The Incidental Rosary: 1


Like I said, I have a thing for rosary beads.
I grew up protestant in a small North Queensland town that was about 60% Italian, and everyone around me was Catholic and having so much fun.
They got to have confirmation parties and first communions and were constantly being given things in the name of their religion - things like Holy Cards and rosary beads.
We Methodists got zilch. Nothing at all to show for our time and prayers.
So I would go over to my cousin's house and lovingly finger her vast collection of rosary beads. She had the good fortune to possess an Italian father, and life for her was one long gift-fest. She had all the latest Barbie dolls with accessories - my all-time favourite being the Barbie Perfume Factory, which let you create your own colognes from a limited repertoire of scents. I seem to remember that they all smelled like strawberry at the end, and finally my aunt banned us from using it because the stench we produced gave her a migraine.
So over time I secretly and guiltily built up my own little collection of religious jewellery. This was mostly through the auspices of our local outlet of St. Vincent de Paul, which provided rosary beads, scapulars and religious medals at a very reasonable cost. I would save my pennies and trundle down every couple of weeks to see what was new under the counter at Vinnies. I was always secretly terrified that the Catholic ladies would call my bluff and refuse to hand over such sacred merchandise to a child so obviously protestant.
Fortunately, Madonna (the pop star, not the Mother of God) came onto the scene, and rosary beads became a fashion item just as I was beginning to reinvent myself as the most fashionable guy in town (it really wasn't hard). So out came my years of booty - worn ironically, of course. I would positively jingle as I walked down the street adorned with dozens of sets of rosary beads.
I've never really been able to beat my fascination with the rosary, and as I grew up and travelled I discovered the importance and ubiquity of the Buddhist and Hindu rosaries, and so only added to my collection. Wherever you turn in my home there is a set of prayer beads, ready for emergency use should I feel the need to sit down and offer up a supplication or ten.
So I thought I'd attempt to capture the incidental rosary beads as they are discovered in Walter's world.
This set comes all the way from Notre Dame, and were a special gift from Thang when he visited France some years ago. I have always treasured them, and they are always somewhere in my study, ready for me to take a break from my labours and start in on the Ave Marias instead. They are sleekly elegant, and nice and cold to the touch. Here they are abandoned on a research folder for my Honours Thesis, obviously left there in a time of crisis.

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