When I last left you, I was spewing forth like Mount Vesuvius about our recent trip to Rome and how hubby nearly got arrested at St. Peter’s Basilica. Not really … but, at the time, it sure seemed like it was certainly going to happen. I have to first point out there were absolutely no handcuffs involved. Just a lot of finger pointing, eyeball bulging and, I don’t mind saying, the guy raised his voice several notches in our direction. Hubby and I were innocently on a quest to obtain several blue tickets for Sunday’s Mass inside St. Peter’s. We had heard all you had to do was ask a Swiss Guard for the complimentary tickets. Not sure if you’ve ever seen a Swiss Guard, but they are the ones with the adorable poofy orange and black vertical-striped uniforms. Seriously … you can pick them out in a crowd anywhere. Yep, only first you have to find one. The only reason we could figure for the Vatican guard’s strange outburst directed at Rick is we passed his teeny secluded alcove without asking permission to stand in line to speak with the Swiss Guard. As we had observed the five other people in line already had not asked, we thought we were in the clear. Obviously, that was not the case. I have seriously entertained the thought of sending the Pope an e-mail that he has one cranky guard in his ranks in need of an exorcism, but we didn’t dare hang around long enough to get the guard’s name. When the Vatican policeman with the obvious bad hair day finally simmered down, he did let Rick pass to request tickets. But I could tell the encounter left Rick majorly flustered. “I forgot to get one for Ricky,” said hubby, a couple of moments after we had already started our sprint toward the exit with our blue tickets. Alas, it had slipped his mind that our son would be joining us in Rome the following day. “I’ll go back and stand in line. You stay here so that guy doesn’t see us together,” I said, with a little knot in my throat. Well, that didn’t work. I barely opened my mouth to speak when the guard waved me away. “You are with him. No more tickets for you,” he angrily said. Dejected, Rick and I again walked, slowly this time, toward the exit to St. Peter’s. Now most people would have just thrown in the towel. I certainly had. Thrown it, kicked it, and then stomped on it for good measure. But not my husband. I could tell by the way he was looking around at the people passing us by that he was formulating a plan. “Excuse me Father, can you help us?” Rick had stopped an elderly priest that was passing by, who thankfully spoke some English. Rick explained our plight. When I saw the priest motion for us to follow, my spirits suddenly lifted. The three of us walked through the Vatican exit and out onto the street chatting back and forth. We continued to walk outside the Vatican walls for several minutes before we came to an opening in the wall. The kind priest motioned for us to please come with him. It wasn’t long before we were introduced to what appeared to be a Swiss Guard, but his uniform was light blue. I figured he musta been a Swiss Guard in-training for the poofy orange and black striped uniform. The priest kindly asked him for a ticket and handed it to Rick. I have to say, all that drama with the Vatican guard with the too-tight underwear was certainly worth it. The Frantz family got a lovely up-close and personal photograph of the Pope as he proceeded down the aisle after Mass. Yep, our son Ricky stood on a chair and the Pope smiled right up at him. Considering the degree of difficulty in getting the blue tickets, I’d say the quest was certainly worth it. Dixie Frantz is a Kingwood resident and newspaper columnist for the past twelve years. E-mail Dixie with your comments at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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