I was late again this morning. Just as I was late yesterday. I fear that being late is starting to become part of my “new normal” - not that this is really any kind of an excuse.
Yesterday I was late turning up for one of my favourite annual activities, making palm crosses to be given out at today’s Palm Sunday services. Last year, though I say so myself as shouldn’t
(as my dear Mum would surely have chided me) I was one of the Stars of the Show - as in being one of the only people present who could remember how to fashion a cross out of a palm leaf. This year, it was oh, such a different story.
My friend Ian had checked out for me the timing of our crafty cross making session (9.30 a.m.) and my friend Eleanor had reminded me to bring scissors along with me - however despite their best endeavours
on my behalf I couldn’t get along to the church until 10.15 a.m. and completely forgot to bring a pair of scissors with me. It wasn’t all I had forgotten, either - my ability to swiftly fashion a palm cross, learnt and perfected over the last four
years, suddenly deserted me. I think I may have managed four palm crosses over the course of the remaining half a hour until we called time on the whole business and everybody started clearing up. At least, said Eleanor as she walked with me to where I had
parked my car, I had enjoyed a calm and peaceful interlude in my busy day.
Today was Palm Sunday but I arrived too late to collect my order of service and
palm cross before the service started at the Lych gate, prior to a procession into church while singing All Glory, Laud and Honour. Kay and I found ourselves overcome by quite unseemly giggles because neither of us could keep in tune or in time with those
ahead of us in the procession, while those behind us were even more out of time, their voices just behind us on every line, like a distant echo. In past years we have processed rather further, from the Old Palace, which was a step (or, rather, several steps)
too far for the more elderly in our congregation. Anthony mourned the fact that our shortened procession did not make so much of a “statement” to the neighbourhood - and as our only onlookers this morning were a Dad and his two littl’uns
waiting for us to pass so that they could cross the road, he might have had a point. Though I don’t think we ever attracted crowds of sightseers to be honest. Maybe we should take a (palm) leaf out of other churches’ books and find ourselves a
Then, having turned up late in the first place, the service is a long one and I had to leave before the final hymn; I had already been too long
away from my recovering Mr B. I sang “Ride on, ride on in majesty” under my breath all the way home, contemplating on the fact that it is far easier to sing in tune under one’s breath. Try it for yourself, why don’t you? I was half
way home (and on the final verse) before I realised that, because of my untimely exit, I still hadn’t collected a palm cross…
Later in the afternoon,
I hear something being pushed through our letter box at which I trot out into the hall to collect the somewhat bent and battered brown envelope lying on the door-mat. Inside, a palm cross - and written on the front of the envelope: “Not sure you were
able to pick one of these up today. Take care.”
The thoughtfulness of my Ever Present Friends never ceases to amaze and humble me.