Notre Dame

Our time in Paris went quicker than we thought it would, which was good considering the circumstances of our rather bedraggled crew, but bad for our sightseeing ambitions.  We had gone into this endeavor knowing any sort of museum was out of the question, indoor tours such as castles and churches a close second, and that outdoor monuments, with plenty of room to run around, would be our bread, or baguette as the French would probably say, and butter. 

So it was with great pleasure that after taking a long three mile walk to the doorsteps of the Notre Dame Cathedral, little rascals 1 and 2 were in a surprisingly agreeable and calm condition that we decided to take a chance and slip in the doors to the famous church.  And aren’t we glad we did!  It turned out that mass was being performed at that moment, and even though there were a ton of tourists flanking the pews snapping photos, us among them, there were even more devout tourists, maybe you could call them pilgrims in this setting, taking part in the ritual.  Personally, I was trying to keep my photo shooting discrete, while at the same time Kacey was slowly losing the battle to keep Hadley pacified, and when I saw an acolyte take notice of our fair haired first born’s increasing unruliness I thought we were about to get kicked out.  Of a church.  I know.  But, after what I took as brief whispered dressing down in French that we couldn’t understand, the elderly docent escorted us to a specific spot in the nave where he lined us up and told Kacey to pick up Oliver out of the stroller, while I held Hadley in my arms, still clueless.  Two or three other couples were ushered in line next to us with their children, but they definitely seemed to be in on the secret of what was about to go down.  Soon enough, a kind of porky old man, in a very white dress, with a very tall and pointy white hat, came scuttling down the main isle of the sanctuary at the head of a train of cross bearing and incense swinging devotees.  He turned a hard left, and started straight for us, as I quickly whispered in Hadley’s ear “This old guys going to touch your forehead- so just let him do it and don’t make a sound, and I’ve got a lollypop and three new truck toys for you.”  Maybe it was due to the well timed fatherly guidance, or some well timed Fatherly guidance, but to Hadley’s credit, he stayed there, stone faced and quite, as the holy finger was pressed to his crown.  And that is how the Renfroe boys were blessed by the Archbishop of Paris, Cardinal Andre Vingt-Trois.