Monday, August 5, 2013

How Not to Make Your Holy Communion

When I was seven I made my Holy Communion. It seemed like a big deal at the time, even when I look back it seems kind of like a big deal today. When else do you get to dress up in a big white poofy dress and have money and gifts thrown at you? There’s your wedding, if you want to get all pedantic, but even then you have to share it all with a significant other. But Communions are all about you. And Jesus, I forgot about Jesus.
On my big day there was a series of unfortunate events. Firstly in the run-up, it took tears and sweat and all sorts to find a dress small enough. Back then I was rebelling against growth in general and the top of my head was at the shoulders of everyone else my age. When we found the dress my mother had to saw half the flowers that had been stuck all over it off as she thought they were “tacky”. I remember having to sit around in a dressing gown all morning and not touch things, for fear I would ruin the dress.
Before we got to the church we had to wait for my grandparents to arrive. Presumably they got stuck behind a herd of cows or some other countryside obstacle. This meant we were late. There was the dramatic swinging open of the church doors as I flung my and shuffled into my seat.
When the priest said “I’m glad you could make it Alvy”, I went crimson and remained that way for much of the ceremony.

We had to say small prayers to the congregation and I was first to get it out of the way. Someone complained about my prayer (Who does that? Who makes a complaint mid-ceremony about the way in which a seven year old is delivering her prayer of the faithful?). So when everyone else was finished, they turned the microphone up and I had to repeat the entire thing, shaking and trembling and glowering in the direction of the congregation so that whoever complained would know my wrath.

For whatever reason, I had also imagined that the communion itself would taste like white chocolate buttons. So you can imagine my disgust upon receiving it for the first time to realise it was actually just another piece of dry wafer similar to the ones we had been practicing with. I’m not entirely sure why we were practicing sucking pieces of wafer but the teacher was quite insistent at the time. To save face I still told my younger sisters and brother that it was the best white chocolate that they would ever taste.

My final breech of etiquette came when our neighbour tried to slip me a fiver. I was always listening to her chatting to our mother about her money problems. So it seemed only natural to tell her: “No you’re grand, you can’t really afford it.” Needless to say she didn't take it too well…

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