Saturday, May 4, 2013
Dinner at the Whittingtons
Mother is in a snit, and fortunately has gone to bed. For my part this is a wonderful time to walk Pippa our frou-frou dog out in the garden. The small group meeting was at the Whittington’s this evening. Would you believe they actually served a lobster bisque and a Caprese salad; you know, alternating slices of rare filet mignon, mozzarella, tomatoes, balsamic vinegar and fresh basil. It was exquisite! Grace Whittington certainly put her best foot forward. Even Mother was impressed; so impressed that it took the edge of her negativity about the Bible Study and the prayer time. By the time we got to the Bible Study Mother was almost mellow.
Fortunately she liked the red leather New Jerusalem Bible that I purchased for her. The feel of real leather is very satisfying, and the color was not that embarrassing “bible black”. For Mother, it’s the little things that make the difference.
She actually did venture an opinion or two during the Bible Study. Mother always has an opinion. We were reading about Jesus’s call of Simon and Andrew in the Gospel of Mark, and Mother said, “Fishermen? Really, Grace, you would think he would have called people more socially acceptable.”
Grace’s husband, Horace, mildly replied, “I love to fish. Why last summer we were salmon fishing at Lochaber in Scotland. It was a marvelous experience.” That was quite crafty of Horace; after all he knew what she meant.”
That seemed to satisfy Mother and she replied, “Well, I suppose it’s alright then.”
On the way home Mother was ominously silent, but that didn’t last long. By the time we had arrived home she began to natter away. “Alfred, you should have known better than to wear a red paisley ascot. Paisley is so difficult, and it clashed with the dress Grace was wearing.”
“Mother,” said I. “It was perfectly alright. I was sitting at the opposite side of the table and it didn’t matter at all.” Mother looked askance at me as though she couldn’t believe what she was hearing, but after all, I had to say something, and knowing Mother, I knew that wasn’t the issue.
Once home Mother began puttering in the kitchen and I heard a crash, a crystal goblet had careened off the counter and shattered on the floor. I could hear Mother muttering as she swept up. Mother and Muttering are two “M” words that belong together, especially when she is upset and doesn’t know why she is upset. The best thing to do is lay low and stay out of firing range. Even Pippa was beginning to learn that, and she was hiding under the dining room table.
Eventually Mother went to bed. Ordinarily she likes to read for a little while, but this evening she turned off the light angrily and was laying there awake in the dark. If you don’t think that someone can turn off a light angrily, you don’t know Mother.
With that Pippa and I took the safest course and headed out to the garden together. I have begun to learn the value of small informal spontaneous prayers. Grace Whittington tonight called them arrow prayers, so I shot a few heavenward and what occurred to me is that Mother was upset with the dinner and the Bible Study because she found nothing to be upset about. That actually makes sense, knowing Mother. And the other thing that occurred to me was that there was nothing I needed to do about it except walk with Pippa in the garden.
“Let my prayer be counted as incense before you, and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice!” (Psalm 141:2).