serious

Barney.

As I mentioned, I had dinner with my folks on Saturday. Barney (my granddad) was there, and for some reason the conversation wandered onto religion. I don't remember why. Barney was in principle Catholic until some time in the early thirties. I've heard him say that the last time he went to church he walked out because the priest was extolling the virtues of that fine upstanding Christian gentleman Franco, and forbidding people from fundraising or in any other way helping the wicked republicans. Barney was already a communist by then (as I believe he still is) so you can imagine that that went down like a shit sandwich.

Regardless of this, by 1944 he was a fairly well-established heathen (or, at the very least, he had joined the ranks of reputedly the world's largest Christian denomination). During the run-up to a mass paddle at the French seaside (against, it turned out, very fierce opposition) that summer, he spent some time on a troopship moored off Southampton. As it happened, they were there for a couple of days longer than expected due to adverse weather. Shortly after boarding, the Catholic chaplain, who sounds like an admirably energetic chap, asked for a list of all the Catholics on board and let them all know that there was a meeting/service/something that he'd be very pleased if they'd attend. Most of them did, but Barney, although his name was for some reason on the list, didn't. The next day, the chaplain dropped by to ask Barney if he'd meant to miss it or whether there was anything he could do. Barney replied that he'd missed it on purpose, but the chaplain stayed for a chat and asked whether Barney would like to discuss matters further. Barney accepted his kind offer and met him after his 5:30 meal. They sat and talked until the chaplain (a Captain, of course, not an OR) had to go for his meal at 7:30, at which point Barney left. They repeated this for several days until other matters took their course. Barney being happy to spend hours discussing religion with the chaplain, of course, had nothing to do with said chaplain having exactly one more bottle of whisky than Barney did.
  • Current Mood: sleepy. not drunk, sleepy.