Thursday, March 3, 2011
The Shroud of Turriff
''Excuse me Father?''
''Well, Father, I need directions.''
''Don't we all...But I'm nae a Fatherrrr.'' He spoke with a thick Scottish burr. ''That would be Catholic. I'm just Donald Brown.'' And he extended his hand to shake.
''This isn't a cathedral?'', I asked.
''Noo, nae sa grand. This is the Chairrrrch o' Scotland.''
''Well,'' I said, releasing his firm grip,''Could you direct me to The Shroud?''.
''The Shroud...where in town can we find The Shroud.'' I repeated.''My wife and I have come over 12,000 miles on a pilgrimage to your city to see The Shroud.'' My eyes gleamed with religious fervour.''You see, she has declined to have a heart/lung transplant that she really needed, but we truly 'believe'...'', and I said the word 'believe' from my soul,''...that if she can just see the Shroud of Jesus...well...it might help her condition.'' And I wiped a single tear from my eye.
''Ach, I see.''he said compassionately, placing his hand on my shoulder. ''It's no herrre.''
''Yes, but if you could give me directions...''
''No Lad,'' he interrupted,'' This is Turriff. It's no herrre.''
''You've sent it on tour some place?'' I asked disappointedly. ''When is it due to return?''
''The Shroud is in Italy. It's in Turrin, not Turriff. Italy........nae Scotland.''
I stood there with his hand on my shoulder for what seemed like minutes.
''Are you sure?''
''Aye, it's in Turrin.................Italy.''
We drove out of Turriff into the beautiful Aberdeenshire morning, my wife glowering at me in silence.