The Following Wednesday
The Rev and I were enjoying a quiet drink, it was market day in East Fartherdowne. The Nam, Little Nancy, and the Snorter had all caught the Wednesday bus. (Why the bus was so named I could never work out - there was only one bus a week.) The Snorter was hoping to sell fifteen weaners before he actually bought them, the Nam was after some rare bantams and Nance likes a bus ride.
We were talking about how the very plainness of Wymsey had enabled the village to avoid becoming a rural retreat for the middle classes. "Not that we have too many farm workers looking for homes," the Rev points out, "do you realise that the average age of my congregation is sixty seven? I sometimes think that it is a good thing that most of them are deaf and that the rest seem to have lost their powers of understanding. It certainly saves me a great deal of embarrassment."
"So where's the heart of the village now?" I ask him.
"Split into a million pieces and stuffed down cathode ray tubes," the Rev says dejectedly, "and I am reduced to being an ineffectual social worker."
On the way to the bar it crosses my mind that if the Rev was a true priest of his time he'd host a chat show and have a web site. I am used to the Rev's maudlin moods and know that they go as quickly as they arrive.
When I return we sit in silence for a while listening to the sounds of the children playing on the Green which comes to us through the open doorway. Eventually the Rev looks up from his drink, catches my eye, and gives me a rueful smile, "I guess that if Wymsey was a large, bustling, parish full of souls in need of saving the bishop would have replaced me years ago."© c.ivermee, 1988-2010
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