Vatican 2 ›

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Vatican 2 ›

Postby corvds on Fri Jan 24, 2014 11:09 pm

Rather than take up Cony's challenge, over the holiday season, I wrote a third chapter to my ongoing series, Sherwin's Falls. You may remember the first two stories; "My house, my rules" and "Falls for life" - both of these stories are still available on this forum.

In the first story, when I needed someone to preside over the Town Hall meeting, I created the vicar, Rev. James Athelstone, as someone whom the whole town could respect. However, in doing so, he more or less took on a life of his own. In his introduction, he stated that not only did he know what was happening, he added with malicious glee that he was in favour of it. Maybe it was the season, I don't know, but somehow I started to wonder how Reverend Athelstone, a serene, peace-loving man of God, would come to approve of a naturist pub and campground being set up right in front of his church. The following story resulted from my reflections.

A word of explanation about the title... I originally came from the south of Holland and like most of the people there, was brought up a Catholic (it is mostly the northern part of Holland that is Calvinist). At the time of Vatican II, I had returned to Holland to visit family and all that they talked about, it seemed to me, was how the Dutch delegation had told the Church to mind its own business and that if a woman chose to use the Pill, it was not their concern. As you may know, Vatican II brought the Church into the twentieth century. Since this story deals also with a total reorientation of the main character's mindset, I chose the name Vatican 2 › in honour of that momentous occasion.

Speaking of honours, I wish to thank Sirius631 for mentioning Pope John Paul II's book in his story "Invasion"; I hadn't known the book existed but it really came in handy in this story.


-O-O-

Vatican 2 ›
By Cor van de Sande
From an original concept by Cor van de Sande
┬® Cor van de Sande, 2013
This short story is based on the characters and the locale first introduced in
ÔÇ£My House, My RulesÔÇØ by Cor van de Sande in 2012

-O-O-
ÔÇâImage
Chapter one; An unexpected visit

The man, in spite of his stature, moved with the grace and the economy of movement of a cat. Even though this spring day was relatively warm, he wore a black jacket and slacks and a black shirt with a starched roman collar. He was a good six feet tall, possibly a little more, with broad square shoulders and hands the size of ping-pong paddles. Altogether, he looked like a defensive linesman; a tank, like they say back home.

He had left his car on the outskirts of the village and was coming down the main road on foot. While walking, his arms were still and slightly outstretched, his eyes shot from left to right and back to the left, as if on the look-out for a trap or an ambush. Coming up even with the small Anglican church, he stopped and did a full 360, looking all about. With an unconscious, almost automatic gesture, he brought his hand to his right eye and his fingers traced the long ugly scar just above his eyebrow. He hesitated an instant more and then walked up to the white clapboarded structure. Climbing the steps, he tried the door but was totally unsurprised to find it locked.

Standing in front of the door, he heard the sound of a shovel striking a rock coming from behind the church and made his way down the wheelchair ramp, sidestepped the handrail and walked down the length of the church towards the back. At the corner of the building, he froze ÔÇô there, in front of him, was a sort of community garden with beds encircled by heavily creosoted two-by-eights. The sound he had heard had been made by a couple in their late sixties who were working one of the beds without a single stitch of clothing. He was slowly backing up out of sight when the man looked up.

ÔÇ£Yes? May I help you?ÔÇØ he asked.

ÔÇ£Excuse me,ÔÇØ said the man in the roman collar. ÔÇ£I did not want to disturb you.ÔÇØ

No, no come closer. You are not disturbing us in the least.

But youre your

ÔÇ£Our outfits? We are labouring in the garden of the Lord in the outfits he granted us.ÔÇØ He started to laugh. ÔÇ£Besides which, these outfits are way easier to clean than anything else we might wear.ÔÇØ The old man handed his shovel to his wife, wiped his hands on his buttocks and came closer, his hand stretched out to greet his visitor.

ÔÇ£Good afternoon. My name is James Athelstone, IÔÇÖm the pastor here and this is my wife, Sarah.ÔÇØ

Er hello, said the man while shaking the pastors hand. My name is Richard Poirier, Im the new parish priest at St. Ignatius.

ÔÇ£Really? Excellent. IÔÇÖm really pleased to meet you. If you would give me five minutes to clean up a bit, we could settle much more comfortably in the presbytery.ÔÇØ

While Sarah picked up the empty flowerpots and placed in the garden cart to haul them all to the shed, Reverend Athelstone gathered up pick and shovel and carried these off to the shed as well. He was in the process of rinsing himself off in the outdoor shower when a young lady barged in from around the church and stopped in front of him.

Reverend,  she started to say but he interrupted her.

ÔÇ£Tut, tut, Missy, where are your manners? Aelwen, I would like you to meet Father Richard Poirier. Father, this is Miss Aelwen Owen. I guess that, technically, she would be one of your parishioners.ÔÇØ

While Reverend Athelstone was making the presentations, Father Poirier looked over the nineteen year old young lady. She was tall and thin with flaming red hair and freckles all over her face, her throat and her arms. She was wearing a pair of skin-tight stretch jeans and a tee-shirt three sizes too large with, on the front, the logo of a circle with a red diagonal covering a drawing of a naked bottom and the words ÔÇÿHappiness is no tan linesÔÇÖ. What surprised him most of all however, is that the girl was neither surprised nor shocked to see that the Reverend was totally naked.

ÔÇ£Excuse me, Father. I meant no disrespect.ÔÇØ

Father Poirier waved the apology aside. Good afternoon Aelwen? A rather unusual name, isnt it?

ÔÇ£I should think so,ÔÇØ laughed the girl. ÔÇ£YouÔÇÖll never guess how much I was teased about it when I was young. ItÔÇÖs supposed to mean ÔÇÿfair browedÔÇÖ. My parents always said that they wanted to give me a traditional Welsh name but, personally, IÔÇÖm convinced they were tripping on ÔÇÿThe Lord of the RingsÔÇÖ when I was born,ÔÇØ she explained with a smile.

While the two were talking, Reverend Athelstone finished his shower and dried himself off. ÔÇ£Now, Missy, what was it that was so urgent?ÔÇØ

Aelwen looked lost for an instant. Er Oh, yeah! I met Kenzie a while ago. She was checking out if her apple trees were flowering well this spring. She asked me to tell you that Skinflint had finished putting up his stable and hed like you to come around and give it your blessing when you have a moment.

ÔÇ£Very well, thank you. If you see her before I do, please tell her that, in all likelihood, IÔÇÖll be by tomorrow afternoon. Say, it should be close to five oÔÇÖclock, no? ShouldnÔÇÖt you be on duty this evening?ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£Yes, thatÔÇÖs true. ThatÔÇÖs where I was going. I only stopped here because I knew that Sarah had bought some tomato plants at the garden centre. IÔÇÖll leave you to it, Reverend, Father. If you stop by the inn, IÔÇÖll buy you supper,ÔÇØ said she and started to laugh.

Reverend Athelstone laughed as well and said ÔÇ£Come, off with you, you little minx, get to work,ÔÇØ while Father Poirier looked at them both, completely at a loss.

ÔÇ£I donÔÇÖt understand.ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£The inn is a bit unusual. ItÔÇÖs built in the style of an English public house of the late eighteenth century. The pub sells mostly what it has brewed itself. The meals are excellent and the kitchen uses locally grown produce and while the choice is somewhat limited, it charges next to nothing. What is special about the inn, however, is that the owner has some rather definite ideas about proper attire; in order to be served, you must be naked.ÔÇØ
Last edited by corvds on Fri Jan 24, 2014 11:40 pm, edited 2 times in total.
corvds
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Re: Vatican 2 ›

Postby corvds on Fri Jan 24, 2014 11:15 pm

Chapter two; The testament

Er say again, please? Im sure I did not understand you correctly.

Oh, yes, you did, answered the Reverend with a large smile. Come, Ill tell you all about it. You will stay for tea or would you rather have something else?

In the meantime, they arrived at the presbytery door and the men stepped aside to let Sarah enter first.

ÔÇ£James, IÔÇÖll put the water on the boil and IÔÇÖll go upstairs to slip something on. I believe that Father Poirier will feel more comfortable if I do,ÔÇØ said she with a smile in the corner of her eye.

ÔÇ£Oh, no, donÔÇÖt go to any trouble for my sake. If youÔÇÖre comfortable the way you are, stay ÔÇô you are, after all, within your own home.ÔÇØ

Sarah shot him a quick, but piercing, glance and smiled. No, this time, Ill get dressed. The next time you never know.

ÔÇ£As for me,ÔÇØ said the Reverend, ÔÇ£if youÔÇÖll allow me, IÔÇÖll stay the way I am.ÔÇØ He picked up a bath towel, spread it out on his easy chair and sat down. ÔÇ£It had become a habit in Brazil and, in spite of the twenty-five years we spent here, when all the upset arrived two years ago, old habits quickly resurfaced and I see that I can no longer go back.ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£What upset?ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£Oh, that is quite the story but let us wait for Sarah to come back down. ItÔÇÖs a story better told over a cup of tea.ÔÇØ

Exactly, said Sarah from the doorway. I was just going to ask what you would like, Father. She had put on a simple but attractive dress. We have tea, we have coffee as for cold drinks, we have water, obviously, we have orange juice and we have lemonade. Should you care for a beer, I can hop over across the street and pick up a couple of bottles from the inn.

ÔÇ£No, thank you, tea will be just perfect.ÔÇØ A few seconds later, she came back with a tea service and a small plate of biscuits on a tray. ÔÇ£Do you care for sugar, milk or lemon?ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£Just straight up will be fine, thank you.ÔÇØ

After Sarah had distributed the teacups, everyone settled down on the couches around the coffee table.

ÔÇ£So, tell me, what are you doing here out in the sticks,ÔÇØ asked Reverend Athelstone. ÔÇ£You said that you were the new parish priest at St. Ignatius. The last news I have from that parish is that Father Langostina died last autumn. As a matter of fact, I officiated at his burial at the request of several of the villagers. It was an honor for me to do so but I was surprised that there had been no follow-up from the diocese.ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£Well, to be honest,ÔÇØ said Father Poirier a bit shamefacedly, ÔÇ£we only found out about it recently.ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£Oh?ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£Yes. From what IÔÇÖve been told, Father Langostina was a bit of an independent sort. He took care of everything himself and, every year, he would send in his balance sheet to the diocese but other than that, he kept strictly to himself.ÔÇØ Father Poirier laughed. ÔÇ£One could say that, just like the pressure-cookers with the same name, that Father LangostinaÔÇÖs lips were sealed.ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£Anyway, to continue, that the diocese never heard from him was not at all surprising, especially as no one called to request a replacement. However, when his balance sheet failed to arrive and no one answered the phone, the diocese sent someone to investigate. That is when they found out he had died. Since I had been newly ordained, the cardinal sent for me and assigned the parish to me. I was visiting the area to familiarize myself with it and I thought IÔÇÖd drop by to meet with the opposition, so to speak.ÔÇØ Father Poirier smiled to wipe away any ill-will.

ÔÇ£I see,ÔÇØ said Reverend Athelstone pensively.

ÔÇ£You were going to speak to me about some upset,ÔÇØ said Father Poirier to remind him to tell his tale.

Oh, yes started Reverend Athelstone, thats right. Well, this community, this village, was slowly dying. As you no doubt know, very few farmers make money hand over fist. Quite a few are wealthy in that they have lots of land, lots of equipment but most are crushed by debt. One must invest greatly in the land, in sowing and harvesting equipment, seed, fertilizer, feed and other consumables and the money to pay back those purchases comes in months, sometimes years, later. After one has paid off ones debts, bought the food to feed the family and whatever else, most farmers barely have anything left at all. Its the same for the apple growers; they must buy fertilizers, fungicides and vermicides and when the fruit is just about ripe, then the battle to protect it from the birds, the racoons and the deer begins. On top of all that, apple trees are picky; apple blossoms must be fertilized by bees. If, for some reason, the bees have an off season, forget about having any apples to harvest.

ÔÇ£The government continuously imposes newer and tougher regulations in order to protect the environment, regulations that require the farmer to invest in new techniques that are ever costlier and it is the distributors that rake in the profits. They pay as little as they can to the growers and sell the harvest for as high as the market can bear to the shopkeepers and consumers. For the entire length of this road, you will see orchard after orchard, abandoned because there is no one to take over.

ÔÇ£SherwinÔÇÖs Falls was founded some two hundred and fifty years ago at the time of the American Revolution by a brewer named Sherwin. He built himself a brewery and an inn, here, just across the street and the village grew up around it. This whole area was originally colonised by British expatriates who did not agree with the new American regime; English, Welsh, Scots and Irish, they all came north rather than fight the redcoats. After a while, the odd French Canadian moved in to liven up the mix as well as an occasional immigrant coming in directly from Europe.

ÔÇ£The inn changed hands several times in the course of the centuries to end up, in 1946, being owned by a World War II fighter pilot named OÔÇÖShaughnessy. At the time there was nothing left of the old brewery and the inn had been turned into a second-rate country hotel whose principal clients were travelling salesmen.

When OShaughnessy was killed in a bar-fight in the sixties, the hotel was boarded up and it has stayed that way until about two years, no, make that three years ago, now, You may remember about six, seven years ago, the Euro-Millions lottery had been won by default by one OShaughnessy No one had laid claim to the first prize, so after one year, the prize money had been divided equally between both second prize winners. It had made all the papers at the time. Well, it so happens that that OShaughnessy was the grandson of our OShaughnessy. With all the publicity of that Euro-Millions prize giveaway, the late OShaughnessys lawyers were finally able to execute the will and the grandson was able to inherit from the grandfather.

ÔÇ£It had been the old manÔÇÖs wish that the brewery be rebuilt and brought up to speed. With the money that Sean, the grandson, had made on the Euro-Millions, he had no difficulty with doing just that. However, he added a fillip all his own. You see, when the late OÔÇÖShaughnessyÔÇÖs lawyers finally caught up with Sean, he was living in a voluntary state of simple living on the ├Äle du Levant, that island off the coast from Marseille that is half naturist village and half military base, with his wife.

ÔÇ£After having collected his winnings, Sean had gone on a trip around the world but in a state of simple living that few would wish upon themselves nowadays and then chose to settle down over there on that island in that same state of simple living. During his travels around the world and later on, on the ├Äle du Levant, he had become convinced that clothing, any clothing at all, detracted from ManÔÇÖs inherent humanity. Therefore, when the lawyers found him and he decided to accept the inheritance, follow through on his grandfatherÔÇÖs wishes, rebuild the brewery and inn and build the campground next to them, he insisted that everyone; clients, personnel and visitors, had to be totally clothes-free when on the premises.ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£You mentioned that earlier but I find it hard to believe,ÔÇØ exclaimed Father Poirier. ÔÇ£He would never break even if he insisted on that!ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£Oh, it has never been a requirement that the brewery and the inn break even,ÔÇØ smiled the Reverend, ÔÇ£only that they be built, which they were. In any case, he did arrange it so as to break even ÔÇô his campground, a naturist resort, actually, is one of the most renowned and with one the best infrastructures in the world today. People come from all over to stay. His pub and inn may not have many more clients than the people of the village, the clients from the campground and the occasional drop-in but the brewery is well established and he supplies all the best hotels and restaurants in Montreal and elsewhere. About a third of the village works directly for him and the other two-thirds grow the consumables he uses in his inn or in his brewery. By himself, he covers the greater part of the municipalityÔÇÖs budget for road maintenance and the like.
corvds
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Re: Vatican 2 ›

Postby corvds on Fri Jan 24, 2014 11:21 pm

Chapter three; Living amongst the children of the Garden of Eden

ÔÇ£Before settling down here, Sean dropped by to meet with Sarah and me and he laid out his entire project to us on the condition that we not say a word about it to anyone. Like the majority of Irishmen, he is Catholic. He came to see us, however, because Father Langostina would not have wanted any part of his project, and he wanted our advice. We talked at great length about it, not only of the practical aspects; the economic benefits, for instance but also of the religious aspects; what the bible says about social or rather public nudity. Sean is a very religious man but a very practical man as well and his choice for naturism is based on a very practical foundation. With our experience among the natives of Brazil, we could do naught but agree with him.ÔÇØ

Excuse me, James, Father its getting late. You will stay for supper, wont you, and, unless you absolutely have to be somewhere tonight, we have a spare bedroom where you could spend the night. Supper is ready; all I have to do is serve it. It is a simple meal  we are not vegetarian, not as such, but our meals have a tendency to lean in that direction.

ÔÇ£Thank you, I will gladly take you up on your offer and, while weÔÇÖre at it, I think we are well beyond the point of calling me ÔÇÿFatherÔÇÖ. Please call me ÔÇÿRichardÔÇÖ.ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£I agree wholeheartedly, Richard,ÔÇØ replied the Reverend, just as quickly. ÔÇ£Please call me ÔÇÿJamesÔÇÖ.ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£To get back to your tale, how is it that you find yourself amongst such a group of free-thinkers,ÔÇØ asked Richard, hoping to learn more about his parishioners.

ÔÇ£That started way back,ÔÇØ explained James as an introduction, ÔÇ£Sarah and I belonged to the same community. We were both barely twenty when we married. We were young, naive and overflowing with missionary zeal. We signed up to bring the Light of God to the natives of Brazil.

We had gone so far up the Amazon that we were, at most, a few miles from the border of Peru. Our mission was amongst the well, the name no longer matters, really  between war with the neighbouring tribes and the progress of civilization, no one from the tribe is still around today. Im quite sure that even the Brazilian government is unaware that the tribe ever existed.

Sarah took up the tale. ÔÇ£Our introduction to the tribe was difficult ÔÇô we were convinced that civilization was the way to go and the natives did not trust us, not one bit. You see, they were totally naked while we wore the uniform of the civilized white man; khaki shirt, khaki Bermudas, socks to the knee and brogues with laces. We learned later that the natives believed that since we hid our bodies, we were somehow dishonest. It was only when they caught me washing myself by the river, that they started to speak to us. The chief came to where I was and signed at me to come with him. When I turned to pick up my clothes, he became furious. Finally, I decided to follow him the way I was and he led me to another part of the river. I learned later that where I had chosen to bathe myself, there were several highly poisonous spiders.ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£To make the story shorter,ÔÇØ continued James, ÔÇ£we got into the habit of wearing what the natives wore and it did not take us long to discover that it was not for us to show them how to live but for them to show us how to live. We spent ten years with them, living as they did and helping when we could, which was not often and learning how to live with nature rather than against it. Finally, a delegate from our community, accompanied by a squad of Brazilian soldiers, came to extract us from there. We learned later that the following year, the tribe was attacked; possibly by bandits, possibly by another tribe or even by a band of mercenaries hired by some company that wanted the land the tribe was occupying, and wiped out every man, woman and child.ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£We ended up back in London,ÔÇØ said Sarah, ÔÇ£and we were looking for another mission to join, not because we still wanted to spread the Word but because we were sick to death of the city and missionary work was the only thing we knew. When we heard that SherwinÔÇÖs Falls had lost their pastor and were looking to replace him, we took one look at each other and we jumped at the assignment. WeÔÇÖve been here ever since.ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£What about yourself, Richard? You seem to be a bit old to be newly ordained and to be assigned a new parish in such a haphazard manner. Tell us a bit about yourself?ÔÇØ asked James.

Actually, that also is a rather long story. To shorten it, let us say that the last times Canada was asked to send military aid to Afghanistan, I was part of the shipment. My family has a long military history from father to son and I wanted to follow in this tradition. I was part of the technical support group, as communications specialist and was not supposed to be attached to a tactical group. However, the situation over there was very fluid, shall we sayand things had a habit of doing a full 180 in the time it takes to say it. One day, we were penetrating a village that was supposed to be friendly to set up a communication relay when I got this, and pointed to his eye. A bullet, coming from wherever, struck me a quarter-inch below my helmet and nearly blew half my head off.

ÔÇ£To this day, IÔÇÖm convinced God did not want me to die. My buddies hauled me to the nearest military hospital and told me I had died twice on the way over. At the hospital, the medics worked their tails off to dig the bullet out of my head but in spite of that, I died a third time on the table. Each time, they managed to get my heart ticking over again. Once I was stabilized, they shipped me back home where, slowly, I recovered, not just physically but mentally as well, because I had totally lost my memory. Once I was functional, I got my discharge and a full pension so I studied to become a priest and here I am. IÔÇÖm better now but I still suffer from after-effects ÔÇô I have a tendency to be a bit jumpy and any sudden loud noise will find me under the table.ÔÇØ He shrugged. ÔÇ£Maybe, with time, IÔÇÖll get over it.ÔÇØ

ÔÇâ
corvds
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Re: Vatican 2 ›

Postby corvds on Fri Jan 24, 2014 11:27 pm

Chapter four; The last supper ÔÇô or not

On that note, Sarah proposed that they all make their way to the kitchen because contrary to most Catholic presbyteries, where the meals are prepared by a servant, usually a nun from a nearby convent or a widow from the parish and served in the dining room, this presbytery had a kitchen large enough to seat a family. While James laid the table, Sarah stirred the soup that had been simmering softly all afternoon one last time and filled three large soup plates. The soup was a thick green pea soup with pieces of diced ham.

During the meal, James and Sarah described the villagers in greater detail. ÔÇ£Llewelyn Owen, the father of the girl Aelwen you met earlier, is a sixth generation native of Quebec but his family came originally from Swansea. Kate, his wife, is from Ontario but is so proud of her husbandÔÇÖs roots she went and learned to speak Welsh. TheyÔÇÖre Catholics.

ÔÇ£The innÔÇÖs barmaid, M├®lanie Turgeon, showed up here one day like a fly in ointment. She is French-Canadian so I assume she must have been baptized a Catholic at birth but we have never spoken about faith or any organized religion and I doubt her son is baptised. SheÔÇÖs a single parent and fled here from a broken home.

ÔÇ£Charlie OÔÇÖDonnell and his wife, Heather, both Irish, are the richest apple growers of the region. TheyÔÇÖre both Catholic. The McGrawÔÇÖs are the OÔÇÖDonnellÔÇÖs neighbours and are Catholic as well. I have mentioned earlier that Sean was Catholic but his wife, Megan, is Wiccan, that being the faith that was closest to that of the Druids she could find.ÔÇØ

After the soup plates were gathered, Sarah rose to lay out and serve the main meal, three plates with pieces of potato, tomato slices, cucumber, marinated pieces of eggplant, slices of red and green peppers, ripe olives and slices of hard-boiled egg, all cold. In the meanwhile, James stepped down to the cold room and came back up with a bottle of white wine. ÔÇÿHere,ÔÇØ said he, ÔÇ£try this out. It is also made locally but not by Sean; wine is the only alcoholic beverage he does not make.ÔÇØ

Back at the table, they continued to discuss the local parishioners but, by this time, they had made their way to the non-Catholics.

ÔÇ£Farley Gee, the beekeeper that tends all the beehives for the local apple growers, claims to be atheist but his family are Calvinist, like most of the MacgregorÔÇÖs, and came originally from the Loch Lomond area of Scotland. Skinflint MacGruder is Scottish as well (everyone calls him Skinflint, even his wife, Kenzie). He tends toward Unitarianism but has not fully made up his mind as yet. Kenzie is more of a general practitioner, she has the faith but does not care for labels.

ÔÇ£Bernie Hinckley once ran a maple grove but when Sean OÔÇÖShaughnessy bought him out, he became the campgroundÔÇÖs handyman. He is Anglican. The MathesonÔÇÖs are the family that run the naturist resort for Sean and are Anglican as well, As for the HennesseyÔÇÖs, theyÔÇÖre originally from Ireland as well but from Dublin so theyÔÇÖre not Catholic. The whole family comes to services but I canÔÇÖt really say if they follow a particular branch. He is the local Ministry of Agriculture agronomist while sheÔÇÖs a day care worker.

ÔÇ£We also have Igor Grabovietski, another apple grower, his wife Ivana and their kids, theyÔÇÖre Russian Orthodox. As a matter of fact, Igor and his family, like many Ukrainians, were home naturists even before Sean arrived so they were among those who were the least upset. As you can see, the local population is as varied as the salad Ni├ºoise we just ate.ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£How do you mean, upset,ÔÇØ asked Richard. ÔÇ£It seems to me that, if one disagrees with someoneÔÇÖs lifestyle, unless their behaviour is downright criminal, one simply ignores them.ÔÇØ

Aah, but that is where things get interesting, answered Sarah. When Sean finished building the inn, or rather rebuilding his inn, because he had torn down all the changes that had been done to it over the centuries and had only kept the walls from the original building, he invited all the villagers to a free drink or a free meal, once every day for as long as they lived here, the only condition being that they respect the dress code. At the beginning, only a few dared to take up his offer; the Grabovietskis, the Mathesons, Bernie Hinckley, Farley Gee, for instance Skinflint decided he had no choice but to go, if only to hold up his reputation as a cheapskate. Nowadays, he drops by quite frequently to spend the evening. When he does, Kenzie usually drops by later on to have a glass of cider and then drag Skinflint home.

ÔÇ£I would say that the only resident who has not yet partaken, as it were, is Charlie OÔÇÖDonnell because, to use a term that is dear to naturists, Charlie is a die-hard textile. This does not stop him from selling most of his crop to Sean, however ÔÇô Sean uses his apples to make sparkling cider ÔÇô as Charlie says, it doesnÔÇÖt pay to mix politics with business. ItÔÇÖs funny in a way, because Heather, CharlieÔÇÖs wife, even though she rarely drops by the pub, and then only when CharlieÔÇÖs away on business, has become close friends with Megan and they frequently go into town on shopping trips and girlsÔÇÖ nights out.ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£You forget the BradleyÔÇÖs, Sarah,ÔÇØ said James.

SarahÔÇÖs face turned ugly. ÔÇ£ThatÔÇÖs right, I did forget those two. The BradleyÔÇÖs are our neighbours; theyÔÇÖre the village tattletales. I guess that every village has their BradleyÔÇÖs or the equivalentÔǪ always spying out from behind the curtains and running to the vicar to report on the ÔÇÿsinsÔÇÖ of their neighbours. TheyÔÇÖve poisoned our lives for years.ÔÇØ Sarah started to laugh. ÔÇ£after Sean settled in and had handed out his invitation, I went to the BradleyÔÇÖs to ask them over for tea so that we could ÔÇÿdiscussÔÇÖ the situation. However, I have no idea of what came over me that day; I had completely forgotten to dress and I was knocking on their door totally naked.ÔÇØ

Richard broke out in laughter and James smiled as well at the memory of that event.

ÔÇ£I canÔÇÖt understand why, but since that time, the BradleyÔÇÖs seem to be avoiding us.ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£When Father Langostina died,ÔÇØ continued James, ÔÇ£those Catholics that seemed to need regular meetings with God more or less drifted in towards my church, for want of something more in tune with their beliefs. Because of my upbringing and from what I learned in Brazil, I try to be welcoming and to avoid forcing my own beliefs down their throats. Rather, I try to lend an ear and to guide my parishioners towards a decision they have already more or less decided on themselves. Since Sean arrived, there has been a certain amount of tension between the Catholics of SherwinÔÇÖs Falls and Father Langostina because, while he was a calm and peaceful man, he was unfortunately rather closed-minded on the subject of naturism. I donÔÇÖt quite know what the limits of your parish are, but if you head more towards Valleyfield and Chateauguay, you will find more Catholics because those areas are mostly French-speaking.

-O-O-
Last edited by corvds on Fri Jan 24, 2014 11:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
corvds
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Re: Vatican 2 ›

Postby corvds on Fri Jan 24, 2014 11:29 pm

Chapter five; Back to the Tree of Knowledge

The following morning, after a restful night like he has rarely had since his return from Afghanistan and an ample breakfast, Richard thanked his hosts and left on foot to return to his car. If someone noticed (besides the BradleyÔÇÖs, of course), they would have seen that he walked, not more fluidly because that would have been impossible, but somehow in a more relaxed and less suspicious manner. His eyes did not constantly jump around with as much mistrust, rather, his lips were pursed as if he was whistling.

Back at his car which no one in that trusting and honest corner of the land had touched overnight, he settled in behind the wheel and drove back to his own presbytery in the little town of Burnside. He checked his mail, walked around the yard to see if his flowers needed watering and stretched out in a garden chair and started browsing through his bible to whatever chapter and verse his memory led him.

Several times in the following few days, he drove down to the city to consult the books in the library of the diocese, most especially the writings of St. Francis of Assisi and Pope John Paul IIÔÇÖs book ÔÇÿLove and ResponsibilityÔÇÖ. He hesitated to discuss the direction his research was leading him, perhaps fearing that whomever he spoke with would show the same closed-mindedness as that of the late Father Langostina. When the library had given all it could, he made a few phone calls and then headed for the Montreal Public LibraryÔÇÖs computer room to continue his research on sites he was uncomfortable in accessing at the diocese.

Satisfied he had gathered all he could, he took his notes and went back to his presbytery to reflect and meditate, stopping only for an occasional quick snack and a nap.

Finally, on a sunny Friday morning, a little over two weeks after his first visit to SherwinÔÇÖs Falls he felt at peace with himself and convinced his research was valid. He made a few phone calls then locked up the presbytery, got into his car to go back to SherwinÔÇÖs Falls to discuss his findings with James and Sarah.
ÔÇâ
corvds
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Re: Vatican 2 ›

Postby corvds on Fri Jan 24, 2014 11:32 pm

Chapter six; ÔÇ£all the news at sixÔÇØ

At the Bradley residence, Alicia, as per usual, was standing by the window, looking out. Suddenly, she froze then
ÔÇ£Henry, come quick! Take a look at this!ÔÇØ

Image

The Reverend and his wife are heading for the inn! And youll never believe this but that new parish priest from St. Ignatius is with them
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