life in and around NYC is insane

Friday, September 25, 2015

A Visit With the Pope

Pope Francis is in town, wreaking havoc with the NYC traffic,  As a non-Catholic, I have avoided the city, though my poor baby Becca had to deal with the chaos as she moved into her new apartment.

The papal visit reminds me of one of my father's war stories,

My father turned 18 in February 1945.  He served in the army during the tail end of WW II, He was stationed in Italy.Blonde hair, blue eyes, the very picture of an American GI.

A GI who was also a nice Jewish boy from Brooklyn, but you'd never know it unless you heard his very Jewish surname.

My father and a group of his friends had the opportunity to spend some time in Rome.  They decided to see the Sistine Chapel.    While they were in the chapel, a priest approached them and asked if they'd like to meet the Pope.  Of course they wanted to!   The Pope knew my father wasn't Catholic because my father didn't kiss his ring.  The Pope chatted with them briefly and gave each of them a rosary.  My father brought the rosary home for one of his neighbors, a very religious man who truly appreciated a rosary blessed by the Pope.

Then there was the time my father and some friends got a chance to go to Switzerland.  They all wanted Swiss watches.  They went to a shop.  The shopkeeper, upon seeing several GI's in uniform, spoke to his wife in Yiddish, "American soldiers?  We'll hike up the prices."

My father found a watch he wanted -- it had Hebrew letters instead of numbers, a perfect gift for my grandfather. He waited until the others made their purchases and left the shop, then approacedh the shopkeeper,  At first the shopkeeper told my father "You don't want this watch."  But when my father insisted, the shopkeeper spoke to him in Yiddish

"You're Jewish?".  


"You heard what I said to my wife when you came in?"


"Are you going to tell your friends?"


Shopkeeper gave him a very good deal on the watch.

We still have the watch.  I should really get it cleaned, I'm sure it will still run.

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