Tuesday, April 04, 2006


Sitting in One's Own Pew

Enough of this highbrow Greek and Latin stuff. It's time for something a little more down to earth. John Gould (1908-2003) started his career in journalism at my home town paper, the Brunswick Record, and ended up as a columnist for the Christian Science Monitor. He wrote thirty books, in one of which my grandfather plays a bit part. Gould's last book was Tales from Rhapsody Home. Or, What They Don't Tell You About Senior Living (Chapel Hill: Algonquin Books, 2000). Here's an excerpt (pp. 131-132):
Some of our best farts were heard or suppressed in church. Many's the demure maiden lady who thought she had a silent kind and came out loud and strong. It was pleasant to see her sitting there in the pew looking like the Twenty-Third Psalm and wondering if she'd soiled her drawers. Many, also, were they who refrained from offending at great risk, and then let go during the doxology, which was tumultuous enough to drown out all competition. Nobody heard these offerings, but there were lingering testimonials of what happened.
A contributing factor may have been the Saturday night community bean suppers, which used to be common fund-raising and social events in the churches of small Maine towns.

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