Time is precious and in planning our day, we often weigh our options. For myself and many others choices are difficult at times. This was the case for me one morning a few years ago. Although I was drawn to attend weekday Mass, the list of things on my agenda for that day somewhat overwhelmed me.Yt in the end I went to the 8:30 Mass at my parish. After all it lasted less than forty minutes. There were a scant dozen or so people scattered around the sanctuary most of whom were regular attendees. I noticed one couple I had never seen before seated to the far right of me.
Our priest was fairly new to our small country parish. He used an i-pad for notes on his homilies which were always inspiring. He was rather aloof and holy, I thought, and young. After Mass I left hurridly to begin the tasks neatly itemized on the paper pad in my pocket. As I walked toward my car, the strangers were just ahead of me strolling toward a medium size travel van. Being a curious soul, I said hello to them and they turned around returning my greeting with a smile.
My list evaporated as I asked, “Are you on vacation?”
The woman who seemed about in her forties said, “We’re staying at the state park down the road. First we’ll have our tea. Please join us.”
I detected an accent undeniably Irish. The couple intriuged me and I rationalized a few minutes for tea would be a welcome respite. Also, they were alone in the USA, the land of friendliness and good will.
They were taking folding chairs out of the van’s side door. “Thank you, that is nice of you. I’d love to join you.” Being a would-be reporter, a myriad of questions filled my head as I sat down and the husband produced a thermos and small table from the vehicle. His wife set out cups and paper plates and began slicing a delicious looking bread as the man handed her a hand labled jar of jam.
At the other end of the parking lot, I saw the tall, slim figure of our priest in his traditional black cassock look in our direction before entering the back door of the rectory. I wondered what he was thinking of the tea time in the parking lot.
More to come…