Every day for the last few weeks, as I drive into my friends' driveway to pick up their kids for the school carpool, I notice the pile of tree chunks--yes, chunks, not trunks--in front of their home, left behind after they had an overgrown tree removed from their yard. The circular chunk of trunk that faces the street has a two-way split through its center in the shape of a cross, and the cross is surrounded by cracks like the rays a kid draws on a picture of the sun. I must admit, the image looks impressively intentional, and if I weren't a Jewish skeptic when it comes to alleged appearances of the Virgin Mary in cheese sandwiches, or tears and/or blood leaking from Christian iconic art, I might fancy that I even heard ethereal music and saw the rays glowing. I might even contemplate calling the Pope to report the sighting of evidence of the holy spirit....
But I'm too jaded for that.
And thus, I've been joking with my kids that any day now, the media will be at our friends' door when we pull up, and they'll be snapping photos that will appear in the local papers with the caption: "Holy Spirit Makes Appearance in Poway Tree"--or something like that. I also joked that my friends should put the tree on EBay, in slices, like the grilled cheese sandwich in which the blessed virgin's face supposedly appeared (I still marvel that people recognized her after so many years!). So imagine my surprise when I noticed on Facebook that a different friend had as her Facebook photo a picture of the very same glowing cross! I sent her a message, asking whether she'd taken the photo on E--- Road, and she wrote back that she had indeed, and was happy to hear that I'd noticed the cool cross, too.
Imagine again my continued surprise when I called my friend, the tree owner, to tell her about the funny Facebook coincidence, and she asked, "What cross in the tree?"
"You mean to tell me you haven't noticed it?!" I exclaimed. "You mean to tell me that you, the good Catholic, overlooked it? You let your Jewish friend notice the holy ghost in your front yard before YOU did?"
We both cracked up (my same friend from the earlier blog about my demented memory), and she had her daughter pull up the Facebook picture so she could see it for herself. She promised to go look at the log in person when it stops raining. It's still raining as I write this, but shouldn't the glowing cross be worth some wet hair and stained shoes?
"Maybe I can sell slices of the tree," suggested my friend between guffaws, "and pay for the backyard projects I can't justify doing right now!"
"Yeah, and maybe you can put the pieces on EBay and finance that new kitchen you want, too!" I added. "You can call it the Jesus' Kitchen Project."
Oy, such irreverence in the face of possible miracles!