It’s been a while since I walked to or from school, and generally I was alone; the parental units were otherwise occupied, and besides, conventional wisdom holds that it was much safer back then.
But it’s still doable in some parts of the country at some times of the year, though one must expect the unexpected along the way, especially if you’re taking a shortcut:
Shark had a half-day yesterday, and so we decided to walk. Of course, I forgot that Monday is traditionally laundry day at the Convent. Behind the Convent is a laundry line. Most houses in the area have them, right? Who doesn’t love sun-dried sheets?
Well, yesterday, the Convent laundry line was laden with very sturdy and staid foundation garments. Parachute-sized, rebar-reinforced; fluttering mightily in a stiff spring breeze. All in shades of blue and white, as it IS an IHM Convent, after all.
Shark’s eyes were as big as teacups as we walked past. While he’s fairly sure that Sisters (for the most part) are human, too, it had not occurred to him that they might wear UNDERWEAR. He was not entirely sure that even seeing Sister’s squirrel-covers wasn’t a grave sin requiring extra Masses, Confession or possibly Last Rites. Certainly it was more embarrassment than one small boy could bear!
I remember, circa 1968, when one of the orders staffing our high school adopted a habit that didn’t actually sweep the floor: the new hemlines were actually several inches above the ankles, revealing something we’d never so much as imagined. Inasmuch as our female classmates were constantly having their hemlines inspected, lest we boys be unduly provoked, this was wholly unexpected, totally far out, right up there in implausibility with the flying cars we were supposed to own by, um, let’s say, 2010.
And Sister, of course, was aware of our perplexed state. “What were you expecting? Wheels?”