‘Tightening Your Belt Or Losing Your Pants’
It happened to me one morning while I was offering Mass for our Sacred Hearts Sisters. As I was giving communion, I felt my new pants slipping down past my waist. I admit I began to feel a slight panic. By the time I had reached the last of the Sisters, it had dropped all the way to my ankles, entrapping me. I momentarily thought of doing a ‘Father Felix’ who, in an identical situation, had stepped out of his pants and casually kicked it into the adjacent sacristy. However, I was unable to free myself. So I did the shuffle into the sacristy where I hitched up my pants, tightened my belt and then returned to the altar with my face as red as beetroot. What a letdown it had been. Now the expression, ‘Losing one’s pants’, usually means losing all of one’s valuable possessions. Someone once wrote, “You got to choose between tightening your belt or losing your pants.” Here in Kalaupapa we are accustomed to tightening our belts ……whether we wear pants or shorts. For example, our gasoline supply here has always been in limited supply since the tankers come in on the barge just once a year. Now we have been informed that we will be further rationed since next year’s barge most likely will not bring gas. So we must tighten our belts and move on. Despite this tightening of belts, we continue to party in Kalaupapa. This year’s Halloween party took place at our local Fuesaina’s Bar where the ‘usual suspects’ showed up in costume. Richard came in a terrifying horned and antlered mask. Paula appeared in an enchanting witch’s garb. Mei-Lee showed up in a wild blue hairdo. Jane looked really authentic in a pilgrim outfit and Norbert sported a large colorful sombrero. I wore a red woman’s hat and other items (classified). Oh yes, Harry Heineken and Cora Corona presented themselves in all their potent splendor. On this Thanksgiving Day, we give thanks for all our many blessings. We will assemble as a community at McVeigh Hall. The main menu of turkey and fixings will be provided by Chef Tim and his kitchen assistants. Everyone else is invited to bring a pot luck item. I will bring my appetite and some dessert. I expect that Harry and Cora will bring their intoxicating flavor. Then I would suggest that, by the time we leave our Thanksgiving table, we will not be too concerned about tightening our belts but rather loosening them a notch. Aloha.
Fr. Pat Killilea ss.cc.
St. Francis Church, Kalaupapa.

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