Monday, September 25, 2006

Wedding Fashion Do's and Don'ts




Last Saturday, I attended a traditional afternoon wedding in the Deep South city of Montgomery Alabama. The wedding took place in a Methodist Church, which views a wedding as a sacrament and the ceremony is considered a "worship service."


However, some of the attendee's attire was questionable for this occasion, from this writer's point of view. I know that this is NOT Earth shattering, and of course, I am glad that they chose to attend at all. But, I present some of my personal observations about wedding fashion here.

Now I KNOW this sounds old fashioned, but Hawaiian flowerdy shirts and baggy trousers are just not proper church wedding attire for men. I think that a sport coat and tie, or preferably a suit, looks nice and conveys a respect for the event and the church. Save the baggy, untucked shirts for a beach wedding.

The same goes for bare looks for ladies. Low cut, cleavage showing dresses are fine for a cocktail party, but NOT, in my opnion anyway, for a formal church wedding. The same goes for spaghetti strapped dresses with bra straps showing, halters, and excesssively short and tight ensembles. Whatever happened to wearing a tasteful shawl or light jacket for the wedding and then taking it off for the reception? Some of the ensembles I saw looked more appropriate for a street corner than a wedding.

I guess this all boils down to one word. Respect. Respect for the bride and groom. Respect for the place of worship. And most of all, respect for oneself.




Monday, September 18, 2006

No More Time

I was saddened today to learn of the death of one of my former clients. This man, in his early fifties, was multitalented, and quite a character.


He leaves behind a grieving life partner of 27 years. While things having to do with death are often complex and difficult to deal with, this man has extra worries. He is disabled with a rare, crippling, neuromuscular disease. He allowed his stronger willed partner to handle all financial dealings. Worst of all, because they were not "married", he finds he has no legal right to their home. He is at the mercy of his deceased partner's family. His future depends upon their charity.


I often urged this couple to do things like put the home in both names. I encouraged this now "widowed" partner to learn to handle the financial dealings. But, they put it off. I'm sure they thought they had plenty of time.

Time ran out.


Thursday, September 14, 2006

Waterless

As I write this, my city is in the middle of a water outage. The water has been off for 7 hours and may be off as long as two days. It just depends on which line is broken.

All the restaurants are closed. Schools will likely be closed if the problem is not solved by in the morning.

27,000 people. No water.

Being without electricity is inconvenient. Being without the phone is a pain.

But, no water?

I predict there will be a LOT of stinky people in Vicksburg today.

Stay tuned.


Thursday, September 07, 2006

Choir Practice

Last night I went back to choir practice.


Let me preface the following with this. I have been a member of this choir for over 22 years. When I was healthy, I was very faithful, rarely missing a Sunday service or Wednesday night practice.


But, due to the heat, I have taken this summer off. I decided that I did not want to spend every Sunday afternoon and evening nauseated and exhausted from sitting in the spotlit choir loft in a neck to ankle polyester robe. Not to mention the effects of getting in my hot van at high noon in the Mississippi heat.


Of course, during the course of the summer, I heard rumors about why I was not at choir practice. I was mad at the choir director. I was mad because I did not get to sing a solo one Sunday. I was going full time to the Episcopal church. And so on.


So, last night being cooler, I headed back to choir practice. I have to admit. I almost did not go. In order to go back, I knew I would have to be strong enough to deal with the hurtful comments that would come from a particular choir member. This man would give you the shirt off his back. He is active in many areas of the church. But, he can say the most awful things to people. I don't know if he REALLY means the things he says, or if it is more of an "engage mouth before putting brain in gear" thing, but when I am feeling vulnerable, physically and/or mentally down, they can hit me harder than I like to admit.

Last night, I decided that I WAS strong enough to deal with whatever he dished out. I went. He made his comments.

And everything was back to normal.



Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Sleepless in Mississippi

Tonight is one of those no-sleeper nights. I fell asleep for a couple of hours, but bad dreams woke me. I can't shut my mind down long enough to go back to sleep.

I saw my friend, Mr. Don, for the first time today since his first round of the really tough chemo. He slept through much of my visit and spent his waking moments in a non-comprehending haze. This is so unlike the cheerful, constantly busy (usually doing for others) man that I have known for 38 years. He does not even seem like the same person.

The sad thing is that this chemo is a long shot. This cancer is a rare type that did not respond to the first round of chemo, cannot be helped with radiation, and is inoperable. I have to wonder if this is ultimately going to be worth it, or is he spending his last weeks or months in misery for nothing.

And all I can do is watch.

And pray.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Torn

Today I went to two church services. I attended early service at a lovely Episcopal church a few miles from my home. Then, I went to 11:00 service at my "official" church, which is the "downtown" Methodist church.

Part of me feels like I need to choose between them. That I can't continue to keep a foot in each camp. But I have been unable to choose.

The Methodist church is the church of my ancestors. We have been Methodist for many generations and the Methodist church in Kentwood, Louisiana where my mother's family comes from, was built largely by my kin. I love the way that the methodist church conference helps keep us connected to each other. I love the music that we make at my home church. I love my choir director. As a musician, I need that musical component to worship.

Or so I thought. For the past year, I have been attending early service at the Episcopal church. This service has no music, but is satisfying because of the weekly Eucharist, thought provoking sermons from their first female priest, and the fact that the congregation is small and welcoming. I can use my non-musical talents at this church. Talents that are overshadowed at my "big" church.

So why can't I choose? I think that I would eventually miss the music at my own church if I were to leave for good. There are people there that I care for. I have been there for 22 years. Right now, the person who is serving as clergy is not filling my needs for a preacher OR a pastor. But, I know that he will not be there forever.

I love this Episcopal church, but I don't know if there would be enough there for me without this dear priest. And, I know that she will not be there forever. She is content to let me come to early church, book study, and hang around when I can. She is fulfilling both the pastor and preacher needs I have at this time.

It may be possible to be an associate member of both congregations. I may just continue as I have been.

I just can't choose.


Friday, September 01, 2006

A Year Ago Today

This was written a year ago. I had been staying with my sister in Clinton. We had 14 people, two dogs, and one cat all jammed into a single family home. And we were the lucky ones.



9/1/2005



I am home. We have electricity. That is good.


No cable TV or Internet connection. That is not good.


I am so tired. I feel like my mind and my body are shutting down. I want to cry. I don’t want to hear again how blessed I am or how I have nothing to be sad about. I know this. I do.


It is just that I AM scared. I can’t get gas. I feel so vulnerable. Not knowing whether I can get to the bedside of a sick relative or to medical care in Jackson if I need to. It is not that I want to go “gallivanting.” It is knowing I can’t that makes me feel strange.


The half-empty grocery aisles are another thing that just seem wrong somehow. I hear about how this is common in other countries, but not HERE. Not in a small city in Mississippi.


I am so spoiled. A creature of routine and habit, I don’t like having my daily doings upset in such a fashion.


But, I know I will survive. And, I will be stronger.


I just want a full tank of gas.