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Blessings

Domestic Engineering was not what I expected. Friends, family, and school knew that I “didn’t have anything to do all day,” therefore I was a target for errands, pet care, and school parent duties. For years I dreamed of a freezer neatly stacked with storage bags containing meals prepared days ahead of time, all boasting the preparation date and the name of the dish written in indelible ink. A few weeks after gaining my freedom from daily employment, my freezer contained a package of ground beef, a spoon resting in an empty ice cream carton, and two crystallized hamburgers snugly bound in a bread wrapper. The time between school drop-off and pickup barely allowed for two movie rentals and a nap and, I could not seem to find the bottom of the laundry hamper. Unbelievable but true, I got more done when I worked full time.

The upside was the opportunity to participate in events that did not fit with my schedule as a working mom. One happening that I looked forward to seeing was Pet Blessing Day. Katherine attended an Episcopalian school that celebrated this every year, inviting children to have their pets blessed in honor of St. Francis of Assisi. Parent involvement was required to transport pets to and from the blessing. Being Pentecostal, I had no idea what to expect but I thought it was a charming idea. I arrived that crisp, clear morning with Toby and Tilly, our two white fluffy Poodles, and Sammy, our Golden Retriever. The walk from the car was quite a workout as the dogs crossed and crisscrossed their leashes, overly excited by the sounds and smells coming from the designated parking lot. Dogs of every size and color barked and pulled at restraints while disdainful hissing spewed from cats’ heads protruding from drawstring bags that protected their owners from their claws. The lineup included a multitude of cats and dogs along with birds, fish, a couple of pot bellied pigs, hamsters, and a snake. There was even a donkey standing calmly in a paneled truck bed. The priest arrived in full blessing regalia, carrying a stick with a little ball on the end. This ball was filled with Holy Water. The water was for sprinkling each animal while praying a short blessing, “(Pet name) may you be blessed in the Name of God who created you, and may you and (owner’s name) enjoy life together with our God.

Most of the animals did not like the sprinkling but things were going pretty well until the priest sprinkled a shivering and very nervous Border Collie. The dog yelped and sought shelter under a nearby skirt, causing the owner of said skirt to drop the bag..that contained a hissing cat. The cat was then out of the bag and headed for refuge under the donkey laden truck bed. A black Great Dane the size of a cow sounded an ear-splitting bark and gave chase, his helpless owner stumbling and trailing at the end of his leash. The donkey, panicked at the sight of the approaching devil dog, began a fog-horn bray, bucked a panel out of the side of the truck bed and took off a across the parking lot, devil dog in pursuit. The crowd parted like the Red Sea as parents and kids made way for the parade while trying to control their furry friends. Eventually, we caught the donkey, got the cat back in the bag, and order was restored. The priest decided to do a communal blessing of all pets, and all were dismissed.

As a full year of domestic engineering and daytime TV drew to a close, I decided to get a part time job. I shared this idea with my friend Debi, who still worked at the Star-Telegram. Not long after, Carla Crow, now the manager of the Classified Department, called me and asked if I would like to come to work for her. She explained that she had a full time position that I could have until a part time became available. Nineteen years had passed since that fateful April Fools Day of 1982. Looking back, of all of the jobs I had enjoyed in my career, I found the Star-Telegram job the most fun. I accepted Carla’s offer and asked to start at the beginning of October. Part of me wondered what in the world I was doing and why I felt so strongly that I should get a job when it was not a financial necessity. It was September 9, 2001.

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