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Strange, True & Religious
Archived Episode #5 Nov 2007

Strange, True & Religious
2000-2008 B. Allan Ross

Episode #5
November 2007

Welcome back to ST&R! Let's get right to it.

Can you guess the name of the game these two little boys are playing?

10-Year-Old Grilled Cheese Mary Wins eBay Auction For One-of-a-Kind Religious Icon
ST. JOHNS, ANTIGUA - In a perfect example of Americana pop culture phenomenon, a grilled cheese sandwich that bears the image of the Virgin Mary has been sold on eBay to Internet casino for $28,000 USD.

Seller Diana Duyser made the sandwich ten years ago, and after taking one bite out of it, noticed the Virgin Mary's face staring back at her. She put the sandwich in a clear plastic box with cotton balls and kept it on her night stand. Duyser, 52, believes the sandwich has brought her luck over the years and is truly convinced of its divinity.

"I would like all people to know that I do believe that this is the Virgin Mary Mother of God," says Duyser, a work-from-home jewelry designer. "That is my solemn belief. People ask me if I have had blessings since she has been in my home. I do feel I have, I have won $70,000 on different occasions at the casino near my house."

Follow the Cheese | A weblog by Jim DeFede

Taking THE sandwich on Vegas trip

There comes a time in everyone's life when he must stand up and do something for the greater good of society.

Something selfless.

Something noble.

And for me that time is now.

Monday night, Diana Duyser sold on eBay a 10-year-old grilled cheese sandwich for $28,000 to the online gambling impresarios at But as many of you are already aware, this isn't just any grilled cheese sandwich. This humble sandwich, she says, bears the visage of the Virgin Mary.

Yet as the auction came to a conclusion, a question arose: How would Diana transfer custody of this supposedly blessed fare?

Most items sold on eBay are mailed. But could we really trust the Postal Service to deliver such valuable cargo -- especially after what happened with Broward County's absentee ballots?

Diana could always send it via FedEx.

But remember the Tom Hanks movie Castaway? If the Virgin Mary Grilled Cheese Sandwich had been on that flight, Hanks would have eaten it by the end of the first week.

The more I thought about it, the more I realized this wasn't a task that could be trusted to just anyone. And that's when it hit me. There was only one safe solution.

The cheese rides with me.

Monday I offered to drive the grilled cheese sandwich across this great land of ours and deliver it to its new owners in Las Vegas. At first, they seemed skeptical. But I assured them I was an excellent driver and I had a new car, with new tires and side-impact airbags. ''She'll be safe with me,'' I told them.

They agreed.

And so, together, the Virgin Mary Grilled Cheese Sandwich and I will soon embark on the journey of a lifetime -- a cross-country odyssey along the highways and byways of America.

We'll be like Lewis and Clark, only with a car.

We will be seeing this country through fresh eyes, the way folk singer Woody Guthrie did before he wrote This Land is Your Land.

Along the way, we shall explore the mystery of The Red States, its people and their culture. And in so doing, perhaps the Virgin Mary Grilled Cheese Sandwich and I will forge a new understanding of the issues that divide us as a country.

And maybe, just maybe, bring us all closer together.

Oh, I know that may be asking a lot of a sandwich that is made of nothing more than two slices of Publix white bread and a slab of Land O' Lakes American cheese.

But this sandwich -- half a sandwich really -- has already shown itself to be magical.

For instance, it is still wondrously preserved after all these years. Last week, I had a grilled cheese sandwich up in The Herald cafeteria and it was already pretty moldy by the time I paid for it.

Indeed, Diana might want to explore a career in cryogenics. If she could keep a grilled cheese sandwich fresh for 10 years, imagine what she could have done with Ted Williams' head?

The Virgin Mary Grilled Cheese Sandwich also has proved to be luckier than a double-wide trailer full of rabbits' feet. (Which I am pretty sure we will find somewhere in Oklahoma.)

In the 10 years Diana has possessed the Virgin Mary Grilled Cheese Sandwich, she claims it has helped her win $70,000 at the nearby Seminole Hard Rock casino.

Of course, I would never dream of taking advantage of the Virgin Mary Grilled Cheese Sandwich to make a killing at a craps table in one of those casinos along the Gulf Coast.

Instead, you can be sure that any gambling I'll do on this trip will be done purely in the spirit of scientific research.

Jim DeFede will file daily blogs from the road. For updates, go to

The name of the game is: "Crucify Your Little Brother!"
Did you guess right?

That's it, Friends and Spies.

Love out to Yas!

B. Allan Ross
Editor, ST&R

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