My inspiration. He looks a little worse for wear after several burials.
St. Joseph called to me from across the room, his voice muffled by the cardboard enclosure. Let me out of here. It’s time!
I snatched up the tiny package and headed to the garage where I grabbed my hand trowel from the bucket of garden tools. It was October, the best time in Upstate New York to plant garlic and spring flowering bulbs. I figured it would be a good time to bury St. Joseph—before the ground froze.
I’d ordered the St. Joseph Home Seller Kit a few days before. According to reviews on the internet, as in most matters in life, neither size nor price guaranteed the statue’s effectiveness. The Catholic side of me that inherited my mother’s Irish genes believed in this ritual. The Jewish side, descended from my father’s Alsatian stock, ordered a home seller kit for $3.99, $7.49 with shipping.
In 2009, this is what my statue looked like.
The package had arrived within days. I unwrapped the small plastic figure and examined it closely. Not quite six inches tall, the pale polychrome sculpture was less than impressive. But as I’d learned in catechism class preparing for my first communion in New Orleans, the statue only symbolized the saint. His image provided the focus for my belief, the tool for the manifestation of my dream.
St. Joseph had tools of his own. In his left arm he cradled a wood plane. In his right hand he clutched a saw handle, holding it like a cane with the tip touching the ground. As a master craftsman, he knew how to provide a home for his unusual family. His carpenter’s apron reminded me of the apron I wore every day as an innkeeper. I felt a connection between us. I knew for certain he could help us sell our bed and breakfast.
I wasn’t quite sure how this bit of Catholic voodoo came about,
but I scooped up St. Joseph, tromped out to the backyard, and selected a corner of the raised bed nearest the house for burial. I dug a hole and placed the St. Joseph statue head down facing the house, just as the instructions directed. Reverently I said the prayer enclosed in the kit. And then I spoke from my heart.