I didn't have any Hollywood idols as a kid, except maybe Dale Evans. She never cussed at the president, flipped birds or shaved her head. And if there was ever a question about who fathered any of her children, it would only be because four of them were adopted.
My idols tended to be great people of the past, like Benjamin Franklin or Drs. Elizabeth Blackwell and Marie Curie, who earned their degrees long before feminists came up with the idea of a glass ceiling.
But some of my most significant idols were saints. Not just the martyrs, but the everyday Joes who simply lived a good life and positively influenced the world around them. And speaking of everyday Joes, since tomorrow is the feast of St. Joseph, let's look at what an effect he has on those who hold him in high esteem.
I always knew St. Joseph was the patron saint of fathers, and it wouldn't hurt if a few Hollywood dads used him as a role model. Just last year I learned that Italians honor St. Joseph as their patron saint and today La Societa Italiana is celebrating his feast (For more information, visit www.lasocietaitaliana.org).
And just this year, I discovered that St. Joseph is also the patron saint of realtors. Because of that, some realtors advise their clients to bury a statue of St. Joseph in their yard to ensure a speedy sale.
According to legend, European nuns buried St. Joseph statues on property they hoped to acquire for convents. The practice became secularized and the focus changed from buying to selling. St. Joseph seemed like a logical patron saint because he's grounded in family values and, let's face it, he did have to move his family around a bit.
Rick Robinson of Angel's Prayer in Lilburn said he sells four to six statues a week, and about 40 percent of the people who buy them are non-Catholic.
"It's not the statue," said Robinson, "It's the prayers that work."
Lilburn realtor Jim Gates has a personal testimony. Before putting his own home on the market in 1987, he felt he had to spruce it up with new flooring and wallpaper. His wife, Lee, insisted the house was fine as it was. Jim upgraded anyway and the house sold quickly. As they left the closing, Lee said, "You really didn't need to fix it up. I'd buried St. Joseph in the yard."
I have no intention of getting into a discourse on the effectiveness of intercessory prayer. But I do love the final phase of this custom. After a house is sold, the statue should be removed and given a place of honor in the new home.
I'd rather have my kids looking at a statue of St. Joseph than a poster of Kevin Federline any day.
Susan Larson is a Lilburn resident. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.