How the Cookie Crumbles

Life and scribbles on the far side of SIXTY-FIVE

Imagine That!

63 Comments


I woke up the other morning with strange thoughts flitting in and out of my sleepy brain cells.

~ * ~

Church doors these days are locked tighter than prisons (that was the thought vying for attention). There was a time when I was young (a very long time ago), that a person could go inside a church anytime—at any age. It was not uncommon that should it strike you to take a short rest while passing by, with groceries or empty handed, you could have a quiet sit. No-one stood at the door to check you out. Of course, the Catholics didn’t go to the Protestant church and the Protestants didn’t go to the Catholic Church—unlike the openness of today. There was some silly idea that you might be converted to the opposite religion. Heaven forbid. Today, doors are locked to protect against vandalism.

 My favourite recollection happened in a village in Northern Ontario where we lived until I was eleven. I was in and out of the church all the time. The first time I saw a typist or a Remington typewriter was in the church rectory. What I was doing there, I cannot recall but the clickety-click and clickety-clack of something unfamiliar attracted my attention. I was seven or eight years old and curious as a mouse following the magnetic pull of cheese. The sound grew louder as I got closer and a man’s voice, not the parish priest, said, “Don’t be shy. Come right in.”

There sitting at the desk was a monk in his brown habit looking at something on the table then smiling up at me. It appeared he was making the clickety-click, clickety-clack noises. I had no idea who he was.

“Can I help you?” he asked. I knew he was a monk because I’d seen his kind of brown monastic habit before.

“What are you doing?” I couldn’t help asking.

“I’m writing my sermon,” he said but he could see I had no idea what he was talking about.

“Come around here, child, so you can see what I’m doing.”

In my eagerness and curiosity, I forgot my shyness.  The keys striking the page were making real words. “How do you do that? What makes the words come out right?” I’d never been so curious nor my brain been so engaged.

I liked the sound of his laugh. “Child, this is something anyone can learn. It just takes practice.”

I made a promise that I was going to do what he did. I was going to type one day. And I did but I had to wait until typing class in Grade 10. I loved it!

~ * ~

This is not what I had started to write tonight. I’ve surprised myself with this memory. Maybe another time I’ll go where I had initially intended.

Another promise: I am trying to keep to 500 words in the hope that busy readers will have time to to read my posts.

Author: Let's CUT the Crap!

I'm getting a little LONG in the tooth and have things to say about---ouch---AGEing. I believe it's certainly a state of mind but sometimes it's nice to hear that you're NORMAL. I enjoy reading by the truckload. I'm a grandma but I don't feel OLD although I'm not so young anymore. My plan is to stick it out as long as I can on this lovely planet and only will leave it kicking and screaming!

63 thoughts on “Imagine That!

  1. There was a time when I was young (a very long time ago), your comment here is so true, what has happened to our churches? it is like some of have turned from god and made it all about materialsisms and money

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  2. I remember that too. The only churches that don’t seem to be locked (at least in my city) is the United Church around the corner. There’s always something going on there–it’s a pretty happenin’ place!

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    • Thanks for commenting. There’s a church in my city that’s open all the time because there’s always things going on there too. It’s a Unitarian Church. I’ve been to concerts there, a book swap, a tea. They even have writer’s groups I’ve heard and lots of camps and things of that sort for kids. Their calendar is online and shows something scheduled all day long. If memory serves me correctly, it seems they started closing churches because of theft, damages etc. What a shame. Tess

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  3. Shame about locked churches, its the same in the UK. When I was young and we went on family holidays to places like Norfolk or Cornwall dad would take us from one church to the next and we always went inside. I have often wondered why he liked visiting churches so much and I think now it was probably because they were free! Dads’ can’t do this anymore!

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    • Thanks, Andrew. There are all these bad people who abuse everything nowadays. It’s a pity that there’s no long that one place where a person can just breathe and be still. I wonder if during your travels, the churches in Europe were only open to tourists and then closed? Tess

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  4. Hi, I love this. I remember when churches were open too, and it makes me very sad that they have to go into lock down mode today. I remember when even the worst ‘sinner’ would not think of disrespecting God’s house. As a preacher’s kid, I considered church as ‘home’ and would often (even as an adult) just go there to feel that homey, peaceful feeling. Maybe one day I’ll share what happened to stop me from doing that, but I still love being in a church and wish it were possible to still walk in one any time without question. Angie 🙂

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  5. I love the fact that I am not the only one who wanders off the point.
    Glad you did.

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    • Hi K. Nice to hear from you. Yes, I wander when I have time to wonder; mostly off point. The same goes for conversation. If I’m side-tracked just for a second, I lose my way. Ha ha. At least my friends understand this as they have the same problem (I’m laughing myself silly here). No, you are not alone. Sometimes, the results are worth it. Tess

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  6. That’s a lovely story and could be the opening to a novel. I was going to say that a lot of churches in the UK are still left open, but then I saw that Andrew Petcher up there ^^^ said they’re not, so I realised that I don’t actually know! I do know that there’s a big problem with lead being stolen off the roofs of churches over here which is a real shame. I’m going to go and find out later if my little village church keeps its doors open or not – I really should know!

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    • Thanks, Vanessa. What a lovely idea: the opening to a novel and I have LOTS of those openings. LOL. It’s a shame churches aren’t treated the way they used to be, as somewhere to feel safe and to rejuvenate the spirit. These days especially—we’re all so busy etc. I’m hearing stories about all kinds of churches. Who knew? I’m loving this. Tess

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  7. I love it, Tess, when a post veers completely off subject… it means I have another post in my mind for another day! 😀
    A great memory though, and an inspiring start!

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    • Thanks, Tom. I love the unexpected. I haven’t had time to do much thinking lately but now I realize how important it is who you expose your children (my grandchildren) to. You never know who will make an impact some kind of impact on them. Tess

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  8. We had a church on our land, were I grew up in Scotland, that was left unlocked and likey still is, though most of the ceiling has falling in. When I was very young sometimes we would find people asleep in it, having made it half way home from the pub the night before.
    This is a lovely memory and yes, the start of something.

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    • Thank YOU, Katie. Nice to have a safe place these days. There are probably lots of stories people can tell about village churches. I hope to hear lots of them. I thank you for yours. This particular church is now locked all the time except on Sundays because there is no resident priest. Seems the world is going backwards. He travels from village to village to perform services. Makes me think of the old westerns: travelling snake oil salesman, judge and revival minister. Hmmm. Tess

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  9. There are so many aspects of this story that evoke so many things for so many people – what a rich post! So, 500 words is the trick? I’ll try to keep that in mind…

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    • Hi beach hair girl: Nice to hear form you. I’m glad you like the story (Imagine That). I’ve heard lots of other bloggers talking about not being able to keep up with reading LONG blogs and trying to be fair to their commenters. That’s what I found too. Lots of lovely bloggers write interesting posts but if I spent reading them all the way I should, I would not be able to do anything else. This gave me the idea to try the 500 or less or one or two over, in the hope of being read and not merely glossed over or ignored because of time constraints. How is your blogging experience working out. Are you finding you might need to look at alternative ways of dealing with all your lovely followers to keep your head (e-mails) above water? Tess

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      • Yes, and I like your 500 word rule. A few weeks ago I discovered there were more “likes” with simply posting a picture with a title, no explanation. This made me realize that perhaps, indeed, “a picture is worth a thousand words!” 😀

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    • Reading and commenting has taken over my life. I’m trying to find a balance but have been getting overwhelmed. I’ll try my shorter version to see if that helps. On the other hand, if I don’t make the time to keep on top of comments . . . it’s a vicious circle. Thanks for your kind input on ‘Imagine That’. Haven’t been stopping to smell the roses lately but this swerve off my original topic makes me realize how important it is to expose our children (my grandchildren) to positive people, ideas, habits because of the impact they can have on them. Tess

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  10. I loved this, Tess. The sounds, the visual of that unexpected monk, the impact for your future life. Wonderfully evocative.

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    • Thanks, Len. I started out doing something else and then I had this recollection. Over the years I’ve forgotten it but mostly it’s been in the back of my mind always. I appreciate hearing from you. I appreciate your taking the time to comment. Tess

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  11. Lovely memory you have written.

    It is sad that even churches are locked up tight a good bit of the time. There is one church here (that I know of) that the doors are unlocked during the day. I go there occasionally to “just be”.

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    • Thanks for sharing. I KNOW. It’s been years that I’ve passed a church and thought of going inside. But it’s the going INSIDE that is what matters. You don’t have to BELIEVE this or that. Just going inside a church igves some kind of peace and loosening that you don’t get in the same amount of time anywhere else. Paying a professional to talk about your problems doesn’t have the same effect as the quiet time inside an available church. I’m happy to hear you can go inside a church to just be. I forgot about that memory until I wrote the post. Yes, I find it’s a OMG memory. Tess

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  12. Sometimes, what you start out with is not what you end with…
    Thanks for sharing this memory with us – it’s a reminder pf a time when things were less rushed 😉

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    • Hi Ghia:Yes, now and again I am surprised that I take a different road than the one I started. I love when that happens. I TRY to think about the mystery that brought me from A to B. Anyway, so glad to hear from you. Blogging is getting so much better since meeting warm and wonderful people. Love hearing from you and enjoy reading your blog. Tess

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  13. The church in my hometown (population 650) was never locked when I was a child. Times are different,

    Isn’t it awesome how one person can alter the course of our lives for the better. For me it Mrs. Vanhorn the town librarian. She directed me from the children’s reading room to a world filled with books, which have transported me around the world and, on a few occasions, out of it.

    Be encouraged!

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    • Yes, it is awesome how one person can alter the course of your life. Thank goodness for them. My, the library and Mrs. Vanhorn. I found the library when I was about eight. I have no recollection how I got there because I was tied so tightly to my mom’s apron strings. However, it was all good from there.

      You have a uplifting blog. I enjoy reading your posts. Thank you for responding and sharing your memories.

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  14. I totally hear you. Once I had to cover a story at a Jewish Temple, and now that’s a whole other area of religion, but I think I would have had an easier time trying to speak to the president than trying to get past security there.

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    • Oh my. I guess these days, protecting property from vandalism is a whole other -ism. Used to be even BAD people left church properties alone. It’s really sad that at least some thing aren’t sacred.

      Thank you for sharing. I love hearing and sharing thoughts and opinions. BTW, I LOVE your blog. You have current and interesting subjects that not only 20 / 30-somethings can relate to but more mature audiences also. Keep up the good work!

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  15. I can understand why churches are locked but (as an atheist!) I kind of think they shouldn’t be. After all, aren’t they supposed to be places anyone can go, anytime, to get comfort from god and all that? Anyway that monk sounds like a real dear!

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    • Lots of good stories came out of this little post. I agree with you, all kinds of people, whether they are regular participants, still feel that a church is the last refuge for sinner, criminal, drunk, loner etc. Vandals and thieves have put their bitter stamp on this last place of comfort.

      You know, I was so interested in that darn typewriter, I probably NEVER even looked at his face (plus I was shy but curious). I Do remember his kind voice though.

      Nice to exchange thoughts and opinions. Thanks for coming by, “English Rose”.

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  16. Very poignant memory, Tess. I think we all have a few monks in our lives who point out the simple things which change the rest of the path irrevocably. I know I have had a handful. Thank you for sharing. And I am glad you have an idea for another day in the process 😉
    Red.

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    • Thank you, Red. Nice to hear from you. I haven’t had much time to stop and think lately but this particular memory did it for me. This reinforces another thought about my grandchildren. Interesting people in their lives WILL make some kind of an impact. Hopefully good. Tess

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  17. Ahh.. the meandering of the mind. You have to let it go where it wants to. Nice post.

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  18. somthing about walking around a church and looking at the age old stones on the floor,the dampness the smell on chalk im speaking of the church that Henry the IIV had built near his hunting lodge nr hatfeild forest its the kinda place that draws you in when the doors are open that is!

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    • THAT’S a really old church! Being able to visit one that old must make the person feel history right underneath their feet. I’m sure that would be a special experience. Earthy too with the dampness and all.

      Thanks for dropping by.

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  19. I also love to look at old churches, but I think these days, if there ia no one in attendance, they have to kept locked for security reason. Very sad that it’s come to this.

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    • Yes, too bad we must worry about security. Remember the days when churches were sanctuaries for rich or poor, good and bad?

      Thanks for commenting. Have been hearing lovely stories about churches.

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  20. There is something peaceful about wandering into a church, especially on a warm day. So cool and calm. How nice that your “stop-in” lead to a life of writing. God works in mysterious ways they say!

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    • I guess you’re right, Robin. After this little trip down memory lane, it occurs to me how important it is to allow our kids and grandkids to be exposed to varied innovators in the community. You never know what will stick. Hope you had a nice weekend. Thanks for taking the time once again to ‘talk’. Tess

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  21. We’ve come a long way from the middle ages, when churches were the ONE sanctuary for all – even those on the run from the law. That’s where the phrase “knock on wood” started. When someone knocked on the wooden door of the church, they were always allowed “sanctuary”….. (little bit of history for you on a Sunday 😉

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    • It’s so lovely, these little exchanges of stories and comments. I didn’t know where “knock on wood” came from. Thanks, Rebecca. Nice talking to you. Glad you found your way out of the woods recently. Tess

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  22. Oh what a neat and informative page this has been. Awesome awesome read this morning. I too have a memory of unlocked places where my little girl would sit with me in the silence and peace and say “Oh mommy, God lives here doesn’t he?” Just as I did when we “stopped by” with my mother in the middle of the day. Thank you for bringing that all back to mind!

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    • Awesome to hear from you. Yes, I’ve recently been on a new tangent and this was one of the new surprises it led me on. I don’t want to say it but, things were so much better in the good old days! There, I’ve said it. The trouble is, there’s lots to be said about the simple life.

      Thanks for dropping by.

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  23. How sweet! The simple memories are the best!
    – and by the way – I got myself a Vinyl Cafe book by Stuart McLean – I loved it!

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    • Hi Nancy: So NICE to hear from you. Yes, the simple memories are the best. Absolutely. Thank you. I’m so glad you like the Vinyl Cafe. He has a mess of others. If you ever heard him read, you would pee your pants because he comes off so innocently baffled, very dead pan voice. Tess

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  24. Tess, this is gorgeous!!! I love it! Thankyou for sharing it with us! What a lovely story. And I like how your brain tricked you into writing it with “strange thoughts” and “sleepy brain cells.” 🙂

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    • Hi to YOU Gorgeous: I was surprised where the story took me but it’s nothing new that my brain tricks me. I have strange thoughts all the time and my brain cells are sleepy a lot. Worked as a good excuse, didn’t it? LOL. Always enjoy your kind comments. Tess

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  25. Wow, you triggered a memory for me–I recall that innocent time when my small town church was always open, as well. We knew that if anything happened and we needed a safe place to go, that was it. How sad that nowadays churches employ security–not just for vandalism, but those crazy people with guns….mercy me.

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    • Hi. Nice to meet you. It truly is sad there doesn’t seem to be any true ‘sanctuary’ anymore. One of my commenters mentioned that “knock on wood” came from knocking on a church door and being let in whether friend of foe. Gets you thinking about the state of the world today and realising how SAD and uncaring it has become—. Who wouldn’t want to preserve churches by shutting them down due to vandalism. It is too sad, still, tha twe are forced into an unnatural state.

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  26. In a church – a place of inspiration – you encountered a typewriter – another source of inspiration. How inspiring. 🙂

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    • Nice to hear from you Tricia. Sometimes I get lost and make amazing discoveries. LOL.Nowadays, getting lost and losing / misplacing things is becoming more common—especially my glasses. While looking for them I mostly find dust bunnies and popcorn. Nothing amazing for years. Tess

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  27. Tess, I love this story! I hope you tell more of them.

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  28. A beautiful memory Tess. And I swear, I was thinking about that clickety-click-clack yesterday. For some reason I was remembering those big, round, black, and silver keys, and how high-up they were and how far down they needed to be pushed. I still don’t know why I was thinking about it. I think the Muse is toying with me. 🙂

    Very sad about the churches being closed these days. My mother went into a church every morning on her way to work when we were little. It was her only solace.

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    • Elizabeth, that’s interesting about your thinking about that clickety-click and clack. I wonder nowadays, how people could possible type on those keys for any length of time. Yes, it is sad about the churches nowadays and they wonder why people don’t frequent them like they used to. By the way, I LOVE your MUSE piece. Very imaginative. It’s brilliant! Tess

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  29. I’m with you, not only because we have written two posts with the same title – “Imagine That,” but because I agree with you about the sadness of locked churches. I used to think any church could be my refuge in a storm. My mother taught me to type early on. That was her gift that kept on giving.

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    • Thanks for dropping by. Churches want to keep their faithful but are forced to lock them out. Pity isn’t it? Lucky you. I didn’t get a typewriter until highschool, a Remington from Sears but one of those SMALL ones. Remember the big old clunkers that worked your wrists to the bone? Tess

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      • Do I remember manual typewriters? Absolutely. In fact, I longed to have one even after the electrics came along. Kind of like missing the horse when the autos took over. Then I missed the electrics when the computers invaded. Dor

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      • I know what you mean. For a long time I was one step behind. When computers arrived, I was in heaven. No more breaking a wrist typing even on electric typewriter. Not fond of laptop keyboard though. Always making mistakes. Maybe I should use one more and then my fingers would do better. This is lovely chatting. Tess

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  30. I’ve grown up in the Evangelical church, and I agree with you. During an extended stay in San Francisco, I used to trek several miles on foot to Old St. Mary’s Cathedral, which was always open. I still remember how serene it was compared to the city bustle.

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    • Our lives are so busy, busy, go, go, go. I don’t think it would hurt to have a quiet time in a serene and relaxing environment. Alas, the churches are closed against thievery, desecration and destruction. On the one hand I DO understand, on the other, it’s sad that we have come to this: closed doors.

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  31. Tess, this is a charming story. Thank you for sharing it.

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