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Front Page » March 12, 2002 » Opinion » Move to the Front Of the Chapel
Published 4,422 days ago

Move to the Front Of the Chapel


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By JAMES L. DAVIS

There are basically two ways to consider the motto "Be Prepared." There is one based solely on the complexities of reality and there is one based on your mind's perception of reality. As any regular reader of this column (thanks Mom) should know, I have no basic understanding of reality.

I bring this up only because a couple of weeks ago I decided that on Sunday I would take my children to church. It should be noted that I regularly make this decision and only occasionally follow through with said decision. But on almost every weekend that my children are home I tell my them that we are going to church. Immediately after making such a statement a number of things happen: My daughter makes a mental note not to let me forget such a decision, my son makes a mental note to do his best to sleep in until noon and I make a mental note to live up to my decision while secretly hoping that we all sleep in until noon.

Because of that our attendance at church in the past has been sporadic at best. But endeavoring to turn over a new leaf I decided that this time there would be no sleeping in. On Saturday night I went to sleep with that thought in mind, reasonably confident that we were ready. We were prepared. So when Sunday morning arrived I woke my kids up several hours before church and we had a nice morning together. I even decided that I would make us a breakfast of pancakes before church. So while my children took their baths I stumbled around the kitchen trying to make pancakes that actually looked and tasted like pancakes. Realizing that if I allowed my children to eat pancakes with their church clothes on they would be (accidently or not) so covered with syrup by the time we left for church that we would stick to the pews, I instructed them to put on some sweats until after they had eaten.

With breakfast finished, I went to take my shower. Before doing so I asked my son to look at his church clothes and tell me if they needed ironing. He did so and I trusted his judgment, which was a mistake on my part, because I should have asked him if his clothes were wrinkled, not if they needed ironing. There's a subtle difference there somewhere which I don't even pretend to understand. But I didn't ask the right question so I accepted my son's assurance that his clothes did not need ironing on face value.

After showering and ironing my own clothes I went into the living room to check on the progress of my children. They were both dressed and putting on their shoes and I was rather proud of the fact that it was still 15 minutes before church started. This could possibly be a Davis first, we would make it to church on time.

But then I asked my daughter to stand up so I could take a look at her. When she did so my jaw dropped because my beautiful little daughter was wearing a miniskirt. It hadn't always been a miniskirt mind you, but it most definitely was one now and I asked her just who had given her permission to grow so much, to which she just shrugged.

"Well, you can't wear that to church," I said and quickly followed it up with "You can't wear that anywhere." So we rushed to her bedroom, threw open the closet door and began a mad scramble to find her a skirt that she could wear. It was now 10 minutes before church was supposed to start.

We finally found her an outfit she could wear and I left her in her room to change and went back to the living room to check on my son. When I asked him to stand up I sighed, let my head drop and slowly shook it back and forth (which in technical terms is called The Parental Resignation Maneuver), because my son's clothes looked as if they had been wadded up into a tiny ball and stuffed into the darkest corner of the closet.

By this time my daughter was dressed and church had officially started. For a moment I considered the possibility that we should all just go back to sleep until noon, but then I decided that no, we had come this far, we would go to church.

After arriving at church we stood outside the chapel looking inside and again I thought that we should have just slept in. Because the only seats left in the chapel were on the front row. As everyone knows, the front row of a chapel is No Man's Land. I have yet to be to any meeting of any kind where the front row is voluntarily occupied...especially in church. When you go to church you always fill the chapel from the back to the front, never from the front to the back. That way anyone who is late for church has to walk all the way to the front to find a seat. It's cruel and entertaining all at the same time, as long as you aren't the one who is late.

Because of that I think that chapels should be designed with a pulpit at the front and the back of the chapel and with seats without backs. That way the bishop could walk out and step up to the pulpit with the most people gathered around it. Then all he would have to do is ask everyone to turn around and the meeting could begin.

But since that is not reality my children and I found ourselves walking to the front of the chapel and taking our seats on the front row. Sitting there I came to another decision. Before the next Sunday arrived we would all buy new Sunday clothes...some in the wrinkle-free variety.

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