The four of us knelt side-by-side. Momma, Daddy, my younger sister, Faye, and me. We attended Mass every Sunday at Holy Rosary Catholic Church, like clockwork. One particular time, though, I experienced an epiphany, but not of the Holy Ghost.
I was a ten-year-old girl in 1957, so I couldn't catch sight of the altar no matter how much I strained, nor could I understand the Latin the priest spoke. My knees hurt as I shifted from one to the other on the hard wooden kneelers. If I shuffled too much, Momma would shoot the Evil Eye, but Dad would encourage me with a wink and a smile.
Bored, I turned to people-watching. That's when I spotted the woman in front of me wearing a see-through blouse. My cheeks flushed when I spied her bra under the sheer fabric. My eyes couldn't turn away. Cajun Catholics in Southwest Louisiana, lived by a strict moral code--especially regarding sex.
Despite temperatures above 100 degrees, wearing sleeveless blouses in church was a serious affront to God and a temptation to men. So, the Monseigneur stood at the entrance and stopped any woman he deemed unfit and tied white cotton handerchiefs around the tops of their exposed arms.
So, I reasoned, letting your undergarment show must be an even bigger sin. The soft material of the lady's thin garment and the flow of the sleeves enchanted me. But would she burn in Hell?