Sunday, March 4, 2012
Yesterday morning, I was trying to get a book read before its due date and as a result was sitting in the living room at about 11:30 still in my bathrobe. I did have my hair combed, though. Thus arrayed, I heard a knock on the door, which is a pretty rare event at our house. Fortunately, Ed went to the door where he found a nicely dressed pair of ladies who had come to bring us the Word of the Jehovah's Witnesses. This is about the second time in almost 20 years that they’ve come a knocking at our door here in Point Roberts. Which is about often enough.
In fact, the book I was trying to finish is about the problems of proselytizing religions in Africa and the Middle East, particularly, both Christian and Islamic, so religious visiting of this sort was at least a topic on my mind. However, Ed handled the conversation graciously and I think maybe another 10 years would be good before the next visit.
But it did remind me of the Jehovah’s Witness visitor we used to have up on the Sunshine Coast, north of Vancouver, where we had a house. She came about once every month for almost 20 years. The first time she came, she and Ed had a little talk about all this bringing of the good word and in some way they came to an agreement: he and she would talk about conservation and animal preservation and, on the occasions when I would be the one to talk with her, we would trade animal stories. I don’t think they actually agreed to that last part, but that’s how it worked out.
Her name was Barbara and by the time we saw her last, a year ago, she must have been close to 85 years old, still straight as a pin, still neat as a pin, still talking to us about animals, still delivering us the monthly issue of The Watch Tower (which Ed looked at, although I did not), still walking her route. I never resented her coming but I did wonder how she squared her religious duty to bring others to her way of thinking and her agreement with Ed to talk about animals. Whatever, good for her.
In all those years, I never learned much more about her than the above. Ours was a meeting in the moment. Someone did tell me that her son had been killed in the World Trade Center collapse. What a strange pair of things--that and her views/experiences with animals--to know about a person over so many years, given that they were the only things I knew. I would have been happy to know more about her, but in the circumstances, I felt that the animal agreement was a binding limitation. What strange rules we live by, given that we make them up. Barbara was probably a better improviser than we were.
Also this week, a friend brought us a box of fresh eggs from their now-laying chickens. I opened the box up and it looked to be full of Easter eggs, pink and blue and cream shells. Why don’t commercial eggs ever come in colors, I’d like to know. Why don’t I raise chickens?