Cathy one of my artist neighbors had a lovely lunch for several of us this week. Around noon on Wednesday she called to say, “The boys are here.”
At this point, I left David with the dogs (he fed them) and the birds and walked up the street to her house to meet Brother Dunstan from the Benedictine Abby in DC, his friend Roland from Austria, and a fellow deacon from NYC who told me he was Italian descent, Leo. Cathy said Brother Dunstan had to “get permission from the Abbot” to come over to her house for lunch.
“He knows I won’t get into trouble with Cathy” Dunstan said laughingly.
Cathy served us a mixed bean salad with basil freshly picked from her garden, angel hair pasta with Arugula and a small bowl of ice cream. She had shaved fresh parmesan cheese for the pasta.
Roland, Leo, Cathy and I chatted about everything, including politics in the US and Austria, the European Union and Angela Merkle and how much we liked her. Dunstan and I talked about substance abuse and how it has wrecked lives. Dunstan is a monk and leads a contemplative life, so he is not as ‘into’ politics as lay people.
I told Dunstan I had left the Catholic Church and converted to Episcopalian when I left my first husband, an alcoholic, drug abuser and womanizer. Then I began to cry, because I still love the Catholic Church. When Dunstan took my hand I really began to sob.
Later, after Cathy took me on a tour of her house which stuffed with her works and works of other artists she has known through the years. The contents included wall murals adapted from the ruins of Pompeii Cathy developed for a now defunct Italian restaurant (she is a muralist); illustrations of saints painted on roofing insulation in Italy and elsewhere; millions of pieces of china (she studied porcelain painting in Hungary); a never played baby grand piano, covered with a rug and now a cat refuge, “My Mom gave it to me to remind me that I dropped piano lessons;” her studio upstairs occupied by three large (15 pound) cats all brothers, “I couldn’t take just one;” statues on the floor from everywhere of madonnas and saints, plaques from Jerusalem and elsewhere…a real hotch potch of materials, a jumble of the detritus of her life one can barely navigate, including hundreds of books on Ireland (she is from Boston, although she attended Fordham in NYC).
Two of Cathy’s brothers are Medal of Honor recipients, but that’s another story.
After we ate we walked up the street to my house, Brother Dunstan in his flowing robe, wearing his Korean straw hat looking like those priests you see in Rome. They admired my yard, wished me well, invited me to visit the monastery soon, then went on their way to the local library.