Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Remembrance of Things Past*

Craig's List, D.C.

It's cold! Very cold! Ten degrees this morning!

No matter how cold it gets, I DO NOT want a mink coat!!!!! It has nothing to do with animal rights.

It has to do with Mrs. East.

Although there were no reserved seats at our church, we always sat in the same pew. Occasionally a visitor would come and take our seats but that didn't create a problem. We simply sat elsewhere for that Sunday. Most Sundays we were in our usual place behind Mrs. East who was in her usual place.

My early memories of Sunday morning service were the hymns, most of which I still love today.

I remember, too, my boring discomfort. The pews were hardwood. My legs weren't long enough to bend unless I sat forward. When I sat forward, I tended to kick the back of the seat in front of me--Mrs. East's seat. Once I'd penciled in all the looped letters (o, p, b, a, e) in the bulletin, boredom took hold.

The winters were different. On winter Sundays, Mrs. East wore her minks. Oh how I loathed and feared those little creatures. Their eyes stared relentlessly at me! The little teeth bit into each other forming a chain of animals biting animals around Mrs. East's neck.

In winter, I could not take my eyes off those small creatures. They sent cold chills up my spine! I could not imagine how she could take them from wherever they stayed during the week and put them around her neck. How could she bring herself to touch them. I cringed a lot on those cold Sundays!

On the last Sunday morning we sat behind Mrs. East, I was particularly bored. My stiff little legs itched to kick a military tattoo on the back of her seat.

The first hymn had been sung. The minister stood in the pulpit. All was quiet.

One of those long dead little minks must have relaxed in some way. He (I always thought of them as masculine) suddenly let go of the mink next in line.

I watched in horror as those minks slowly slid down Mrs. East's back to the back of her pew and onto my right ankle!!!!!

My scream was, in every sense, blood curdling. The minister stopped his oration and stared in my direction. I continued to scream as the minks clung to my leg.

My father finally snapped out of his reverie, grabbed me up and dechurched me!

I don't remember anything else about that event except that we found other seats and I've never wanted to be near mink in any form since.

*No worries Mr. Proust. You are still "the man".