The Last(?) Temptation of Prego

Every once in a while a stranger knocks on my door holding a raffle ticket or something. My stock greeting is:

"This better not be about Jesus."

Today an older gentleman knocked on the door. I was raised to respect my elders, so I gave him a cordial 'hello' instead. I was wondering what was up, though. Perhaps he was coming over to complain about Barky the Mutt, who was yelping his fool head off in my yard.

"I'm the pastor of the church on the corner. We have a chicken barbecue today and..."

(F*ck... here we go. 'Your dog is quite the nuisance. We're wondering if you could throw him in the basement for the day.' Okay... prepare respectful response.)

"...we'd like to invite you to join us. I have some free tickets for you if you'd like to come."

(Wait. Scratch that. Yes or no question.)

"Uh, sure. (What the f*ck did you just say? He's a cleric. DECLINE! DECLINE!) That sounds great." (Aaaaaaarrrghhhhh. It burns. It burns.)

The Fletchmonster and the O-Dog peek their curious heads in and say hello.

"Hi guys. So, three tickets?"
"Well, my wife will probably join us."
"Oh, sure," he says as he hands over four tickets.
"Thank you," I said as he departs.

Now part of the reason I agreed to take it is that we've scavenged a summer picnic or two. Sometimes I'd be taking the Fletch or the O-Dog out of their car seats and some friendly church broad would offer the kids a hot dog.

"Sure, what the hell - uhh... heck."

(The last time this happened, the Fletchmonster pissed in his chair so we had to take our church dogs to-go.)

The other part of the reason is that every once in a while, the missus and I try to make it through the weekend without having to cook. Friday? Fish fry at the in-laws. Today? Jesus Chicken.

When Mrs. P comes home from work I fill her in slowly.

"What do you want to do for dinner?" I offer a loaded lead-in.
"I don't care. What do you want to do?"
"Well," I reply, "we've got an invite."
"Oh, cool. Who?" She inquires.
"We'll that's the good news."

"Okay. What's the bad news?" She asks.
I bow my head solemnly, keeping a straight face: "And now we pray."

"My Aunt Jo and Uncle Rob?"
"No," I laugh heartily. "The church across the street!" I knew she'd be agreeable. She's not a church-goer either, but she doesn't look out for lightning whenever she steps near one. Besides, that's one of the four things she's in charge of: laundry, the bills, small talk and jesus. I'm in charge of good times and taking out the garbage (which she's in charge of picking up the slack).

The afternoon progressed, we digested lunch and once the bellies started grumbling again we rustled up the kids for the churchy dinner. O-Dog was a little tough to rein in, since he was having the beginnings of a meltdown. We approached the entrance and my wife starts falling behind - a maneuver that indicated she didn't want to go in first. 'F*ck that,' I thought, on to her little game. I stepped aside and said, "Go ahead. By the way, that guy there's the one that gave us the freebies. Thank him again."

Common courtesy falls under small talk.

Anyhow-lellujah, we went in, smiled politely at everyone, bought raffle tickets for the 'theme-tray' acution (stuffed the smoked salmon bucket with tickets) and sat down to feast.

Now we go out to dinner a LOT, but seldom attend these types of functions. I couldn't help but notice how friendly and welcoming everyone was. Even the crack-heady looking lady and her bag ladyish friend with the beard were real sweethearts. I looked around and saw a lot of families with their kids, elderly parents et cetera... all enjoying the churchy meal.

For a fleeting moment, just a f*cking milisecond I thought, 'This is actually nice,' and was toying with the idea of telling the missus, 'You know, maybe we ought to pop in here on Sundays.'

(Aaaarrrghh.... nooo.... beelzebub.... mmmmust.... fight... pious Flandersy... gasp feeling.)

I held my tongue, as I mulled it over. Then it happened. I wiped the grease from the Fletchmonster's cheeks, put the napkin down and started fiddling around with the table top literature.

After-school art program. This looks cool for the O-Dog. Underneath? A churchy brochure... pastor this, pastor that... 'Christ-Centered. Inclusive. Committed.'

Oh yeah. I forgot about the christ part. All of a sudden the thought of nursing the muscles after Sunday morning hockey in a pew listening to the preachings and teachings of a two-thousand year old corpse made me take a couple steps back. I thought about all those creepy-ass crucifixes on southern roadways and those weepy freaks on TV...
(Grrrrnnahhhhh... That's it. You're one of us, sinner. You're nobody's bible-bitch. Nyyyyyyaaaaawww...)

At that point, the O-Dog's meltdown finally materialized and we had to kowtow our asses backwards out of the place. Of course I was gracious and thanked the pastor heartily for the meal and neighborliness, but the Religification of Prego?

Thank you for the tasty meal from thy bounty, dude, but not this weekend...

(Flames flicker. Head spins.)

And I didn't win the salmon basket, either. Damn.


Pickalish said...

Loved that Anyhow-llelujah. Glad to see you're not above Jesus chicken. Did they have devil's food cake for dessert? (corny, yes)

Glad to see you at least attempted to be nice to the churchy folk. Even I would have probably turned down that invite.

sage said...

Although I might be considered one of those churchy types, I enjoyed your retelling of the story. Here from Michele's, this time, but I do often stop by and enjoy your stories.

utenzi said...

Oh, man! You'e soooo going to Hell with that post, Prego. From what I've read here before you were already on the short list, of course. LOL

I only go to church once every few years at Christmas with my parents. I find the experience so painful that I avoid it at all costs for the next few years until the cycle starts anew. Eh.

Michele sent me to wish you bon appetit, Prego. Just wait until the kids start asking to go back! LOL

keda said...

yeah i'm not so good at churchy stuff either obviously.. but find it hard to turn down free food anytime.
but as we have a bible basher gran (my mum) and go most christmases for the morning service, where the heathenlets get to pretend to be angels, i am well versed in avoidance. and how to get to the tea and biscuit line first, without feeling any temptation to listen or get involved.
as i'm damned anyway, i'm damned if i'll miss out on the chocolate digestives.

Morah Mommy said...


Am I going to go to hell, as well? I enjoyed that immensely and laughed throughout it!

This is one time being Jewish really helps. We usually just point to the mezuzah on our door and say sorry we're Jewish. They thank us for our time and go on their merry way!

Michele sent me.

The Mistress of the Dark said...

Funny...our church does all sorts of dinners throughout the year, and not once is jesus tossed down the throats of anyone showing up.

Most people anxiously await the fish fries etc.

Here via Michele's to say hello

Prego said...

'mistress' - Jesus wasn't tossed here either. The salad was.

The bibleture was just sitting around for my curious perusal.

Morah - I wish I had an easy out!

keda - it's nice to know I'll have cool company as I rot in hellfire. You'll have to meet my brother, too.

Ute - see you in church.

sage - does your church have any dinners coming up? save me a seat with you and yours...

pickle - I restrain myself on the churchies if they come bringing sandwiches.

Crazy Single Mom said...

Hi from Michele's!
I never thought anyone could make going to a church function sound like fun and funny at that, but you managed thankyou hee!

Catherine said...

I do go to church, but I found your account very entertaining. Raffle tickets though? In the church I grew up in, gambling (including raffles) was thought a sin :)
Michele sent me

Thumper said...

I wonder why the only religious types we get at the door don't come bearing gifts of free food tickets? Usually they just want to save my soul...and then I offer them a Book of Mormon, and they run away. Except the Mormons. They want proof I actualy have one...

Here via Michele's :)

IndyPindy said...

Here via Michele's.

Pearl said...

That's a tale hilariously told. Love your sense of timing.

Did you do the accompanying art too?

carli said...

Last year some teenagers showed up at my building's door to talk about Jesus. I asked them to leave and they stood outside at the door for like 10 minutes, not moving, not buzzing anyone. Creepy.

kontan said...

I couldn't help but notice how friendly and welcoming everyone was.
Not all bad and you got a meal out of it! Good deal! Like Sage, I'm one of the churchy types too, but I enjoyed your retelling. (BTW, when I say churchy type you gotta know our church LOL. Anyplace where the worship leader is wearing flops and shredded jeans has to be a little more interesting than the norm!) Enjoyed my visit from Michele's and need to stop by more...

M I C H E L L E said...

Howdy? Michelle sent me :)

Bob Gentry said...

:) i'm just diggin' the Jesus Hockey Picture!! LOL
I think i need him on my team so maybe we can win a game every once in a while...at this point, i'm willing to try anythign ;)

colleen said...

Well told! Was the food good? I liked the choice of photos to go with this. Here from michelle's and loose leaf.

Carrie said...

Oh hell no! I don't care if the food is free or not. Those people scare me.

jennypenny said...

You are freaking hilarious. I know i have said that like 10 million times before. but you never fail to dissapoint. after a 15 hour workday a good laugh was exactly what i needed. well... i mean i need other things too... but you fufilled half of what i need :P lol.

jennypenny said...

oh yah. i am going to hell too.

the beige one said...

HEATHEN! How darest you hope to win yon salmon basket if thy head is filled with paganistic folderol, and such other ramblings.

Kevin J. Hosey said...

Very funny story, Prego; I think I know which church you mean.

This gives me ideas on blog entries on my religious upbringing (Irish Catholic) and my lack of adherence to/attendance of organized religion. Credit and 1% net royalties will be provided.