This week’s column will be a short one. I’m just too tired to write very much. You see, last weekend was the Dominican Sisters of Peace bazaar. I was there. Twice. We had a plan that we thought was carefully orchestrated. My entourage was going to arrive at the convent at 7:30 and beat the losers who drive from Ellinwood, Hoisington and Stafford. We expected the crowd to be thin. After all this wasn’t just any Saturday morning. It was the start of Pheasant season, which means every grown man and most of their kids were going to be walking in dusty fields with hyperactive dogs looking for a pheasant. But just the male pheasants. Everyone knows that. Shooting a hen pheasant is against the law.
My dad taught me that. I could elaborate but I don’t know the statute of limitations for such things.
So anyway my wife Lori, my sister Beth and my sister-in-law Julie all headed over to the convent Saturday. It was 7:30 sharp. We noticed a lot of cars but figured those were the volunteers. The doors flew open and one thing was immediately apparent: I was the only male on the premises. The last time I saw this many women was at knitting convention. But there was a second thing was just as stark: the entire population of Barton County was already in line.
It was like a Royals parade had been transported 272 miles and then squeezed in a convent. There were hundreds of customers already there – and most were holding an armful of goods.
I was stunned.
I surveyed things quickly. Most had picked up food items, and several were clutching their most prized possession -- Sister Charlotte’s jelly and jam. If right now you are saying to yourself “who is Sister Charlotte?” – lean across from your hospital bed and push the nurse button. It’s time to update your DNR instructions because you’ve lost all touch with reality. When you see a bright light in the sky, go for it. Its time.
As described in last week’s Sunday Tribune, front page, above the fold, Sister Charlotte Unrein’s jam is nature’s own honey. The product of 50 years of refinement and improvement and now its reached its zenith. When it touches your palette angels sing in harmony. Lions lay with lamb. K-State fans hug KU fans. It’s so good you won’t bother to waste it on toast or biscuits. I’d recommend it as an appetizer with a bottle of Fess Parker Chardonnay.
So with everyone in line already, we did what I learned during the Royals parade -- I cut in line. And that’s when I discovered another shocker -- everyone was so nice. This is partly explained by the fact that there were 900 women, to be sure, but still people were well, polite. They were too nice. This wasn’t reality. And that’s when I noticed something else.
All the nuns and the volunteers were wearing T-shirts that said “Peace.” These were not made up overnight in response to the murders in France just 12 hours earlier. No. This is part of their mission. Correction: it’s their entire mission. The Dominican Sisters of PEACE.
So yes, that morning was, well, peaceful. How refreshing.
The first bazaar started in 1929 so they have this thing down.
I grabbed everything I wanted. The inventory was abundant. The line was fast. And all the proceeds went to a good cause. Peace. While I was there I sought out my old friend Sister Janice who taught me at St. Pats a very long time ago and provided me with a year’s worth of columns.
And then after I got back to my dad’s place I pondered things some more and returned to make additional donations to a cause in sore need of attention. So I went back and bought more stuff.
And Thursday night at our home in Leawood the happiest family member was our dog Bernie. She had discovered another item I picked up there – an advent wreath with 25 dog treats. Bernie found the bag and decided to begin the gift giving season a little early. I didn’t mind.
Peace. Maybe that’s the most important thing I brought back with me.
I will probably see you there next year. Look for me at 6:45 am.