The picture above is of the St. James Episcopal Church in Mobridge, South Dakota, the church where I was given my first lessons in religion and humility. In terms of religion, it's where I first learned that I didn't need a church for my religiosity. And as for humility, well I didn't learn much about that either. Father Clark was the pastor and I remember him best for his sanctimonious delivery on Sundays. You know, that phony deep-throated churchguy tone of voice that was meant to impress all the parishioners with his sincerity and zeal. When I say all the parishioners, I mean only about twenty on even the best of Sundays.
A quick summary of my Episcopal impressions: Sunday school in the basement, exactly where I didn't want to be, listening to stories of the Bible I wasn't interested in; the smell of lilacs either from the bushes outside or from someone's lilac perfume that infused the choir robes that hung in a closet in the basement; the smell of pine needles every Christmas when we would put on the Christmas play; my very short career as altar boy, lighting candles and snuffing them out (I was pretty good at both), carrying out other forgotten altar boy duties; my equally short stint as a member of the choir (I think quite often the choir outnumbered the devotees out in the pews); and last, the evening lessons preparing us for our Episcopal rite of passage, confirmation. I don't think I was ever actually confirmed. I think Father Clark just put me through the motions because he knew it wouldn't do him any good to try to actually confirm me in his and the church's beliefs. The confirmation lessons were just awful. I would question everything he said to us and we would often end up in loud arguments with no resolution. God, I must have been a hateful child. But I was never after that an Episcopalian.
A thought about tv commercials. There are way too many commercials that are shown way too often, to the point where I wouldn't buy the product advertised if my life depended on it. The obvious example is Alltel with their highly irritating Chad. I never again want to see that kid and his family beneath the roller coaster, collecting "stuff" that falls from above, with Chad warning, "I wouldn't wear that," when the mother screams that her son has a new retainer. Yuck! My idea is to have a number of variations on the same commercial, changing the dialogue just a bit, a small change in the background or camera angle. The same commerical but with subtle changes. It wouldn't even cost much, just doing five or six takes when the ad is first shot. The viewer would notice the switches and would pay attention down the road to see which variation wouild be next.
We're finally settling into the early fall weather here in the Valley. Our highs are in the low triple digits, but within two weeks we'll be under a hundred. Good. And the humidity will drop once our monsoon season ends. Good. And then the snow birds will return in huge flocks. Bad. Yes, I know, we need their money and their business, but we don't need their nastiness and their air of superiority over us year-rounders. The streets will soon be filled with out-of-state cars with out-of-state licenses, all going about fifteen miles over the speed limit. The Safeway parking lot will again be as dangerous as a street in Iran.