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|Tuesday, December 16th, 2014|
|The R-Rated Version
The contours to Crosby's body are changing quite noticeably. His shoulders are broader and his silhouette is much more V-shaped than at any time I can ever remember. Even his Facebook pictures, publicly available, and no more than seven years old, have been rendered obsolete. I could do a fully clothed portrait of him. Crosby confirmed that he has a humongous reach and the photo of him on Frank Lee's FB page showing him enveloping four people simultaneously into his enthusiastic embrace, takes my breath away every time I look at it.
But, it seems such a waste of the rest of his body. A shirtless portrait would need a similar context, although I can't think of one right now. Maybe a beach? That way we could get in those long legs, too?
In VRaptor's case, the back story was the West 57th Street gym where we both sought cheap access to a pool. I think for $25 a year or some ridiculous price like that, we could do laps, shower afterward and change clothes in a cavernous locker room. The contrast between the antiseptic, almost menacing, communal showers and VRaptor's pale white swimmer's body could not have been more startling.
Wait. Crosby has a gym.
Let me get back to you. I mean, we have time. As long as he keeps up the workouts, the state of affairs will only get better. Current Mood: artistic
|The G-Rated Version
The Bings are allergic to raunch. I've noticed it over the years. You can't joke with Bing Senior about certain things and sexual innuendos are pretty high on the list. He occupies a very visible position in the lay world of mainstream liberal Christianity and in many ways being his son - or sons - must be a lot like being the children of a minister; you're constantly under observation and being judged by a standard very few of us would be comfortable with. I strongly suspect that's one reason Crosby prefers Intersection to the regular morning service. It's a whole lot easier for him to be himself.
So, it's with a great deal of pride that I point out that I actually got Crosby to make a vulgar joke during the turkey roasting marathon inside St. Michaels' kitchen today. I discovered very early on that one could no longer use the word "bone" as a verb these days, especially regarding people who do it to turkeys. That sort of got things started.
Then, there was the moment, after about three hours of some very sensuous dry rubbing of the birds with seasoning and waiting for them to brown in the ovens (we had two ovens and as many as eight turkeys going at the same time), Crosby thought it wise "open their legs up a little". Idk, for some reason that broke me up as I had this vision of a turkey letting "his boys" have some room. Crosby quickly turned beet red and vehemently denied any intention at making a joke and we thereafter referred to such statements as examples of "naive vulgarity".
Well, moments later, in showing me how to grip the cooking sheet that held the turkeys, he instructed me that "you only have to get the tip in." But, moments later, in going over it again (I admit I'm a slow learner), he repeated it with a slight leer. THAT got my attention. Current Mood: naughty
|Monday, December 15th, 2014|
|Third Sunday of Advent, 2014
I'm going to try to make this as G-rated as possible. If I can't, I will certainly let you know of the futility of my attempts by labeling it (Part Two, Part Three etc.)
The New Rector began her tenure yesterday. I missed Saturday Kitchen as well as the Morning Service because of the RC workshop. I had just enough time to change shirts after my ride from Warwick dropped me beside my apartment complex [Note to Self: you still owe the driver $15 for the return trip]. I was already in high dudgeon from the workshop, but, not quite as euphoric as I might have been. I was clearly suffering withdrawal pains from my patented mixture of Crosby pheromones and St. Michael's coffee. But, more importantly, I hadn't seen The New Rector since she was an associate priest three years ago (it feels even longer that that.) With the exception of Pale Male, she is the last living
vestige of those hothouse years involving VRaptor, Miss Honey, Bible Study and commandeering the Upper West Side as backdrop for our spats and crushes and attempts at understanding ourselves.
I was crazy with grief at her absence in my life these last few years.
So, I was a mess. Crosby was the first to notice it. He gave me a knowing smile from clear across the musician's corner when I came in, carrying my coat in my arms. Without my glasses (I'm back to my pre-Pablo habits), I was unable, at first, to tell where The New Rector was standing in the Chancel. But, I could tell someone slim and golden was near the center of things.
Huggy Bear came from out of nowhere to give me a stick-on name tag which strangely seemed a perfectly natural thing to have (we didn't have any at the weekend wokshop and could have used them.) I also misidentified one of the parishioners when he asked who they were (I said it was "T.J." instead of "C.J.") I shouldn't answer stuff when I'm crazy.
As soon as I sat down I became afflicted with St. Michael's cough, that wheezing sensation you get from the dry furnace air and suspended incense that permeates the place. By the time I came back from blowing my nose in the men's bathroom, the service was in full swing and went rather swiftly. The New Rector's homily was in keeping with what has turned out to be a weirdly and unusually somber Advent: her sister in California had just died a little less than 24 hours before. She was stoic and a picture of sweet sadness and mercifully did not open the floor to comments and responses.
John Cantrell and the musicians sang "Any Day Now" during the Reflection. All in all, I thought it was a superlative reintroduction to the service she helped pioneer some seven years ago.
After the service, she was encircled by a cloud women and their secret language of warding and yielding. I saw Crosby grab Huggy Bear for some errands downstairs amongst the food freezers and soon saw the fruits of their adventure: about
three boxes containing I don't know how many frozen turkeys. They will have to defrost in time for cooking on Tuesday morning.
Look out for men in t-shirts, wielding sharp instruments!
|Thursday, December 11th, 2014|
|Second Sunday of Advent, 2014 (Part Three)
Well, I'll be darned. I think I just described a monastery:"The storage room is not much bigger than the International Space Station that orbits the earth and for two hours we probably had even less contact with the outside world than those astronauts do. I wish we could say we were weightless as well, but, other than that, it was very similar: we were climbing up and down ladders, performing "experiments" ("Will this fit in here?", "What if we put the red beans next to the fruit cocktail?"), having only each other to consult and make "executive decisions". At the end of it, I was actually a little euphoric."
|Wednesday, December 10th, 2014|
|Second Sunday of Advent 2014 (Part Two)
This has been a difficult week to describe. I've taken a few stabs at it and decided to make them friend only - for which I do apologize. Here's the G-Rated version as near as I can make it:
1. A lot of Big News in the material world - Cops killing Black men has become a very hot topic. Surprisingly so to these ancient eyes and ears. It is as though the activist Left has been given a new breath of life. Suddenly, people everywhere are able to mobilize very, very impressive numbers of people to take to the streets and to participate in direct actions. I haven't seen anything quite like it since the Matthew Shepard murder over 16 years ago.
2. Lots of Big News locally - Huggy Bear and I have both been chosen to be Vestry members - for different churches. Our terms will begin almost simultaneously and it's made us feel much closer allies. And, after Kitchen last week, Crosby revealed that he had high hopes of going on a missionary journey sometime in the Fall.
3. Emotional Roller Coasters - Crosby's impending trip certainly makes things feel as though they are hurtling towards some sort of Endgame. I keep asking myself, is it time to take out the paints for that final portrait? We've grown as close in these last seven months as VRaptor and I did in probably two years; I feel as if
we really do "know"
each other on some superficial level. I feel like I'm his "go-to" person when he wants help in doing something and I feel like I can be pretty physically affectionate with him. He's a social being, no doubt about it. The
highpoint of the week came during a rare cleaning session in the Saturday Kitchen storage room last week.
It was clear he needed a tall dude to help reach the higher shelves, but, he could have picked almost anyone. I think he picked me because he knew I would enjoy keeping him company.
The storage room is not much bigger than the International Space Station that orbits the earth and for two hours we probably had even less contact with the outside world than those astronauts do. I wish we could say we were weightless as well, but, other than that, it was very similar: we were climbing up and down ladders, performing "experiments" ("Will this fit in here?", "What if we put the red beans next to the fruit cocktail?"), having only each other to consult and make "executive decisions". At the end of it, I was actually a little euphoric.
4. Spiritual Confusion - I am not at all familiar with Advent as a part of the Church calendar. I barely knew it existed until two weeks ago. I don't understand how it differs from Lent. So far, they carry the same degree of solemnity. It is as though someone, perhaps John the Baptist, really is "keeping a list and checking it twice"? Also, is euphoria the right state of mind to have
after two hours of heavy lifting in a stuffy old room?
this time of year? Is
it sacrilegious? Should I avoid it in the future? Or, should I jump at the next opportunity?
Also, Pablo has left the building, which means I am feeling even more like myself lately. Is that a good thing? Current Mood: confused
|Friday, December 5th, 2014|
|Peter Pan Live! (2014; NBC TV Special)
I'm going to put it right out there: As a connoisseur of the
J.M. Barrie tale, I was thrilled by the new production. Allison Williams was an elegant and polished prep school version of the title character, but, there's nothing in Peter's backstory to suggest that he couldn't
be from an upper middle-class British background. In fact, he probably was. It's only the living memory that some of us have - now available to subsequent generations on dvd - of Mary Martin's West Texas twang that would have even suggested otherwise.
There are a lot of other differences between the performance last night and the ones that Martin starred in the mid-fifties and finally committed to video tape in 1960: at least two songs were added and one subtracted from the original score. But, none compared to the entire concept of broadcasting live from a sound stage on Long Island, a gimmick first introduced in last year's broadcast of "Sound of Music", starring
Carrie Underwood as Maria von Trapp. The vast movie production loft permits each set to be interconnected by a series of road maps, permitting the actors to walk, run or in this case - fly - from one scene change to the other, thus eliminating the proscenium arch altogether. The actors don't enter and exit so much as the audience does, via discreet use of a hand held
Christopher Walken was a delight in the pivotal role of Captain Hook. He looked the way I sometimes feel as a bitter older man who refuses to grow up. The casting took some risks because Walken's penchant for deadpan menace, I thought, might have been too much for little children. But, he's a consummate performer and the camera adores him, penciled eyebrows and all. Children of all ages will find him both scary and funny. The only disappointment here was that i would like to have seen him also play Mr. Darling, the children Wendy, John and Michael's, father. But, perhaps the producers thought it was too much for the 71 year-old actor.
|Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014|
I got out of dance class just in tie to see a troop of Ferguson protesters marching down West 57th Street. Right past the Hooters. They occupied the entire traffic lane for half a block. They had a real good chant, "Hands Up, Don't Shoot" and the placards were printed in nice bold letters easily readable from the sidewalk. Current Mood: chipper
Pablo says that at Intersection last Sunday, I told everyone the story about shopping for a burial plot. No way. That isn't something I would have done.
Pablo has got to go. Current Mood: annoyed
Got my Advent message for this morning:
"Fill us all with joy and peace, that we may walk in the hope of the Holy Spirit, Lord, in your loving mercy, be near to those who seek you without knowing it."
What happens if we push the "Reply" button? Current Mood: loved
|Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014|
|Two More Snaps!
Huggy Bear said a prayer for me. The reason I know is because he signed a card vouching for it and dropped in the mailbox to my address. It's pure serendipity. People who lead the prayers during Morning service have a list of parishioners given to them for inclusion. They rotate through the entire congregation over the space of a year. In fact, I think I get cards more than once a year. Huggy Bear happened to be leading the Saturday morning service two weeks ago when my name was included, but, it was a sweet thing to notice in the mailbox.
Speaking of praying, I couldn't help but notice that at Intersection last Sunday, Crosby prayed for "all who suffer from Alzheimer's" disease.
The love just keeps coming and coming.
Just received an Advent text from Crosby. They're available to anyone from St. Michael's (or, anyone who stumbles upon the URL) and I signed up yesterday. It was really good, it said something like,
"May you have the power to say, 'No', when saying 'Yes' would take you away from G-d's peace."
Note to Self: Ask if he wrote this himself?
|Sunday, November 30th, 2014|
|First Sunday of Advent 2014
I was super psyched to see everyone at Intersection as I arrived just before the bell tower started to ring. John Cantrell, Crosby and Drummer were rehearsing; Daneesha and Marley were in the kitchen; people were already beginning to sit in the choir pews. It is so clear after such a long week that this is like a second family. I am no longer embarrassed to arrive early, I am so anxious to see them.
Drummer is a new ingredient to the mix, a very righteous young instructor of percussion instruments.
I really like Drummer. He reminds me of Egon Schiele.
He waved at me from the orchestra "pit".
Pablo made a beeline for a solitary African-American female "of a certain age" sitting in the deacon's chair at the end of the back pew. It is hard to get close to someone in that seat because of the raised rosewood embroidery around it, but, Pablo tried his best. Crosby countered by sitting on my other side and I was so thrilled, I bumped shoulders with him. We made room for Huggy Bear and soon the whole back pew felt very cozy.
The Gospel readings, as explained by Father Sam, are from Year B of the Lectionary and will cycle through all of Mark and because Mark is so short, a little bit of John as well. Tonight was from the First Chapter, 13th verse. It was that piece that talks about the Second Coming and which ends with the warning, "Be Awake! Be Awake!"
Father Sam's homily revolved around the preparation and anticipation of the Advent Season. The Christmas season, really. His question to us at the end was "In What Ways Have You Prepared For The Advent Season?" No one raised there hand for a very long minute. Crosby and I exchanged looks, as if to say, "I got nothing." Then, of course, a few of the Usual Suspects made a stab at it and kept the ball rolling.
The Peace went well. My weekly warm connection with Crosby was elegantly executed across Huggy Bear's shoulder. And, because Pablo was inside my head ("Ooh. Over here. Get this one") - a lot of other people's were as well.
At the post-Benediction interlude, John, Paul and Crosby really rocked a
Crosby Stills and Nash
Chicago tune that made my jaw drop.
But, after that I was all Pablo's as we flirted with every woman in the room. One of them even flirted back - which can be pretty scary.
So tired of Pablo. But, he seems very popular with the ladies.
Note to self: Start going back to Saturday Kitchen. You both seem to enjoy it plus I think they can always use the help. Current Mood: loved
|Saturday, November 29th, 2014|
|The Family Plot
We're back from North Carolina and I cannot thank everyone enough for their prayers. The car trip went like magic. Nine hours almost exactly, each way. And, for the first time ever, Sis, Bro, and I celebrated a major holiday together, away from New York City.
The occasion was a sad one. Cousin Arnetta's immediate family was in deep mourning and that included my oldest cousin, Reva who can usually be counted on to meet and greet visitors after church. But, yesterday, as the sun dipped lower and lower in the sunset, Reva and her brothers lingered, dividing their time between the graveyard, overseeing Arnetta's interment (a feat of old-fashioned engineering that never fails to fascinate me), taking note of the flower arrangements, talking about ground cover once the spring came (Cousin Flenton recommended against scattering grass seed because birds would devour it long before any had time to germinate) and the church hall where tub fulls of fried chicken and baked ham and just about every comfort food you could name, were waiting to be served. The overall atmosphere was serious and yet convivial at the same time.
It was a good time to tackle one bit of housekeeping of my own: my own final resting place. I spoke with the minister and, apparently there is still some limited space available in the family plot. However, it will cost me (and Sis and Bro,, if they're interested.) I know it's a silly thing to overthink, but, I really can't make up my mind where I's rather be: in a tasteful little jar in St. Michael's columbarium. Or, in an hermetically sealed vault deep beneath the detection of ravenous birds. Current Mood: high
|Wednesday, November 26th, 2014|
|My Cousin Arnetta
Arnetta was a first cousin on my mother's side. She was the third oldest child and second daughter of Mom's oldest brother. With her four siblings her's was the last of the active farmers in the family. Everyone paid their dues growing up and I have crystal clear memories of Arnetta, with us under the broad branches of a shade tree, her fingers speeding down the length of a stick hoisted between two saw horses, whipping a fist full of tobacco leaves extended from our outstretched hands and securing them snugly against the stick with a tug that kept the spool by her feet spinning and bobbing until the stick could hold no more leaves.
It was the job of us visiting male cousins to lift the leaf laden stick off the sawhorse and place it in a pile with others on the ground, all waiting to be trucked to one of several "stick barns" belonging to either my grandfather or to Arnetta's dad.. She was the best "stringer" for miles around until she went off to college, taught school and raised a family of her own.
She was quiet and shy as a teenager, in the tradition of country women. But, as the long summer afternoons went by under that shade tree, she would occasionally provoke a discussion or tease one of us as she worked. I easily imagined Mom at her age. There was a definite family resemblance. I'm sorry I lost track of her as we grew older and our lives diverged. We occasionally met at family weddings (and, more often at funerals.) She aged extremely gracefully, never losing her youthful figure which was why it was such a shock that she became sick so suddenly. My cousin, Isaac, was her baby brother and it is a comfort to think that they are united in death, along with their parents.
Pray for us as Sis, Bro and I prepare to drive down to North Carolina for her funeral. Current Mood: nostalgic
|Monday, November 24th, 2014|
|EDGAR IS 95!
Edgar Dawson, the diminutive man of African American descent, who often ushers during Morning Mass turned 95, I believe today. It is incredible to me that this quiet, sturdy, gentle man is only a year younger than Mom and has full use of his legs and limbs and intelligence. He received a standing ovation during morning Mass and a second round of "Happy Birthday" and cake during Intersection (I made sure of it before I made plans to come back for Intersection.) Almost everyone says the same thing: he doesn't look a day over 75.
|Sunday, November 23rd, 2014|
|The Last Sunday Before Advent 2014
I got up this morning anxious to take Pablo out for another outing and quickly realized that this would be a far more complex endeavor. Now, Pablo wants to dress me. He picked out the skinniest suit I owned and spent fifteen minutes searching through my closet for a string tie. He was convinced that I had one. When it was nearly time to leave he finally gave up and allowed me to pick out a sedate light blue tie with tasteful rows of tiny decals. Not satisfied, Pablo insisted on making me wear my only pair of lace-up patent leather shoes. I looked like a Tijuana used car salesman.
The transportation angel was with me all the way. The haggling over my tie had put me about ten minutes behind schedule for the Morning Mass and I SO wanted to get there in time to get a good seat for Bing and Crosby's respective performances. Indeed, a performance was what everyone sat back in their seats expecting to see. But, what they actually got was so much more.
Bing was scheduled to deliver the homily and Pablo was initially confused.
"Is this Crosby?" he asked.
"No. this is the father."
"Oh. But, he looks so young."
"Yes, he does."
"Why does he think he needs a microphone?"
There was some trouble with the wireless mike Bing wore clipped to his tie. Pablo and I could hear him perfectly well without it. But, apparently, he wasn't belting it to the back row of the balcony. So, with a few adjustments made (including, a short spurt of feedback) he commenced on what started as a riff on judging people. Bing is self-aware enough to know about his "fish-eye", that look he gets when he is shamelessly skeptical about something. He talked about constantly separating people into "sheep" and "goats". I thought it was a wonderful confessional. And, he did it without being anyone
BUT himself ("You should try that, sometime.", whispered Pablo from inside my head.)
He talked about his operation, I guess that must have been six or seven years ago. About how different people in the congregation - Margaret Cotterell, for one - arrived to give him support, even though he didn't exactly look terribly cute or handsome at the time. The quote that got the biggest laugh wasn't from the Bible, but, from John Updike, that chronicler of upper-middle class, mid-century WASP angst: "Every New Yorker", he began, "does one thing well and thinks everyone else is crazy for not doing it."
I half expected people to applaud when Bing was finished, but, when no one did, I ascribed it to the fact that it was a sermon, and people were probably unsure. It's like, when do you applaud a live performance of Beethoven's Fifth? At the end of the symphony, or at the end of each movement?
I looked around for Crosby, positive that he would not have missed his father speaking. There was plenty of room in the pew next to Bing, or, so I thought. But, I hadn't done the math and realized that among his party and besides Colette and Crosby there was also a family friend named, Juliet, and a mysterious stranger sitting next to Crosby, many pews in back of me.
The time for The Peace arrived shortly after and Pablo was in the mood to schmooze. He latched on to Sean Kelly, my old EFM classmate, and wouldn't break eye contact with him even as Crosby came near enough to touch. It was like trying to get a recalcitrant horse to obey the reins. Finally, as he slipped by us, whispering, "Just wanted to say, 'hello.'", I reached out in time to give him a quick squeeze around the waist. I was furious with Pablo.
"Because Crosby was embarrassed."
"Was that Crosby?"
"YES, THAT WAS CROSBY!"
"You should have told me. I would have let you talk to him."
"That's not the point!"
"What is the point?"
"I don't know."
Well, I knew what the point was. I just wasn't admitting it. For the past six months it had been Captain Hook's job to know of Crosby's whereabouts at all times. He flunked badly during the weekend of "The Magic Flute" when he failed to inform me that Peter...er, Crosby, had a featured role. Pablo was clearly not up to the task either. He was more fascinated by this Juliet person who was mentioned in Bing's sermon (she's the one who supplied the Updike quote) and he spent the better part of The Peace schmoozing with her. I would almost say, he was flirting. She recalled Bing and Colette's wedding. It took place in the Little Chapel just across from us.
Crosby's talk came almost immediately after we'd all taken our seats again. It was in preparation for the collection of gifts. Indeed, the entire Mass was subtitled, "Stewardship Sunday". Traditionally, someone gives a talk about why giving to St. Michael's is so important. Unlike his dad, Crosby gave no pretense that he was speaking without notes. They were clearly there on the lecturn in front of him. There would be no body mike shennanigans. His only conceit was that he was under orders to give the entire talk in under two minutes.
He spoke clearly and with feeling. In fact, I'm not even sure what it was he said, so much as the way he said it. He gave a little bit of biography; St. Michael's was the only church-home he has ever known. It was when he started talking about the Intersection service that I noticed he took his eyes off the paper in front of him and took his time to take us all in. He talked about looking around at the circle of worshipers at Intersection when the time arrived to say, The Lord's Prayer; he talked about the variety of experiences and backgrounds everyone brought with them. He especially emphasized the difference in ages. I felt my eyes welling up again and just as I was recalling a similar incident the week before, Pablo said to me, "Look. Look.", pointing toward the lecturn.
"Look at what?"
"He's getting weepy-eyed"
"No he's not."
"Yes, he is! There's a twinkle in his eye."
Clearly, Pablo could see something I couldn't. But, as it turned out, he was correct. Crosby had lifted the Bing family curtain back by quite a bit. By the time he squeaked out a final, child-like, "Please give us money.", he had the entire congregation eating out of his hand. And, in under two minutes. Current Mood: loved
|Saturday, November 22nd, 2014|
|Saturday Kitchen, November 22, 2014
Took Pablo out for a test drive this morning. Things went very smoothly. I can wear him pretty lightly. I was afraid he might break out in dialect, but, other than the occasional "Buenos dias", there was not much outwardly to suggest he was of Mexican descent.
Pablo likes what he saw: Lots of warm, hard-working people. It was a particularly complicated dinner since it took place the week before Thanksgiving. Crosby says they cooked something in the realm of twenty turkeys, and a volunteer professional chef boned them all in the Parish House kitchen. I kept hearing Pablo saying, "Bueno. bueno" from inside my head.
Pablo can talk to just about everybody for hours on end. He has boundless patience. And, people seem to take to him. A new fellow (to me, at least) told Pablo his entire life's story inside of fifteen minutes with Miss Honey standing nearby, her jaw dropping only once or twice at some of the things that were said.
Crosby took up exactly where we left off at last Intersection with a warm, cheek to cheek hug. Pablo took it in stride, almost as a matter of course. I think Latin men are just so much more accustomed to showing affection with each other. Current Mood: high
|My Name Is Pablo
I'm sixty-four years old, born in Mexico, raised in East L.A.. I retired from my job as a telephone lineman to pursue my true passion: oil painting. I like to drink. I like to dance.
I am a widower. Not to anxious too return to the dating scene, although I love women. I have one son and one daughter and one three-year old granddaughter who are still in California.
So far, I love New York City, but, it is a little more expensive than I anticipated. I'm payiing $2500 a month for a studio apartment in East Harlem - and that's on top of finder's fees, "key money", and three months security deposit. They get you five million ways back here in the The Big Mango. Current Mood: excited
|Thursday, November 20th, 2014|
|A Few Things I Should Know By Now
Lesson One: If someone you know shares the same fears you do, you don't go to them when you're scared, too. No one wants to be around a buzz kill.
Lesson Two: Fellowship is better than isolation, no matter how crazy everyone is.
Lesson Three: The young and the old make natural allies; in a funny way, they each make time stand still for the other, just a little bit. Part of my job is to grow old.
Others to follow.
Lesson Four: Always carry your dancing shoes. Current Mood: scared
|Sunday, November 16th, 2014|
|Pull Yourself Together, Man
Boy, the Bings are one tough bunch of cookies.
The Red Line trains were not running to and from Brooklyn, so I had to take the Green Line and transfer somewhere. Unfortunately, even though I was riding the Green Line and even though the Red Line was supposed to be out of service, the train only had the Red Line stops mapped out above everyone's head. I guessed at the best transfer point and the choice was probably as good as any other I could have made. Still, I couldn't shake the feeling that I might have been on time for Intersection but for the extra train ride.
Because the sanctuary was being used as the set for "The Magic Flute" that weekend, Intersection was in the Parish House reception hall which doubles for so many group gatherings, including Saturday Kitchen. Everyone was sitting in gray folding chairs around in a circle, already on the last stanza of "
I'm Gonna Let It Shine
I Want To Be Like Jesus" when I walked in and took the nearest seat. I didn't even see Crosby sitting directly across from me before I spotted Hair Shirt Lady sitting a short ways to my right. It was immediately apparent that any reconciliation with her would be awkward and under the harsh lighting of the Parish House fluorescent bulbs.
Our Seminarian from Alabama gave the homily and it was my second bite at the apple since I had also attended morning service where he gave the same one. It was on the parable about the three slaves who are given different numbers of "talents" to hold for their master and how two of them were able to double his investment while the third had hidden his by burying it in the ground. A difficult passage. i don't think anyone hit it out of the ballpark during the feedback section.
At The Peace, I didn't move from the spot in front of my chair. Hair Shirt Lady eventually made it over and pointedly said, "Peace be with you - and your mother."
So, it was done. Yet, butter couldn't melt in my mouth for the rest of the service. And, just to show you how far from in the moment I was feeling, Crosby tried to give me hug from an awkward position over someone else's handshake and I did nothing to make it easier for him; I just stuck out my hand and he shook it. He even tried it again a few seconds later and nothing. I was over thinking everything, including how to hug people!
The couple sitting next to me were close to my age (maybe, a little older) and were new to the congregation. He had an interesting background as a journalist and had been retired until just a short while ago when he was offered a job at Columbia. They packed up everything and traveled all the way from New Hampshire. Apparently, this will be their first home in New York City.
While I was chatting with them, I spotted Crosby getting ready to take off; he had one arm in the sleeve of his jacket while the other sleeve brushed the floor like a bridal train. I knew there was a Patriots game later in the evening (he likes to root against them) and went over to ask him whether that was where he was going. It turns out he was going to help break "The Magic Flute" set. I probably should have helped, but, I really wanted to see the game and Crosby has at least a half-hour head start on me before kickoff.
There was one embarrassing moment when Crosby nonchalantly said how good it was to see me and I reacted by almost getting weepy-eyed. I could see it was the wrong move. For all their love of performing and general joking around, the Bings don't actually go in for a lot of drama. I think they think it's in bad taste. As I was about to launch into an appreciation, Crosby interrupted me in mid-sentence and said, "That's okay. We'll talk." and hurried away.
I was drawn into a conversation with the Seminarian about a dispute that was going on at "General", short for General Theological Seminary, or "GTS". There are two sides to it and it was surprising to hear an African-American from Alabama's take on it. Hair Shirt Lady came over and immediately turned it into a bashing session (predictably, she's on the side of the administration.) Frank Lee walked in at just the opportune moment and I was able to extricate myself. After grabbing two helpings of Herb's delicious soup (both kinds), we made our way down Broadway. Current Mood: embarrassed