CHRIST IN WINTER: Reflections on Faith for the Years of Winter… ©
I’m glad Mary Ann Orr, of the Orr Funeral Home, did not see my “Girl with No Tattoo” poem yesterday. That’s not exactly a classy poem.
I liked and admired Mary Ann. But I avoided her. I didn’t want her to find out, any more than she already knew, how unclassy I was.
The Orrs were good neighbors and good church members. They lived at the end of our block, above their funeral home.
When we first came to town, Gene, Mary Ann’s husband, assured me that all I had to do to be accepted as the new preacher was to show up and be nice. He explained that one of my predecessors was the worst preacher in history. Indeed, his first sermon in that town, even before his first Sunday service, was for Mary Ann’s mother’s funeral. Her father was the school superintendent. “He laughed at his own wife’s funeral,” Gene told me, “because that funeral sermon was so bad, the only thing you could do was laugh.”
“But,” Gene went on, “I think he was the most beloved preacher we ever had. Every sermon was worse than the last, but it was so obvious that he loved us, we didn’t care.”
It was an excellent story to tell the new preacher. I, however, had a reputation as a good preacher, good in part because I did quirky stuff not expected from a preacher, not just in preaching but in general. I worked hard at keeping that rep. Most people appreciated it, and sometimes told me so. I liked that.
One day, though, my secretaries—Rose and Frances—told me that there was a rumor that I had done a certain thing. I can’t remember at all now what it was. It was nothing despicable, not murder or mooning. But I’m sure it was within my wheelhouse as the cool, unpredictable, “radical priest” preacher. Probably something like that “poem” of yesterday’s blog.
“But,” Rose, or maybe Frances, said, “Mary Ann Orr said that you were much too classy to do something like that.”
Then they waited, cute little snarky smiles on their faces, to see how I would respond, for they knew that I had already done that now-unremembered thing.
All I could do was vow to avoid Mary Ann forever, which, of course, was impossible to do. She came to church, and I went to funerals. Our paths were bound to cross. But she never mentioned it, because she was classy.
I did also vow, however, never to do that again, and I’m sure I did not, even though I can’t remember what it was. Because I’m classy. When somebody reminds me. Thank goodness for people like Mary Ann, who expect us to be better than we are.
I tweet as yooper1721.
Two problems with writing a blog for old people: an ever smaller # of available people, who can’t remember to click on the blog link.