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On a wing and a prayer

I haven’t been to heaven yet, but thanks to literature, Hollywood and worse, my imagination, it probably looks a lot like a really busy call center. I say this because that’s how I want it to look, and I say that because of my children, who are all now old enough to drive.

Let me explain.

I pray a lot. And I pray a lot to God, my mom and any angel who’s not busy with the rest of the world’s problems. Three of my four children drive, and I also pray that the fourth one will keep on waiting until he’s ready to take to the roads — and take what’s left of my sanity — and paycheck, with him.

I imagine there are angels sitting in an office building on a cloud, and each one is assigned someone by a case manager. Maggie and Julianna have their own cars, and Vincent drives our van. So you got one angel — when my mom is not available, mind you — three drivers and two sets of prayers each day. Add those numbers together, carry this number here, subtract here, and we are talking at least six prayers a day … I think.

My wife, Ann Marie, always tells me to just pray to God, but I was not raised that way. My religion taught me to pray to anyone in heaven who may be listening. I believe there is micromanaging in heaven, and that is what I will take to my grave, provided one of my kids does not drive me there before my time is up.

So six prayers per day, and that is just for driving to work or school. Now, if there is a weekend jaunt somewhere in the state, or a date night in Blair County, we are talking additional prayers. And Julianna lives near Pittsburgh, so you are talking about more prayers. I have to believe I talk to my mother more now than I did when she lived on Earth. I envision her going to God and asking for an aide, kind of like teachers sometimes get an aide in school these days.

I imagine, sometimes, an angel goes into his or her case manager’s office and asks if they can be transferred out of the automotive division of heaven. Or more to the point, transferred out of my prayer group. We’re talking a lot of prayers. Add to that I pray for my wife, and again we’re talking lots of prayers.

And for those of you who were raised Catholic like me, each one of mine has a St. Christopher medal in the car, he being the patron saint of travel. I always assumed that either Brad Shoemaker or Chris Drenning of State Farm Insurance were that person, but I was told by my wife that is not the case.

My mom purchased one for each of her four kids when we started to drive, and I have done the same for my kids. Just recently, Julianna had some — let’s call them adventurous moments — in Pittsburgh with her car. Thank God for the medal. Thank God for my mom. Thank God for God!

This past week, I was cleaning out the van and I could not find the St. Christopher medal that was supposed to be in it. I panicked, and just like anyone raised Catholic, I prayed to St. Anthony, the patron saint of lost things. I should have been praying to St. Jude, the patron saint of lost causes. Now, when I think of a lost cause, I usually don’t think about my kids, but if any of these guys can help me locate a medal that’s important to me, I’m praying.

And I found it, buried in the glove compartment, and that is where it will stay, because it’s worked. Knock on wood!

You may wonder if I pray for my wife when she drives, and I don’t. But I do pray sometimes that she would slow down. She drives way too fast for me, but let’s just say that me and my mom have been working on that through prayers.

So if you see me out and about, and I’m not talking to someone, or myself, there’s a good chance I am praying for one of my kids. But you know what you can do? Say a prayer for me. Hey … maybe you’ll get an angel in the cubicle next to my angel!

Mirror Sports Writer Scott Franco writes a monthly column for the Mirror.

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