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Rehabilitating St. Joseph

February 3, 2015

I don’t know what comes over me. I had a million things to do today, half of which I got done, but something told me that since I’d fixed Jesus,  it was now time to deal with St. Joseph.

I don’t even go to church, why do I feel compelled to do these things?

St. Joe, an unnamed shepherd, a large mouse and tiny saint statues along with cologne?

St. Joe, an unnamed shepherd, a St. Patrick’s Day mouse, tiny saint statues, cologne and weather stripping; all workshop essentials.

It must be a combo of residual Catholic guilt and missing my dad. I’ve been working on a couple of stories about Dad this week, and I could feel Joseph giving me the evil eye, from the corner of my desk, where he lay cracked and ignored. Joseph and my dad were pals.

Joseph has been an orphan since my father passed away. He’d been part of our manger scene since my childhood, which makes both both of us vintage.  Then my mom took a ceramics class and painted a giant (two foot tall) Joseph and Mary. Jesus was about a foot tall himself.

Super Size Joseph and Jesus dwarfing the manger.

Super Size Joseph and Jesus dwarfing the manger.

When she put them all under the tree, the new super-sized Jesus, Mary and Joseph towered over everyone, like holy Gullivers over the Lilliputians. So this little Joseph got demoted and had to trail behind with the other shepherds.

I think my dad felt sorry for him. Since Joseph was a carpenter and probably a pretty handy guy, my dad kept him in his workshop. He ended up with another ousted shepherd, on a shelf,  staff-less, but since he had no sheep it really wasn’t a problem.

Joe in need of some rehabilitation.

Joe in need of some rehabilitation…

In need of a good bath.

…and a good bath.

As my brothers were cleaning out my dad’s workshop, Joseph almost got tossed, but I said  I wanted to keep the man who kept my dad company for years, even if he was dirty, moldy and missing a staff. He cracked somewhere on his way to California.

I got to work with water, Q-tips and 409, and Joseph cleaned up nicely. I discovered that he’d already been beheaded once and glued back together,  a fate that befell pretty much every icon in my parents home. Clearly, it is possible to be loved too much.

Stinking Superglue, does it have to live up to its name?

Stinking Superglue, does it have to live up to its name?

I love this.

I love this.

Then, came the glueing, which would have been easier if Superglue hadn’t gotten stuck on my fingers, which then left Joseph’s parts glued to me.  I almost glued myself to the table, but lifted my fingers just in time.

Once Joseph was back together, I added the final touch, the piece of paper on the bottom that said, Japan.

Now he needed a little sprucing up, so I colored in what cracks I could and colored his hair. I even found an old twist tie that when unfolded resembled a rickety staff Joseph would have carried.

Lookin' fab!

Lookin’ fab!

Joseph working hard on his next blog post.

Joseph, praying for inspiration for our next blog post.

When I was done I was very impressed with myself.  I think he looks great. Not that the Vatican wants me to restore their frescoes, but I think my dad would be pleased.

Joseph is now watching over me as I write.  I’m hoping he comes up with my next blog post.

  • Reply
    rob sprogell
    February 5, 2015 at 9:04 am

    I hope your as good with the rehab as you are with words !!

    • Reply
      rob sprogell
      February 5, 2015 at 9:05 am

      I am pretty good with words, too, so I cannot believe I didn’t write “you’re”

      • Fran Tunno
        February 5, 2015 at 8:07 pm

        You’re slipping Robbie! And thank you! I am so happy that you read my blog, honestly, it means so much to me!

  • Reply
    February 4, 2015 at 8:08 pm

    Sheesh, so now you’re a budding ceramics instructor AND hairdresser, . . . 😄!
    Another great one Tweed, & no one tells it better than you. I know Ogie & Snag are smiling on you, not to mention St. Joseph!

    • Reply
      Fran Tunno
      February 4, 2015 at 9:02 pm

      Well, it never hurts to build on that skill set. Plus, I think he’s working on a post.

  • Reply
    Chas Madonio
    February 4, 2015 at 8:44 am

    My dad was Mr. Fix-it, too. Give him some glue, a paper clip, duct tape and a couple rubber bands and he could fix anything. There was something about old Italian dads. Having dinner with Bernie & Bob & wives Friday – I’m sure we’ll talk about St. Joe.

    • Reply
      Fran Tunno
      February 4, 2015 at 2:40 pm

      Thank you Chas for always reading. St. Joe is right beside me and I think I just saw a little smile in his otherwise stoic demeanor. Have fun at dinner and give my brothers a tweak on the cheek for me.

  • Reply
    February 4, 2015 at 6:09 am

    Hi Fran, Reading your post always makes me smile. With the lovely memories you share, it has me recall my own similar experiences. Thank you for providing the “warm” spot to my day! Marianne Gazzilli

    • Reply
      Fran Tunno
      February 4, 2015 at 8:18 am

      Thanks Marianne, for always reading and for the sweet note. That’s a huge reason why I share the stories. I think we have many more similarities than differences. When you say my stories trigger memories you have, I couldn’t be happier. Whether we’re Italian, Catholic, Jewish, Hispanic, or you name it, I think our stories unite us as a country of immigrants — plus, they’re pretty funny and we all need a laugh.

  • Reply
    February 3, 2015 at 4:04 pm

    Very lovely story I have many of these type of decorations for the holidays. Still dealing with the loss of my Mom a few weeks ago, I so cherish memories like the ones you speak of here. We kind of take them for granted when they are happening I think. My Mom did ceramics too and I am so glad I have so many things made by her to enjoy.

    • Reply
      Fran Tunno
      February 3, 2015 at 6:07 pm

      Thank you Rosemary, I appreciate you reading. My sympathy to you. Of course, we all have the little mementos that our parents hung onto. There is an 8×10 of Jesus in my hall that lights up. If you’d asked me 25 years ago, I’d never have thought it would be here. Anything that conjures up a loving memory ends up staying. Be sure to take photos of her things before you end up giving anything away. Hang in there!

  • Reply
    Nicol Zanzarella
    February 3, 2015 at 9:09 am

    Oh, Fran! You are one of a very few people who actually get me to laugh out loud! I just love the way you think and the things that are in your heart. I agree with Diane, your dad is thrilled and proud. And I am so glad you aren’t stuck to the table! Much love xo

    • Reply
      Fran Tunno
      February 3, 2015 at 10:11 am

      Nicol, would you be my publicist? Love you and thanks for always reading!

  • Reply
    Patty Tunno
    February 3, 2015 at 8:58 am

    Saint Joseph has never looked better!! Love the post!

  • Reply
    Diane Finley
    February 3, 2015 at 8:16 am

    Fran, this story left me misty eyed! Your dad is smiling! Love you, Di

    • Reply
      Fran Tunno
      February 3, 2015 at 10:09 am

      Awww, Di, thanks. Sorry to make you cry, but glad it touched you.

    • Reply
      Fran Tunno
      February 3, 2015 at 10:10 am

      Thanks Patty, he says to tell you hi.

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