Friday, April 17, 2009

Word on the street: "We called it the clap"

The scene: St. Matthew's Cathedral, Good Friday service 2009, front pew of the back section on the left. Two senior Southern gentleman -- brothers? friends? partners? -- sit in front of me.

The first one is dressed in a white turtleneck sweater and blazer, very WASPy. The second man has on a tweed jacket and green corduroy pants. The first man talks from the minute he enters the church, and not in a church whisper.


Man 1: I want to sit up front. (they move to the front pew) Have you ever heard them play that organ? (gestures to the huge pipe organ off to the right) This is a good spot, I don't want to get dizzy. (stands up and down to illustrate lack of dizziness) Would you look at how everyone's dressed. (points out young men in jeans and ratty shirts) No nice clothes. That's because Friday is dress down day at offices. Did you know that? Yeah, they can wear sweats if they wanted.

At this point, two elderly religious sisters take the seats next to them.

Man 1: Excuse me, ladies, but am we correct to assume that you are sisters?

Sister: Yes, we are.

Man 1: (very excited) Oh, what order?

Sister: The Sisters of Charity.

Man 1: Ah! They took care of the soldiers in Virginia during the Civil War.

The sisters are impressed by his historical acumen. I wonder how he knows this. Was he there?

Man 2: And they took care of my great aunt during her "nervous breakdown" in New Orleans. (pause) But we called it the clap.

Man 1: (turning to stranger on his other side) Have you ever heard them play that organ?

End scene.

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