FOWC with Fandango: Clemancy

Jesuit Church 06.11 (2)

There are just some things in life that cannot be explained, but they happen. It was my turn to do the daily shopping. Brother Domenicus gave me a list and I made my way into town. It was then that it happened. “Oh Lord, please forgive me”. It was not that a ray of sunshine struck me and illuminated my person, or that I heard a choir of angel voices. No, nothing like that at all, it was a stormy day, grey skies thick with clouds and it had started to rain. I must admit when I saw it lying on the road, absorbing the first rain drops, there did seem to be a very loud clap of thunder, or perhaps I imagined it. To continue, it was a lottery ticket; some poor soul hoping for success in life, for a reward for his existence on the earth, had bought a lottery ticket and lost it. Why should I, Brother Innocence, find this ticket? What fate had brought me on this day to stumble upon this ticket.

Perhaps I should explain further. I am now writing this down, and will show everything to the abbot tomorrow morning, only then will I received perhaps understanding for my crime against our community and forgiveness, even absolution. It might be my last day in our community, my last day with my brothers who have looked after me for so many years.

When I reflect on the past, after my twenty years as a monk, I have never regretted my choice, although perhaps it was not my choice but guided by a power greater than any on earth. In my younger days I was not an example of purity. Oh yes, I sinned, but from my sins I learned, although it was not easy.

I remember the last words from Shifty, my boss of our street gang.

“Jeff” he said using my worldly name of the time, “it will only be for two years. Something went wrong at the bank robbery. I know you were only keeping a watch on things, while I was in the bank taking the money, but it was you the police caught. You cannot dream how upset I am, but you must take the sentence upon yourself on my behalf and that of the gang. When you leave prison your rewards will be given and a life as my second man will be waiting for you.”

Of course I was flattered. At the age of 30 years, two years later I would still be a young man and my life at Shifty’s side would be a guaranteed success. Unfortunately Shifty never took it so exact with the truth. I got fifteen years, which admittedly were reduced to ten through good behaviour, and I never saw Shifty again, although I did hear that he was shot by a rival gang wanting to take over his territory. I suppose the paths of the Lord do sometimes find the right way; back to the story.

My life in prison was not so bad. I think it was the first time in my wasted life that I had regular meals. It was then through a prison colleague I heard that if I attended the regular Sunday church service, conducted by the brothers at a near bye monastery, I would be exempted from kitchen duties on Sunday. Hey brothers, this was ideal. I did not dig religion really, the only time I saw the inside of a church was when I robbed the offering box for a few coins to buy some beer. Oh Lord was I a sinner.

So as time past, I really enjoyed the services. One day one of the monks, Brother Hubertus, took me on one side after the service.

“Jeff, I think inside you are a good man. I notice the way you are involved in our services with your heart and spirit; when will you be leaving the prison?”

“I have a year of my sentence and then I will be free.”

“Have you ever thought of joining us at the monastery? You would be welcome and my brothers also find that you life has been a combination of unfortunate circumstances. Please think it over.”

So I started to think things over and when I left the prison I visited Brother Hubertus at the monastery. He showed me around and I liked what I saw, perhaps still thinking about the square meal I would be getting every day. The praying did not bother me at all, and after being cooped up so long in prison, I decided that work in a monastery garden would be just the thing. Brother Hubertus informed that I would no longer possess any worldly goods and everything I owned would belong to the monastery. Well those few pennies I had, I decided I would not miss. Things just sort of happened and here I am today, Brother Innocence, twenty years service in our monastery.

I felt good, I did not even miss the women, I had my colleagues, my brothers. Then I found the lottery ticket. I put the ticket in the folds of my long brown monk’s frock and almost forgot it. It was then that I was on the way again for Brother Domenicus and I saw the poster announcing the winning number – Hallelujah, it was mine. Not quite hallelujah, how can a monk win money. Something of my past must have remained, and I decided to see if Lofty, Shifty’s brother, was still around. He owned a restaurant down town so I entered by the back door and asked to see him. I was a strange figure with my roman sandals and brown frock, but I think the kitchen personnel took pity on me and gave me a paper bag with fresh bread to take to the monastery for my brothers. There is always something good in mankind, if you search long enough.

I asked for Lofty and was he surprised to see me. He said he always respected my choice for going to prison for his brother. I then made a proposition and he accepted. For ten percent of the lottery win he organised everything for me. I was probably the only monk with a bank account. Lofty was happy, it was not a small sum, and he agreed to follow my instructions in dealing with the profit.

So Lord I have written it down, my sins are now in black and white, and heaven help me to explain the whole sinful work to the abbot.

The next morning after morning prayers we were all gathered together in the breakfast room and the abbot entered and took his place. He began to speak, looking at each one of us with concentration. I was sure he suspected something. These were his words,.

“Brothers it was my intention to call you together with some bad news today.”

My heart skipped a beat.

“As some of you may know, our small group has been threatened with reduced funds. Today no-one has a heart for each other, and donations are far and few between. I had started to make arrangements for the dispersal of our group and with heavy heart to send you all, my good friends and brothers, to other monasteries, perhaps even to retirement, no longer to spend our happy days together helping mankind and living in this place we have called home for so long.”

There was a murmur amongst my brothers, and some of the older colleagues had tears in their eyes.

“However, brothers, we have been saved. Somewhere in this world someone looked upon us with mercy. Yes, the Lord does indeed move in mysterious ways. Today I have been informed that we have received a donation, not small, enough to ensure that the monastery will exist for many years. It was anonymous, we do not know where it came from, but we are saved. We will now say a prayer for this person and will keep him in our thoughts for always. Amen”

So what did I do, well what would you have done in those circumstances? I said a big prayer for the donator and decided that I and the Lord would definitely see eye to eye with the solution.

FOWC with Fandango: Clemancy

RDP Wednesday: Library

Gerberngasse 21.08 (10)

It’s a book shop in our town, somewhat modern in design and the name “Poetariat” seems to related to poetry, which is probably their main theme in books.

My origins were in a working class family, but mum and dad were both members of the local library and I followed in their footsteps, my first visits being to the children’s section. There were always books at home that someone was reading. The local library  was an older building from the 19th centuary, originally being used as a so-called “mad-house” for the mentally ill. Even the park where it was situated had the local name of “Barmy Park” again relating to the less fortunate that were treated in the asylum.

Eventually it became a place of books and they had everything. Libraries in London all had their own little speciality, and our was a section of French literature, although the cockneys of East London were more accustomed to their english. You were allowed to select up to four books if I remember rightly. If they did not have the book you were searching for they would obtain it from another library.  Our libraries were free of charge, there was nothing to pay, unless you kept the book over the date. You were then fined a very small amount, really more symbolic, as a warning perhaps to return the book on time.

At the age of 20 I transferred to Switzerland and my library days were over, although not quite. After having a family of my own I discovered that our local town also had a library and quite a reasonable choice of english books, although the main selection was for the German readers. I belonged for a while.

Today my library is called Kindle. I can upload any book I wish to read from Amazon, in most languages. Being a Brit and my mother tongue being english I am mainly interested in reading in english. However, with the years I have become bilingual in german (still make mistakes when writing the language) but if the original book was written by a German author, then I prefer to read the book in the original language.

Stauffacher Book shop, English dept., Bern

One of the most interesting bookshops I visited was in Bern. They had an enormous range of books and even a cafeteria to relax with you choice of book. The wall was decorated with photos of Swiss authors.

Portraits of Swiss Writers in Cafeteria, Stauffacher Book shop

RDP Wednesday: Library

Good Morning

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I think our spell of summer weather in September is now drawing to a close. The sky is still looking friendly enough, a little more cloud, but blue in between, but there is a colder wind blowing, at least most would find it cold, I just find it nice and fresh.

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I went for a wheelie yesterday afternoon, but just around our village. I saw some horses grazing on the field as I wheeled along the path next to the local railway tracks,

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And I even saw some cows making the most of the last days of good weather. During the summer I rarely see them as in the warmer weather the farmers only let them out in the evening to graze through the cooler nights, the bovine night shift. Otherwise I just wheeled around to see what I could find, and that was not very much.

I though I might see some local chickens on the way, but there were none to be seen. It is probably that time of the year when the chickens  go to the happy hunting grounds to be exchanged for the younger generation that are more productive in their egg laying capacities. I find it rather sad, but that’s the life for a chicken.

Otherwise I was busy doing a little office work yesterday. I have now become an employer. I had forms to complete in connection with my employment of a cleaning lady. In Switzerland everything has to be organised. It is all to do with state pension money or sickness benefits. I sent off the form a couple of weeks ago, and as custom is with such state organisations, I got a reply thanking me for doing my duty accompanied with yet another form to complete with my banking details. I am getting back to business life it seems. I also got a new plastic card for my post office account as  the old one was wearing out through usage. At least we golden oldies do not get bored and always have something to occupy ourselves with.

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I thought I might at least get a view of our alps on my wheelie up to the castle, but they were mainly in the clouds and I only got a misty view of the highlands before the actual mountains. A least a bird did me the favour of catching him in flight.

It is a very pleasant time of the year to taking walks/wheelies. You notice how nature is adapting to the next season. The insects seem to be retreating and searching for a winter quarter, often my home, although I have everything under control. It is a bit early in September for the bird feeder, but I am thinking about it.

Today I will be off to the store to refill the food supplies. which reminds me that I still have to complete my list of things to buy. Thursday is by tradition for us spaghetti day, although I do not know why, but at least I know what to get. Which brings me to Friday lunch. Oh the planning problems I have and then when I go shopping on Friday I have the week-end shopping again. At least I do not have any doctor excursions in the next days to fit in. I saw they have yet another special offer on orchids in the store, and I am tempted.

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I wheeled past the local Castle Waldegg yesterday and noticed they have a wonderful display of Autumn blossoms in the garden.

And now enough said, I should be off to tend to my apartment and me. I hope your day will go well, if not it can only get better. See you around on the wires, have fun.