I have this pair of pants that has been a pain in the butt. I went to JCPenny at West County Mall a couple of years ago, because who can resist 60% off on all items? I was seduced by a pair of pants there. I tried them on, and I’ve never looked better in a pair of pants. The price was $27.98. So we went home together, my pants and me.
So I’m once again in line at Walgreens. I’ve got an arms and hands load of products, and I have walked off and forgot my cloth shopping bags again. At the front of the line is a very tall thirty-something white guy with a nice build in shorts and a tee shirt. He’s buying some deodorant and a magazine. Behind him is a sixtyish African American woman, white hair, slightly bent over from the years, flowered house dress. She’s got a cart full of products. She’s talking to the cashier, Laverne, whom I’ve encountered before, also African American about fiftyish. You just know that Laverne has never met a stranger. She gives each person in turn her best service and an occasional flash of wit. Directly in front of me in line is a small, young, attractive woman with long blond hair in high heels, a handful of small products in her right hand and a clutch purse in the other. And the five of us are doing the commercial line dance with poise and patience.
I woke up Easter Sunday in a mood. The previous evening, Stephen and I had attended the late service at Trinity Episcopal Church, and everything had come together for me in an exhilarating way. Witnessing the preparation and lighting of the Paschal candle and the passing of the flame to hand-held candles in the congregation, listening to those old familiar psalms, hymns, and readings from Genesis and Ezekiel, and hearing our competent choir, accomplished organist, and phenomenal preacher, I basked in the lovely ambiance that these elements of worship had created. I have for decades been involved in liturgical service. I recently resigned from altar service, where I have held every lay role, but I continue with my sacristy duty. Being in community with my friends and fellow parishioners as we celebrated the First Eucharist of Easter had resurrected some of my old faith.
It had been a busy work day at Apartment 438: two loads of laundry, preparing and cleaning up after two meals, a little housecleaning, considered off-limits by our regular housecleaner. I was tired. I’m learning to use this aging body more gently and caringly. But there was just this one thing left. A seven item shopping list. I could get it all at Schnucks, even the essential wine and corn patches. So I sat down for 10 minutes, thought “I can do this,” pulled myself together, grabbed three cloth shopping bags, and headed down to the parking garage.
Well, it happened again. I’d be tempted to say “Damn” or worse, but I just did my annual Lenten confession, receiving forgiveness for cussing. I fell. I seem to be getting every possible clue that my abilities are waning. What’s so surprising, even discouraging, is that this dude believes that he has got it. You know what I mean. Mike drop. I AM on top of things. This firstborn child has never let his responsibilities get ahead of him. If I wanted it, and if I could plan for it, scheme for it, delay gratification for it, I got it.
I haven’t written a blog post this year. In one sentence, the shock of watching Mitch McConnell and Donald Trump decimate our democratic process has temporarily castrated my literary vocal chords. But, as bad as things are politically, sometimes I just have to write. I especially write to clear confusion from my mind, to find out what I do or do not think about an issue, to express feeling, or to share an insight. So I am writing about something which happened to me which is totally unrelated to our current political catastrophe. A couple of days ago, I received a huge jolt on the bumpy, downhill highway on which I and most octogenarian citizens find ourselves. We are gradually but jerkily letting go of all our acquired possessions and most of our treasured activities.