We went to a little town this evening with UT and AC to find a little Christmas in small town, old town fashion. With every building there was a year on a plaque and what the building’s original purpose was. There was a reindeer. Santa Claus in the older large red robe tradition. There was old world baking. Houses turned in to stores and stores turned in to houses. Cranky looking store owners. Extremely pleasant soap makers.
Oldness being used in a new way with the new people trying to retain the oldness. It was old fashioned nice and calm. No rushing or crushing.
At the end of our walking tour and shopping and learning we went to the church. It wasn’t very full. And when I walked in I wasn’t aware a program was in progress. But I quickly hushed when I saw a group of women at the front of the church. I wasn’t sure if we were staying or not so I waited and a man whispered to me that the food being sold in the basement was sold out. I thanked him and told him that was okay. UT went to the pews so we followed. I was looking at the women in the group to the right of the back of the choir conductor. They were all wearing red jackets, white shirts, either red or green beads and each had a Christmas tree pin on her jacket. The youngest was probably 40-ish. The oldest in her 80’s. I noticed one lady with auburn hair seemed to have severe arthritis. Then AC spoke in my ear to see if I saw Flo. My eyes immediately went to a white haired lady to the left of the back of the conductor. Oh my gosh. There she was. And she was smiling at us. I couldn’t stop watching her.
After a few minutes I whispered in UT’s ear to see if he saw Flo. He immediately grinned and nodded. There was no mistaking her. Of course it wasn’t her. But there were 4 of us sitting there in that little church listening to a small group of American women singing Christmas carols who were likely hearing an Irish woman singing Amazing Grace.
In addition to that little piece of reminiscing joy, there was an appreciation I was feeling for these women. I looked at the white haired lady who was in the middle of the group, a little plumpish, and turned sideways a bit, singing joyfully and eagerly. I paid attention to the one woman who sat the entire time, who held a cane in her hand and was probably one of the youngest of the group. I looked at the one who I thought was a banker or a realtor. I thought the one in the back with the silver hair looked like a Loreal for silver hair model.
I wondered how many nights these women have gathered over the years to practice, or sing for services. I wondered how many arguments they had regarding what songs to sing. I couldn’t help (sad reflection on me) if they ever rolled their eyes at the very sweet looking lady who seemed to be tone deaf. And being tone deaf, I recognize it. There didn’t seem to be a flicker of anything on their faces but happiness in the singing. I love watching choirs sing who’s mouths form those big “O”s when singing O sounds. Its so…. choir-y.
My eyes kept going back to “Flo” to see if she really looked like her. But her standing up there singing, happily, was eerily similar to the original Flo singing in Ireland.
It was an unexpected surprise in what I expected to be a pleasant experience anyway.
I kind of found a little Irish in my Ohio/Zoar/German Christmas. And I found a little Christmas in the faces of the women singing to us. All together a wonderful evening.