I need to stop reading this stuff. Just too, too much.
First off, Zadok the Roman on a spot in Rome associated with St. Phillip Neri that is open to the public only one day a year - today.
Matthew at Shrine of the Holy Whapping picks up on the post and is then reminded that yesterday was the Ides of March, which brings back memories of Fr. Reggie Foster's Ides of March tour:
Well, it's the Ides, of course, and I hope those of our readers in the Æternal City who were lucky to go on the traditional Reggie Foster Julius Caesar Magical Murder Mystery Tour earlier this week had a grand old time. You can't say you've seen the Forum until you've sung Ecce Caesar Nunc Triumphans to the tune of Oh My Darling Clementine in the shadow of the statue of Gaius Julius himself.
And then you must, must proceed to read his account from last year of his own experience of this tour. In the company of Zadok, I'm guessing.
So, at two-forty-five I found myself beneath the great travertine shadow of Sant’ Andrea, for once on time. My friend the Seminarian generally expects me to be late, considering the number of essays I’ve written that begin with me getting to mass in the middle of the Kyrie. Still, I was well-rewarded: the crowd that had gathered was just about as interesting as the tour itself.
The Seminarian later told me with a smile on his face that he thought “we were officially what is known as a motley crew.” And how. Students, Gregorian alums, even ordinary “Foster groupies,” as my friend put it. There were men in baseball caps; matched sets of pudgy children and pudgy mothers; priests; a black-robed Benedictine novice with a pale El Greco face and a vast shaven pate; an Anglican vicar with prim round-lensed gold-rimmed spectacles and a graying Rowan Atkinson bowl haircut; and several pleasantly pretty college girls. (People, I’m not made of stone, you know).
And then there was “fresh-faced” Father Reggie. He’s not fresh-faced; he’s far too interesting-looking to be handsome, his vast bald head, bull neck and florid face like an imagined Roman pugilist’s. Cracked veins stood out on his ruddy cheeks like an anatomical diagram. And I smiled, because I saw he was wearing his own habit—not immaculately Carmelite but distinctly and weirdly Fosterian. Yes, here he was, in powder-blue windbreaker and navy pants, looking all the world like God’s own Maytag man. I started scribbling down furiously, telling my Seminarian friend I was getting some local color.
But the fun wasn’t over. Reggie turned to us and said we’d stop by the Forum for one final parting bit of fun, we’d go find Caesar’s statue and sing.
“Sing?” I said to the Seminarian.
An older woman, obviously a regular, overheard me and said “Sing, yes, and drink!” Now I couldn’t miss this, could I?
My friend the Seminarian had asked me earlier, with a jaunty tone in his voice, if I had gotten enough local color. It was the understatement of the month. This was the Eternal City, in all it sublime weirdness, incarnate. Our alcoholic salute to Gaius Julius seemed a wholly surreal, wholly Roman and wholly fitting way to end this afternoon of murder, mayhem and cats with this odd little clump of dead-language tourists and their impromptu chorale to the man murdered on Tram No. 8 two thousand years ago.