Monday, July 23, 2007

Mary In A Bathtub

A friend of mine recently moved into a new house. Very happy with it except for a spotlight that shines into her second-floor bedroom window.

It may not be a strictly local phenomenon, but “Mary In A Bathtub” is something I never really noticed anywhere else. Many people around here have little shrines in their side or back yards, generally statues of Mary and in enclosures that either resemble or usually are bathtubs set upright in the yard.

This particular Mary is lighted during the evening hours. But the light overshoots her rub-a-dub-tub and ends up in my friend’s bedroom. She and a person she knows tried to move the light a bit but found (a) there is an electrical ground fault and they got a bit of a shock and (b) the neighbor moved it back again.

She has now thought of lawn ornaments that would block the light. Exactly what kind of objects is under discussion: can she get away with witches on broomsticks? That might cause Our Lady Of The Bathtub to devise something worse than a little electrical shock. Large pink flamingoes? No, that’s almost as bad as witches and even more tasteless. Maybe a large bush might do the job without calling down locusts from heaven.

Around here, where people are very religious (a good thing) and build garish shrines (a bad thing), one of which is across the street from the Jehovah’s Witnesses Kingdom Hall (an ironic thing), it’s too bad that one person’s Blessed Bathtub Mary interferes with another person’s private life and enjoyment thereof.


Blogger Carole Ann said...

There are some here in Jersey too and I have seen them elsewhere. In my family we always called them "Mary on the Half Shell." But Our Lady of the Bathtub is a good one.

July 24, 2007 8:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You don't like the shrine on North Street? Curious as to why

July 24, 2007 12:29 PM  
Blogger Tom Carten said...

I thik the North Street Shrine serves a very good purpose. People are there at all times of the day and night (and I see them at 2:00 am, when I am coming back from the newspaper). More power to them and may it serve the area for years to come.

But it *is* somewhat of a mishmash of statues and sometimes less is more. There is a beauty in simplicity.

I also miss the days when funeral directors would leave their leftover flowers at the shrine, but the people who fixed them up around the place are no longer able to do it. I grew up in a Catholic school and the smell of flowers brings me right back there. My plate is full enough, perhaps too full, to take on another good deed like that.

I do wish they'd wash the flags once in a while. The car fumes are dulling the Vatican colors.

July 24, 2007 1:54 PM  
Blogger Tom Carten said...

I see the Papal flag was taken down, I assume for cleaning. That was fast.

July 24, 2007 3:40 PM  
Anonymous ruthc said...

Here in RI we also use the terms "Mary on the half shell" and "Our Lady of the Bathtub". The difference is determined by the background: the half shell is scalloped (usually blue); the bathtub is rounded (usually white).

August 13, 2007 8:13 AM  

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