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The Hippy And The Priest PDF Print E-mail
Written by Eloise Foster Latoof   
Friday, 22 August 2008 07:16


Reading is a passion for me--and to me.   Don't really know when I learned to read, but I must have been young.   My mother told me I used to read road signs when I was barely more than a baby.   But, you know how mothers are, and mine was no different.

When every book, newspaper, and magazine in the house had been read (by me), I'd resort to reading labels on cans of food, toothpaste tubes, and so on.   And, well, you get the idea.


The number of books I have read is so vast, that I now buy them at thrift stores.   Since Hurricanes Katrina and Rita visited, our libraries are scarce--and far apart.   However, please note, I do still love bookstores and often buy there, as well.   But the thrift stores are my favorite, and I patronize them for my most joyous past time--reading!  


Well, my book supply had yet again run low, so I ventured out in a rainstorm, because nothing deters my desire for amusing myself.   I carefully maneuvered my beloved 18 year old Miata around potholes, road blocks, and half-flooded streets to the nearest thrift store.


There, I ran from my Miata and into the store.   My hair got wet, and I suppose my appearance was less than stellar.   But not too bad, I thought.   After all, dashing into a store in the rain can put a damper on anyone's appearance.   Agreed?


I finger combed my mop and ambled over to the book shelves to satisfy my yearning to discover books I had not yet read.   What joy!  Totally engrossing!   Love the books!


I felt, rather than saw, someone standing by my side.   I looked up and murmured a greeting to the bearded, elderly man.   He moved a bit closer, eyeing my straggly self.   Then he said, "You look like a hippy."   I sort of  recoiled, and felt I needed to defend my conservative self.


"I may look like a hippy, but you look like a priest!"

"I am", he said.   One might note that I am a Catholic and admire the clergy--any clergy.


The also-wet man instantly became my friend.   We chatted about his foreign mission work in far-flung countries.   I listened, absolutely mesmerized by his adventures.   I forgot about looking for books.   I actually forgot.   God only knows for what the priest was looking--maybe only a listener.   And I was the listener.   And listen I did.


We both left the store, me without my books, and he without a purchase.   But I left with stories from the bard.   I also left as a much more enlightened person than when I arrived.   He was a priest, and I am not a hippy, but I knew I would never, ever forget my encounter with him.   I loved the experience of the two hour conversation with him.   What was not to love?


As I got into my car, the sun was shining.   And only the rained-filled streets reminded me I had come during a torrential rain storm, as we are so often apt to have.


A few weeks later, the manager of the thrift store called me and asked that if I, at my convenience, would stop by.   She said she had some things for me.   Puzzled as I was, I waited a couple of days.   I figured she had some mystery books for me, which are my favorite.   When, two days later, I arrived at the store in my beloved tiny Miata, in all of the sun's glory, a bombshell awaited me.   The store clerk told me the priest had brought boxes of items to be given to me-boxes and boxes of what I thought were books.


Except, they weren't books.   I was astounded.   There were boxes and boxes of valuable, signed plates with letters of authenticity.   He told the manager he wanted the 'sassy hippy' to have them.   She agreed to carry out the Father's (as she called him) wishes and placed these treasures in my hands.   It took three trips in my 'baby car' to get them to my house where I  perused them in wonder.


I went back the next day to get his address to write a letter of thanks.   I asked the clerk how I could get in touch with him.


She looked at me and said,  "He died soon after you met him."


I still don't know his name.   And I may never.


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angela - 09-22-2008 09:32

the plates are beautiful, mama. i loved this story. and no one is not closer to being a hippy than you.
Deborah Hamlin - 08-25-2008 05:03

Very touching. It makes you wonder if there is a reason for every person you meet to come into your life. We all have the chance to make a life long lasting impression on someone...especially when we don't know how long life will last.
Mean Dean - 08-22-2008 06:36

One of the nicest stories I've ever heard! When you make such a strong impression on another person, for them to think of you in this way, has got to be one of the greatest positive boosts to your psyche in your lifetime. Even though your daughter's make strong impressions too, they will benefit from this story, & probably boost your Mummy status to the moon - at the same time. You've earned it! Even though we've never met, I'M PRETTY PROUD OF YOU TOO!
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Last Updated on Saturday, 23 August 2008 11:23