My Dad...

My Dad...
Herbie "Pompeii" Pilato

Thursday, December 23, 2010

"A Candle Carol"

Below is an essay I originally posted last Christmas, and I wanted to share it again this year.



Where to spend Christmas?

It's always a quandry.

More so, this year, than others.

This year, I'm working in Pompano Beach, Florida, after only seven months prior, moving from my hometown of Rochester, New York back to Los Angeles (where I've held periodic residence since the 1980s).

So I did this morning what I always do when I have a decision to make:

I took a walk.

My pace this morning took me to St. Gabriel's Church in Pompano Beach, where good friends of mine recently celebrated the Baptism of their beautiful infant son. The father is not only my friend, but my supervisor at work.

That said, once in St. Gabriel's, I decided to light a candle. But when I walk, I usually do not carry any cash - and this morning was no different.

So, there I was, praying in church, which was so nicely decorated for Christmas, and unable to light a candle for a special prayer.

Immediately, I recalled a business trip last September to New York, where myself, my supervisor and his brother, the president of the company for which I work - and also my friend, had visited the historic St. Patrick's Cathedral.

And we had done so by mistake. Or at least we thought so.

As we walked to enjoy the sights of New York, we came across a church, and thought, "Well, this looks like a nice church. Let's go in here and say a prayer."

Once inside the beautiful structure, we realized where we were - and we were immediately in awe.

As we slowly toured through the palatial interior, we passed beauitful illustrations, images, paintings, sculptures and statues, all of which were overwhelming.

In time, we came across the candles, the cost of which to light one was $2.00.

But there we were - three successful adult men, with credit cards, debit cards and check cards - but just $4.00 in cash. And that meant we only had enough for just two of us to light candles for prayer.

Whether or not the president of the company, who also happens to be elder brother of the two, would be able to light a candle was never a question.

So it was between his younger brother and me.

And it was an easy decision. I told my friend, "You take the other $2.00 and light a candle...for your new son."

"Herb," he said, "are you sure?"

"Please," I replied. "Light the candle. I insist."

With that, I stepped back, and watched my supervisor and my friend kneel before the levels of candles, and pray for his beautiful child. And even though none of us had an extra $2.00 for a candle that would have ignited a special request for me, somehow I knew that my prayer would still be answered.

And it was. These two months later...this St. Gabriel's Church in Pompano Beach, Florida...when I realized that wherever I am, at any time of the year, is where I'm supposed to be.

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