Everyone in the office is looking forward to Fr. Ken’s last day with us and Brother Moises’ first day as Director of Multicultural Ministries. We’re Catholic. We celebrate just about everything with wine, and we’ve found the perfect place. Tastings has outdoor seating and offers samples; taste the wine.
I’m driving my co-workers to the celebration. In the backseat is Sr. Jeanette, a divorced black nun from New Orleans. Mother of three with lots of grandchildren, and a flair for fashion. For sister everyday is Mardi Gras. Sharing the back seat is tiny petite Hispanic Gloria. I’m in the front with a white gal as boring as me. I gun it and go through a yellow-red light.
I can see Sister in my rear-view mirror. “Oh, Lord! Hail Mary, full of Grace…good Lord help get us to this place.” I hear a rosary being pulled out of her purse. She’s freestyle-frantic praying.
Gloria gets a phone call. She starts speaking Spanish, fast and loud. I look over at Joni. We shrug. It sounds like an exorcism is going on in the back seat. Minutes later, Gloria hangs up and sister gets distracted.
“Are those Trekkies? Look at those people. My son was a Trekkie. This will be great,” Sr. Jeanette says. “We can sit outside and get pictures. My son will love this.”
“Those are Gamers,” Gloria tells her.
Sister is not familiar with Gamers.
We get to the mall parking garage. There’s a long line to get in and no one is moving. I notice the entrance arm is broken.
“We’re stuck,” I tell my passengers.
Sister starts talking to Mary again… “This is Fr. Ken’s last day. He’s going to be waiting on us. Please move these cars. Hail Mary…beads shaking, horns honking, cars inching forward, backward, and forward. Finally one car breaks out and we’re free.
We go in another entrance. Sister pulls out a sheet of paper. She’s taking notes – up one ramp, no spaces, down one ramp, no spaces, beads rattling. “Go that way.” Everyone’s giving me directions. I find a space.
Sister gets out of the car and writes down “Green Bird” with a letter and number, we walk a few steps and the bird has a different number. She stops again. She’s designing a parking garage map as we walk out so we can get back to the car.
Sister explains, “I brought my 9-year-old granddaughter here when I had money, before I was a sister. We got lost and looked two hours for my car. My granddaughter finally laid down on the concrete and went to sleep. Then a man in a cart drove us from top to bottom looking for my car. You can’t mess around in these garages.”
She writes down Moon Garage, elevator. We’re on the street.
We get to Tastings about 20 minutes after Fr. Ken and other co-workers. I’m sure Mary is hoping Sister will put the beads away.
Our friends have the wine tasting cards waiting on us. Sister drinks the most wine, but when we leave she’s on it. She pulls out her map and we hit every bird on cue.