Saturday, August 15, 2009

Could Fr. Senye Really Have Said Something Funny?

Fr. Senye was the intimidating Headmaster at Devon Prep in the late 1960s. With his pitch-perfect Bela Lugosi as Count Dracula Hungarian Accent™, his most formidable proboscis, and his hawk-like stare, a fired up Fr. Senye was a indomitable opponent to any student who rebelled against the 19th century mindset of the Piarist Fathers.

One day in my sophomore or junior year, I stayed after school to hang around and watch the school team play basketball in the evening. A number of other guys were doing the same thing. Some of us decided that we needed to play some poker, as we missed the afternoon version of our rolling poker game that took place daily on our school bus rides. We went to the back of the gym, in one of the side rooms alongside the stage. It was a pretty out of the way place.

After a few hands we drew quite a crowd of observers. One game, Jacks or Better, went on for a number of deals. Finally, we were down to two players, Billy Wilson and me, and a monstrous 7 bucks in the pot. Sitting with my back to the door, suddenly the atmosphere in the little room changed, as a voice rang out, "Waaal, I see we have a DO-nay-tion for the MEEE-tions". Of course I almost jumped out of my skin, but had the sense to gather in my money as Fr. Senye grabbed the pot for his favorite mission. We got a tongue-lashing up in the Headmasters office in which we were informed that our parents would get a letter. For me, all I got was a second tongue-lashing from my Dad for being stupid enough to get caught.

Years later when remembering the incident, it dawned on me just how funny the line was that the good Father laid on us.

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