My hometown of Brockton, MA has survived the years since I moved away, but time has beaten some of the polish out of it. I remember gorgeous old churches on street corners, churches made of stone with impressive turrets and stained glass windows. The fact that they weren’t Catholic Churches meant that I never ventured inside though. Some of these beautiful buildings are gone now, and the corners they stood on now hold far less beautiful, but possibly necessary, building’s like Walgreen’s, etc. A friend told me that there used to be four Congregational churches in Brockton, each in it’s own lovely building. But each of those buildings eventually needed repairs that couldn’t be afforded so they joined forces into one Congregational church, and I did venture inside with a friend yesterday. I went to the service with her in order to surprise my cousin who sings in the choir, a plan I hatched last summer. But I was glad that I went yesterday because there was to be a children’s Christmas pageant that day. It was charming, written by the group and punctuated by beloved Christmas Carols to help tell the story. It was very well done, simple and charming. And that’s how I would describe the entire service. Simple and personal. And the church itself was beautiful, but not opulent. White beams and a magnificent organ. If I’ve been taking a trip into the past, nostalgic for things as the used to be, then I found it there. Not in a fancy church, but in a sweet and charming service. Helped along by the fact that the show was stolen by the little boy in a homemade sheep costume, who stopped to hug his mother and then had to gallop down the aisle to catch up with the rest of the players. No picture though, but I know you get it.
I took myself out for a quesadilla burger last night. I’d been thinking about them for a week or two, and since burgers are the Monday special at Appleby’s, and I had stayed home and cleaned the house most of the day, and all the pots, pans, dishes, and silverware are at the mobile, it seemed like the thing to do.
The parking lot was quite full, so I hoped there would be a seat available at the bar, and there was. It was empty actually, I was surprised. And as I sat there enjoying my burger a mother and daughter came in and sat a little bit away from me at the bar. I couldn’t help but hear their conversation and it became obvious that the daughter was there to support the mother who had just lost her husband. It was a brand new situation for them, should she ‘have something’ here, or was it okay to just do it ‘back home’ was a topic. The Mom and Dad had apparently frequented Appleby’s. Mom said that if her Michael had seen that they had ordered breadsticks with Alfredo sauce he’d have shaken his head. She told the bartender that she didn’t know if she could bring herself to come there without him, but she decided that she could do it while her daughter was with her this first time. I related to them so much, to the two or three days that my son stayed with me in the aftermath of Charley’s death, until I kicked him out, sort of. I felt connected to them, though they had no clue and we hadn’t spoken a word to each other.
And then it was time to leave. I had switched to a bigger purse because I’m carrying more with me back and forth, and I love that purse but I can never find anything in it. Like my wallet, but it simply wasn’t there. This had never happened to me before and I wondered why I wasn’t in a total panic, but I wasn’t, and I quietly (I thought) told the young gal who was bartending that I was embarrassed, and asked if I could give her a check. She said no, it’s fine, just stop by another time and take care of it. As I asked for the check I heard the mother say, “We’ll take care of it.” I looked over and she was in tears. She thanked me. She said that her husband would have loved this, it was perfect, it was just the thing he loved to do. And while this wasn’t my finest moment I felt so calm as I saw what this moment was for her. I thanked them, hugged them, and told them that my son and I had spent this same time together four years ago. And Mom thanked me again, said her husband would be so pleased with this, and asked that the next time I go out and have a drink, to please raise my glass to Michael and say, “Dilly dilly.” And I will…
If only I was as good at talking other people into or out of things, it might come in handy. I am, however, really good at talking myself into and out of things. Like last night, I was tired, too tired I said to myself, to go out for the sunset. Which explains how it is that I only saw the sunset from my neighborhood, since Ozzie talked me into taking him for a walk. I knew it would be a spectacular sky last night, and it was. And I did also notice my neighbor’s update of their ‘campfire’ on the lawn. Their first attempt with a black pot over the ‘fire’ hadn’t held up, but I saw this one as a coffee pot so maybe that’s why I liked it so much.
So this morning I kept telling myself to get on the ball, get yourself moved for God’s sake, don’t go out for the sunrise, even though it was probably going to be pretty. Then I thought about the fact that in a sense it would be the first sunrise of the rest of my life, and that thought got me out the door. Not especially pretty, but I’ll have a lot more sunrises to see since I have no place else to be, and that’s good thing.
My coworkers made me cry yesterday. In a good way. They gave me a lovely bouquet of flowers, and a card, and the sentiments written inside were what really did me in. It’s for my re-retirement, something I thought I did in 2008. But there was too much time to kill and that led me to the bakery, where I found people whom I’ll keep in my life forever. They constitute my newest friends, but that doesn’t diminish the impact they have had on my life as they were there for me for the biggest challenge I’ve ever had. Their friendship made that process a lot easier. And it was a process, which has led me to be on the brink of a new adventure, back to the people and places of my youth. I’m thankful for my friends, new friends and old friends, I love you all!
Father Fleming said Mass today. I was happy to see him since he’s been my favorite priest once I moved to Florida and started going to church again after many, many years. My part time job has caused me to vary which mass I went to each week, but I seemed to have a knack for catching Father Fleming’s mass, and it has always made me happy to see him. But I hadn’t seen him in a while, and then had been away on vacation, so when I saw him today I was struck with how frail he is, noticeably more frail than before, and I always worry as he climbs the few stairs to the alter. He is in his 80’s, and is soft spoken, you have to concentrate when he speaks. His sermons are always gentle and encouraging. He should preach to children. He pokes fun at himself, and says he was a bit of a devil as a boy, and he admits to having doubts here and there. I was feeling quite sad as I drove away, wondering how much longer we will have him with us, and turned the corner to discover black clouds ahead in the east, and a beautiful rainbow that took my breath away. I pulled onto a parking lot and got the camera out of the trunk and managed to take a few pictures before the heaven’s opened. Only when I saw the photos in the computer did I see the double rainbow. I hope that rainbow was for Father Fleming, he’s earned it…
“The best times in your life are the little moments when you feel like you’re in the right place at the right time.”