Friday, May 19, 2006

Back in time

Today’s excursion is Colonial Williamsburg, a large chunk of a modern town closed to traffic and carefully restored to its early eighteenth century grandeur, complete with Redcoats guarding the Governor’s Palace and lots of heaving bosoms spilling out of bodices amongst the wenches serving in the taverns. It’s quite well done on the whole, thanks to pots of Rockefeller cash donations starting in the 1920s. Thus do plutocrats celebrate American democracy.

I am particularly looking forward to popping into the early Episcopal Church on Duke of Gloucester Street, but I am shooed away by some blue-rinsed battleaxe as I approach the threshhold.

“We’re closed!” she informs me.
“This is a working church, isn’t it?”
“Yes, but we close at five.”
I look at my watch. It is quarter to five. This seems pertinent to the topic in hand, and I say so.
“It’s quarter to five.”
“Er, yes… but we need to start clearing the building early to close on time.”

I look at her, and she at me. Huge crowds of frustrated Church appreciators fail to emerge from the door behind her. We are quite obviously the only people within a hundred yards of the Church. She reddens slightly. “Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to lock up” she quavers, and scuttles back inside her sacred shell like a startled hermit crab.

Fortunately, long years of Episcopalianism have trained me to accept defeat gracefully, and I return to the wife and kids relatively unabashed. We wander down to Chowning’s Tavern instead for an early dinner. At the very next table is the blue-haired hag, already playing bridge with her friends. I raise an eyebrow at her, and she fixes her gaze on her cards. I stare at the back of her neck throughout our meal.

She’s not doing terribly well this evening, for some reason.

Serving the faithful since 1715. Except on bridge night, obviously. On bridge night, you can just go straight to hell...


Desargues said...

That just sounds like the unfriendly, inefficient employees at Saint Mark's Convent in Florence. Not only do they close at 1:20 for the day, but they also make sure you won't get in about half an hour in advance. I'm still not sure whether to ascribe this to the generally stultifying effects of working for the state, or to resign myself to the thought that a sizeable part of humanity will just be stubborn and stupid. You see, the religion I was meagerly exposed to as a child was Evangelical Protestantism, and they don't have the grace under duress of you Episcopalians. We tend to all too quickly think of fire and brimstone, you know.

Gorilla Bananas said...

Which of the Protestants go in for speaking in tongues? Maybe the blue-haired woman was expecting a bit of that.