• John McGary, Woodford Sun News Editor

Here’s Johnny!

Two nuns, a pen and a thief

Sometimes I walk out of the palatial Sun offices at 184 South Main Street without an item needed to carry out my journalistic responsibilities. (No, it’s never been an important article of clothing.) Sometimes it’s my digital recorder, or camera, or a notebook, or, in the case of Saturday’s 18th annual Versailles Twilight Festival, a pen.

(Photos of the Twilight Festival are on page 9 and back page.)

I had my camera. I had a notebook to write down names and describe scenes for photo cutlines. However, a notebook’s not much use without a writing implement of some sort.

Perhaps I was a little too excited about the prospect of a cold cup of freshly-squeezed lemonade. More likely, it was just the latest bit of absent-mindedness by a fellow who’s always excelled in that craft.

Regardless, the want of a pen led to the Great Inadvertent Pen Theft of 2018 – right on Main Street in downtown Versailles in broad daylight. From nuns. I kid you not.

I realized what I’d done about 15 minutes after swiping the translucent blue pen from the Taylor Manor booth staffed by two kind, personable and funny nuns – Mother Mary Christina and Sister Mary Faustina. The discovery came just as I was about to walk back into the Sun offices and get a pen of my own, or perhaps one I’d lifted from some other person or institution.

Not being Catholic, I immediately wondered which of the seven deadly sins I’d committed, and whether a quick confession to Mother Mary Christina and/or Sister Mary Faustina would get me off the hook with them and the Big Guy. Head down, I began to trudge back to their booth on North Main Street.

Along the way, I took in the attendees – an estimated 7,500 spent at least part of their Saturday in downtown Versailles – and some of the 118 vendors. There was a woman making yarn from the fleece of her 10 alpacas, aspiring country music artist Derby Laine shooting her first video (with cloggers!), a young lady using a woodburning pen to make art (her pen was too hot to safely steal, I noted) and 1,345 candidates for political office.

The sky was cloudy, but produced no rain, and the spirits of all, save one inadvertent pen thief, seemed high as I walked up North Main Street, pen in hand and confession in throat.

I arrived at the scene of the crime and began to explain myself, but before I had a chance to finish, Mother Mary Christina pointed down at the table, where a dozen or so translucent blue pens sat quietly. They were inscribed “TAYLOR MANOR” with a cross, and beneath those were the words, “honoring your father and mother.”

Turns out the pens were promotional items, designed to spread the Good Word about the Catholic nursing home. I exhaled a sigh of relief, and the sisters and I moved on to more important matters, like how the July 20 storm affected them, the comfort of their garb on a warm day and Sally Fields’ performance in the 60s TV sitcom, “The Flying Nun.”

I gave each of them my business card, asked them to call when they had good story or photo opportunities, and went on my merrier way, using their pen – my pen, legally obtained – to write down information for the photos in this week’s issue. I hope you like ‘em.

All in all, it was a lovely afternoon. My spiritual journey is an incomplete thing, and it was nice to know that I hadn’t broken that Commandment dealing with the theft of pens and other items.

Also, it’s a pretty cool pen.

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