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Back to Vegas, Part 9 (Suspense, fiction)

September 14, 2011 - Burt Angeli
Ravenna's sisters Fi and Si were sulking in their room as they waited for the trip back to Galway.

Their planned (by their Irish grandmother) pilgrimage to County Mayo was a disaster.

Sister Siena's (Si's) feet hurt too much to make the long trek up the mountainous Croagh Patrick, a feat devout penitents were supposed to make without complaint.

Upon hearing that condition from a padre who looked old enough to be St. Patrick's spiritual and corporeal father, the salty Si muttered something that might diplomatically be translated as "fat chance."

At Sister Fiorenza (Fi's) insistence, they managed to drive across County Mayo to the Shrine of Knock where they purchased a Holy Water bottle (made in China) for their Grandmother.

But they were at a loss to figure out how they were going to get any blessed water back into country, past airport security.

Fi was crestfallen, she had so hoped to give her grandmother some Holy Water from the Shrine of Our Lady of Knock. As they could hardly dump out something sacred, they spent nearly an hour blessing every creature they could find - sheep, goats, border collies, all were prayed for and blessed.

One little collie, who reminded Ravs of her mischievous little collie Abbie, enjoyed the water and kept coming back for seconds.

"Don't get bummed, Fi for the love of God," Si insisted, "When we land, just make a bee line over to the nearest Our Lady of Whatever and hit the Holy Water font. It's the same Mother of God. It's her Holy Water, well her Son's if you want to get technical, Granny isn't going to know or care."

"That's right," Ravenna agreed, "she won't ask and she'll be so thrilled that we made it to Knock. Besides, its not like your putting polluted water from the Fox River in there."

"But she's got to know that there's no way I could slip some Holy Water past airport security," Fi cried.

"Are you kidding, she hasn't watched the news since Reagan got elected and she found out he wasn't Catholic. Don't sweat the small stuff. For crying out loud, let's see if there's anything on Irish TV worth watching."

Si's suggestion turned out to be a dud. The only movie offered that night was "The Magdalene Sisters" about an Irish order of nuns and how they abused unwed mothers of Ireland.

It was a real laugh a minute. Only the fine acting of Geraldine McEwen made it worth watching this painful reminder of the not so "good old days."

After watching this sad episode of an abusive Holy Mother Church, Siena exclaimed,"You know if the Mother of God were to come back to Ireland today, something tells me she wouldn't keep her mouth shut like she did on her first visit to Knock. No, she'd have plenty to say!"

"OK, OK, since we've made it to Knock and there's not much else we want to do in this neck of the woods, how about if we go back to Galway and head over to the Aran Islands, everyone says they are beautiful," Ravenna tried to calm down her irascible older sister.

"Oh, gees, that just reminds me of that Christmas mother knitted us all Aran sweaters - remember. I scratched until New Years. The only good thing is the natural wool wasn't virginal white and I couldn't wear the blasted thing to Our Lady of Hopeless Cases Academy or I would have scratched like I had cooties until spring semester," Si was in rare form reminiscing about family life.

"What's this about not being as pure as the driven snow, are we talking about the sweater?" Fi had nearly downed the last of a rather ordinary chardonnay which was barely potable but they had managed to pick up to cap off a dreadful day of touring.

"Oh, speaking of sheep and wool, I better remind Kevin to give Cap, Scarf and Mittens their supplements."

Ravenna was worried about her trio of organic lawnmowers, three barren ewes who would have been consigned to the sausage maker had she not intervened and rescued them. The infertile sheep produced plenty of warm wool and fertilizer for her roses which more than justified their existence on her farm.

Ravenna never failed to ponder the thought that to raise something as beautiful and fragrant as a rose one needed something as truly awful as the leftover's from a sheep's dinner.

She was surprised to find the phone answered by her Cousin Corky who should have been down at Cousin Pat's Pub preparing for the afternoon crowd.

When Corky tried to give her some song and dance about helping out with the lambing, she knew he was lying for Kevin.

"Cut the sheep dip Corky, I know he's not there which means he's with Oslo, which means he's got to be in…

"LAS VEGAS," her sisters chimed in like the old singing Maguire sisters on cue.

Once again, a spirit of discord descended over the Emerald Isle as the State of Nevada was about to live up to its "Battle Born State" motto. A certain Kevin Canny was risking the terrible wrath of a trio of Celtic women.

(To be continued)



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