Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Glory Days



I was raised as a Protestant, but I thought the Catholics had a better deal when I was a little girl.  I can still recall lusting after a nun doll that one of my friends had.  And I liked the way the Catholic mothers had those little charms on their watches, those little silver discs with the pretty lady on them.  Their churches, even the new ones, had statues and gold leaf on the outside and I was pretty sure that inside it was one big party with bells and smells.

In my home, blue and white was a departure from the accepted beige, but the Catholic houses had pictures over every doorway featuring red blood, holy martyrs, angels and the most beautiful woman in the world; the Mother of God.  Oh, how I lusted after all that drama and well, glitz.  It was a bells and whistle religion and the most dramatic thing my church could offer was Martin Luther nailing some complaints on a church door.  Yawn.

I got over it and eventually, I more or less got over religion, but I never quite got over Mary and she still felt somehow real to me when the rest of it didn’t.  As a feminist I even considered if these occasional sightings were some form of goddess apparition, but that was too New-Agey, even for someone who keeps crystals and rune cards on her desk.  Still, Mary has has an interesting past as someone who seems to have been morphed into whatever is needed at the time.

Still, I read about every sighting and was delighted when my daughter sent me an article she’d found about a delightful piece of Mary lore.  I don’t recall where it came from, but when Mary was a tiny girl, she danced up and down the steps of the Temple to the delight of the on-lookers who whisked her away on their shoulders.  Since I’ve always had a modified Broadway fantasy about being carried and swirled around by an adoring crowd, I found it very appealing.  My daughter sent it to me as a lark, but it became the germ of Glory Days.

In a down-at-the-heels town during the Great Depression, two little girls, Pammy a Catholic and Glory, a Protestant, think they have seen the Virgin Mary.  Skeptics abound, but the town could use some hope and a miracle might not go unwelcome.  And typical of Mary, it’s hard to know who she is when the shade of Evangeline, Glory’s late grandmother has been known to make an appearance.
Whatever and whoever they’ve seen, the town and it’s residents began to see each other and themselves in ways in they couldn’t have imagined until She came to town.