Laughing all the way: The Church of the Sainted One

February 4, 2011

By Pat Detmer

We had a second home on Whidbey Island, and for six years I wrote for the Whidbey Marketplace, a bi-monthly tabloid. The first time I did a reading there, a man came up to my husband and introduced himself. My husband shook his hand and said, “Hi. I’m Fred Canada,” and the column reader frowned and said, “Funny. I always thought your first name was ‘The.’”

I’m not alone in using a nickname for my husband in a column. When I attended the Erma Bombeck writer’s conference in Ohio, I found that most columnists used them: The Mechanic, The Terminator, Mr. Beer Man, Barbecue Bob. When they asked me about The Sainted One, someone said, “He must be pretty bad with a name like that. You’re being sarcastic, aren’t you?”

No, I’m not being sarcastic. My husband was christened with that name more than 25 years ago when he had the intestinal fortitude to marry me. My own family – the people who knew me better than anyone on earth – gave it to him, which might give you some idea of just what a handful they considered me to be. And I’ll admit that I might have been a challenge, given that my male management peers gave him another name without ever having met him: “The Bravest Man in the Universe.”

My sisters used to do a humorous routine of what they said would likely occur if I passed away, a vision of patient women clutching numbers and stretching out of the funeral home, my sisters coming from the private room to a microphone: “Number 17. Fred will now see Number 17.” I’m sure that I have several single friends who daydream about the same thing; he’s that great of a catch.

And now The Sainted One is taking another step toward putting that beatific, patient, loving mien to good use. He got ordained. My Newcastle niece and her fiancé (who, by the way, the family has named “The Sainted One, Junior”) asked Fred to marry them in February.

It’s amazing just how easy this is! You, too, can marry people. Just go online, fill out some stuff, send some money and faster than you can say “if anyone here has just cause,” you are good to go.

I see a real upside here. I’m thinking that we could start The Church of the Sainted One, maybe go for a cable television show or a reality show, something like “The Apprentice,” but call it “The Preacher,” and instead of pointing at someone and saying, “You’re fired,” he could point at them and say “You’re married.” Or he could offer immersion baptisms at Lake Boren or in the seasonal pond behind our house.

Or maybe, given my reputation, he can try an exorcism on me.

You can reach Pat Detmer, who is handling bookings for The Sainted One, through www.patdetmer.com.

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