Friday, while heading toward the bus for the Extreme Makeover Site, our group realized we represented an "Ann" glut: Diane, Leanne, Annette and Marianne.
There's just something about "Ann" that seems to affect many aspects of my life. My mother's middle name is Ann. She often talks about her Aunt Anna Douglas from Michigan.
Of course, I thought I was pretty original when I named my daughter "Ann" at a time when Lindsay's and Bambi's or Laci's were hot names. I stuck with an old standard and named her Ann Elizabeth back in October, 1978 (Ann for the family name and Elizabeth for the first American saint, Elizabeth Seton).
When the folks at the school where I taught found out, however, it turned out there was an "Ann Elizabeth" glut among the faculty children---four, to be exact. In fact, one of those is still one of my daughter Ann's best friends. So, go figure.
Anyway, I'm surrounded by Ann's in family and friends. My friend Ann Ferguson calls me from the museum frequently asking for the latest favor or the most recent "you won't believe this!" Another friend Ann Knapp and I have enjoyed and respected each other for more than 20 years. And, then, there's my friend Ann Gehring. She's been my Catholic confidante ever since she showed up in Sandpoint back in the '70s.
I even quoted her in my first book when I was talking about confessions. I think that was when Fr. O'Donovan told me, within the confessional, that I didn't want to be one of those C & E Catholics. Of course, I agreed with him, hoping he'd go easy on assigning me "Hail Mary's" as penance for whatever I'd done to face the threat of C & Eism.
Then, I asked Ann what that was. When she told me it was a Christmas and Easter Catholic, I got to thinking I already was pretty close. Then, came the term "Cafeteria Catholics," of which I'll proudly pledge my allegiance. They're the ones who pick and choose the Catholic teachings as they go through their life of faith.
I've also long called myself a "Catholic with an inferiority complex" with no intentions of appearing facetious. I think our church has done that to a few people with all its mixed signals over the years. But, once a Catholic, always a Catholic. At least, that's the way I see it. I kinda figure God might be a little more tolerant than some of the folks who've taught me my religion over the years.
Now what does that have to do with Ann? Well, there's a new Ann in my life. She's St. Ann, and she's the lady the church in Bonners Ferry honors with its name. I joined St. Ann's because I've been attending there off and on for the past three years, and I love the atmosphere. It's comfortable, it's low key, it's nuts-and-bolts Catholic worship without bells and whistles or rude remarks.
So, with that in mind, I'd better say "Amen" to this posting and get ready to go enjoy my faith with another Ann within my circle. Somehow, the way I look at it, I have yet to meet an Ann I didn't like!