Well well! His holiness Pope Francis has left Philadelphia! His plane flew right over Chateau Johnson on the way out of town. And that's as close as I got to him, thank you very much.
However, his presence blessed my little corner of the world in a wonderful way.
About 18 months ago, a gay couple bought a big house across the street. The house had been lived in by a family, probably since the 1960s or even longer ... so it had fallen to a sort of shabby disrepair, outside and in.
Boy, did that house get a makeover! Fresh exterior paint, a fish pond, chain-link fencing torn down, tasteful exterior lighting, and a whole, new, lavish interior as well. That aside, these new neighbors (and their cute kids and their big, happy, black dog) are just a joy to be around. It's always a pure pleasure when a nice family moves into your everyday sphere of existence.
So the pope came to Philadelphia, and the whole city closed down to keep him safe. This disruption in routine reached into Snobville, since we're not very far from the city. It occurred to me that our little block should have a party, since probably everyone would be home. (Turned out they were.) The only trouble with parties is that you have to plan them. Which this Pagan did not want to do.
On Saturday I had just settled into the easy chair to grade papers when there came a knock upon my door. It was the gay neighbors. "Oh! You're here!" they exclaimed. "We're having a party! Come on over!"
So I went.
Reader, those fellows had their back yard looking like Party with a capital P. There were yellow and white balloons in clusters, a life-size cutout of the pope, pope "masks," pope candles, and a big banner that said "MEETING OF THE FAMILIES."
They had a DJ. They had a bbq rib contest, and I got to be a judge! Mr. J came over after awhile, and he had a good time too. When it got dark, they lit the pope candles, and the DJ turned on a portable disco ball. All the neighborhood tots went swimming in the pool (yes, they even have a pool) and then entertained us by dancing and lip-syncing. The adults got gently plastered (self and Mr. J and hosts excepted). The music lasted long into the night.
This was the pope party I wanted to throw, except I didn't have to lift a finger. Gosh, I didn't know about it until it was too late even to cook a church lady casserole! Not that I would have needed to -- the place was chock-a-block with delicious food and icy cold beverages.
The funny thing about organized religion is that it does have a spillover effect. Because we Snobvillains were stuck in our neighborhood, as opposed to running all over the place, we got together as families and enjoyed each other's company. So I would have to thank Pope Francis and the World Meeting of Families for a genuine trickle-down experience.
Regarding the pope's message to Americans, wow, was this Druid pleasantly surprised! Save the planet, cooperate as lawmakers, end the death penalty, families are great, kiss babies ... could have been worse, much worse.
And since I used to be all about humor, I leave you with this very short and completely hilarious article from The Onion about Papa Frankie's experience in Philadelphia. He sure got it right.