As I pulled into my drive-way on 108th Street at Rockwell, I spied a neighborhood icon starring up at my roof. It was none other than Eddie Carroll, President and CEO of Carroll Roofing -'Old World Craftsmanship - We hire Only DPs from Eastern Europe and pass the savings on to you.'
Roofing Contractor Eddie Carroll, as readers of this Blog (Seb Costin and Aunt Aurelia) will recall, is a Morgan Park father-figure, accomplished but always discreet sexual swordsman, wit and master of disguises. Eddie eyes scanned sky-ward and peripheral vision took in my approach signalled by a beckoning arm.
" You have some pinched tiles up there, Patrick My Boy; when did you last have your home shingled?"
" I need not ask who did your work as it is as plain as the nose on a homely Serbian girl's face. It is clear that you did not engage Carroll Roofing and Construction"
As you might recall when I tried to engage you at that time, you indicated that your charitable work with Air Icelandic took up far too much your time.
" Spot on, Patrick! Sorry for my pique. Those poor girls at least had a place to hang their natty-flight caps after long, tiring and lonesome flights from Reykjavik to O'Hare. Carroll House was more than a home to those blue-eyed and shapely waifs, it was welcome, warmth and one hell of a workout. The funding ran-out quicker than some of the more timid stewardesses, thanks to the Bush Economy inherited by My President."
'Tis so.How long before I need a cover? The last one was a tear off.
" It was a rip-off you mean. That roof should have been good until 2015 - honor bright. Let me quote you and I'll stick it in your mail box by the end of the week. Your children sleep beneath this shoddy work. Skimp not, as a father."
Eddie never once took his eyes off of the roof but they now elevated towards the heavens.
" Heaven is our destination, whether we gain entry or not is up to what we do here on earth. I do what I can and certainly know that you do the same given the work that you and Dan do for the young gents at Leo. We are all too often our own worst enemies, Patrick. Sin begets sin and we must always be aware that sin is what it is and not something else."
How do you mean?
"At the height of the Spanish Civil War, Time Magazine asked Pope Pius XI what was the greatest threat to the church - Soviet or Fascist ideology. Time always a rabid anti-Catholic rag like the Chicago Tribune attempted to play the pharisee to the Pope -Vicar of Christ. His Holiness confounded the sneaks and said 'The Church’s worst persecutors have been her own unfaithful bishops, priests, and religious. Opposition from outside is terrible; it gives us many martyrs. But the Church’s worst enemy is her own traitors.'
"You see? Sin takes no sides. We like to believe that while we sin we are somehow doing good. Chesterton remarked to a similar sneaky question posed him when he was welcomed into the Faith - Why are you becoming Catholic? The rotund wag rejoined, 'Why to have my sins forgiven.' It is only through the Mystical Body of Christ that sin may be forgiven. Sin is not expunged by a committee of nuns, or some guy named Sister Farley with a best seller about Catholics and Sex; Oh, no my friend. The Church is as fixed in its doctrines as your roof will be."
I see that you have read Father Schall's latest piece from The Catholic Thing! And these observations -roofing, the heavens and sin - will be merged shortly?
Look heaven-ward, Patrick - I never miss that Jesuit's insights -beyond your roof. Heaven is fixed -our destination. Shortly two Chinese fighter pilots sans the old marriage tackle* will fight gravity and ascend to the Empyrean. I recall reading as a young lad in the barber shop over by Damen - Casey's about Chinese Babes who were Commie Jet Jockeys in Korea. . . .
These Mig Maids went against our John Glenns and Ted Williams in Sabers over the Yalu River. I believe it was Argosy, True Men, Flame or some other testosterone fueled periodical - while getting clipped and butch-waxed that lit my loins on this issue of preter- feminisim. Babe Jet Jockeys and Asian Babes to boot.
Often the white male's burden.
" I have sampled the Asian buffet, beyond the fine fare at Chi Tung over on Kedzie, my boy. I am fully delighted to see that Red China is meeting the template of Korean era combat yet again. Have you seen the two babes selected to Red Star Voyage?"
I have not.
"Mine is pretty nice, but your's . . .is probably a damn fine pilot."
With that his neck and head returned to the concrete and clay of our lives.
" I'll get that estimate to you by Friday."
I am awed on a daily basis.
*One of two female fighter pilots will become the first Chinese woman inspace later this month, after the two were shortlisted for a place in the three-person team that will blast off in the Shenzhou-9 spacecraft, the state news agency Xinhua said.
Chinese media described Major Liu Yang, from Henan, as a "hero pilot" who achieved a successful emergency landing after a dramatic birdstrike incident spattered the windshield of her plane with blood.
Meanwhile, her rival, Captain Wang Yaping, from Shandong, is said to have flown rescue missions during the Sichuan earthquake and piloted a cloud-seeding plane to help clear the skies of rain for the Beijing Olympics in 2008.
"They are selected as members of the first batch of female astronauts inChina because of their excellent flight skills and psychological quality," said Xinhua.