Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The Papa has landed

The Shakespeare class met this afternoon, where we discussed many points of the plot in The Taming of the Shrew. Everything went very well, I thought, especially the groaning table full of treats that Michelle set out for the kids, who, as always, were anxious for a snack break.

The best part of the day came when class was finished, though. Michelle's husband, Dr. Al, was in their family room watching television while moms and students gathered up folding chairs, class notes, books and used paper plates. Suddenly, we heard him yell, "Hey, everybody! The Pope's plane just landed at Andrews Air Force Base!"

We all rushed to the family room in a large stampede, where we flopped down on furniture and floors, waiting for His Holiness to deplane or whatever it's called. It took forever, of course, with some guy whom Jerri insisted had a tiny walkie-talkie hidden in his tie, standing in the door of the plane and soaking up all the television coverage. He smiled, rubbed his nose, fidgeted with his tie and pulled his ear lobe so often, I wasn't sure if he was a bundle of nerves, or saying hello to Carol Burnett's grandmother.

When the Pope deplaned, the whole room erupted in cheers. It was terribly exciting. The wind at AFB was whipping around something fierce and the Holy Father reached up and grabbed his white cap before it could be lifted from his head, Mary Poppins-like. The kids in the room were delighted at his red shoes. He descended the staircase with an affable smile, greeting President Bush with a warm grasp and moving on to Mrs. Bush, who looked radiant with her sweet smile. Mrs. Bush tugged Jenna forward, who looked extremely nervous and kind of like she wasn't sure if she should curtsy or faint. The Pope shook her hand, smiled, and made a comment and Jenna faded back behind her mama.

The people in the crowd were shown briefly on camera, cheering and waving little papal flags -- wouldn't it have been so cool to get one of those as a memento? Katie told us that there were some kids from Lumen Christi, the small K-12 school at Holy Rosary Parish in Indianapolis, there in the audience. Fun!

It's always a blessing to be Catholic, but yesterday was a real treat.

And by the way, happy birthday, Pope Benedict! (I bet no one will give him eighty-one spanks and one to grow on.)

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