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A small brown miracle at the Galleria Stage: June 11, 2013

June 18, 2013

The San Mateo County Fair is over. The Galleria Stage, as it were, gone dark.

Although it is not represented in monumental book sales, your author enjoyed holding that stage, as a member of Darlene Frank’s playwrights’ hour, in the soft launch of his new book “Hold Fast: Tom Crean with Shackleton’s Endurance,” as host of the Pacifca Poetry Forum, as the prime mover and songster of “David Hirzel and Friends,” as one of twenty-odd authors at the tables on Author Day.

In all, a very rewarding week it was. There was however one small, unexpected reward, that happened in a moment but lingers now seven days after the fact, and I can assure you will linger far longer.

During the “soft launch” of “Hold Fast,” as I was relating the fact of Tom Crean’s having worn his brown scapular every day of his life (this fact having been related to me by how own grandson Gerard O”Brien), I tried (born and raised a Protestant) to explain the appearance, the meaning of that sacramental to my audience. In a few words, a “brown scapular” is a talisman blessed by the priest, two fabric tags joined by tapes or threads, to hang before and aft the neck under the shirt. One of these tags bears the words “Whosoever dies wearing this Scapular shall not suffer eternal fire.”

As I was describing this, a man just walking through the fair, not inclined to stop or listen to me relate Tom Crean’s story, walked up to me (on the stage) and wordlessly handed me this scapular now entwined with the Celtic Cross on my desk. Then he walked away. I was barely able to convey my thanks to him before he departed entirely.

The incident was over in seconds. It will remain with me forever.

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