Springer’s Ice Cream. I’d been to a rummage sale at the church once and bought a cocktail dress, complete with its $900 price tag (Saks Fifth Avenue, natch) for a dollar. No, it was not for me. But my friend Blonde Pam liked it, pretty much fit into it, and I think even wore it someplace. I’m not sure if she took the price tag off or not—not because she’s a latter day Minnie Pearl, but because, well, she’s Blonde Pam. But I digress...
Fortuitously, the parking had even more Pope-ness about it than usual since there was twenty-five cents--free for the taking--hanging out of the slot and the meter was broken. I stopped and pondered. Was this some sort of moral test? Could I keep the quarter and just leave the next guy free parking courtesy of the broken meter, or should I give the next parker the daily double, a quarter and free parking? What’s that called, paying it forward? I didn’t know what to do except to stand there and chuckle at the punch line of that old joke: “Who gave you the quarter?” “Everyone.” As blog readers know, I find myself so entertaining.
Leaving the quarter there, I walked over to what looked to be part of the Fest. There were two jolly Episcopalians attending a clam steamer under an E-Z Up by the door to St. Mary’s social hall. They told me that they were just the steamed clam department and sent me inside for the main event.
State College Presbyterian Church, enjoying a bit of “kitchen fellowship”.
After a while two people joined me in line—it apparently took them some time to get though the payment station as well. One was a cute, straight (dead giveaway: bad shoes), forty-ish business casual guy who obviously worked near the church someplace. You could tell he was working instead of on vacation since he was wearing a new polo, tidy Dockers, and—ugh—shoes that could have gotten him arrested by the fashion police in Dupont Circle, The Castro, or in parts of Lower Manhattan. Had he been a vacationer he would have been dressed like me: flip flops, khaki shorts that did everything for my bird legs, and a polo shirt that had been through the laundry
The business casual guy leaned over to me and, in a voice that mixed a chuckle with exasperation, said that he didn’t know what the holdup was, that all the meals they were preparing were the same. I laughed and looked around the room before responding that I was just glad to know that there were people older than Presbyterians. (Score: Rick 1, Locals 0). As she pushed her sunglasses to the top of her head, Ms. Wrap Dress chimed in with “Oh my God, with the week I am having, anything is better than cooking!!” I half expected her to pull a cocktail shaker out of her Coach bag and ask each of us if we wanted a Cosmo. She was the kind of soccer mom my father would have called a “kick in the ass”. That was a good thing. I've never quite figured out the expression, but like the Supreme Court and pornography, I know a kick in the ass when I see one. And Ms. Wrap Dress was definitely a kick in the ass.
Anna Wintour haircut and resort wear handed me my Styrofoam take out container and I was on my way to the door. I was just about out of the social hall when one of the serving ladies called after me to say that they’d forgotten to give me my chips. I pointed to the business casual guy, and in a moment of church inspired hospitality said “Give mine to him; I’m sure he’ll enjoy them.”
It might not be loaves and fishes for the multitudes, but in my church, giving a guy in bad shoes a bag of chips is its own kind of miracle.