It was one of those days when warm rays of the sun sought out and caressed limbs, finding their way through neatly pressed coverings to end in a glad embrace. On a day like this one would normally be dreaming of soft white sand and gently lapping waves and be dressed for the occasion, but today was the day to sit and listen to our Preacher admonishing us to a higher plane of thinking and more noble pursuits.
So we made our way languidly down the aisle smiling pleasantly at those we passed along the way. There were friends of long standing, and there were visitors looking around hopefully for acceptance. We treated them all to a smile and the visitors smiled back in relief relaxing at last in their new found shelter from the mad rush of a world hell bent on destruction outside.
So with expansive feelings of well being and a sense of goodwill to all we took our seats, shaking hands as we made our way down the aisle to occupy customary positions. It’s funny how one picks out a place to sit at random on a first visit, to slavishly return to the same old spot on return visits. We’re creatures of habit, and subject to moments of confusion should a visitor occupy our hallowed places.
But today there were no visitors in our seats, and we sat contentedly beaming at the congregation and watching the building fill rapidly around us. Members were enthusiastic that day and sang their songs with gusto as celebration commenced. Then the Preacher stood to give his message and a hush fell over the audience.
The sermon was termed “Looking Up.” Now that topic was rather timely as there’d been so much to look down on in the past week and it was refreshing to have someone attempt to wean us away from politics, crime, financial crises and wars we’d been subjected to through news and television media. This topic had my instant attention.
But soon I received a nudge from my Spouse delivered in a way that couldn’t be mistaken for an involuntary bump from changing position. My mind hit the pause button, and I temporarily shut the Pastor down to send an inquiring look at my better half. Her eyes flicked to the front in response and I did a systematic rapid scan of the heads in front of me and then a sweep of the room to try and identify her location of interest.
Sad to say men are constructed to only process one thing at a time, but women can multi task. My Spouse would be able to repeat the sermon back word for word afterward so she was all attention, but at the same time she’d probably be planning on meals for the next week, worrying about children and grandchildren, trying to figure out if the neighbour’s comment of three weeks ago was an insult or a complement, and recalculating the electricity bill in her mind to make sure we were not being cheated by the government.
A woman’s mind is fearfully and wonderfully made. However with my man brain’s limited focus I’d no idea what the nudge was for, so reverted to an inquiring look at her unblinking eyes.
A look of impatience flashed across those eyes. “Claude!” she hissed as her eyes flicked in his direction.
So now I had something to focus on. But a most diligent search of Claude’s back didn’t reveal anything of interest. So my gaze turned back to my beloved Spouse and my eyes delivered a clear message. They said, “I’m stupid, help me out here!”
The return look said “I know; been married to you a long time now!” But she was gracious enough to mutter “Hair Looking Up!” Shades of the sermon title.
I took another look at Claude. Now Claude was a teacher of science, well respected in the community and with a wisdom that comes from many years of mental gymnastics in a classroom full of college students. He and his wife were always immaculately dressed and recognized as patrons of the arts. Claude had lost his hair and that was no surprise to anyone who’s taught college students before. It’s an occupational hazard.
But apparently students hadn’t been successful in eliminating all Claude’s hair. There standing tall and erect on that desert scalp was one solitary thick white hair pointing up and swaying majestically in the ray of sunlight resting on his head. From my vantage point it looked to be at least 6 inches long.
My Spouse nudged me again “Looking Up!” she said with dancing eyes.
Now I have to confess a curse had apparently been placed on me at the time of birth. The curse was called sense of humour. I can see humour in most things in life and I suppose that’s been the main element preserving sanity in oft times difficult situations. But a sense of humour can lead one into embarrassment at times and this was to be one of those times. I gave a snort of laughter which surprised members seated several pews in front and behind me, and temporarily caused the Pastor to lose his train of thought.
Looks of disapproval rained down on me and I subsided into silence embarrassed while my Spouse looked apologetically at those disapproving faces with another message in her eyes that said, “I’m sorry, I don’t know what to do with this man at times!” And this was reinforced with an urgent poke in punishment for my lack of self control.
Later as we all filed out to the entrance to shake the good Parson’s hand I met his inquiring eye and heard him whisper, “You really enjoyed the sermon today, didn’t you?”
From that time onward we’ve forsaken our traditional pews and occupied new seats. This time it’s well in front of Claude where that hair will never again cause me embarrassment.
“© copyright Ian Grice 2011, all rights reserved”