Being Taken For A Ride
FOUR DAYS TRAPPED IN A FLASHBACK. Four days back in elementary school with the Little Sisters of the Right Cross. Four days in the same building with a couple hundred nuns. My knuckles are still aching.
We recently attended the Midwest Meeting of Congregational Ministers – my wife, the lovely and divinely inspired, Dawn, and me (Her Arm Candy), all together at a Conference Center run by Dominican Nuns. Lots of Dominican Nuns.
Oh, the memories. Oh, the nightmares. Oh, the scar tissue.
The Conference Center where the meeting took place also serves as the “Mother House’ for the Order of Dominican Nuns in this part of the country. When a nun finally retires after a lifetime of service they can come to the Mother House. They may be retired, but “You can take the nun out of the habit, but you can’t take the habit out of the nun.”
During our time there I must have had short conversations with fifty of the nuns. Most were quite charming. Many were just cordial, but only one showed me a little of the old classroom nun, Sister Mary Butch.
I was waiting for the slowest elevator in Michigan to make it to the lobby. There were only five floors in the building but the speed of that elevator made me think that there were two hundred floors above us. I stood there getting old and hoping the little nun would make it. She didn’t look happy. She looked around the lobby and saw a number of the people who were there using the Conference facilities. After a minute she turned to me and asked, “When will all of ‘these people’ be leaving?” Her stress on the words “these people’ let me know that she did not approve of their presence. Her attitude was expressly aimed at the group I was with.
I let it go.
I told her that they would all be leaving tomorrow. Her only response to that bit of news was, “Good.” The elevator arrived. The doors opened and she got on. I chose to wait until it returned. I didn’t relish the idea of sharing the ride up with her. She would either icily ignore me or pull out a ruler and give me a going over I’d never forget. She bore a disturbing resemblance to Sister Modesta, my sixth grade teacher. Sister Modesta once lost her temper with us, a room full of eleven year old kids and, giving us all the Popeye squint, said to us, “You Little Sons of Bitches.”
Very unnun-like, No? I was afraid that this little nun could rip me a new one without breaking a sweat.
Her poor opinion of the visitors to her building was the only negative experience I had while there. That little nun must be fun to share a dinner table with.
Oh, well. Maybe her feet hurt or maybe she was as unhappy about the slow moving elevator as I was. Maybe she was young when she got on at the fifth floor?