It was a lovely summer’s afternoon that Sunday when we sat as a family and enjoyed a sumptuous Sunday lunch. We had roast beef as well as fried chicken which had been marinated in all sorts of flavorsome spices and herbs; accompanied by an assortment of vegetables including of course the dreaded Brussels sprouts.
I have never understood why God created this particular vegetable; but create it He did. No doubts He has His reasons and one day we’ll discover how beneficial it is for us and how silly and uneducated we have been to dislike it so. However, for now at least, most people I know don’t seem to like it.
I don’t count myself amongst them, of course. I’m neutral in this respect. I would eat Brussels sprouts if offered to me but I would not go out of my way to ask for them in a gourmet restaurant.
But that Sunday, Brussels sprouts were on the menu. I believe they were mixed with walnut pieces and fried onions, if memory serves me right.
We have had Auntie Gertrude from Australia staying with us for a few days so we also invited Father Frederic to Sunday lunch. The two had never met each other so we sat them next to each other around the large dinner table.
It was a lovely meal with pleasant conversation on no particular subject and all subjects that came to mind.
After lunch, we all moved to the living room to enjoy a nice cup of coffee and continue our discussion.
Father Frederic sat on the sofa leaving a little room for someone else to sit beside him and a few minutes later, as well all made ourselves comfortable, Auntie Gertrude came in and sat beside the priest.
Sadly, and embarrassingly for her, as she lowered herself in the well upholstered settee she accidentally broke wind with a thunderous loud noise.
I should mention at this stage that Father Frederic is somewhat hard of hearing; and he therefore did not notice nor pay attention to what had just happened.
I immediately tried to cover Auntie’s embarrassment by asking him loudly some Ecumenical question that came to mind.
As I leaned towards him speaking a little louder than usual I noticed his face going a little pale as the tell-tale strong smell reached my olfactory senses.
He looked at me accusingly as Auntie got out of the room saying “By dingo cobber! I forgot the biscuits in the kitchen … they're special I brought from Adelaide ... I’ll go and get them!”
As she got out of the room, followed by the rest of the family, she added somewhat undiplomatically "they are not as bland as those English biscuits!"
I was left alone with the kind old heavenly priest and the smell from hell.
Suddenly, the Ecumenical question became totally irrelevant as my mind went blank and my hurt pride and wounded honor urged me to shout at the top of my voice “It was not me!!! It was her!!! She did it and went out leaving me sharing her stench.”
But being the stupid gentleman which I am, I said nothing. I kept quiet and protected a lady’s pride and honor by my silence.
“Would you like a biscuit?” I asked Father picking up the large serving dish which was there all the time.
“That’s a lovely piano …” replied Father Frederic getting up from his seat and moving towards the open window. “Our church organ needs mending … it doesn’t pump so much wind in the pipes as it used to.”
Somehow, the uneasy conversation which followed and the fresh air from the open window, diluted the heavy atmosphere in the room as eventually the rest of the family rejoined us accompanied by an innocent looking Auntie Gertrude.
Since that day, Father Frederic keeps his distance from me whenever we meet.