In The Olden Days

Another bleak late-winter day arrived, and when noticing the rain mixed with a light snow, I figured the predicted amount would bypass us, but after walking out later this afternoon, I already knew what I’ll be doing tomorrow morning. Let’s just hope we don’t get anymore than we did on Thursday.

When thinking I had most of the day free to myself, I ended up getting immersed in returning emails, setting appointments for next week, along with making a trip across town to check on a vacant home. I also had to return a phone call from yesterday, to a relative of mine who lives out of State. Since we’d not visited in a number of weeks, that conversation also turned into a time sponge.

Just as I was heading out to clean a up a mess a vacated tenant had made, the Pastor of First Congregational Church called and asked if I had time to meet with him, just so I could pick up the music he’d chosen for Easter Sunday. Knowing it would in my best interest to have that music early, I agreed to run over to the church and pick it up.

When I got there, he handed me a jazzified version of a traditional Easter hymn. After getting one look at it, I knew I’d be there far longer than I’d expected, and only because of the way it was written. The first time I tried to play it for him, I knew it was going to be a challenge, so I moved forward with getting copies of the other hymns he wanted for that Service.

I first thought I’d take that piece back to office and work on it, but then I figured I might as well stay there and practice. I went thru it about a half dozen times on the organ, but I still couldn’t get the feel for it, so I went over to their grand piano, and worked on getting the rhythm up to speed, and once comfortable with it, I headed back to the organ, and not but five minutes into practice, the pastor walked in singing along to my playing, which told me I finally had it close to being acceptable. By the time I’d become relatively comfortable with those pieces, I found I’d been there for a good two hours, which was far longer than I was expecting.

While visiting with the pastor about First Congregational Church, I discovered that it was the very church the MacNider family attended on a regular basis, and for whatever reason, they switched churches during the Viet Nam War. From what I gathered, it had something to do with the Pastor at the time, having opposing thoughts with the MacNiders about the war. I’m sure that family’s yearly tithing was instrumental in the various expansions of their church. If you look back at the really old photos, First Congregational Church’s original structure, is what’s now that far-east wing, which was constructed out of local limestone. Their church is another example of what a monied group of faithful parishioners were able to have built back in the olden days. After hearing about the MacNiders, I’m even more curious about its long history. I can still see in my mind, that long-gone lantern tower which could be seen from very far away. I’m now wondering what they did with the church bells that were stationed in that lantern tower. Whenever an opportunity arises, I’ll have to question someone in the know.

When I got back to office, I changed into my work clothes, grabbed my cleaning supplies, and headed over to that vacant unit where I proceed to start scrubbing wooden floors. Unfortunately, I was only able to get one of the rooms finished, and only because of the amount of cat hair my rag was accumulating. You can be sure the top of my head was ready to blow off when discovering it, and only because there were absolutely no pets allowed.

After dumping that dirty pail of water, and then throwing away my rag, I decided to attack the fridge. Oh Mercy! The refrigerator and freezer section even had cat hair in it! I’m sure you can already imagine what a struggle that was, so instead of getting that unit at least half cleaned, all I accomplished in three hours, was scrubbing one room’s floor and cleaning it’s refrigerator.

I have absolutely no problem with cats or dogs, as long as they don’t do any damage, and their owners clean up after them before they move out. You may think me terrible when saying, the only time I’m willing to allow a pet, is if it’s not a giant dog, and the tenant is willing to pay a non-refundable pet deposit. You may think that’s being punitive, but in reality, that amount usually enough to cover those extra hours of clean-up and fix-up.

Laughing to myself now, I was wondering why my nose was starting to run just before I started on that floor. Well, it didn’t take long to realize why, and only because I’m allergic to cats, and especially those that are not taken care of. It’s the dried air-borne saliva that triggers most cat allergies, and we all know how often cats are licking themselves. Now don’t get me wrong, because I really like cats, but I must alway keep in mind how they affect me.

Before heading home, I stopped to pick up a box of Swiffer pads, just so I can get that cat hair under control before I start cleaning again, and since that’s all I needed, I made it a quick in and out. While at the check-out, one of the cashiers began telling me about her new digs, and yours truly just about lost it when being told what her rent is, along with what it’s utility bills are running. After hearing her apartment rent is over $800 a month, and her winter utilities averaging around $300, all I could ask was, “How are you able to make ends meet?” With a sad look she replied, “I have another job.” Her story became one more confirmation of the fact we’ve got some real income-to-housing cost issues in this City. My heart goes out to those who’re genuinely struggling to survive.

Tonight’s One-liner is: It’s impossible to reach beyond the limits of our own characters.

Joe Chodur

About the Author | Joe Chodur

Firstofall....JoeChodurreallydoesn'tliketalkingabouthimselfbutthisiswhatwehavefoundoutabouthim. more about: Joe Chodur

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