1976. Paul VI created a batch of new cardinals. In that ceremony, I was given the best job I ever had, and one that made me so deliriously happy, I could barely keep from laughing even during its execution. (Please keep in mind that this was seven years before Vanna White. I had no role model.) I was assigned to carry a silver tray holding the scarlet birettas to be conferred upon the heads of the new cardinals. I had to make several trips up and down the steps to the throne to refill the tray. I had to kick forward with each step to make certain not to trip on my own cassock. ( I had, in my childhood, watched televised pageants in which contestants in gowns employed this trick.) One unforseen problem. That silver tray was extremely heavy. While I stood by Paulo as he emptied it and took his time whispering sweet things to each baby cardinal, my arms grew weak and I began to break a sweat. It took heroic efforts to keep from dropping the muffins or passing out. I managed because I am a trouper. As I glided to and fro, a verse from the Beatles' Penny Lane looped through my mind.
Behind the shelter in the middle of a roundabout
A pretty nurse is selling poppies from a tray
And though she feels as if she's in a play
She is anyway