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The Pope Is Coming

The Pope Is Coming

By

Mario V. Farina

Copyright 2016 Mario V. Farina

Shakespir Edition

Shakespir Edition, License Notes

All Rights Reserved

No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means,

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Storage and retrieval system, without prior written permission of the author.

Correspondence may be directed to:

Mario V. Farina

Email: [email protected]

My name is Pasquale Gallibrando and my wife’s name is Maddalena. We are first-generation Italians patriotic Americans. We live in Brooklyn, having purchased a home there 12 years ago. Our children, boys, are age eleven and nine.

My wife’s greatest passion is collecting expensive China place settings. She told me what the pattern is, but I don’t remember it. I do know that it is expensive. She buys a place setting once or twice a year as our funds allow. She is proud of the fact that she has a complete twelve-place setting, with extra pieces, at the present time. Nevertheless, she continues to buy more.

I joke with her, now and then, about her China settings. We never use them and I often say, “the first time we will actually use these at the dinner table is when the Pope comes to visit.” We both laugh thinking that the likelihood of this occasion is so slim that we will still be waiting one-hundred years from now.

You can imagine my surprise when we received a phone call last week. Maddalena picked up the phone and listened, then said, “Yes, we do have plenty for an important dinner.” She listened some more and began to get excited, “Are you joking,” she exclaimed. “The Pope! You can’t mean that! Yes, yes, we can do that. We have twelve settings! What is the date? The time? Yes, I will wait for more information.”

“What was that all about Maddie,” I asked.

Her face was beaming. “The Pope! The Pope! The Pope is coming to visit! You and I have been chosen to entertain them. I don’t know how many will be coming but, I told them we have a 12 place setting. See! I told you, we would be using them for an important occasion someday!”

I couldn’t believe it. Apparently, the Pope was visiting the United States, and someone had chosen us to be their host for an evening! What an honor! How fortuitous it had been that Maddalena had been collecting China for so long. If she had not had all those settings, we would probably not have been selected.

On the following day there was a call for her. They told her on what day and time we could expect the entourage. “I am so excited, Pasquale,” she said. “Just think of it. You and I, just common people, to have this great honor presented to us. They gave me the date, and I will have to make sure that we have sufficient food and everything that goes with it for this great man!”

“The sky is the limit,” I stated with great emphasis. “No matter what it costs, the best of everything, I wonder if the people around us know about this. We must not say anything. We’ll get swamped with people, the news people, radio and TV people. We must be mum, saying only what we know for sure is permitted.”

“You can depend on me,” said Maddie! “Our names and pictures will be in all the papers, all over the world. Just think of it!”

She picked up the phone and began dialing a number.

“Maddie, what are you doing?”

“I’m calling Jenny, my best friend, I have to tell her!”

“Dear,” I said. “We were not going to make any announcement, remember? We don’t know whether it is all right! We need to wait for authorization. They will probably make some announcements on television. Everyone in Brooklyn will be so excited!”

The following days were a blur. I called my boss at the shop and told him that an important emergency had come up, and I would not be able to report for work for several days. He wanted to know what was the problem, but I couldn’t tell him. All I said was that it was a personal matter, and that he would find out within a few days. He finally said OK. I wasn’t going to be paid for those days, but this was a once-in-a-lifetime event, and money was no issue.

Maddie said, “You don’t know how much I’m dying to tell Jenny, and everyone. When I go to the market I can’t hardly help keeping quiet. All my friends are wondering why I am so bubbly!”

“Keep doing what you’re doing, Maddie,” I urged. “This will all be over in a few days and then will have stories we can tell others for weeks. Our children are too young to know what a blessing and an honor this is, but eventually, we will be able to tell story after story about how we felt during these important days.”

The day of the event finally arrived. The time was supposed to be five o’clock. Both Mattie and I were standing at the window an hour ahead of time waiting for a caravan of autos and police cars. Maddalena had prepared a sumptuous meal for twelve people, rigatoni, meatballs, mushrooms, everything that a Pope would like. She had accomplished everything herself, afraid of causing a row by announcing why she wanted so much food prepared.

It was exactly five. A large black car arrived at our house and parked at the curb. The car was being driven by a man who appeared to be in his early 60s. Beside him, a woman was sitting.

“Oh my God,” I said loudly. “He is not wearing his garb. He is arriving incommunicado. There is a woman with him. She appears to be wearing plain clothes. They don’t want to arouse a crowd. Imagine, the Pope driving his own car! He looks so different from his pictures in civilian clothing.”

The Pope exited from the car and walked to the other side to help the woman exit. She got out of the car and the couple began walking toward our front door. The Pope was dressed in an ordinary black business suit, and the nun was wearing a gray dress with a charcoal colored jacket. Neither the Pope nor the nun was wearing a hat.

Maddie and I rushed to the door, opened it wide, awaiting for the couple to take the last few steps to meet us. We held out her hands and everybody shook hands vigorously for several seconds.

“We are so honored to have you here, Your Majesty, I exclaimed!” I didn’t know exactly how to address a Pope.

“It smells so good in here,” said the Pope in fairly good English. “I’m sure my wife and I will enjoy our visit with you tonight!”

“Holy mackerel!” I said to myself. “The Pope is married! This woman is not a nun; it’s his wife. How long has this going on,” I thought. “The church has changed a lot since I was a kid. I should have attended church more often!”

“Welcome, welcome, You Holiness, to our humble abode,” I articulated. “Please, sit in the living room while we serve you and your wife some of our best muscatel.”

“You are showering us with too many honors,” said the Pope. “We are just humble people like you. In Italy, we live in a very modest home near Naples, nothing like your magnificent home. Please, just call us Joe, and Angela.” His wife smiled in agreement.

“You and your wife are so humble, Your Magnificence,” I said. “You are an excellent example of how all Popes should act.”

“I’m glad you feel that way, Mister Gallibrando,” he said. “I do believe in being humble. When a person has a name like mine, sometimes people expect me to put on airs, but I was born with the humble name, Joe Pope, and humble, I will always remain.”

“Your trip here . . , “ I began.

“Yes what a wonderful program the United States has for allowing people from my country to visit yours in homes that represent the common people of the country!”

A bit of knowledge began to seep into my brain, sort of like osmosis. This man was not the Pope. He was simply Mr. Pope! And his wife was not a Pope’s wife, she was Mrs. Pope!

I turned to Maddie, and I said, “Maddie, isn’t it wonderful that Mr. and Mrs. Pope have come all the way from Italy to visit us? Think what your friend, Jenny, will say about this wonderful honor!”

Maddalena was beginning to understand. “Yes, it is wonderful,” she finally muttered. “Pasquale, serve the wine! This is a gala occasion!”


The Pope Is Coming

  • ISBN: 9781370312351
  • Author: Mario V. Farina
  • Published: 2016-11-30 09:20:07
  • Words: 1488
The Pope Is Coming The Pope Is Coming