I had the honor of hosting the Pope from
Argentina in the spare bedroom of my house.
He was testing the waters before his official
visit to Philadelphia come September.
His white helicopter landed in the
back yard, its frightful noise scaring the cardinals and even the
bluejays, as it swept up dry leaves from the grass, blowing
them everywhere. They stuck to the screen of my back porch
The Pope dressed in street clothes so he wouldn’t be recognized
by curious neighbors. I lent him the purple shirt worn by my ex-
husband when he visited, and told him the reason why I
left him. The Pope sighed and nodded his head.
We took our coffees out in the front yard and sat on
lawn chairs. We kept the conversation light, no talk
about gays and lesbians or the importance of abortion.
“You have such a variety of flowers and birds and
keep your bird bath filled to the brim.” He rolled his
“Rs” like the ocean waves that brought him to the
I stood up and twirled around in my blue-sequined
dress. Luckily I remembered to wear panties.
“I so love them,” I said, as a long-beaked chickadee
flew into his painted bird house.
“After I retire,” said the Pope, “if I do, no one can
predict the future,” he took a sip of his coffee,
“I will spend quiet mornings quite like this.”
I wondered where that would be, but he answered my
“The Lord God above will show me the way, as He always
I looked at this man seated in the green lawn chair
with his thin white hair and merry brown eyes
and asked if we could pray together.
He took my hand in his and began to sing softly
“Rejoice in the Lord always and again I say rejoice.”
The red-tailed hummingbird alighted on his shoulder
small, pulsing, long beak pecking at his cheek
All I could do was stare.