Tag Archiv: church

The Story of Six Hours (part two of previous post)


In which I imagine myself doing many things I have no intention of ever doing

and begin with the moral of the story.

Moral of the Story

Imagination is good for what ails us. Our imaginations need more room to move than our feet (a guideline that benefits them both). Laughter and imagination masquerade as lightweights in the journey of life, but in their foolishness hides a wisdom that illuminates reality, rendering the unbearable a little more tolerable and the tolerable a little more pleasant.

Without further ado, the list and then the story…

An incomplete list of terrifying things  


Asking for a hug from someone I don’t know very well

Raising up my hands up in church

Praying out loud with emotion

Wearing clothes that call attention to themselves

Going to one of those places where they hike in the nude

Asking for money

Asking for a favor from someone I can’t pay back

Having a messy house when people visit

Drinking too much


Six hours is tight for time. I decide to start with nude hiking and pray as I go. If it’s too crowded, I can always run headlong into the poison ivy. My real life search for hiking au natural locations is not immediately successful. I stumble onto a nude five pin bowling outing an hour away. The thought of me bowling nude is so ludicrous I begin laughing out loud but I go ahead and imagine it anyway. A hike, I realize, is child’s play. God help me! I’ll croak out at my end of the telephone as I book a lane.

I’m banking on the mitigation of terrors to see me through. Nude bowling will make asking a favor from a stranger easy. Conversely, the thought of asking a stranger for a favor while naked ought to keep me bowling with enthusiasm for at least a little while.

Excuse me, I will say – perhaps in the ladies room while changing into the garish clothing purchased for the occasion –  I hate to ask, but I need a favor. I’ve left my wallet at home. Can anyone give me a ride to the church? For added bonus, I’ll see if anyone can trade me high heels for the sneakers on my feet.

God bless you and thank you, Jesus! I’ll say as they drop me off.

Arriving intentionally late to the church, I’ll progress up the aisle wearing low cut hip hugging pants and a bright floral shirt that doesn’t quite cover my midriff. Dollar store strings of plastic jewels droop from my neck. My purple purse, sans cash, is on my shoulder. Lipstick is brilliant tangerine. I totter on high heels up to the front. From the pew, I throw up hallelujahs anywhere it feels like a bad idea and wait for a hymn or any other excuse to stand. Given the ferocious affection with which my pants cling to my behind, I’m not sure they’ll notice when my hands go up in the air.

I put them up with the opening chords of the hymn that finally comes expecting just one verse. At verse three, I begin to sway my arms for variety. By verse four, I’m swaying from my hips up to the hands above my head. I’ll have ticked five off the list by then: halfway there.

I exit on the heels of the priest in order to ask for some spare change on the church steps from the maximum number of parishioners. I pull a small sign out of my purse and tape it to an umbrella: Spare Change for Unnamed Need Gratefully Accepted.

After, I’ll take off my heels and walk barefoot to a country western bar down the street. God save us all! I’ll say as I close my eyes and begin bumping bottoms with one of the guitarists on stage.  If I don’t ask for a hug from a band member, I can ask for one from the first female bar tender, manager, owner or officer I see when they come to escort me away.

Then I’ll call my husband and ask him to come pick me up so I can come home for the evening to join the twelve friends I’ve invited over. I will have been away from the house for five hours. Dirty laundry on the floor, dirty dishes in the sink, and clutter are guaranteed. Also I will have left this note for the kids:

Brush dog in kitchen. Do not sweep. Dog hair on floor measured before $5 reward.

Ten cent reward for every fly you kill. Leave fly in kill location to claim reward.

Our friends will sit with dog hair gently tickling their feet amidst speckles of dead flies and their blood on the walls and windows. It doesn’t take a lot of wine to get to me, so it’s hard to know how much to aim for. I decide to drink until forcibly compelled by my inner voice to tell everyone there that I love them. How much. Why. Anything I’ve ever worried about that might be between us and four or five things that make them special to me. However little drinking it takes, that ought to decisively qualify as too much.


My imagination makes me laugh at myself. I am a bit proud to have proved it vaguely possible to fit so many ghastly things into six hours though. Strangely, despite not having done a single thing from my list of horrors, I don’t feel intimidated by Liz Hoath or Spandy Andy anymore. I decide that if I feel like doing something else as bold as my purple purse, I’ll do it. If I don’t, I won’t.

A silly bit of nonsense above perhaps, but imagining it opened my eyes to something I couldn’t see before: it’s okay not to go looking for mountains to climb.

A simple thought that is true, and for me, a little bit beautiful.

On Good Friends

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.

Every week?


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.