'The Last Great Viking Raid'
I know for a fact that the last great Viking Raid occurred in Brooklyn New York, 1948. How do I know? I was there.
Let me tell you about Brooklyn, New York circa 1948. It was wonderful! For an 11 year old, Scandinavian like myself, it was a great place not only to grow up in; but also to learn many things about the real world that the teenagers of these modern, politically correct times, will never know.
There was no outside forces (politicaly correct agenda) trying to mould everyone into an androgyneous robots, wearing 9 1/2 shoes and having one blue eye and one brown eye.
It wa a potpouri of diverse ethnic and cultural neighborhoods. Each neighborhood was mostly uni-racial with pre-determined boundries. Each neighborhood boasted and displayed proudly the wares of their culture, be it Italian, Swedish, Irish, Polish etc. Stores and shops carried cultural foods and menus. Block parties, bazaars and festivals were ethnic based according to the area.
I was fortunate to have been born in one of those communities where many of the races lived together. It was a very small neighborhood called 'South Brooklyn,' on 14th Street and 5th Avenue. It was bordered by a mostly Italian neighborhood which started on President street. In the other direction, at about 36th street, was the beginning of the Scandinavian neighborhoods. To the south, below Hamilton Ave, were the projects were the Hispanic, Latin American, people lived.
We seldom had a reason to go to other neighborhoods for everything a teenager could want for his growth and education was self-contained in his own neighborhood. In my neighborhood was a cross section of Scandinavian, Irish, Polish and Italian. This was enough culture for an 11 year old to swallow.
It was a poor neighborhood. But everyone was generally happy. My father earned $40.00 a week. And my mother managed to buy a small house and pay the mortgage with it.
We had an ice man delivering ice for the ice boxes. Milk men delivered milk and coal men pouring coal down our coal shoot into the basement.
I was born into a mixed religious family. My father was and Lutheran and my mother was Catholic. There were many religious arguments within my own family to sour me against all religions at an early age. I couldn't understand why some Christians hated other Christians.
But my mother won the inter-family war. She talked to the priest at St. Stanislaus Church and talked me into becoming an alter boy.
I received my cassock and surplus and started my training. I was also required to attend Sunday School. It was here that it happened. One day the priest was reading out of his Catechism and making ridiculous statements.
When he got to the Holy Ghost part my mind went blank. At elevan I did not understand the concept and I instinctively knew, for me it was all gobly gook. Then he talked about omni-potent, and omni-presence etc.
I raised my hand and asked him what he meant. He scowled and went on. I asked him again. He sarcastically said, "Omni-presence means God is EVERYWHERE. He can see naughty boys in Australia as well as naughty boys in Brooklyn at the same time."
My mind started to spin with this news. I blurted out, "You mean he is like Plastic Man with one eye on Brooklyn and the other eye all the way in Austrilia?"
In his anger he slapped me in the face and told me to sit in the back of the room.
The die was cast. After that I volunteered to serve the 6 AM mass. I had a plan. Churches had more masses in those days and they kept the doors to the church open 24/7.
One morning, as I was taking off my cassack and surplus in the rectory, I was eying the wicker basket full of nickels, dimes and quarters that had been collected during mass.
The priest saw me and said "Don't you dare you little hooligan. That's God's money and if you take any of it you will be struck dead by lightening!"
This put a damper on my plans. For the next week or so I served mass but kept my eyes off the collection basket.
No, this was no good. I had to do it. I was convinced at eleven, that everything I saw and experienced about the Catholic Church, confessions, collection plates, drinking blood "God's flesh", funerals, and nasty priests were not for me.
I would break free. But I would make a statement in doing so. Finally my chance came. After one 6 o'clock mass, the priest left the sacristy early. I took off my cassock and surplus, left them on the chair and reached into the collection basket and grabbed a fistfull of coins. It could have not been very much. At 11 my hand was not very big.
I left the church and started to run the six blocks to my home, with my loot. It was raining and the sky was overcast and dark. Suddenly thunder clapped boomed and a lightening bolt flashed across the sky.
"Oh my God," I thought, " The priest was right, I'm dead!"
I threw the coins into one of the sewer gratings and ran home as fast as I could. It was Sunday and my mother, father and sister were still asleep. I climbed into bed and pulled my army blanket over my head. I awaited death.
Several hours later it stopped raining and the Sun came out and I was still alive. I was right, the priest was wrong and Catholocism was not for me.
I got up and sat at the table in the kitchen while my mother prepared breakfast. I thought to myself what a fool I had been. I had sucessfully pillaged a Catholic church at age 11 and foolishly thrown my loot away.
I was a Viking at 11, but did not realize it until later on in life.
Ellis Peterson AKA Ragnar Storyteller is a retired math professor and electronics engineer. He has been studying astrology, runes, metaphysics and alternate healing treatments for over 30 years. He is 70+, in very good health and lives in the boonies of the Pocono mountains with his wifr Lory. His writings are unique and refreshing.
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