postcards from the edge

15 07 2009

central5Months ago the letter arrived in the mail – the reservation check was sent in- the dates marked on the calendar.  Little did I know how important this outing was to her but when I discovered that she had made an appointment not only to get her nails done but also her hair – I started to get a clue.

To me, the effect was more like having to go back to the dentist for a root canal without the fun little gas mask.  I faced it all with the tune of “The things we do for love…” running through my mind.

The DAY was finally here.  Before dawn I could hear her digging through her closet for just the right outfit…but I wasn’t planning on leaving until 5:30 p.m. and that was about 45 minutes earlier than we REALLY needed to leave but I knew better than to make her wait any more than that.  Meanwhile, I got a couple of hours of good hard demo work done in the basement with every ounce of anxt pushing the hammer through those shelves.

It was the 100 year anniversary of the church at we had attended in Gary back in the day.  The church where she met and married Billy, the church where I slept through innumerable 8:30 a.m. Sunday services and learned “Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam”.

As I had warned, we were there before the tables were done being set up in the gym.  It didn’t matter – she needed time to visit with her people.

centralWe meandered through the church library where there were things on display…things that were causing my brain’s hippocampus to explode like someone had injected it with a 5 lb bag of Pop Rocks.  The pulpit, the “beama” seats, photo albums, framed pictures of THE missionaries…



We finally found our way to Table 15 and our assigned seating with me  next to a woman I’d not seen in 50 years but she was sure I was friends with her daughter Patty.  “Sure…I remember!” (liar!)

It took everything I had after the mediocre buffet of rubber chicken and green bean mush to keep from choking during a “special number” by a man strumming a ukulele and singing “There’s a Hole in the Bucket, Dear Liza”.  When he was done all 170 or so of the other guests applauded as if they’d never heard the song and thought it was appropriate for this occasion.  “It must be the kool-aid…they were all drinking the kool-aid!”, I thought as  I quickly switched to drinking water for the rest of the night as a preventative measure.

I just kept deep breathing and trying to keep the Mrs. from drawing too much attention through her stage whispering about her brother-in-law nodding off across the table.  I didn’t blame him a bit.  I only stayed awake by excessive doodling on the scratch pad that was part of the schwag (i.e. promotional items – not to be confused with the same word that means “low grade marijuana”) we were given – matched set with the book mark and program.

This used to be a universe that I was familiar and comfortable in – a place called GARB.  No longer true.  I’ve spun off like a supernova and am in a whole new orbit in galaxies at the dark, unexplored edges of the “religious” solar system.  But for just a few hours on a Saturday night in mid-July – I was able to sustain life long enough to take in  the rarified air of this place but glad to escape and re-board my own Battlestar Galactica.  Still feel a little stretched from the time warp.

I leave you with a view from the portal as I escaped with my life.  Only those of you who have visited this distant planet will recognize the vista…you two know who you are and you owe me big time!  Oh – and bonus points if you name all the missionaries who are pictured…