Spend a little time around the grandsons, and you begin to wonder: What exactly can one find to love…about a concrete rooster?
Nor is “love” too strong a word for what I witnessed yesterday when Francis and Jonah popped in at their great-grandmother’s place for a spontaneous pizza party.
One of the items adorning Great-Grandma-Georgia’s living room, you see, is the aforementioned rooster. While it’s been a part of her home décor for decades, I don’t ever recall it attracting an ongoing sequence of hugs and caresses.
I mean, fer cryin’ out loud: the thing’s made of cast-concrete. There’s absolutely nothing “warm and fuzzy” about it – or at least, I supposed, until I saw my grandsons start doting on the statuette yesterday afternoon. They just simply had to touch it…as if the rooster contained traces of some luminous life-force, some mystical energy.
Their attraction to the bird practically demanded further investigation into its origins. So we asked G-G-G (as she’s affectionately known to the youngest generation in our clan): Why do you even own such an inelegant artifact?
And with her telling of the story, a bit of the mystery began to dissipate.
Turns out, it’s not just any old rooster. It’s a Pathé rooster – a marketing gimmick that was almost as famous as the RCA pooch back in the day. Once upon a time, this particular rooster stood watch at Union Furniture – my grandfather’s place of employment for over 50 years. But when the store stopped selling Pathé victrolas and radios, the bird no longer had a place to roost – so Grandpa Ambrose gave it a home sometime in the 1950s or ‘60s. And upon his passing, G-G-G picked it out as a treasured memento of her beloved father-in-law.
So perhaps my grandsons were very much on the right track when they were drawn to cuddle this cock-a-doodle-doo. They undoubtedly sensed the loving presence of a generation they never actually knew.
Meanwhile it gave me the chance to muse just a bit on the inexplicable God-energy let loose in the world from time to time. We hear about a such an episode in the Sunday gospel this week…when a long-suffering gal sidles up to Jesus, never presuming to meet his gaze – but thinking just a touch of his tassel ought to do the trick. And sure enough, it did:
[The woman] felt in her body that she was healed of her affliction. Jesus, aware at once that power had gone out from him, turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who has touched my clothes?”
Power went out of Jesus on that memorable day. Power went out of the Pathé rooster yesterday, too – or so I’m inclined to believe. After all, Grandpa Ambrose always had plenty of Christ-energy to share with us when he walked the earth. So is it unreasonable to think he also had some of that energy to spare, stored up in one of the touchstones of his life?
As it happens, I know a kid named Jonah Ambrose who just couldn’t get enough of that lovin’ – even from the unlikeliest of places.
Let us pause now…to recall that we are in the presence of the Holy & Merciful One.