This morning (Thursday) I was at the chiropodist. I had been fortunate enough to get a late cancellation as I was obliged to cancel my scheduled appointment yesterday, because I had to conduct a funeral. After the Requiem Mass I had opted to take my own car to the cemetery, as my parents are buried there, and I always like to visit their grave when the opportunity arises. Before setting off, the undertaker advised me that we would be going in by a different gate than usual. So, we agreed that whoever got there first would wait for the other inside the gate. I arrived first and pulled my car into the side verge to await the hearse. It seemed to be taking a very long time and I began to wonder if I was in the right place. Then a hearse did arrive and I tucked in behind it. Only then did I notice that the flower arrangements in the back said “daddy” and “uncle”. As I had just conducted a Requiem Mass for a lady, I realised I had made a mistake, and had to take a path off to the side and make my way back to the gate. I wasn’t long there when another hearse arrived. This must be it now, I thought, and so I tucked in behind the hearse again. This time the driver took a turn into one of the cremation chapels, and, as I was there for a burial, I realized I had got it wrong again. Back I went to the gate. It was still quite a while before another hearse arrived and I thought it must surely be third time lucky, and so it was, the right hearse, the right funeral, and a great sigh of relief. I still have no idea why it took them so long, but I thought it prudent not to say anything.
As I was leaving the cemetery, I had a phone call from the chiropodist’s receptionist advising me of the afore mentioned cancellation, and asking did I want to avail of it today. In the course of the conversation, she asked me if I was going to be watching the big match that night. I said, truthfully, that I didn’t like watching Old Firm matches and that I would most likely go for a long walk instead. She told me that her son was coming to watch it at her house, but that they were for “the other side” and “may the best team win”. She is a very nice lady, so I just left it at that. True to my word, after tea with Father Justinian, I donned my walking clothes and headed out the door just as the game was kicking off. I turned my phone off and started walking. I was keeping to well-lit areas just to be safe, and there didn’t seem to be another soul on the street. Only once was I distracted, when I passed a house out of which there came a great roar. That’s when my imagination went rampant. What was the roar for? What had happened in the match? What footballing allegiance did the people in that household have? I quickly passed by and continued my walk. My timing was almost perfect, as I was turning into our estate just as the match was drawing to a close. I turned my phone back on and risked a peek. I could hardly believe my eyes; we were three goals to the good.
I made it into the house just as the final whistle blew and turned on the radio to listen to the post-match analysis and interviews. I listened first to Radio Scotland, and then switched to Radio Clyde which, unusually, was continuing coverage until 11 p.m. Needless to say, my older brother, the doyen of Scottish Sport’s journalists, was at the heart of it. This would be past his bedtime, I thought, and he apparently was eating pesto pasta as he gave his opinion. I’m not sure if there is any significance in that pesto pasta is green and white. I suppose not, seeing that he is meant to be totally neutral, unlike back-in-the-day when we used to get the Auchenshuggle tram from Partick Cross to Celtic Park for every home game. By then, Father Antony had arrived back from the Passionist Young Team, full of the joys, and we settled down to watch, and thoroughly enjoy, the highlights on BBC Scotland at 11.05 p.m. All in all, it turned out to be a good night, and I thoroughly relished relaxing and getting my feet done this morning. And, do you know what? In the end, the best team did win.
As ever, protect yourselves, protect your loved ones and others, and protect Christ in your lives.