I think I shocked Taylor. We moved the fifth piece of furniture and Taylor finally settled into her room. She was like,”Mom, it’s time to rest.” hmmm…maybe.
I sat for a bit, but was thinking about the cantata at church. Cantata’s were definitely not Archie’s thing. We both liked soulful choirs like the movie Sister Act and Sister Act II, but a regular choir, not so much. Should I go by myself?
I sat contemplating…do I really want to go? If no, why? If yes, why? No: I’m tired. It’s a drive. I really don’t know if I’d like the music. I’d have to go alone so no one to sit with or talk to. Alone again or home with Taylor?
Yes: I’ve always wanted to go to one. They have coffee. I like to people watch so even if I’m alone, I’m not bored. Taylor was tired and wanted to rest. I’ll never know if I’d like it unless I attended/tried it. Did I mention coffee?
The coffee answered the question, didn’t it? I stood up and told Taylor I was going. She gave me a puzzled face, as I went to get to ready.
I arrived about half an hour before the choir and orchestra began. I filled my cup and walked the Grand Hall a bit. As expected, most fellow spectators had beautiful silvery white hair and “had me” by about 20 years. Only about 10% were younger than me and I think they were the families of the participants.
I meandered around a smidge then went into the auditorium where they were warming up. I sat watching Pastor Don interact with the choir and listened to the murmur as the seats began to fill. I sat quietly as the hum of the choir faded, gazing at the beautiful wooden beams that support this massive room, the speakers dangling from wire, stories above me, and the intimate lighting that mellowed the room and cast calming shadows. The vocalists filed out followed by the instrumental troupe.
Moments before the event started I left my purse on the seat to “top off” my coffee.
Upon my return, my pew had filled to capacity, my seat, hugging the end, saved by a bulky pocketbook. I retrieved the bag and the kindly lady next to me said,”I saw your purse. I hope you don’t mind we sat here. Where you expecting someone else?” “No,” I said with a gentle smile, and took my seat.
The choir appeared wearing an array of spring colored shirts and dark trousers, the orchestra all in black. The music filled the air as a gentleman 30 years my senior, with a walking cane, shuffled into the seat behind. When they coaxed the crowd to join in with lyrics on the overhead screens, I heard him bellow out the words with authority. Made me smile.
The songs were from long ago, about thirty years. The melodies were common choir songs in the 80’s and I knew them all from the GACA days in PA. I sang along quietly.
The choir called a “wrap” and we all stood for the finale. Pastor Dave joined Pastor Don on stage and just as they were beginning to speak the gentleman from behind me rounded the pew.”Who’s talkn’ up there?”
Pastor Dave and Pastor Don. “Oh. Are they the pastors of this church?” Yes, they’ve both been here a long time (at that point someone starts the ending prayer) “Do you go to this church?” Yes, I’ve been here a while. “Why aren’t you up there?” “Do you attend?” He then notices everyone else’s heads are bowed. “OH, OH!” Silence until “Amen” is said.
He leans in close and his voice booms,”Why aren’t you up there?” I smile. “I saw you singing and you knew all the words. So, why aren’t you up there?” I explain, God hasn’t called me. “You listen to me, you need to be up there. I saw you singing and moving your head. The next time I come here, I expect you to be up there. What was your name again?” We hadn’t introduced ourselves yet, but I ‘reminded’ him that my name was Tracy, “and yours?” “Roland. It is really nice meeting you. Remember, the next time I come here, I expect to see you up there.” With a pat on the shoulder, we said farewell.
Seeing someone’s mouth moving and hearing the sound coming out of their mouth are two totally different things. His crystal blue eyes, and deep but shaky voice were sincere and kind. I made a friend :).
What would have happened if I would have decided not to go? Not a lot. The tv would have been good and the company, with Taylor, excellent. But what if my pat on Roland’s shoulder was the only physical contact he had for the day? What if he lived alone and the silence was so deafening he needed to escape to a place he had never been just to be around people to hear words spoken in person, not resonating from a box either hanging on the wall or sitting on a shelf. To speak and be heard…words reflected back. Real people.
I can be that, even when I am trying to figure out who I am. I can even smile…which was one of Archie and my favorite videos:
It’s true. You do ;). I probably do, too.