Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Mater told me there is a new priest in the village. I call it a village: it consists of a single street, a post office, a school, the church, and two grim, dimly lit, melancholy, dusty pubs.
No matter where one stands in the Street, one can see the doorstep of every house and institution.
It being such a speck of a place, Mater has met the priest once or twice. His presence has offered, so far, little to report.
A group of twenty or so ladies cleans and polishes the church regularly. Their hard work keeps it sparkling, and they were due for a Thank You, which usually, in the best case, means a bus trip to the sea, or, at worst, a fancy meal in a Big City.
The new priest, so Mater informed me, wanted to demonstrate his gratitude, and so he took them Out.
"Where's Out?" I was curious.
"You don't," said Mater, "want to know."
I said that I did want to know, truly. Mater asked me to suggest the one place in the world I could not guess.
I named two upscale restaurants in the nearby city that I used to work in. It turned out to be neither of those.
"A really, really cheap place," trilled Mater.
I lowered my expectations. A fast food restaurant, mayhap?
It was not a fast food restaurant.
"Cheese sandwiches on a river cruise?"
It was not that.
"Could it be his own house?" I was half-joking.
"Getting warmer," Mater said.
I was struck with a thunderbolt of a notion.
"No," I said.
"Yes," Mater said.
"Absolutely not!" I said.
"You got it," said Mater.
"Say that he's not taking them across the road to the pub. Please say that."
Mater was sorry, but she could not say that.
The pub to which they went Out carries not a lick of food, and not a note of music. Nothing ever stirs there, not even the light. What went through the fellow's head when he decided to take the ladies to the pub next door is anybody's guess. In all likelihood, they probably haunt the pub every Friday night anyway. In any case, they see the pub from the church windows while they are cleaning.
I just hope the poor ladies knew the venue when they got dressed and ready that evening.
Posted by Phyllis Hunt McGowan at 4:26 PM