THE KNIGHTS OF CARUMBA
MAY 2, 2014
So anyway, all the congregation at Emmanuel Lutheran are a buzz with gossip and rumors that Pastor Nyquist might be leaving the Island where he had been preaching for a number of long years. People are saying that he might be heading up to a new opportunity in Minnesota where it was said by people in the know that the pastor there had departed on a mission to bring the simplicity of Luther to the Italians in Rome.
People should have known that the entire story held more hot air than the Graf Zeppelin. Bringing Californian-style Lutheranism to a place like Minnesota is like bringing sushi to a vegetarian potluck. People might appreciate the color, but they simply would not take it in. Pastor Nyquist was known for having bolstered the ranks of the converted by creating the Lutheran Cheerleaders, a collection of attractive women got up in thigh-high leather boots and short skirts. Their entry in the annual Mayor's July 4th Parade never failed to attract attention. Which probably was exactly the point.
Some said Pastor Nyquist was just envious of the attention Pastor Bauer got when he paid his sick calls on a gleaming Harley Davidson.
Some speculate the curious occurrence of two Lutheran Pastors for one island City came about out of concern by the Synod that besides 20 or 30 other churches serving a town of our stature, we are possessed by a Catholic Bishopric Cathedral as well as a church with attached middle school, and the Synod did not want to be 2nd bested by those people with the glitter and fey red shoes.
This rumor all came about after Pastor Nyquist gave a talk at UCB Extension titled, "The Intense Religious Spirituality of Samuel Beckett." Nyquist claimed that every work of Beckett's was a failed meditation in which he sought to strip away all the frippery between himself and god. What this had to do with Minnesota is anyone's guess. Maybe people thought Pastor Nyquist had begun overreaching himself. Putting on airs.
Father Danyluk had his Knights of Carumba, a sort of Mariachi order of Catholics, who generally enjoyed lots of costume bedecked with brocade and geegaws and more rules and regulations about what not to do on any given day of the week than you could shake a stick at.
As for reading material, Danyluk was a Joycean, which figures.
On a small island gossip reigns as Supreme Commander and Pastor Nyquist eventually was forced to issue a lengthy sermon on the lilies of the field, they that sow not nor go disco dancing. That and "neighbor take the log out of thine own eye".
Furthermore if there was a correspondence between himself and the Roman Mission, that was a matter for the Synod and you people mind your own peas and carrots.
Well it was a long speech and one filled with many allusions and words that shamed a few people who had been talking and so people were really glad when, as a prelude for the organ breaking in, Caroline got the Lutheran Cheerleaders to stand up and chant, "Way to go, Luther Bro'!" and "Ein Fester Berg ist uns're Gott! We love our Lord an aweful lot!"
This hymn is not really scheduled in either the Red Book or the other one, you know, the modern version or the traditional, but nevermind. The Catholics still have bees in their bonnets about Vatican II, which took place back in the Dark Ages, something like 1968 when Hippies were brought in to liven up the liturgy with guitar music and folk songs because so many of the former Faithful were drifting off to Secularism, or even worse, the Methodists, who had bells to entertain themselves every Spring.
The Buddhists have a temple gong you can ring, but that gets sounded only once in a great while, because you have to be mindful about it.
The Island, of course has all of those things and several dozen more sects and religions besides, which really put out the Catholic leadership in that the people had so much diversity to choose from, sticking with hidebound rituals failed to hold them like it used to.
As for the Knights of Carumba, that order came about, as did most of Catholicism, during the Middle Ages when a small island in the Mediterranean had been threatened by the naval armies of Anabaptism led by Don Miguel de Loco. The island was besieged and the people had no bread to eat. The desperation grew such that the people were forced to kill and cook their housecats. King Felipe saw the people losing heart and so he commanded members of his personal guard to pick up instruments so as to distract the people. This they did and while performing a spy brought news of this to Don Miguel aboard his warship who was so intrigued he stole onto the island so as to hear for himself this new kind of blues music.
The story goes he was so beguiled that he remained for three days before lifting the blockade and sailing away. Others say that he sat enchanted for so long the navy of Torquemada arrived to destroy the besiegers and capture Don Miguel.
Eventually the Spanish branch of pre-Lutheranism was stamped out by putting people into iron cages and heating them up until the person inside died horribly. The cages and contents then were hung from the town cathedral belfry as a warning, and after a few months of hanging there, the aroma got to be pretty persuasive, and so that is why you seldom hear about Spanish Lutherans.
In any case in honor of the great service his men had done, King Felipe had the order of the Knights of Carumba created and so for hundreds of years they have performed their secret and public rituals. Nowadays, this order sustains itself in many parts of the world by means of selling pardons, the last Catholic entity to still continue this practice. Father Danyluk dislikes this method of fundraising, which stirs up bad feelings about old times, and so he has put Sister Incontinence in charge of helping them out with bake sales and concerts.
On a breezy evening of cloud scudded skies Father Danyluk stepped out into the courtyard and sniffed the air. The seasons had changed. The trees were budding, the insect life swarmed, the blood stirred. Soon it would be time for trout fishing. By god it was time to haul out the old rig and check the flies. The black ant. The caddis. The nymph. The woolybugger. Time to fish was at hand!
From far across the water where the gantries of the Port of Oaktown stand glowing with their sentry lights, the long howl of the throughpassing train ululated across the waves of the estuary, the riprap embankments, the grasses of the Buena Vista flats and the open spaces of the former Beltline, keened through the cracked brick of the old Cannery with its leaf-scattered loading docks, its ghosts and its weedy railbed, moaned between the interstices of the chainlink fences as the locomotive click-clacked past the shuttered doors of the Jack London Waterfront, headed off to parts unknown.
That's the way it is on the Island. Have a great week.
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