Friday, April 01, 2005

The Lebo Choralettes

Mark 8 (New International Version)

Mark 8

Jesus Feeds the Four Thousand

1 “During those days another large crowd gathered. Since they had nothing to eat, Jesus called his disciples to him and said, 2“I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat. 3If I send them home hungry, they will collapse on the way, because some of them have come a long distance.”

4His disciples answered, “But where in this remote place can anyone get enough bread to feed them?”

5“How many loaves do you have?” Jesus asked
“Seven,” they replied.

6He told the crowd to sit down on the ground. When he had taken the seven loaves and given thanks, he broke them and gave them to his disciples to set before the people, and they did so. 7They had a few small fish as well; he gave thanks for them also and told the disciples to distribute them. 8The people ate and were satisfied. Afterward the disciples picked up seven basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over.”

Nancy’s been in an organizational mode lately. It began with a hall closet about three weeks ago. Two weeks ago it was her closet; last week it was mine. You’d be amazed at what a bit of extra shelving and a Swiss mind can do. All three closets are now works of wonder. My closet, for example, is so neatly arranged I can hardly figure out what to do. The shirts are lined up, military fashion, all facing the same way. They’re even color coded, the greens together, the blues together, and so forth. The sweaters are all arranged in neat rows of three. The shoes are all lined up, toes facing out. To an Irishman used to the heave and toss method this is a brave new world indeed.

I’m sure there’s some method to the madness and I’m sure I’ll get used to this new system, but I find myself in the mornings now a bit confused. Where before I had to dig around a bit I now have to take time to process the information carefully before I decide. It’s going to take some getting used to.

At about noon yesterday we ran a few errands. We stopped at Big Lots and bought a laundry hamper for my closet and a large pot for the tomato plants we’ll be getting soon. The hamper tells me that Nancy hasn’t quite gotten out of the organizational mode. “No more chucking dirty clothes into the closet for me,” I muse as we check the goods out.

We stopped for lunch at the Commercial Street Diner on the way home. As we sat there and ate Nancy’s eyes and mind were on one side of the diner and mine were on another. There at a table caddie-corner to my left was a group of four people. One of them was younger than the others and appeared to have Down’s syndrome. It was a bit difficult for me to tell because he seemed to fit in very well with the folks he was breaking bread with, but he had “the look” of someone with Down’s. His company was very animated, alternately talking, waving their arms in the air, and eating vigorously. The young man held his fork in his hand, fist closed, occasionally interrupting his company with laughter. They were really enjoying themselves.

The thing that caught Nancy’s eye was a group of elderly women who were sitting in the non-smoking section directly to her right. I think there were about six or seven of them. As they were leaving Nancy leaned over and whispered to me, “Did you hear what they do for fun?” “Uh, uh,” I responded. “Sure didn’t.”
“They sing at nursing homes.”
“They call themselves the Lebo Choralettes.”
Now Nancy’s not a cynic by any stretch of the imagination. She’s a positive, right thinking person. Her wonderful attitude is a product of her Swiss nature, I believe. But the events of the past few weeks have had an impact on her as it has all of us. “Give it some time, a few years, Slick, and we won’t be needing the Choralettes, will we?” She asked wryly? I looked over at these angels of mercy standing in line, old women decked out in red vests, most supported by three-pronged canes, stooped over, conceding to the years of wear and tear, but still going. I looked back at Nancy and didn’t say anything. But my mind was racing. “We’re pretty healthy right now, but the bones do creak and moan when we get up in the morning. I wonder when we’re going to become enough of a burden to society that we’ll become the objects of some brave new decision?”

The Choralettes finished paying for their meals about the same time Nancy and I finished ours. We sat, saying very little, for some time, both of us lost in our thoughts. Then I got up and paid for the food and we made our way out. As I got to the table closest to the door I saw a handicapped man sitting, trying to negotiate his meal. It was a small bowl of cottage cheese. He apparently had great difficulty negotiating his arms and hands, because he ate without using them. His head bobbed down to the bowl and he would slurp up small bits of the cottage cheese. When he got enough food into his mouth he would then jerk his head back, swallow slowly, and repeat the process.

After we got back home I went upstairs and sat at my PC, finally putting my thoughts in written form. I tried several times to post them in Blogger without success. Each attempt was met by an error message. It was as though the system itself didn’t want me to express my thoughts. “Error…..Error…..Wrong thinking…..We must think about these things coolly and rationally.” I gave up about an hour later. I’m now in the process of trying it all over again on Friday morning.

These past few weeks may have revolutionized me. Nancy’s organizing me. My closet is a masterpiece. This is really a good thing. But I can’t help but wonder whether or not the world is also trying to organize me, to straighten out my thinking. It’s a brave new world alright. Nancy might be right. Pretty soon now and there may not be a need for the Lebo Choralettes.

No comments: