Butter Files: The Christians and The Pagans of Macomber Hill

M was the Catholic kid next door.  Our families have been neighbors for as long as I can remember.  M was raised in a structured, consistent environment, the kind Dr. Spock would have prescribed, with a Dad who worked shifts at the paper mill and a Mom who stayed home with the kids, managing their time and driving them to various activities.  They went to the Catholic church in town on weekends and, when the time came, to CCD during the week.

I had no such restrictions on my time; provided I was at the dinner table by 5, I was good.

All of this extra instruction  going on next door, however, tipped the scales, giving M a worldly edge.  She became my main source of information related to anything happening outside of my own imagination.

On school mornings the kids in the neighborhood walked to the bus stop at the end of Fuller Road.  I learned a lot  waiting for the bus.  I learned about the birds and the bees, for one, complete with visual aids scratched on a frosty wind shield by a boy named Timmy.

One morning at the bus stop, compliments of M, I learned that I was doomed. M. had recently heard, through her various affiliations, that the Devil would be taking over the earth in the year 2000.  Luckily for her, she was Catholic, and God would be sending his kid to pick up all the Catholics before the destruction began.  Or maybe they would just ascend on their own. She wasn’t sure how that part was going to go down.  But she did know for sure that I was screwed.

This information was most distressing.  What the bloody hell did I ever do to deserve eternal damnation? If I had had this information before I was a newly fertilized baby egg, I would have picked different parents, now, wouldn’t I have?  I was upset that apocalypse knowledge was not built into my DNA, allowing me to make better parental and religious choices.  Now, the end was near and I was stuck with my pagan loser  family and destined to a fiery eternity. I envisioned a big, beautiful white bus emerging from the clouds with Jesus at the wheel, stopping to pick up all the Catholics in the neighborhood while I cried in vain as the devil blew his searing breath down my neck and yelled at me to get back to work digging coal to feed his inferno.

After a couple nights of not sleeping well, and staring up at the sky, worrying that the apocalypse might show up early, my stepmother’s radar went off.  I gave a tearful synopsis of the bus stop religious instruction.

She claimed it wasn’t true.  That M was sadly mistaken.  I finally got back to sleep.

A couple days later at the very same bus stop I learned that M had indeed been mistaken about the year 2000.  Jesus wasn’t coming to pick up anyone and we were all screwed.

Because.  Aliens.

Chicken out

All Aboard the Jesus Bus.  Next Stop Pearly Gates.

  20 comments for “Butter Files: The Christians and The Pagans of Macomber Hill

  1. November 6, 2013 at 3:04 pm

    Chicken! I have missed you! Man, wouldn't it be fun to get on that Jesus bus and shake things up a bit! I think you and I could make some mischief on the Jesus bus.

    I was relieved for the most part during your post knowing that as a Catholic, Jesus was coming for me. I, too, grew up for part of my childhood thinking the Catholics were the chosen ones. But then again, I lived in Chicago, aka CatholicIrishTown. But then I moved to Florida and straight into the heart of the Bible Belt. That's when I discovered as a Catholic I am doomed to hell along with the Jews, the gays and anyone who dances or drinks and doesn't scrapbook. Since scrapbooking hurts my brain, I'm a Catholic, my sister and her family are Jewish, some of my best friends are gay and I'm giving the standing o's to all the lawmakers waking up to equal rights and since I get down, get down, get down tonight, baby while holding my wine glass in the air, I can only hope that Hell has those air conditioners that fit in the windows.

    It's good to talk to you again, Chicken.


  2. November 6, 2013 at 4:38 pm

    While you lost sleep over not being Catholic, therefore not being able to ride the Jesus bus, I didn't sleep for at least a decade because, I lived with my grandparents that were old school “by the book” fundamentalists. I was told that I should feel a “born again” kind of epiphany and be saved. Otherwise prepare myself to spend eternity in hell. The more I realized that there was no spiritual awaking that was presenting itself, the more I worried.

    Finally, I quit losing sleep over that but only because I started losing sleep over a host of other problems like dysfunctional governments, war, taxes and healthcare.

    Where ever I go, I hope I can catch a few ZZZZs.


  3. November 6, 2013 at 6:22 pm

    I went to Catholic school and when I was in the third grade, the fifth graders told us that the world was going to end at Noon one day.

    I spent the whole day being TERRIFIED. As far as I knew, being Catholic wasn't going to help me with anything..


  4. November 6, 2013 at 8:50 pm

    I simply, utterly LOVE your stories. More. Please.


  5. November 6, 2013 at 11:55 pm

    Yay Joann. I'm sure we would make the most of our time on the Jesus bus, but I suspect they would not sell me a ticket. You'll have to sneak me on in your handbag. We'll pretend I'm one of those wacky little dogs. I grew up in CatholicFrenchCanadianTown, but now live in the Northeastern version of CatholicIrishTown, so I knows what you are talking about. I just skip along, smile and go with the flow. While holding my wine glass in the air. It is good to hear from you and so glad that all is well with that other thing!


  6. November 7, 2013 at 12:02 am

    Oh no, Cheryl. Poor you. I can see everyone eyeing you queerly and saying, “didja feel it yet? didja?”, and talking about you at the store. “Anything yet, Pops?” “Nope, nothin' yet. Did you ever wonder who we would be if we didn't worry about anything? Ever? Maybe that's all heaven is. Life without worry.


  7. November 7, 2013 at 12:03 am

    Yikes Michelle-I would have been terrified, too, those little bastards:-)


  8. November 7, 2013 at 12:04 am

    Thank you Shelly-I think we both like the same kinds of stories. I'll keep them coming if you will, too!


  9. November 7, 2013 at 12:15 am

    Religion can really mess people up, but aliens are not to be messed with.


  10. November 7, 2013 at 1:07 am

    Right? Aliens and Sasquatch. Not sure why this reminds me of Tom Cruise…..?


  11. November 7, 2013 at 2:43 am

    This reminds me of the thing that terrified me – my best friend told me about the birds and bees when we were eight years old. I thought she said a girl has to, you know, with a guy BEFORE she is twelve in order to have kids. I worried for a day and a half before getting her to clarify (she was of course referring to average onset of puberty …). Man, I can't tell you how relieved I was.


  12. November 7, 2013 at 4:01 am

    Hi Jenny, after Timmy drew his diagram, I resigned myself to a childless lifestyle. if I had thought sex was imminent, I am not sure what I would have done. become a nun? That would have solved a couple problems ha ha.


  13. November 7, 2013 at 11:47 am

    While we had very few Catholics around here growing up we did have the Church down the road predicting the end back when I was in 2nd grade. I didnt sleep well for a while either.


  14. November 7, 2013 at 12:03 pm

    Hi SS. There's always someone around predicting the end, isn't there? None of us, least of all, children, really need to know that in my opinion.


  15. November 7, 2013 at 5:41 pm

    This is hysterical. I'm a “recovering” Catholic (an oxymoron if there ever was one) and I recall the hellfire and damnation teachings of evil nuns who loved nothing more than scaring little kids. Fortunately, I escaped in the third grade, but the guilt of being responsible for some guy getting brutally killed and hung out to dry still lingers.


  16. November 8, 2013 at 12:00 am

    Hi Jayne, did you get kicked out of Catholic school in third grade? What happened in third grade? I guess one of the benefits of being a pagan is that when someone says Jesus died for your sins, you're more likely to say, “Who, me? I never even met the dude.” Dude. Thanks again for reaching out today, for reading and for following.


  17. November 8, 2013 at 12:16 pm

    Funny stuff here today. I laughed out loud. Guilt piled mountain high onto kids is just wrong.


  18. November 8, 2013 at 12:23 pm

    Hi Linda, thank you. Do kids really get consumed with guilt? I didn't feel guilty. I was just scared the devil wouldn't let me watch Happy Days. Then again I was a heathen. I didn't know from guilt lol.


  19. November 12, 2013 at 1:03 am

    I grew up in a very devout Irish Catholic family and to this day, my sisters believe that they get to sit at the front of the bus to heaven because they are Catholic. The rest of us are in layers, with Presbyterians and Methodists, close behind the Catholics and Muslims, Buddhists and Hindus at the near back. All of these people will be dumped into purgatory until God feels that they have suffered enough because they weren't Catholic. At the very rear of the bus are the agnostics and atheists and worse…the lapsed Catholics. (That would be me.) We are to be dropped off in Hell on the way. It's made for some interesting dinners and more than once I have had to work at not laughing. This was when my youngest Sister begged my permission to find a priest to give me last rites. If I did this, she reasoned, I would at least be able to go to purgatory instead of Hell. I told her that all my friends would be in Hell…I'd rather go there. She was not amused.


  20. November 12, 2013 at 5:58 pm

    Maria, feel free to join my friends and I, who will be taking our chances on the Alien bus. Tickets are more affordable and we're hoping for a Cocoon-like experience.


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