“Bless Me, Father”
“Bless me father, for I have sinned. It’s been one week since my last confession.” So begins a common ritual for millions of Catholic grade schoolers across America every Saturday as it did one day in 1948 for me and my fellow seventh graders, Vinnie, Johnny and Skippy. In later years, the dutiful “one week” might stretch to weeks, months or years before petering out somewhere in our 20s. But for us at that time the mantra was well in place, together with the familiar stab of anxiety that accompanied going to confession to receive the Sacrament of Penance and be forgiven of our sins by one or another of our parish priests, qualifying thereby to take Holy Communion as we attended the 9 a.m. mass with our classmates the next day…(more)
“The Greatest Picture Marilyn Never Took”
by George Duncan
A stiff breeze off the Hudson River greeted Jack and me as we approached Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in Washington Heights that gray day in early March 1961. Jack’s aunt worked at The Harkness Pavilion, an upscale clinic nestled in the heart of the hospital campus, and he had decided it was time for a visit.
After a brief drive uptown, we approached the hospital and squeezed Jack’s Chevy into an illegal parking space. Looking across to the Harkness, we spotted a dozen or so men pushing and shoving each other on a set of low bleachers that had been positioned opposite the main entrance. As we were musing on what such a group might be doing here, most of them holding long lens cameras, it suddenly hit me. These were paparazzi and they had cornered their quarry…(more)
by George Duncan
“Olé Toro” was first published in the fall 2012 issue of Smoky Quartz.
Minutes ago, the sixth and final bullfight of the day had ended. Approaching the coup de grace, the bull – smallest of the day’s card – made his final approach. To the clear disgust of the locals, the young Matador placed the sword awkwardly and as the bull stood on wobbly knees the crowd turned from the scene and began to sift down to the exits and through the corral gates, which had been opened to allow easier access to the parking lot behind….(more)
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