Please excuse a story with a just recently used subject (boy two). The rate of change in 2014 is spinning so fast at the moment that I find it calming to put my energies toward writing about something as steady as Mr. Lalonde.
My boys serve on the altar at our church. One day I noticed boy two, afterwards talking to a white haired gentleman from the congregation.
Is that Mr. Lalonde? I asked.
You still remember him from when he used to do storytelling at your school?
Yeah. There’s that. But now we have races.
We wink at each other.
I try to see him first and wink when we’re coming up the aisle for the procession. He winks when he sees me too. Sometimes he’s first, but I try to always win. Then at the end we do it again when we’re walking out and I go by where he’s sitting with the candle.
A year ago, after much deliberation, we moved our family to a church that was closer to home. I found Mr. Lalonde myself to explain that boy two wouldn’t be there very often any more. I talked about getting them together for a visit but we never did.
After even more consideration, to start the new year, we have returned to the church we came from. The one where Mr. Lalonde attends. We appreciated our time away but despite the longer drive, this church is where we belong. January 1, it was nice to see boy one and boy two on the altar again.
I wasn’t the only one who thought so. I play the piano at our church. Even when we were attending the other church as a family, I played there, and then high tailed it to meet everyone. Catholics don’t feel the need to stay for closing hymns. By the time I hit the last chord, at least half the congregation is gone. The other half have their hymn books away, their coats on, and their keys in their hands. The music ends. I pack up my things, check in about the next choir practice, and then I’m ready to get my coat on. If the family is there, they are waiting.
Not January 1, this year. Post pack up and goodbyes, with coats on, my husband and I stood chatting, waiting while boy two and Mr. Lalonde got caught up over on the other side of the church. I don’t know which of them was smiling more. Neither of them was in a hurry to leave. At last, boy two nodded his head, lifted his hand in a small wave, and started across towards us. Boy two’s friend tipped his hat to us and left smiling through the side door.