Greetings, my fellow port swillers!
Ol’ Robbo was sitting quietly last evening and reading Anthony Powell’s autobiography To Keep The Ball Rolling (amazing how small and interconnected the Brit art world was back in the day) when the Eldest Gel came into the library, mischief written all over her face.
“Hey, Dad!” she said, “What do you think of what Pope Francis said about The Donald and immigration today?”
“I wish he hadn’t,” I replied. “He tends to shoot his mouth off without considering the likely results. Nothing good can come of this kind of high-profile spat, especially once the media get their claws into it.”
“And about what he said about condoms and disease prevention?”
“Again, he’d have been better off not speaking off the cuff like that.”
“Not a good day for the Pope, eh?”
“No, probably not.”
“And on top of all those abuse scandals, too, no?”
“Look, was their something in particular you wanted?” I said sharply, “Or are you just here to mess about with me?”
“Oh, my, aren’t WE grumpy tonight! I guess you miss your glass of wine during Lent, don’t you. Too bad you have to wait so long to get back to drinking again.”
And with that, having given the dog an extra pat in order to show her unconcern, she strolled off.
There’s a line from the breviary hymn of St. Ambrose “Jam lucis ordo sidere” (which I recite as part of my morning prayers) that the 1962 Missal translates as, “And by spare use of meat and drink/our rebel passions to control.” I can’t help wondering if this might not be an error. In my normal state, I would have laughed down from lazy eyelids at the gel’s obvious attempt to bait me. However, on my tenth day of giving up the grape? It was all I could do to prevent myself from laying hands on her neck.