Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Monastery Bell Tower

Summer is a busy season, and we've all been running ragged doing all sorts of different things. So this weekend, happy to have a break, we all had a cookout on the patio in back. Brother Gus is doing much better, the skin graft went well, and he is no longer afraid of losing his hand. And apparently he's not afraid of losing his head, either!

I'll explain.

It was a nice evening, and we were a bit drowsy from the good food and the couple beers we consumed during the cookout. Brother Brit was home visiting his family, Father had to leave to go to the hospital, and Mother Frangelico was visiting the Hawthorne Dominicans' Cancer Home.

Suddenly Brother Gus shot straight out of his chair and said, "Let's explore!"

We all looked at him like he was nuts (which he is a lot of the time...that's what makes him so much fun!) He looked around as if to be sure no one would hear, and then came over to where Sr. Caprice and I were sitting, motioning for Sr. Maxine to come over, too.

He and I had spoken before of our "previous lives" and urban exploration...that's where you go around the city and "explore" old buildings and stuff. Lots of times we had permission, but we did a lot of this without permission, too, and that's really where it gets dangerous. But..it was what it was. And we don't do it anymore. But still, once you're bitten by that particular bug, it never really goes away! So he and I were talking about the bell tower, because that ol' bell has been silent for quite awhile.

We'd asked Father about it, but he said that he was told the old rope had long rotted away, although the bell is still there. He would also like to restore it, but was told by the previous caretaker that the door into the tower was rusted shut or they lost the key or something. He didn't consider it a prime issue so hasn't pursued it, and wouldn't tell us where the entrance is.

Well, Brother Gus served Mass this week, and had to walk around a hallway behind the sanctuary on some errand for Father. There was a closet there and as he rustled around looking for whatever Father needed, he backed into an old ladder. When he found the light switch, he saw that the ladder went through a hatch to the roof, so he climbed it and pushed the hatch open...onto a landing on top of the chapel! And there he saw the entrance, about 20 feet away, to the bell tower.

Just then he heard Father coming so he quickly closed the hatch and found what was needed, didn't say a word to Father about it.

So, this is predictable, so I'll just say it...he wanted us to all go and explore the tower. We brought a can of WD-40 with us, because he could see that the door was rusty, and he had a crow-bar, too. Sister Maxine was all for it, had a couple jars for "specimens" of her favorite crawlie-things, but Sister Caprice tried to talk us out of it.

We got to the tower and actually didn't have a problem opening the door. In fact, as soon as we pulled on it, the hinges fell off! So...well, we KNEW we'd be in trouble but figured that we might as well hang for going as far as we could!

Brother Gus went in first, and as Sr. Maxine was about to follow, we heard a yell. We looked over and THERE WAS BROTHER BRIT! He'd just gotten back and saw us on the roof from the side driveway...and wanted to warn us. But as soon as he saw we were about to go up, he climbed up too, and wanted to go. We were all pretty blown away by that...he's as straight as an arrow, but I'll say this; he's a stand-up guy and has an adventurous side, too!

The tower is pretty big, but the old lighting still worked, so we had no problem seeing. Sister Maxine was a little disappointed; although there were cobwebs, there weren't a ton of spiders around althouh she hoped to find some further up. Sister Caprice was terrified and, as Mother Frangelico would say, "Her eyes were big as saucers!"

DANG that girl is WHITE! She was all eyes and pale!

Anyway, she hung around the bottom for awhile, but Brother Brit talked her into climbing to the next level, and I helped her step over to the floor. The tower was about 7 stories or so, each a little narrower, but we all made it up. You should SEE the view! And we did find the old rope...it was rotten, what was left, but the bell seemed fine.

Then Brother Gus, in true fashion, pushed the bell and it rang SO LOUD we all thought we were going to be blasted over the side! I think my ears are STILL ringing!

Well, it was starting to get dark out so we climbed down, and we KNOW that we're going to pay for this. Even if they DIDN'T discover we were up there, our neighbors now know and we are SO going to hear about this!

We tried to put the old rusty door back on, but it wouldn't even stay. So...we're just hoping that by the time Father and Mother Frangelico find out about our urban explorations, well, they'll be too busy to be angry.

What are the odds of that, d'ya think?


Mother Frangelico said...

Oh, young lady, you are ALL in trouble, and the problem isn't with us, it's with the fascist insurance company! You'd better just pray that THEY don't find out you were all up there!

You Know Who said...

Humm.... that bell tower pic looks vaguely familiar.... a recent blog-read RINGS A BELL!