When I see that my caller ID is flashing Jumbo Feeney’s number, I cringe. Now, don’t get me wrong, Jumbo and I have been best friends since Hector was a pup. I love the guy. But—sometimes he drives me nuts. Why? Because he has a unique opinion on every topic known to man (oops, and woman). Anyway, when I see his number I usually do not answer because I need some time to pray and mentally prepare for the event. If I just answer he’ll already be in mid-sentence, I will not have a clue as to what he is talking about and he’ll want my opinion even though he would never hear it in the first place. Then he’ll bust out in his raucous, deep belly laugh —well, trust me, it is an experience.
So, yesterday, I see Jumbo’s number flashing in the ID. What do I do? I ignore my own rule and answer the phone. I immediately call myself an idiot and begin to listen because Jumbo is already talking. “Petie (he calls me Petie) you better sit down for this. It’s big—really big.”
He starts laughing and I don’t sit down. “C’mon Jumbo, what? What is it?”
“Guess where I’m going tomorrow? C’mon, man. Guess.”
“NO idea, Jumbo. No idea. I do know where you’re not going.”
“WRONG, Petie, wrong. I am going. I’m going to Mass tomorrow. Think you’re so smart. Gotcha.”
Well, “gotcha” was a good word. Jumbo had not been to church in, who knows, a VERY long time. And, during that whole time he has been trying to convince me that whether a person went to church or not, it did not matter. I think by talking to me about it he was just trying to convince himself anyway. Whatever—-
“Petie, you there? Say something. Anything. Hope the news did not make you drop dead or something.” More raucous laughter.
“UH, no. Just have a few chest pains, that’s all.” I start to laugh and say, “So, Jumbo, tell me—what happened. It been a long time for you.”
“Yeah, Petie, that’s for sure. A long time. I just think that its time for me, that’s all.”
“Jumbo—God writes straight with crooked lines, doesn’t He. We all follow our own path. I’m not saying anything. I’ll just call you in the beginning of the week and see how it went, okay?”
“Petie, you didn’t ask if I went to confession.”
“Not going there, Jumbo, none of my business.”
“Good job, Petie. That was just a little test for you anyway.”
“Love ya man.”