They say that real men cry at football (I'm real, then).
But really real men cry at confirmation services.
Amid a lot of grunting and protestation the fruit of my loins agreed to be consecrated or something. His mum wanted it, I didn't. But hey, I'm not really bothered one way or the other as long as Mr Fruit was OK with it. Thus, eventually, after months of moaning about the weekly lessons, it happened last Sunday.
It all took me a bit by surprise. No, no, obviously I knew it was coming, and the date and time and so on some time ago. No the actual thing.
As you know, and I didn't, the service is taken by a Bish, in a big hat. White because it's Lent. No, not borrowed... but Lent, you know, Easter and no chocolate ... oh I give up.
Anyway, Bish asked us, the audience, er, congregation, to stand when the person we were supporting was called up for the laying on of the hands.
There were several; a veritable production line of candidates. We were due to be stood for about No 5 or 6, I forget, but he was the last of the 'young persons'. So the first one goes up and a number of people stand up, perhaps ten. Then next one and a similar number creaked onto their feet.
Then the next and no one stood up. Not in my vision anyway. I turned to look, and eventually saw just one woman standing.
I felt my eyes itch.
Next up; a really geeky enthusiatic boy with a huge smile nearly as bug as his NHS glasses and full of crooked teeth. He was wearing a cream shirt, and a tie.
And he had a beam that was illuminating the whole church. HE was so happy to be there and doing this thing.
I looked for his supporting family, and again there was no one. Not a sausage. Someone told me later his gradfather was there, but I didn't see him.
I twitched, I wanted to stand, but I don't know them from, er , Adam. But I did support them, silently.
And I developed a strong cold that required the immediate and urgent application of tissue.
Mr Fruit came and about a gazillion of us stood up.
And that was kind of worse because it reinfirced how loved and supported he is despite his (verbal) reluctance to do this, and yet those two little waifs before him ...
There was something deeply admirable (and thought provoking) in their strength and determination to get to this point in their lives as Christians. I may not share their faith, but bloody hell, I was moved.
For your elucidation, this is the actual hat referred to above (no ersatz substitutes here on EL):