Then I was in a church where basically all the women were wearing flats, this in contrast to another church I was in some time back where basically all the women were in fantastically high, spindly heels. Ah, the different cultures in the USA. Where high heels abide, there also abideth Achilles tendons a-killing their possessors. I asked how women even walk in these things—if I stepped on that slanted a platform, I'd fall face forward. One woman responded that the little girls are switching from heels to flats from the age of two, so they adjust back and forth readily. I can understand that. Apparently in this latter church, they decided to go for comfort.
One friend remarks about high heels on stairs and escalators, but some girls can move quite quickly in high heels: I went on a date with a girl and discovered while we were in the mall that we had to be somewhere else in a hurry: I ran, including on the escalator, hadn't thought about her running in high heels, but she did it. Any person who can run down an escalator in high heels is athletic. But another lady friend says, ‘I used to wear heels. Cannot do it any more due to my back. You can buy flats which are just as attractive as heels.’ I pointed this out to a very short friend, saying, ‘see what she says? I read somewhere that this happens and I warned you, and now you wear flats and don't have this pain. Happy?’ The friend replied, ‘Yes thank you. It's been almost 8 years now that I didn't wear high heels. Thanks to you.’ I told her, ‘since you're short, you could do two things to add to your height: 1) wear 8-inch Italian heels; 2) keep your hair as long as it will grow--never cut it--and then wrap it around a 1-foot-hgh balloon on top of your head. These two things add 20 inches to your height!’
Another lady says, ‘I'm a boot girl. All kinds.’ I reply, ‘O root-i-toot-toot and hoot and woot for the boot institute!’
A guy says, ‘I do not presently wear pumps or heels.’ I hope this trend of his and mine continues.
A lady says, ‘ I love Egyptian shoes ...neither heel nor flat..’ Egyptian shoes? Does this mean ones you wear when you write in hieroglyphics? Or ones you wear as a mummy in a sarcophagus?
Another lady said, ‘I get so weary of the casual look everywhere. People don't seem to care how they look anymore: at the grocery store, restaurants, and now at church too. I know they say clothes don't make the person, but they do say a lot! Modesty doesn't mean sloppy or unkempt. People do notice each other .’ I replied, ‘Yeah, if we're going to get casual and also mimic prisoners or animals, why not come to church in actual prison uniforms, or in tiger-, leopard-, zebra-, bear- or elephant suits (according to the size of the various individuals). And those women who like to wear dark eye shadow and mascara could, varying with their sizes, wear suits as raccoons, the Lone Ranger, or orcas. One pastor told me that I could be casual on the midweek service before Easter, so I was wishing I had an Easter bunny suit to wear while speaking.’
It's also a very relaxing atmosphere--the people are enjoying being Christians, worshipping God, loving the fellowship. Some of them, between the church school and daycare's end at 6pm and the service start at 7.30, had brought in take-out food. One kid gave me a French fry, The church has a fountain, and two little boys were intently studying something in it, I don't know what, but they reminded me of myself at that age—I was after tadpoles. If you've forgotten what it's like to be 6, read Calvin and Hobbes. The next morning, kids in line on way to the gym were singing a song. I met them while I was packing to leave, so I danced to their singing, and a good time was had by all.
And then there's the matter of black and white stripes: not zig-zag, irregular black and white stripes like a zebra's, which would be best. And not vertical black and white stripes, as in pinstripes or chalk stripes. Instead, HORIZONTAL black and white stripes—women have said for decades that they wouldn't wear horizontal stripes on grounds that these make people look fat. So why the acceptance now? Either the women aren't as fat as they used to be (national figures on overweight and obesity would beg to differ with that assessment), or they don't CARE whether they look fat or not (which suggests everyone has given up hope, which makes the national health situation even more alarming), or they don't feel that horizontal stripes have that same effect any longer—perhaps people's perceptions have changed. For whatever reason, so many women are now wearing black-and-white stripes that it's almost becoming a uniform sometimes—reminds me of high school, where students would say, 'We don't want to wear a uniform. Let us wear what we want to wear', and schools would let them, and then they'd all wear denim (except the goths). Finally, black-and-white stripes have a prison uniform connotation, so maybe the women wanting to wear it is their counterpart to the men wearing grunge styles that, too, originated in prison wear. If that's the case, we can all join Hal Kennedy in singing 'Prisoner of Love' or Perry Como in singing the secular song of the same title, and the ladies can sing with Johnny Cash, 'I'm Got Stripes On My Shoulder'. Or join the rock group called 'Stryper'. Personally, I liked the leopard prints better--if some ladies want to wear stripes, they could wear TIGER stripes. Then these along with the leopard prints would give them all a feline feeling.
One lady was wearing the present-fad black-and-white stripes AND denim, so she was following two fads at once, so of course she was particularly cool.
Later, I spoke at a school assembly, first to the older students interested in working overseas, about some careers that work well for Americans in other nations. After this, the younger children came in, so I shifted down to subjects that also interest them: food in some other nations (spiders in Cambodia, rats in some countries, dogs in east Asia--and hot dogs and other processed foods in the USA).
A Filipina friend comments, ‘Pilipinos (Filipino in American version) eat cobra and all kinds of snakes. Pilipinos are also famous about eating BALUT –boiled egg that has an embryo or chick that's about to hatch...with soft feather, beak and claws. I heard it's very tasty but I never eat it because my parents told me not to eat BALUT because it is considered strangled and the chick already has blood. The OT forbids to eat blood and strangled animal that the blood was not drained’. Not only the OT tells us not to eat blood, but the NT confirms this in Acts 15.
A vegan friend asks, ‘If the egg is cooked, then is it any different than eating any other flesh with blood?’ I explain, ‘we're supposed to drain the blood from the flesh before we eat it--that's why the Jews have kosher slaughtering methods. The Pilipino BALUT is a fertilized egg almost ready to hatch--I'm not sure how many days old--19?--and THEN cooked. Because the blood is trapped in the egg, it's considered wrong to eat this according to Biblical rules of not eating strangled animals or blood (Acts 15).’ She responds, ‘ I see. So, if a person orders a steak rare or medium rare, and it is swimming in blood, it's not the same because it was slaughtered and 'bled'?’ I'm not a specialist on kosher slaughter and cooking methods. I'm aware that vegans don't have these concerns. I think she’s got us and can say, ‘touche’.
The school session closed with music participation. Principal wrapped up with Q&A. There was very high interest level and response level by students. Enjoyable time. But the pastor/principal did not provide an honorarium on grounds, he said, that I had spoken in the school and not at the church. Never heard of such a thing before—if he doesn’t value the students’ lives as much as the church members’ lives, why should the teacher value them, or the students themselves?
Then I went on to another place, where they put me where the hotel manager's name is Zechariah, one of his employees is Luke—they have the OT and NT represented. Two other employees are both named Katie, meaning the hotel welcomes all kinds of Katies. And another employee's name is Summer. I've met some other ladies named Summer, and a few named Autumn, and one named Spring, but few named Winter (and there’s Lady deWinter from Dumas' novel The Three Musketeers). So I suggested she name her next daughter Winter. Or if she has triplets, Winter, Spring and Autumn! I have a ten-year-old cousin named Winter—when she misbehaves, her parents could say, ‘Now is the winter of our discontent’. Actually they say, ‘There’s a winter storm a-brewin’’.
A friend’s grand-daughter is named ‘Summer Dawn’, so I suggest singing to her quite loudly, ‘DELTA DAWN’ and using the Ray Conniff Singers version for practice. Or ‘Summer Breeze’. Or ‘Theme From A Summer Place’.
A friend says she knows a Summer and Winter and wishes they knew each other. I reply, ‘yes, every Spring they would Spring forward and every Autumn they would Fall back.’
A lady says she knows someone named ‘September’. I reply, ‘Ah, now you're getting into months. Yes, I know a lady named September, also ladies named April, May and June. And a guy named August. And some named Julius (for whom July is named). Actually, the Roman Empire tried to rename September for Tiberius, but he was so unpopular (didn't have the public magnetism of Julius and Augustus), so it didn't take. Just as well. I don't think the women named September would like to be called Tiberius, Tiber, Tiberry, Tibby, or any other derivation.’
I went downstairs in the hotel to get something out of the car. It was 10.30 pm local time and some young women in the hotel were leaving the lobby to go live it up on a Saturday night. One of them was dressed in what appeared to be her long johns.
And this hotel had perhaps the best chocolate chip cookies in the world. 'Surely the presence of the LORD is in this place and I did not know it!'
I closed up Indiana at Hobart, in another outstanding church service—songs were contemporary but meaningful (sometimes a contradiction in terms), prayer response was fervent. Church has taken an ordinary building and made the auditorium extraordinary through lighting.