That old-timers' religion Print
Grand Mom
Thursday, Jul. 15, 2010 -- 12:00 AM

Grand Mom by Audrey Mettel Fixmer

If anyone were to evaluate our parish by the attendance at daily Mass, they might get the impression that ours was an "old timers' religion." It's mostly a collection of gray heads with a few colors sprinkled in.

In my lifetime, I have witnessed that the biggest population change in our parish, however, is in committee members. This struck me most recently while attending our parish library committee meeting.


As I was leaving our daily chapel, a friend tapped me on the arm. "I'm glad you remembered our meeting; I brought the book for you," she said, thrusting a three-ring binder at me.

I was thinking, what meeting? What book? But I only said, "Thank you," as I suddenly remembered it was Wednesday, the first Wednesday, so of course, we had a parish library meeting. I had written it on three calendars so I wouldn't forget: my desk calendar, my kitchen calendar, and the one I carried in my purse. But I did forget when I left for Mass that morning. So I hadn't brought my notes.

"What's this for?" I asked, holding out the strange notebook.

"It's the secretary's minutes. You're the new secretary, so you need this. Oh, that's right! You weren't at the last meeting when you were elected. Didn't anyone tell you? I guess they forgot."

We had to wait for someone to unlock the door of the meeting room because someone forgot to tell the secretary. A faithful member of the committee sat at the head of the table where the eight of us gathered around and I wondered where the chairman was. I was told she was "probably sick. I don't remember if she called or not."

Meeting 'vision'

Then the meeting opened with an apology: as the person "in the chair" held a paper up close and then further and further away. She had made out an agenda, she explained, but she forgot her glasses that morning. She would fumble through it somehow, so bear with her.

At that point, the woman who had been chair walked in. I said I was glad to see her because we thought she might be sick. "I'm sick all the time," she replied. It was depressing.

The new chair began talking, but I had to stop her. "I just learned that I am now the secretary. I must remind you that I'm not very good at listening, but I can write the minutes, and I will type them up and e-mail them to you. But please remember to speak up if you want me to get it right. I am hard of hearing, you know."


When another member told us she had read a wonderful new book and suggested we add it to our library, we asked about the title and author, but she couldn't remember either one. I was beginning to see a pattern here.

"So, what kind of a book is it?" I asked.

"It's a self-help book," she said without hesitation. (She was one of the workers who had helped to catalogue our 2,853 books, so she knew about these things.) Then we sat in a silence that shouted, "What kind of help did you get?" She went on, "Well, he talks about how important it is to eat balanced meals, . . . and to exercise, . . . and, and get plenty of sleep and . . . and PRAY!" Now that sounds like a winner, doesn't it? I couldn't help it. I laughed.

It struck me then that we were a pathetic group indeed that day -- the blind, the deaf, the forgetful -- and I laughingly suggested that what we needed were some younger members who still had all of their faculties.

Shortly thereafter the chair suggested that we adjourn, as usual "with the Lord's prayer." Then she began with the Sign of the Cross followed by, "Bless us, O Lord, and these thy gifts. . ." We all roared.

Don't you just love that old timers' religion? It's so much fun!

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