not the same


    This morning after Ginger left for work, I loaded up the Cherokee Sport with two old grills, a broken hand push lawnmower that would have made Bagger Vance proud, and some other junk — all of which has been sitting on the non-driveway side of our house for at least a couple of years. – and took it to the town dump, I mean Transfer Station. Every time I go there, the same woman is in the little booth at the entrance. First she opens the sliding window and asks what I’ve brought to drop off. Then she asks to see my window sticker, punches the card the town issued me if I have any household trash, and instructs me as to where to dispose of the different kinds of rubbish I’m hauling because there are very specific places for different kinds of refuse. We have the same conversation most every time I go there, the only differences having to do with the different kinds of trash I’m carrying. I’ve never seen her leave the booth or walk around; I’ve never heard her ask different questions. Everyday from eight to four, she sits in her tiny little booth, punches cards, and tells people what to do with their trash.

    My day had a different contour.

    After my dump run, I came home to prepare food for the New Clergy Group that Ginger facilitates once a month. They are a wonderful collection of folks; my contribution to their gathering is to keep them fed as they talk. Each month I try to vary the menu, but I always have to make little bites of Brie and caramelized pears wrapped in puff pastry. The group meets for three hours, during which time I usually get out of the house. It’s probably three and a half hours before I come back and they are always still there. The meeting has officially ended and the conversation may have lightened a bit, but they stay as the tone of the gathering moves from one of colleagues to friends.

    Then I headed for the Fall Planning Meeting of the Clergy Spousal Support Group, which meets as often as we can at Namaste, our favorite Indian restaurant in Plymouth. The group is composed of my friend Doug and me, since we are both husbands of ministers. Our planning meeting went well: we decided to keep meeting for Indian Food. I also anticipate the continued meetings of our subcommittees on Good Music, Barbeque, and Fine Ales. If our wives were not in ministry, we would still meet for lunch; that’s what friends do.

    By the time we had finished eating and talking, the better part of the afternoon had passed. I went on to Kiskadee, since I was in Plymouth, and had a good cup of coffee while I tried to get a handle on my parting words for Sunday.

    After an hour or so, I came home to fix dinner, since Thursday is one of the few nights during the week that I get to cook for Ginger and we get to eat together. There’s no better meal for me than one shared with her. We caught up on our days and enjoyed being with each other. I don’t know anything better.

    The other night, while I was watching TV as I walked on the treadmill, a local television station had a story on Parker Brothers, who makes Monopoly and Life (and are now owned by Hasbro). They were founded in Massachusetts and still have a factory here. The visual in the story showed women in the factory putting the pieces in the game boxes, each person putting the same piece in the box over and over again. There was no way to do it creatively, no way to spend the afternoon eating Indian food with a friend.

    Patty Griffin sings a song about a person who works at the Table Talk Pie Company in Worcester, Massachusetts, called “Making Pies.” The song begins:

    It’s not far
    I can walk
    Down the block
    To Table Talk
    Close my eyes
    Make the pies all day

    Plastic cap
    On my hair
    I used to mind
    Now I don’t care
    I used to mind
    Now I don’t care
    Cause I’m gray

    Did I show you this picture of my nephew
    Taken at his big birthday surprise
    At my sister’s house last Sunday
    This is Monday and I’m making pies
    I’m making pies
    Making pies

    My work week is four ten-hour days and I do my share of cooking, though I’m not making pies. And I’m not on an assembly line. I can end up making a whole bunch of burgers or Caesar salads in the course of a day, but it’s never the same thing over and over. Whatever my life is, it’s not the same ole same ole. I often take for granted that my life is normal. Driving away from the woman in the box today, I was reminded it’s not. Griffin’s song concludes:

    Here I am
    Walking the block
    To Table Talk
    You could cry or die
    Or just make pies all day
    I’m making pies

    Variety is a gift, not a given. I’m grateful for my choices.



    1. I know what you mean. Flexibility of schedule is the primary reason I continue to maintain a tiny private practice in addition to a “regular” half-time job. (instead of just getting a full-time job) The time means a lot more to me than the money I could get if I worked longer hours. I am very blessed to be able to do this. It’s not something I would give up easily.

      Would you be so kind as to post the Brie-and-pears recipe on your other blog? We are getting pears from the co-op next week, and as none of us are fond of them, I’m looking for some interesting things to do with them. Thanks.

      I hope the events of your farewell Sunday will be a blessing to you and your church family.

    2. Thinking about you today, Milton. Hope you had a good day. I check in on this blog on a nearly daily basis as a way to help me stay rooted and grounded in love. I think that’s a ministry.

    3. Well, I just want to thank you for this post and welcome to revgalblogpals.

      I used to serve a small community that their work was in the mills. It was that same way. They like the rythym of church and worship. Didn’t like change much though.

      Looking forward to your cooking er I mean blogging.

    4. In response to “In our old Haunt”… It just goes to show…”How much more the same we are than different”. That is our motto for Brooks’ World Travels.

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