A Letter to the Pope


Most Holy Father,

Due to recent events concerning things of a spiritual nature I write to you first hand. For months now I have searched the internet for an application for Sainthood. I realize that two miracles are needed and that they must posthumous, and while I am obviously still among the living we both know, Father, that rules can be bent if not broken. At any rate I failed to locate a written application and so in an effort to present my case first hand, I have decided to write you and give a personal account of the most spiritual dining experience since the famed supper of long ago. That was a famous last, this, I pray, will be the first of many. It just so happens that I am the lucky, or more properly, the blessed and chosen vessel to be the recipient of this most magnificent experience.

Interestingly enough, there were thirteen of us gathered in that small section of Chuck-A-Rama, a local buffet here in Utah. A family of Mexicans, an Asian couple, and I sat at our respective tables. I had just returned to the table with a large plate of instant potatoes, smothered in fake beef gravy, and sat there struggling to decide where I could safely scoop a mouthful without disturbing the lake of processed lard. The steam wafted up and the delicious aroma enveloped me. I sat and soaked it up, breathing deeply. I chose to begin on the east side of my plate where the side of my potatoes sloped gently downwards. Cutting vertically into the minuscule hill I created a cliff of sorts, which to my relief stood up to the pressure spectacularly. I dipped my spoonful of mashed spud into the lake, and put the whole thing into my mouth. I pulled the spoon gently and caught every morsel of food as the utensil slid smoothly through the moist pink surface of my lips. I let the food linger on my tongue until I could no longer help myself, letting the flavor soak into my taste buds. I swallowed the mush and sat back in my chair basking in the memory of the first bite, for it is always the best. Every particle of this God sent manna had its part in the play of flavor that was performed on my tongue that night. Ecstatic delight coursed through my body in a fury of pure unadulterated euphoria, after cascading over my contented taste buds.

This is a spiritual awakening of sorts, a sensualist’s pleasure. This experience, however, had it stopped there, would not be worthy of sainthood as it is a common occurrence for those of us who are frequent diners of the above named buffet. The thing that is the subject matter of this letter, dear Pope, happened just after I swallowed my first bite.
I glanced toward the Asian couple and saw that the younger of the two, a male, had shaped from his lump of potatoes, the form of a dragon, much to the annoyance of his female companion. This scene captivated me. I looked from the magnificent dragon to my pitiful lake and back again. I picked up my plate and tipping it, emptied the gravy into my Dr. Pepper.

Looking at my potatoes anybody else would probably have seen nothing but a plate of half eaten food. My eyes, however, beheld something that could change the course of my life forever. It was hazy. What was it? I was not yet sure. But my hands suddenly were not my own but that of a divine artist. They moved, it seemed, of their own volition. All thoughts of what was sanitary and polite had left my mind. I dipped my hands into the mass, and with flurried but sure movements my potatoes began to take on the form of a human being. I paused only to take a drink of my soda, and in my zealous frenzy of intense work I did not even notice that the beverage was infused with processed gravy. The figure, it seemed, was a woman, with luscious long hair flowing down her back and onto my dinner plate. But she was faceless. Who was this woman? I did not know. I sat back again and observed the fruits of my heavenly guided labor, frustrated at my sudden inability to finish what was sure to be the pinnacle of my creative career. The faceless woman…

Suddenly one of the Latino children scooted his chair back. Likely in a rush to get back to the buffet line. He tripped the waiter, who fell, tossing an armload of used dishes toward the ceiling. The plates soared through the air and with a crash they smashed to the floor. White glass flew in all directions and fell to the earth like unnaturally heavy flakes of snow. Bits of food, dessert sauces, and candy sprinkles splattered all over everything in our section of the restaurant. I wiped the assortment of food out of my eyes and saw that the entire Mexican family was on their knees in an attitude of prayer looking past me. I turned and to my amazement found myself gazing into the eyes of my lady. Miraculously the bits of leftover food had formed the face that I could not. She looked up at me until I likewise dropped to my knees, then she smiled graciously down upon me. Mother Mary. The Holy Virgin.

The entire staff and the rest of the people dining that night were converted, the wayward, the unbelieving, the lost, and the pagans alike. The fervor swept the valley, mothers prayed in the streets and grown men cried. The statue of Mary stood as tribute until an innocently careless employee turned the temperature too high and melted the Holy Mother, but she lives on in the hearts of those fortunate enough to have seen the miracle that my hands wrought in the service of the Roman Catholic Church. There are still relics from the experience that survive to this day. As is the case with most appearances of the Holy Mother, my statue began to weep at one point during a most spiritual discourse by the newly converted Asian man whose name was Kim. At first his wife, Lucy, caught the tears in a disposable cup but then Veronica Sanchez, the mother of the Mexican family, took up her napkin and reverently wiped away the tears. You should have beheld our joy and astonishment when the image of Mary had been transposed to the frail paper. We call them respectively the Holy Dixie Grail and Veronica’s Napkin. As of yet the Grail has no magical value that we are yet aware of, but the manager is giving away meal vouchers to those who drink from it.

I feel I need to make it clear that I do not desire to be recognized as a Saint for personal glory. I wish all to know of this miracle. I want and welcome anyone wishing to make a pilgrimage to Utah and partake of the blessed instant mashed potatoes that are endlessly served at your nearest Chuck-A-Rama location to do so. “The choice is yours at Chuck-a-Rama.” My dear pope, I am sure that I do not need to remind you of Saint Juan Diego, who got sainted for seeing the Mother Mary appear as an Indian woman. You believed his story despite a lack of historical documentation. Believe my account. It is well documented. Take the word of those recently converted. I am sure you will see things my way. I insist that you visit Utah, nay I demand it. It is your responsibility. I demand Sainthood. Rash you say? It is out of concern for the other believers in what has locally been dubbed as the Mashed Mary Revival. I have told them that I remain loyal to the Vatican, but more and more they look to me as a leader. I feel that I either must find sanction in the Church through Sainthood, or must take my flock and follow a different course. So I write this letter and beg you to make a trip to Utah lest you have yet another protestant rebellion on your hands. God speed dear Pope.

You’re Brother in the Faith,

Saint Mitchell David Inkley