Posted by: johnhourihan | November 12, 2013

Sometimes payback is just fun

I’m glad we took care of those three nuns. It was the best deal of our lives.
They were sitting in a booth at the back of Friendly’s in Auburn. Even at a time when most Catholic nuns were wearing civilian clothes, these wore the black habits of my youth.
They had each ordered a sundae and were meticulously and slowly savoring one bite at a time.
My wife and I had decided to splurge and get an ice cream cone.
Lin, sitting across from me, had her back to them, but I faced them and could watch unnoticed.
At intervals, one would look at another and smile in appreciation, then return to her ice cream. It was pretty obvious that they didn’t do this often.
Memories from young days of the Sisters of St. Joseph trying desperately to teach me to be a good reformed in my mind . I could see Sister John Elizabeth tearing off the bib of her habit so she could play basketball on the boys’ side of the schoolyard, and I could see how she was subsequently chastised by the older matriarchal Sister John Gertrude for doing it.
I could see Sister Francis Anna, (my first grade nun) and Sister Miriam Patrice (who scared the bejesus out of most of us.)
I pointed the trio of sisters out to Lin with a nod of my head. She turned, watched, then turned back.
“Let’s buy their sundaes,” she said.
“I don’t know if we have enough money.”
“Then let’s find out, “ she insisted.
I motioned to the waitress and explained the situation to her. We had retired only a few weeks before and were gingerly balancing our bills on the fulcrum of a social security check.
“If we can afford it,” I told the waitress, “we want to pay for their sundaes.”
We had just enough and only a week or so left before our next check.
“We can make it,” Lin prodded.
The cost of the ice cream was somewhere near $12 and after our own check we would have $28 and change left in the bank.
“Let’s do it,” Lin instigated.
We took the check and paid, leaving a $2 tip.
As we were gathering our coats and sliding from the booth, the three sisters appeared at the table as if they had floated there.
“Thank you,” the elder said smiling down at us. “That was nice of you.”
“I owed you, “ I explained.
She looked perplexed.
“I attended St. Mary’s school in Milford,” I explained. “I wasn’t the best kid. I still owe the nuns there.”
She laughed, took our names and promised that the sisters would remember us in their prayers.
The next week was a little tight, but ’m glad we did it. I figure if there is a God, I had just bought a direct line to Him for $14.
Best deal of my life I figured.



  1. I would have done it too, if I had more money in pocket and bank then you did. Then again the Sisters always liked ME.

    • You weren’t named after the guy who threw the baseball back and hit Sister Rose Concepta

  2. Great article. Love it!!!

  3. It will take more then just ice cream to save you lov ya Date: Tue, 12 Nov 2013 16:22:16 +0000 To:

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