Benediction, and with it Holy Hour, was over.
Sometimes I referred to it as Unholy Hour, with the way the children behave. Of course I mean other people's children....
As the last note of Salve Regina faded away, Marcellinus, or Marc, my 8-year old son turned back toward me with a plaintive look on his face. He pointed at the side of his head. I motioned him to come to me, and as he got closer to me I made out the words "...side of my head hurts, and there's something funny in my hair." I looked at his hair, and for a moment I thought he had a collection of nits in his hair.
I fear lice more than I fear hepatitis and other microbes.
Something seemed out of place, though, and so I tried to remove some of the little knobs off the ends of his hair. Usually nits are not on the tip of the hair. I kept thinking I had seen hair like this before. On an impulse, I sniffed the patch of abnormal hair. The smell of sulfur was overpowering. Ah-ha! I remembered when I had seen this before!
Marc had burned his hair. I suddenly realized that the little knobs on the end of the hair were heat damage. I had seen the few hairs on the back of my hands looks like this after singeing them over the grill. This also explained some noises I had heard while in the confessional - strange things ALWAYS happen when I am in the confessional.
Every votive candle in the church was lit. This consisted of about fifty candles, and I have never seen all of them burning - until today. While I was talking to the priest in the confessional, I kept hearing a 'clicking' sound which reminded me of an elderly person's walker. I expected the confessional door to suddenly open up and some old person barge in on my confession. It didn't happen. What I was hearing was the sound of my children lighting all the votive candles.
At some point, Marc must have waved the extended butane lighter too close to his scalp.