Really? Bury a Saint?

Published in yesterday’s GoLocalProv

Some years ago, we had a house for sale. “If you bury a statue of St. Joseph upside down in your yard, you will be guaranteed to sell your house quickly and at a favorable price.”
“You’re kidding.” We had heard the story many times before but we were a little concerned about using superstition, witchcraft or fable for something so important.

“Why not try it?” Diane asked.

“Of course, what have we to lose?”
We went to a nearby variety store, one that had been part of its neighborhood for years.

“Do you have a statue of St. Joseph?” I asked.

“I think so. What do you want it for?” the benevolent elderly proprietors asked.

“Well.” I was reluctant to say I wanted to bury him to sell my house.
My wife saved me. “This is First Communion time. He will make a great gift.”
“Yes, yes,” I said. “It’s for a First Communion.” It was a good thing the old store was dark enough to hide my embarrassment. As they hesitated, I was quick to say, “Never mind, never mind.”

“Wait, wait, let’s see. We must have one.”
The old man rolled out his ancient wooden ladder which creaked and shook as he moved it from its comfortable spot. He wavered as he balanced it and then slam! The ladder hit the top shelf, rattled and came to a stop. He climbed as a Sherpa might climb Mt. Everest.

“Let me get it,” I said with urgency.

‘No, no, I have it here somewhere.”
He climbed to a top shelf loaded with a chorus of statues, one of St. Joseph patiently waiting under a thick layer of dust. The old man lifted it, steadied himself and blew the dust. “Please St. Joseph, protect him.”
Down he came balancing the statue, one too big and too sacred to bury.
“Is this what you want? And what did you say you want it for?” He cradled it with reverence.

“I think it is a bit too big. And I’m thinking now that my Godson would like a pen and pencil set.” The Cross set saved many a Godparent.

“OK,” he said. Back to the sanctuary he climbed as I bolted for the door. Diane was waiting.

“What happened?”

“Well, he had the statue, but I just could not buy it. Too big. Too sacrilegious.”

“Let’s try the religious goods store next to the church.” I nodded.
We entered the store and again, with a sheepish look, I asked “Do you have a St. Joseph statue?”

“Sure,” the lady said. “I guess you want to sell your house.” I paused. “Well, if you do, we have these St. Joseph kits that tell you exactly what to do.”
A kit?! I could not believe it. On the third shelf were two rows of boxed, small St. Josephs. “The instructions are inside,” she said as she picked one off.

“Don’t forget to bury him upside down,” she called as I left the store, kit in hand.

© 2019