, look straight ahead and be solemn. So I started my solemn walk but when I looked at the whole congregation and our Priest...EVERYONE WAS GIGGLING, SMILING AND SOME WERE OPENLY LAUGHING! Now here comes the imagination part...IMAGINE a tiny, fair, curly headed blond, little girl with a full set of wings and a HALO...oh and a shiner the size of the state of Texas leading the First Communicants to the alter! Oh how I savored the moments walking down the church aisle but with intense humility...as any good angel would.
After Mass, the angels were to lead the First Communion children out of the church. At the back of the church I saw my Father...he was not smiling...there was a man with a big camera and I saw a flash, then the man was on the floor! Seems my Father didn't want my introduction to the newspaper to be as a Black Eyed Angel...somehow the newspaperman tripped...hmmm that was strange.
After Mass everyone was to go to a celebratory breakfast...unfortunately not me...my Father could not-would not tolerate any more humiliation.
I was disappointed to miss the sweet rolls at the breakfast but I still wore that shiner with pride...school the next morning was spectacular!