The other day I mentioned the stock pot I got at an estate sale over the weekend, the pot that played a part in my tomato adventure. There was more to that estate sale! I also bought two statues, one of St. Joseph and a smaller one of St. Anthony.
This was clearly an Italian couple. I noticed that in the kitchen, just putting two and two together. So I was on the lookout for Catholic stuff. And sure enough, back in the bedroom were these statues. At estate sales the bedroom is always where you find everything interesting: statues, missals, mantillas, Leonard Pennario records, etc.
There was this shelf with these beautiful old statues. The sale was half price by then so St. Anthony was just four bucks. He was originally $8. The statue of St. Joseph was bigger and priced at $18. Nine bucks was a little high for me so I passed him up. But I bought St. Anthony, along with the stock pot.
Then I was walking home from the sale with my mom and we were talking about these statues. I told Mom that I buy them because I do not want them to fall into the wrong hands. I mean, St. Anthony of Padua is my saint. He sticks by me so the least I can do is stick by him.
My mother agreed that you do kind of worry what is going to happen to these statues. It is sad because the old kind of piety, the faith that these old people had, is disappearing.
So I was thinking about that and I got kind of concerned for St. Joseph.
When I left my mom's I went back to the sale. St. Joseph was still there, as I figured he would be. He had not gone anywhere. I picked him up and took him to get him written up.
"Why does it say, 'As is'?" the clerk wondered.
I said, "He is a little beat up around the edges." Which he was.
But it is a sweet statue anyway. St. Joseph is holding the Baby Jesus so lovingly. I was admiring that. What a wonderful man, you know? What trust and love he had for his wife. I mean, I know that an angel appeared to him and told him she was telling the truth, but still, to step up to the plate and go with this unbelievable situation, you have to love him for that.
Hahaaa.. reading that I remember how my friend Lauri Githens who started the Buzz column that I write in the paper, she always used the phrase "step up to the plate." That is where I got it from. Anyway that is what St. Joseph did. I get kind of misty thinking of that. You hear so much about Mary being Jesus' mother, but Jesus also needed a father, and Joseph was it. Then how he taught Jesus his trade, carpentry. Being a Jewish guy with common sense, St. Joseph figured his son would need an occupation to make his way in the world and so he made Jesus his apprentice. There are such sweet pictures of that. This is a Dutch master's vision of it. It is in The Hermitage in St. Petersburg, Russia.
Usually St. Joseph is portrayed as elderly but this is a picture of a young St. Joseph.
Anyway I left the estate sale carrying St. Joseph. And it just happened that on that street lives my friend Jerry. This is Jerry of the mystery missal, remember? Jerry came out of his house and saw me walking down the sidewalk with St. Joseph and started laughing.
"I knew you would end up with that!" he said.
He told me the couple whose sale it was had lived for years on Lisbon Avenue. They stuck it out in their old neighborhood for decades as it grew rough but finally moved after being harassed once too often. They made a new start of it in Snyder in their 80s.
"Ah," I said. "They downsized. That explains why I found no mantillas."
But Jerry said they did not downsize! He said they moved everything. That would be me, you know. If I moved I would just take everything. I would need a convoy of moving vans!
So I sympathized with this couple and I am glad I inherited their statues.
I took St. Joseph home and put him in my sun room.
"Welcome to my home, St. Joseph," I said. "Please watch over my family."
And I put St. Anthony next to him.
Now I am equipped for whatever might happen.
I have these two gentlemen in my corner!