Yesterday, Working Down In Mexico

“Let’s go to church, big guy,” Bernie said.

Church? I’ve been in churches a few times – a perp name of Whizzer DuPuis tried to hide from us under a pew at St. Dominic’s in South Pedroia – and never felt comfortable. Churches were big and hushed at the same time, a combo I didn’t like, but also – what were they all about? I know what a restaurant’s about, for example, or a grocery store, or Petco. But if Bernie says we’re going to church, then that’s that.

The church stood at one corner of the square, a white stone building, actually pretty small. The wooden door, old and cracked, squeaked when Bernie opened it. No one inside, but it wasn’t hushed: I heard a guitar, not far away. There were no pews, just card-table-type chairs set up on the cool stone floor, with an aisle down the middle. We were were walking down it when the music stopped abruptly and a side door opened.

Did I get a fright then or what? A woman – I knew it was a woman, but only from the scent – appeared in the doorway. She gave me the same feeling I’d gotten when Bernie and I went through a period of watching horror movies, a short period because they turned out to be too scary for both of us. I got right next to Bernie, even maybe a bit behind him; I’m not ashamed to admit it, or if I am I’ll get over it soon. The woman wore a strange kind of long black robe, and also had a black hood thing with weird side flaps sticking out, everything black except the insides of those flaps and tight white covering that hid her neck and ears, came up practically to her chin.

“Hola, sister,” Bernie said.

Sister? Do you know that human expression – my heart skipped a beat? At that moment it happened to me for real: I felt a pause deep in my chest. I was shocked, more shocked than I could ever remember. Bernie had a sister and I was just finding out after all this time? He had a mother – a piece of work, can’t go into that now – but no other family. Life was full of surprises, like when out of the blue someone says, “Let’s pick up some dog treats on the way,” but this wasn’t that kind of surprise.

Exactly 4 weeks until Thereby Hangs A Tail pub date, although it may start showing up in stores before then. Also, thanks to everyone sending in photos at Friends of Chet. They’re great!


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This entry was posted on Tuesday, December 8th, 2009 at 8:14 am and is filed under Chet The Dog. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

One Response to “Yesterday, Working Down In Mexico”

  1. Rebecca Rice
    4:44 am on December 8th, 2009

    Poor Chet– When I was little, we lived near a big church where there was housing for some nuns– sisters, like the lady you met? Anyway, there was this one, I can't even remember her name, but she had a tiny little grey poodle named Pepper. Pepper wasn't brave the way you usually are– she'd shake whenever my friends and I would pet her. But maybe that was just an old thing, because she did give kisses to hands and even faces if we offered. We used to run into them walking home from school. But Pepper was never walking, because the sister always carried her. Anyway, that my story of the intersection between dogs and nuns. Who knew?

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