The Castle Family Shrine


Jon Bernthal as The Punisher performing harp music (Detail)Exactly how often does The Punisher play the harp? You might think that the answer is “not at all.” He only cares about punishing criminals. That’s it. Well then.. if you think The Punisher doesn’t care about the harp, you’re wrong! Frank deeply cares about the harp just as much as he deeply cares about the innocent people and his late family whom he enshrines in a special room he uses as a makeshift shrine for his late family which he sets up in every safe area finds himself in. There, within the hallowed room, he memorialize his family through harp music.
At the center of the room stands his concert harp, “Ravenna”, whom he likens to his wife, Maria. Upon Ravenna, his “Comfort Lady”, Frank strives to learn how to master the art of plucking the strings to produce beautiful songs in front of a large portrait of his family that hangs on the wall and adorn with 2 sets of 3 scented candles each perched on 2 floor candelabras flanking the portrait. An end-table underneath the portrait holds a vase filled with 3 fresh-cut roses representing his late family and adorned with a bouquet of flowers of various types and a rosery. A white table cloth decorates the end table with the phrase “My Three Loves” embroidered in gold thread shown on the front. Another end table at the right-hand corner of the room serves as a coffee table with a coffee machine, a few coffee cans, a sugar bowl, a bottle of creamer, napkins, a spoon, and a few cups which Frank drinks coffee from.
On the wall facing the right side of the concert harp hangs a kite similar to the kite Frank flew with his wife and children just before they ran into the mob who blew them all away except for Frank who eventually struck back and destroyed the whole mob. Every year since then, Frank would head to the exact area where his family was killed and fly a kite. It’s an annual tradition similar to Batman’s annual tradition of going to Crime Alley to place 2 roses on the exact spot where his parents were killed.
A loveseat facing the left side of the room is where The Punisher’s lyre rests. The lyre is made from adamantium just like Captain America’s shield and Wolverine’s claws. It has 4 strings and is about the size of 4 year old Frank Jr., Frank Sr.’s youngest child. In fact, Frank likens the Lyre to his youngest son and would often call it “Junior” because holding onto it and carrying it around is like holding onto and carrying Jr. around when he was alive.
The WarHarp is Frank’s 3rd harp which he likens to his daughter. Lovable. Rambunctious. A favorite to have around when his mission calls for him to wield the harp that sings and shoots arrows right into the heart of a felon. WarHarp sits on a guitar stand right beside the bench where Frank sits and gently tickles Ravenna’s strings as he reads the music on the music stand that holds sheet music, harp lesson books, a pencil, and a notebook with music notes, songs, poems, and a non-war journal where Frank writes about what might have been had he rescued his family from slaughter.
Finally, at the back of the room there is a glass display case that enshrines the following items that were used on that fateful day of the massacre: a bullet-holed picnic basket, shattered blood stained dishes, a blood stained teddy bear, and a torn and tattered blood-stained picnic blanket. All these things were the exact items used at that fateful picnic outing at Central Park years ago.
Frank wakes up from a long sleep, gets up from his bed, and enters the shrine. He takes the coffee pot from the machine and leaves the shrine. He returns a moment later with a coffee pot full of water. He pours the water into the machine and places the pot back into the machine and turns it on. As the coffee is brewing, Frank leaves the shrine once more. 20 minutes later, he came back with a plate full of scrambled eggs, 3 strips of bacon, 4 slices of buttered toasted bagels, and a pop tart. He sits the plate on a TV tray next to the loveseat and checks the coffee machine to find that the coffee is done. He takes a cup, pours some coffee into it, adding in a little bit of pumpkin spice flavored creme to it to give it a little flavor, and then makes his way to the loveseat where he sits down to enjoy his breakfast. “Morning, Sunshine.” Frank said to Junior who is resting on the other side of the loveseat. “Ready to sing for my family?” Frank asks with a smile as he bites into a piece of bagel. Junior didn’t say a word. That’s because Jr. doesn’t talk. None of his harps talk. But they do sing. And they sing beautifully through the gentle swaying of Frank’s battle-scarred arms and hands.
When he finished his breakfast, Frank gets up with his finished plate and leave the shrine to put away the breakfast dishes and then use the bathroom. When he was done, Frank returns to the shrine, takes a matchbox from his pocket, and begins to light up the candles flanking the large portrait. Then he blows out the used matchstick and pitch it in a small wastepaper basket next to the coffee stand. Then Frank puts back the matchbox, takes out the tuning key and a electronic tuner from Ravenna’s special tuning key holder, and begins to tune Ravenna, Junior, and WarHarp’s strings. When he was finished, he grabs the TV remote and turns the TV on. Oh look, there’s a news report out about the burning farmlands. Police are investigating the scene where massive fires are still burning up what appears to be drug farms used to raise illegal crops used to make cocaine and heroin. Search and rescue teams uncover many bodies, but no survivors. Judging by a black skull design spray-painted on the wall of a barn, this act of destruction is suspected to be the work of what they call The Punisher, the vigilante most wanted by the police for multiple murders of those believed to have engaged in criminal activity. Frank laughed. Those cocaine addicted crybabies are so desperate for their cokes that they’ll turn to anyone even the police to help them get their brains back into la-la land again. Speaking of la-la-land, it’s time for him and his harps to create their own la-la land within the confinements of the family shrine.
Frank turns off the news and the DVD on and slip in a DVD. The DVD contains video harp lessons which helps Frank learn how to play the harp like an angel. Frank teaches himself to play the harp with online videos, DVDs, and lesson books he buys at harp retailer stores. He could have hire a harp teacher to show him the strings, but he refuse to put any innocent person in harm’s way. So he resorts to teaching himself to play the harp and keeps a TV, a DVD player, and a WIFI tablet on a stand located at the left-hand corner of the shrine so that he can watch online harp videos and DVDs and learn from them.
When everything’s all ready, Frank took to his harp Ravenna. With WarHarp and Junior by his side, Frank sits down on his bench, tilts the harp back, pushes play on the DVD remote, and begins his musical session. Upon all 3 of his beloved harps, Frank plucks, strums, and glisses. He sings, utters poetry and prayers, and practice his lessons for 3 to 4 hours a day (or every other day depending on what kind of mission he ends up going on) before he goes back to the war.


Sherry Konkus

Sherry Konkus lives in Owosso, MI. She is the proud owner of the Camac Athena EX Concert Grand Harp named "Grover" and Camac Mademoiselle named "Ernie." She's also the proud author of The Punisher Harp Zone. Sherry is the one who came up with the idea of portraying The Punisher from Marvel Comics as the punishing harpist who plays the harp in memory of his family who was killed by the mob years ago.