, Newburyport, MA


April 2, 2013

The day the pope waved at me

Well, what do you know, April is here, and hopefully we’ve seen the last of that nasty winter. Of course we all remember the April Fool’s Day storm, so I better shut up! Two exciting things that happened were another birthday and the Pats traded Wes Welker, who, by the way, was the best thing since sliced bread.

Well, we got a new pope in March, Pope Francis to be sure, and the other, speaking about the new pope, I have a story to tell about meeting Pope John Paul. Well, not exactly, but with a few thousand other people who happened to be at the same place, and at the same time. Let me tell you how that happened, if I may!

Back in the ‘90s Mrs. Ayers and I were invited to Texas by our in-laws, and accepting the offer, we went to San Antonio where the pope was to make a visit. The day arrived and we boarded a bus in the wee hours of the morning, arriving at a large parcel of flatland in the pitch dark. We were then escorted to an area where we were to be for the next few hours.

When daylight finally arrived, we saw thousands of people in block areas, similar to us, and a decorated staging area a distance from us. For the pope’s visit, Texas allowed over 100,000 Mexicans to go to the event, obviously being Catholic. Looking around, there were no trees or shade to be found.

Finally, the pope arrived by Pope-mobile and said a Mass and a sermon in English and Spanish. If you’re Catholic, it was a High Mass, and we know that is very lengthy. If you had to relieve yourself, you could walk a half-mile or so, and you knew you were there by the aroma. You had your choice, of course, as there must have been 5,000 Jiffy Johns to choose from.

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