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Finding joy, humor in serious times

By Darcy L. Fargo

Darcy Fargo

April 17, 2019

It was the Mass of the Lord’s Supper in 1997. I was 16 years old, and I sang in the choir at St. Joseph’s in Bombay, a tiny town in northern Franklin County.

Our pastor at the time, Father Martin Farrell, a Dominican, didn’t wash the feet of 12 people. He washed the feet of the entire church, or at least everyone who felt comfortable participating.

Young, impulsive and always looking for a laugh, I joined forces with my twin sister, Deanna, and a friend, Michelle, to “prank the priest,” who we knew to have a great sense of humor.

We busted out every bottle of nail polish we owned and painted our toenails with stripes, polka dots, designs and wild colors, and we strategically wrote words on our feet in marker.

At the appointed time, we took our seats in the pre-planned order. When Father Martin reached me, the first of our trio, I removed my socks to reveal my oddly painted toenails and the word “DO.” Father looked at me quizzically. I smiled and shrugged. He washed my feet and moved on to Deanna. She removed her socks to reveal more oddly painted nails and the word “THEY.”

Father now knew this was a conspiracy.

He washed my sister’s feet and moved on to Michelle. She removed her socks to reveal a final set of oddly painted nails and “STINK?”

Father burst out laughing at our “DO THEY STINK?” shenanigans.

Thinking back on it, we probably should’ve been more reverent and serious for the occasion, but when I talked to Deanna and Michelle to see if they remembered this incident the same way I did, it became clear this is a happy memory for all of us.

As we move through Holy Week, it’s important to focus on the serious, harsh reality of what our Lord suffered on our behalf, but we are an Easter people, and we know the pain is followed by resurrection and joy.

While the three of us weren’t then (and probably aren’t now) the types of personalities people conjure in their minds when they think of “holy people,” I firmly believe that God gifted me, Deanna and Michelle with the ability to find or create humor and joy in even the most serious times.

To me, sharing joy and community is always a good thing.

May we all have a blessed Holy Week and a joyful Easter. May both be full of moments of grace and joy.

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