In which Bill Donohue provides an example which is both illustrative and apt

A couple of years ago, I went on a church excursion to New Orleans for three days at Mardi Gras time. There are benefits to being on church committees.

This was before Keith turned up his clogs in 2004. I mean that literally, by the way. He was wearing clogs one night for some unknowable reason and decided to go down into the basement and ended up spilling what little brains he had left all over the concrete floor.

It was a lovely funeral.

Anyway, the excursion was quite pleasant. During the day, we visited the sights. We saw some lovely mansions and churches and rode on a streetcar and sipped the odd mint julep. Then we’d all be tucked up in bed at our hotel by 8pm.

After a refreshing nap, Gloria Peters, Sandra Frazer and I sneaked out of the hotel to decry the hedonism and sin. I personally admonished three sinners, apparently convinced at least one young Brazilian gentleman that “o Deus” did exist, and collected 17 strands of beads, which isn’t bad for an skinny 85 year old with a dicky hip. I credit it to my Catherine Zeta Jones wig, the Balenciaga strapless and 75 years of careful moisturizing. The last time I saw Gloria and Sandra that night, they were leaving on the arms of twin Kenyan marathon runners, which I thought was a bit random.

I am wending my way to a point, somewhere, by the way.

I’m old. Fuck off if you don’t like it.

The next day, Sunday, we were going to go to mass at St. Augustine’s Church. We were all gathered in the lobby of the hotel, when Bill Donohue walked through the door with his niece, who seemed to be a young Puerto Rican lady.

He seemed surprised to see me. We know each other from La Roche College. Oh, the stories I could tell.

No, not that. That’s disgusting. You have a filthy mind.

It being Sunday morning, we immediately asked him and his niece to come to church with us, even though she was not, frankly, dressed for the occasion. They accepted, although Bill seemed slightly distracted, and we all piled onto the bus. I sat Bill next to Marge Albrechtson. She was blissed-out on her anti-psychotics that day but still, with the chronic incontinence and the burbling about how much she hates squirrels, accompanied by stabbing motions with her elbows, Marge is not anyone’s first choice of traveling companion.

I sat with the young lady. Her name, I discovered, was Nina. She was nervous about her dress, so we found her a nice shell-pink cardigan and used one of Sandra’s huge Dior scarves as a skirt, and she looked just darling. She was a lovely girl who was working her way through a business degree at night school, while looking after two of the most adorable little brown children you have even seen. She said she hadn’t been to church for three years, and I told her that it was like pole dancing. Once you’ve learned how to do it, you never forget.

She also knew how to score some pretty good e, which was a bonus as Gloria had snaffled my entire stash the night before.

At the church, we all sat in a pew in the middle, with Bill on one side of me and Nina on the other. Nina really belted those hymns when it was needed. She had a beautiful singing voice. Really top class. What that girl can do to “Deep River” would make your heart melt.

In front of us there was a young black lady with three little girls and no wedding ring. All four of them were dressed up fine, each as pretty as a princess with two glass shoes and a pumpkin coach. The youngest was probably six months old, and she gave Nina’s kids a run for their money. Her mother was holding her in her arms and she peeped over her mom’s shoulder and Gloria and I both went “awww” out loud at the same time. It was the little pink bow in her hair that did it.

Gloria and Sandra and I cooed at her for a while, as is the right of any old lady, even wicked old ones. She giggled a bit and then let out a long chuckle of joy when Gloria brought out a little stuffed lion she uses to torment her own grandchildren. This made all three of us laugh, and the laugh spread for a while. Before we knew it, the hymn was finished and half the church was having a little chuckle to themselves but with no idea why.

Gloria handed over the lion and the kiddy said “ta” and then propped herself up on her mother’s shoulder to examine it. After a while, her attention wavered and she spotted chunky Bill’s old frog-like mug, and immediately pulled a face like Sarah Palin gutting a moose off-camera.

The next hymn started.

“We’ve come a long way, Lord, a mighty long way
We’ve borne our burdens in the heat of the day
But we know the Lord has made the way
We’ve come a long way, Lord, a mighty long way

I’ve been in the valley and prayed night and day

And I know the Lord has made the way …”

At about this point, the baby started blowing raspberries to the beat. Just little innocent ones, like she was enjoying the music and wanted to join in.

“I’ve hard trials each and ev’ry day

But I know the Lord has made the way

Wish I was in heaven sitting down.

Wish I was in Heaven sitting down.”

She got a little excited and started singing along to every second word, with a little raspberry on every other beat. Her mother tried to settle her but she was so excited and happy she just got louder. By this point, most of the church was laughing or wondering why the hell everyone else was laughing.

The organist was oblivious and the song just kept winding on, as we all tried our best to sing the words, and over us all the sound of a little girl singing at the top of her voice and making little farting noises.

Bill, of course, looked outraged at this offense against decorum and good taste, and started to glower. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen Bill get angry, but I can tell you that the top of his head gets red and the red filters down till his whole head is like a sweaty beetroot. It’s kind of like watching someone pour raspberry syrup onto shaved ice, only without the promise of a nice cooling treat at the end.

“O, Mary, O, Martha

Wish I was in heaven sitting down.”

Suddenly the baby got off a few good old fashioned meaty razberries, which made her mother laugh, which set Sandra and me off again as well.

“Wouldn’t get tired no more, tired no more

Wouldn’t have nothing to do, nothing to do

Try on my long white robe, long white robe
Sit at my Jesus’ feet, my Jesus’ feet.”

Then the song ended and there was silence, broken only by some muted guffawing and the sound of Bill spluttering as he attained his most beet-like state, and then the little baby shed an enormous load of poo into its nappy, with a thunderous noise and a stench like Rush Limbaugh’s secret basement on hosing-out day.

The priest had to sit down until he could stop laughing. The poor mother was mortified and blushing and laughing all at the same time, and she hustled her kiddies out as quickly and quietly as she could, and Gloria and Sandra and Nina and I hustled out behind her to see if we could help and get in some more cooing, leaving everyone else to recover as they wished.

As I was leaving, Bill hissed in my ear, “Some people are no better than they should be.”

The nice black lady was called Wanda, and her little children had lovely names. I forget what they were as I immediately exercised an old lady’s discretion to forget and call them all “sweetie” for the rest of time. Wanda turned out to be the niece of Father Williams, the priest who had said mass. An actual niece this time, for those who are keeping score.

She was still horribly embarrassed, so we all told her not to be silly, and that it was the best laugh we had had since Father Flarety got his pants caught in a mangle at the last bring-and-buy. Then we shooed her and Nina off to organize coffee and cake for morning tea, while we faffed around with nappies (see above re: how to do things, the never forgetting of) and dandled the baby and taught the older girls card tricks. I had a sneaky bottle of whiskey in my bag, so all the adults had Irish.

When no one was looking I slipped a couple of Marge’s special laxatives into a slice of fruit cake. Underneath the fondant icing is best because if they chew it they just think it’s a lump of sugar.

Mass ended and people started filtering in. I “helped” with the coffee. Bill barged in with Father Williams in tow. Bill was sounding off about the declining morals of the young and the very young. I handed him his slice of cake and he munched away. No Irish coffee for him, I promise you. He kept ranting about how young children these days were not taught about the proper fear of God, waving his hands in the air, until he spotted the little baby. At that point, he pointed one of his porcine fingers right at her, saying “Like that child making farting noises at me in mass.”

Father Williams looked embarrassed and stammered that baby was his grand-niece, but that if she had been rude he was truly sorry.

At that instant, there was a gurgling from Donohue’s stomach that sounded like Cerberus on a busy night in Hades. Then there was a very long and very still silence, broken eventually by a grunt and a tiny little groan, then another long still silence, during which Bill did his raspberry ice trick again, except this time in a sort of unpleasant lime colour.

One more groan, a little whimper and then were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened, as Bill shat himself forcefully and repeatedly, making a noise that had resonance, had timbre, had (dare I say it?) guts, and then fell to the floor like a stone at a church-parking-lot stoning.

As I stepped over him to get at the sandwich buffet, I said, “Some people are no better than they are.”

We still stay in touch with Nina and Wanda. All their kiddies are doing well at school. Wanda has started her own business making wedding cakes. Nina graduated last year and her first album comes out in August. It’s very good. Timbaland owed me a favor. Don’t ask.

Last week, Wanda sent us a photo of them all at the community market garden that they set up after Katrina. Father Williams has his arm around Nina’s shoulder, and the five kiddies are all in a line in height order, leaning on their shovels and grinning. The little one is sticking out her little pink tongue and laughing like Hayley Barbour at an all-you-can-eat-shrimp-and-hooker buffet. The sun is shining, and the corn is waving in the wind. Nina and Wanda are looking at each other with a look I can only describe as love.

Some people are better than they should be.

6 Comments on “In which Bill Donohue provides an example which is both illustrative and apt”

  1. a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q) says:

    Oh, well done. And thank you for starting a blog! Do you know Margaret and Helen? They are also a bit older than I am, though I suspect they traveled in quiet a different social set from yours. Like that nice Steel fellow at Balloon Juice, I once made a comment about Anderson’s hunt mount. I told him I thought her a lovely mare (without looking closely- it was a really typey feminine thing with such a dishy little head) and that I never had believed the “chestnut mare, beware” nonsense. Mrs. Vanderbilt snickered as she set out her tail gate, but Anderson rather sternly told me that a whip from the Iroquois Hunt had “trained *him*” to go in the first flight, though it was his first season with Anderson. Oops Then we had a good laugh about the first time some of the Camargo members found out what a real field was like when they started having joint hunts with Iroquois, so I’m rather hoping my gaffe has been forgotten. I look forward to reading more of your stories.

    • There is a Margaret a few doors down from me at Shady Pines. Well, she calls herself Margaret – she thinks she’s Mrs Thatcher, in fact. She terrorizes the nurses, all of whom she thinks are Argentinian, by whomping them with her purse. I suspect that’s not the Margaret you are thinking of.

      I knew a Helen once. I think she was a Cabot. Or perhaps a Lowell. One of those girls who has spent so much time with horses, they whinny. She married little Freddy Jacobsen and Gloria and I snuck in before the wedding reception and painted the little groom wedding-topper like a jockey. We even stuck a little whip in his hand.

      It was most disappointing because everyone just assumed that was how it was supposed to be. Even Helen, who just sat there eating out of her nosebag.

      I’m sure your gaffe is forgotten. Most of the wealthy I have ever dealt with are so inbred they have the long term memory of the real Margaret Thatcher. I wouldn’t worry.

  2. Snowwy says:

    You are the single most awesome person in the history of history.

  3. Calamity Jean says:

    Thank you for this wonderful story. I laughed for five minutes, and only stopped when I ran out of air.

    It was no more than Bill Donoghue deserved.

  4. Clear Sailing says:

    From Dickens to Palin to Trump et al., what a joy your blog is. I will check you every day for more delights. Thank you!

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