Saint Braticus – Amuse-bouche #5 (Dennis Aubrey)


This amuse-bouche needs a little personal background. As a little girl, PJ was an eager, attentive and successful student. If she was anything like she is as a teacher when she was a little girl, she must have been a delight. But I must tell you about her first day in kindergarten. Prior to the Big Day, her father Hank taught her to spell her name.

When the class was seated that first day, the teacher asked “Is there anyone who can spell their own name?” PJ’s hand shot up eagerly and she was called on. She stood up (this was a Catholic school after all), she recited proudly, “B-R-A-T”!

PJ remembers the brief look of confusion on the nun’s face as she tried to decide if this child was trying to be difficult, but clearly saw from PJ’s pride that she was the victim of a prank. She hid her smile and said, “That’s very good, Patty.”

Since PJ and I have been together, it has been my contention that she is watched over by Saint Braticus, a little-known but omnipresent figure in Romanesque churches. One of our favorites is this version from the Collégiale Saint-Pierre in Chauvigny.

Capital, Collégiale Saint-Pierre, Chauvigny (Vienne)  Photo by Dennis Aubrey

Capital, Collégiale Saint-Pierre, Chauvigny (Vienne) Photo by Dennis Aubrey

I never got to meet Hank and from his family I know that he could be a difficult man, but this story makes me wish that we had a chance to sit and discuss little Patty’s first day at school.

This is part of a series of posts featuring an amuse-bouche, a bite-sized appetizer to whet the appetite of diners. Each of these will explore a single interesting feature of medieval architecture or sculpture. To see other amuse-bouches, follow this link.

8 responses to “Saint Braticus – Amuse-bouche #5 (Dennis Aubrey)

  1. Poor P.J. I remember a few things about my first day at school. This was kindergarten. I was 5 years old. We lived down a busy street 8 blocks from the school. I’m sure Mother walked me to school that first day because she was concerned about crossings, etc. I can remember telling her indignantly that I was five years old and could walk myself to school. In later years when I was a parent I could appreciate the hesitancy with which she allowed me to walk alone to school. But she did! One of the earlier steps to independence.

  2. I enjoyed that story and was reminded of being 5 and making a model out of plasticene, as did all the others. Teacher: “That’s a lovely spider, Julie”. Me: (sadly): “It was meant to be a Greek temple but it sort of collapsed.”

  3. My little sister, Patty, was the brunt of several jokes from us as kids. Mark and I love her dearly. We spent today hanging out together. It was wonderful.

  4. I do wonder about the trustworthiness of fathers (OK, Homer and the Old Testament have covered most of the bases already) and such tales still make me uneasy. When small children came round for a meal (which was rare when I was young) my father would enjoy asking them if they knew what was written on the underside of their soup plates. Maybe there’s something lacking in my sense of humour.
    However, I love your pointy tongue and almond eyes.

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