Saturday, March 19, 2011

Spreading the Gospel of Delicousness.

In a fit of civic mindedness I recently agreed to supply an Idyll-Beast to supplement the Idyllwild Chamber of Commerce presence at this weekend’s “Los Angeles Times Travel and Adventure Exposition.” Idyll-Beasts are not known for their love of long drives, so I was somewhat apprehensive about the outing. In fact I got little sleep the night before, and morning found me drained and edgy. After I (somehow) finished my usual Saturday morning gig at Cafe Aroma, I headed back to the Research Center to capture a "volunteer."

I laid out several trays of canapés, one with salmon and goat cheese, another with bacon and shrimp, in the back seat of the Idyllwild Chamber of Commerce "Limousine" (which we also use to haul trash to the dump), left the door open, and started in with the Idyll-Beast calls. It wasn't long before “Idy” lumbered out of the forest and after an initial inspection entered the limo and began sampling. The creature didn't even know we were moving until the canapés were gone, somewhere west of Hemet. So far so good. The Beast, having eaten his fill, actually began to nap.

After a little over two hours we arrived at the convention center. I loaded up my back pack with attractively printed propaganda the Chamber had provided, grabbed an additional tray of Beast snacks and postcards, and proceeded to "herd" Idy toward the convention hall. I quickly came to a shocking realization. No one seemed to know anything about the Travel exposition. Instead, the center was booked for something called the “Religious Education Congress.”

My mistake sickened me. Yes, I had read "LA Convention Center" when preparing my plan for the weekend, but somehow I had thought "Anaheim Convention Center." Where I now was… with 40,000 Catholics and a loose Idyll-Beast. Which incidentally had no trouble getting through security even without an exhibitor’s pass. If only I could take one of these creatures with me to the ariport.

I ran through my options. If I could get Idy back in the car and if I could make my way north through afternoon traffic we would arrive at the correct location an hour before closing…maybe. My mind was still reeling with the implications of my stupidity when I found myself being inexorably drawn into the “Nation’s largest gathering of Roman Catholics.” My blood ran cold when I realized that I had lost sight of the Idyll-Beast among the milling attendees.

I plunged into the mass of believers and after a few terrifying moments found Idy, perfectly at ease, working the crowd. And the crowd seemed surprisingly responsive.

Desperation is the handmaiden to inspiration. If there is one thing I have learned at the Idyll-Beast Research Center (and at the Chamber of Commerce) it is that the Beast moves in mysterious ways. Perhaps we were in the right place after all. I myself am not a religious man, but the Idyll-Beast is said to be "catholic" in its tastes. And indeed there was something “pastoral” in the sight of this furry emissary of Idyll-life working his way through the movers and shakers of the archdiocese. I think Archbishop Gomez kissed his hand! I felt like I was trying to keep up with Bill Clinton at a Little Rock Rotary Club barbecue.

I began to think; weren't we missionaries? Was not our gospel of deliciousness one for all nations? Who was I to turn my back on my neighbors, so obviously in need of rest, relaxation and snacks? I waded in after him, handing out brochures from local inns and copies of the "Idyllwild Life" visitor’s guide. The people seemed grateful, or at least curious.

The afternoon became a blur of fur and vestments. Idy ducked in and out of a number of workshops. There was one called "How to Have Supper" in which a well-fed pastor discussed the "theology of food." This seemed to keep Idy's attention for almost as long as that package of beef jerky in the back seat of the limo. There was another workshop called "Feed the Shepherds or They'll Eat the Sheep: Nurturing Healthy Ministers;" this the Beast found disappointing.

To make a long story short I did manage to get Idy back in the car. Except for the episode with the communion wafers things went quite well. But don't be surprised if Idyllwild is visited by a bus-load of singing nuns.

Tomorrow: An Idyll-Beast at the Los Angeles Times Travel and Adventure Exposition (at the Los Angeles Convention Center).

No comments:

Post a Comment

report blog violators