Tag Archives: Big Families

Fumes Have Risen!

by Mary

Though I am known to have a fearless attitude in many circumstances, I have taken on a new phobia: Candles at the Easter Vigil. In the days of old, they have amused me with their drippy wax that is such fun to mold while the church is a glow from soft joyful lighting of the little white sticks.
 
When Colleen was a young girl, her hair caught on fire from the candle of Clare, who was at the time just a four year old baby of the family. I can’t remember the incident too clearly, but the accident has remained a family joke of sorts every Easter.
 
Before going to the vigil the other night, I took a curling iron to my long hair and manipulated it into a mass of spiraled subservience with the help of an old can of hairspray left over from Kate’s wedding that was nearly two years ago.
 
At church I slid into the back pew next to my little brother James, and started preparing for the special mass. Somewhere along the line, I whispered to James “just don’t light my hair on fire”, and drifted into thoughts that had nothing to do with sarcastic joking.
 
Did I ever come out of this time of personal reflection, when my hair had an inch long orange blaze leaping to life compliments of James! With my hand I batted at it in terror. Thankfully, I managed to smolder the ignited section, but unfortunately, the smell of burnt hair permeated the air. Unsure of what to do next, I started finger raking charred hair out of my curls that were saturated in alcohol due to the spray. My first reaction was to cry, but I hate crying in front of people, so hysterical laughter started bubbling out of me into the silence of the congregation.
 
I ended up pushing my way out of the pew, past my brother Robert and our family friend Ben. My exit plan was to get to the bathroom. The four inch designer stilettos that I picked up at a thrift store the other month when on a shopping spree for an African Orphanage Shoe Drive, made a noisy calamity on the tiled floor as I bolted.
 
In the basement of the church I washed  the black soot from my hands and contemplated going to the choir to hide next to my mother upwind from the smell of the fried hair. Later I was informed by Colleen that plan wouldn’t be of merit, for the smoke made it’s way there too.
 
After some internal debating, I decided to take my old seat, because, after all, everybody already knew that it was my dead hair fuming up the church. The rest of mass was thankfully uneventful, save James loudly bursting out “I am an idiot”, and the dramatized coughing of a man one pew up.
 
This particular parishioner is known to rarely frequent mass. His wife and kids come without him, and his loyalty seems to be more extended to attending parish softball games.
 
My guilty conscience imagined him making future excuses to not come to church by saying ” Can’t do it honey, it’s an awful nauseating environment, my lungs just can’t hack it, the headache that I got last time round from that Slattery girl was the heap of burning hair was somethin bad…”
 
My mortification made me want to apologize to the entire group of people gathered at the Jewel On The Ridge Parish. Save James of course. I guess I will just have to rise above the occasion. Next Easter Vigil I am sure to shy away from
(a) Candles
(b) Using a crazy amount of hairspray on my hair
(c) LITTLE BROTHERS WITH CANDLES
I will make a point to take in the sweet aroma of easter lilies, incense and oils.
 
Alleluia! He has risen!
 
Until next time,
mary

The Youngest Child

Clare

When I was four years old, being the youngest of nine kids was great. I got lots of attention and all I had to do was look cute. Of course, some of my siblings had already moved out, and the ones that hadn’t went to school during the day except Mary. Thankfully, Mary was there to teach me the important things in life, including how to tell time and that Mary was my favorite sibling and the coolest person in the entire world. The most productive thing she taught me was how to tie my shoe, though this lesson was interrupted by the time she sent me across the road to tell my mom, who was at the church praying, that no, she would not sweep the floors. Maybe Mary didn’t realize that it is slightly dangerous for a four year old to cross a busy state highway alone.

As I got older, being the youngest child was not so great anymore. I now had to follow The Rule which states that the older Slattery sibling always gets the best seat in the car. I am the only child who fought to end this rule, and I am still working tirelessly today. I also developed a sour, negative attitude which I consider a scar from my experience being the youngest child. Of course I get picked on quite a bit, mostly by my brother James, who is two years older than me.  But no matter how many times I tell myself the opposite, I love my big family and I love my place in it. I wouldn’t have it any other way.