Thursday, October 22, 2009

Groovin' Vatican Style

The other night I dreamed I was showing the Pope (yes, The Pope) around La Crosse. How someone as non-Catholic in his beliefs as myself ever received the honor of linking arms and trudging around the Coulee Region with the Holy See, I have no idea. He seemed quite lovely, though.  Not as save-the-world, kick-butt awesome as John Paul II of course, but still cool. Even though I’m pretty sure we couldn’t do much talking, given that he speaks German.

[I’ve always imagined the Pope wearing cool zebra kicks.]

Halfway through our tour, the Pope fell down, dead.

Oh crap.

Luckily the Pope’s posse was surrounding us, so no one could frame me for killing Pope Benedict XVI.  Can you imagine?

Anyway. The Pope died, and I was given the privilege of carrying the casket with the Pope in it to the Holy Vatican Helicopter (or the HVH…it’s not a real thing. My roommate recommended Popacopter, and I think Helipopeter is pretty good too). I remember thinking it was quite small.  “Gosh, we sure had a short Pope.  A Shpope, if you will,” I couldn’t help but say.

The HVH took off and I was left thinking, Wow. I just witnessed the death of the Pope and carried his casket.  

Fast-forward to the next day.

I received an important phone call telling me that, since I had been with the Pope in his final hours, I was invited to carry his casket in his actual funeral at the Vatican. 

How COOL!!  

Don’t take that as disrespectful, now. I really didn’t know the guy or have any sort of connection to him whatsoever. What I was excited about was being part of history and going to go see the Vatican.  I was pumped.

The person on the telephone told me that I had to drive to the Diocese of La Crosse and wait for the plane to come get me.  And I knew they wouldn’t be sending a regular old American Airlines plane to pick me up. This was going to be like 1st Class. Vatican Class. Probably a high-speed jet, like in Angels & Demons. Awesome. 

I drove down Sand Lake Road, heading towards the Diocese, and hundreds of Amish people ran down their driveways to wave to me as I left.  (I’m pretty sure there aren’t any Amish people living in La Crosse, by the way. And who knew they were such big Pope fans?)

Then a tractor with a gigantic trailer pulled in front of me. In the trailer were about forty Amish men, standing and unbuckled. They are going to have one hell of a time on the highway.

I tapped my hands on the wheel, excitedly.  “I’m not really dreaming right now, am I? I mean, I have my phone with the call on it from the Vatican right here, I’m touching the steering wheel…This is really happening!” 

(It wasn’t.)

Arriving finally at the Diocese, noticed that I was late for the procession of priests and bishops in honor of the Pope. I jumped in sneakily—me in my shorts and Chacos, and the priests in their official garb—and tried to pretend like I was chanting the same Latin as they were. One of the priests I actually knew turned to me and said, “Wow, Brian! You’re finally picking up Latin?” I looked at him and said, quite seriously, “I have no idea what I’m doing right now.”

I was escorted to the Vatican High-Speed Angels & Demons Jet Waiting Room to find that three of my friends, a priest, a nun, and the choir director from the Catholic church I attended as a youngin’ were there. We exchanged hugs, all feeling overwhelmed at the fact that we were going to be in Italy in a few hours, and I realized I forgot my cell phone charger and my camera.  The two most important things I could possibly bring with me. I wanted to go back, but my friends held me back, reassuring me that they brought theirs.

Thank God.

I was so excited I had to pee, so I went to the Diocese bathroom, and when I flushed the toilet, I accidentally turned on the shower, which happened to be right on top of the toilet. 

Now I’m going to be all wet at the Vatican.

I dried off as much as I could, and stepped out to go see my friends.  I could smell Italy just around the corner and I was so darn excited and honored and freaked out and pumped and—

—and then I woke up, disappointed beyond belief that the dream wasn’t real.


  1. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm pretty sure the Amish/Friends/Mennonites DON'T like the Pope. They don't agree with transubstantiation, or pictures of saints in churches. :P


    This is an awesome story though! Boy oh boy, I just scooted back from the EDGE OF MY SEAT.

  2. Rebecca SchumacherMay 30, 2012 at 11:50 AM

    I know this is a really old blog, but I just read it and just about had pop coming out of my nose. Super hilarious! A little disappointed that the DRE from your childhood Catholic Church didn't make it into your dream!!