This is Assumption, the church my family in Syracuse has attended for generations; going back to the early 1900s. I have so many memories of the place: countless hours spent staring at stained glass windows and the awe-inspiring statues of saints and prophets and martyrs during mass, daily lenten stations of the cross during my catholic school years, first communion, confirmation, confession, and the various weddings and funerals throughout the years. But the most vivid memory of all is the time I was home from college and my aunt asked me to help hang the Advent banners in the church. I said "sure," but it turned out to be a more complicated process than I'd expected. First I had to drag the giant wooden ladder out from behind the altar, place it carefully against each column, then climb up (higher! higher!) until I could insert a six foot iron rod through two small iron loops mounted on top of each column's capital. It was difficult; the rod had to be positioned precisely or it wouldn't go through. Now, you can't really tell from the photograph but those columns are tall, and that ladder was rickety, and I'll admit it: I was scared. Maybe it was the ladder shaking or maybe my hands were sweaty, but I dropped the iron rod, and down, down it fell, clattering loudly, first on the polished wooden pews and then across the hard marble floor below. Before I could think about it I shouted "oh, FUCK" and it echoed over and over in the empty church. My aunt and I both looked around the church, desperately hoping nobody else was there, and then made a silent agreement to never speak of this again. But I wouldn't be surprised if that echo continues to this day.

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