So today I was kinda looking forward to going to Mass alone, you know, having time on my own to reflect, yada, yada, yada. Usually I'm joined by either Jen, my parents, or Shawn, so this was going to be a nice little change. I dropped Ryan off at Sunday School, got a good seat, took a deep breath , and began to relax. That is, until three of the weirdest/loudest/funniest people I have ever seen in my life decided to sit right next to me.
Picture if you will, 3 generations of bag ladies shuffling into the pew wearing their very best pajama pants, sweatshirts, and house shoes. I think they were a mother/daughter/grandmother trio, and the daughter couldn't have been more than 15 yrs old. Now, although I do enjoy poking fun now and then (slight understatement), I generally try to temper my judgemental thoughts while in the house of the Lord. I certainly didn't think twice about their attire, realizing beauty is in the eye of the beholder and all, but when they started yelling across the pews in what can only be described as some sort of Yonkers, Janice-from Friends (aged 30 yrs), smokers' voices, well, I was wishing with all my Christian heart that Jen or Shawn or my parents or someone was there to share in the laughter that would obviously be emitting from my mouth shortly.
Apparently, the daughter wanted to sit in the front pew, and so had moved up a few rows to sit by herself. I'm not sure what the Mom and Grandma (still sitting beside me) were talking about, but all of a sudden the Mom felt the urge to YELL across the pews to her daughter something about some unfortunate rash she had apparenly just discovered. At that point, I was just a little startled by the behavior -- mass hadn't begun yet, but generally we try to keep from yelling anyway, what with the praying and all.
Then the singing began, and I quickly realized why the daughter opted to sit 3 rows away from her family. Holy Mary Mother of God, I have never heard anyone so proud of singing off key. Seriously, they sang with such verve and passion, I was at once cringing and smiling. Cringing, because it was a bit too similar to Roseanne Barr's rendition of the National Anthem; Smiling because they so obviously were faithful people.
Okay, I was in choir all my life, right up until I got to college, where I still sang in performances, and later ended up having to teach choir to middle schoolers, so I've heard my share of unfortunate voices. Never in the history of my life have I ever heard such a horrible sound. No volume control, and clearly couldn't find a key with a door. Not to mention, they were beating to another drummer in another land in another time zone. It was taking everything I had not to howl with glee, because surely this was a joke, right? All I could do was look around, thinking, where are my sarcastic, insult-making family members to help me share in the joy?? How can I be the only person here to witness this? That's when I see the 3 kids in the pew in front of us turn around with mixed looks of horror and humor on their angelic little faces, to which I blatantly gestured to my tone-deaf neighbors with my eyes, silently insisting "It's NOT me!!".
This "singing" continued for every song, of which I was soo grateful. It was really great, I'm tellin' ya. Like Mercedes Ruhle and Rain Man had babies and started their own "Von Trapp" family. All I could do was vacantly watch the service, just waiting for the next song and bit of entertainment. Luckily, I didn't have to wait until the next song, for right in the middle of the Priest's Homily, the Mother apparently noticed the Daughter twirling her hair or biting her nails, or something else equally pressing, becasue she YELLS, "Anna!!" I swear to you ( I would swear to God, but He knows -- He was there.), she YELLED!!! To which the Grandmother loudly retorts, "Don't yell in church!" Seriously, someone needs to write a movie about these people. Rolling-in-the-aisles-humor, and NO ONE to share it with!!
So then we get to the communion, and Deacon Dan blesses the wine, and then drinks from the cup. Normal, right? Apparently not in the land of the tone-deaf and tactless. The Mother audibly gasps, "Oh my God! He drank right from the Cup!!". I can only assume she was expecting him to brandish a straw. Again, the Grandmother admonishes, "Not so loud!" Loudly. Very Loudly.
Moving right along, we found ourselves in the midst of the next song, when about 3/4 of the way through, as the rest of us are trying to, I don't know, sing (really, I was tapping my foot in an effort to help them keep the beat), the Mother stops, turns to the Grandmother and announces, "Are you sweating? Am I?". I know I always say this, but you know me -- I really could not make this stuff up.
Ahh. It was the best time I've had at Mass in a long long time. And I know I'm teasing about these people, but really, the force with which they shouted those songs was such strong evidence for the amount of love they have for God, and that was the best part of all. That, and the loud snorts that emitted from the Grandmother in 2 minute intervals. Did I not mention those??