Thursday, 3 July 2014

Church of the Olive Garden

There are those who say I should get out more, others who say I get out a little too much. Some just say I should get out. The other day, I did. Not sure whose desire I was serving at the time but it had to be somebody’s.
I hit a whole new section of Maine where I have never been before, having discovered that’s where I am most welcome. The target was Bailey’s Island, the last of a string of small islets joined together by a highway that dead ends someplace out in the ocean. With a little more enterprising attitude they probably could have included another island, leaving the final bridge wide open to destruction by periodic Atlantic storms. What better way for a little free publicity for your state? But then, judging from the number of metal detector wielding senior citizens exploring the beach and it diminutive size, it is probably already popular enough. A busload or two of Canadians would have been severe overpopulation. So would a couple of carloads from Massachusetts.
We missed the real target there though, when we didn’t get to see Cedar Beach, although we saw plenty of signs suggesting it be saved. The beach is still a public attraction but Chuck and Sally closed the only road which provides access to it several years ago. I think the litigants are serving a higher purpose though, because nothing is more exciting than stepping into a political row while vacationing. Meanwhile the sea glass must be piling up pretty good on cedar beach so I hope I can schedule our next visit for the grand reopening.
On the way home I came as close to getting religion as I have during at least the last couple of months. Who knew dinner at Olive Garden could be so inspirational, or that I could be so resistant to the siren call of an inspired evangelist. There were some shortcomings on his part, though not many, that can probably be blamed for my escape.
While the presentation was a little difficult to pin down, and had his three member congregation looking less than enlightened, it was long. That’s the main characteristic which identifies a message from a truly inspired icon in a pulpit. I was thrilled that he’d taken his act public, or I might have missed it. I noticed most of the other people at tables within hearing range were also attracted to him. That encompassed only about half of the dining room, giving those of us lucky enough to experience the event a feeling of being really privileged. That’s the way religion is supposed to work, right?
As near as I could tell, the message was that God knew everything and almost as much as he did. I’ve never heard anything better in a bar, at least before midnight. His audience had the same glassy eyed look of adoration that pops up a couple of hours before closing time. Without hesitation, I just told the waiter I’d have whatever they were having. I was hooked for a few minutes.
Despite his enlightenment, he failed to deliver the personal attention I demand from the God in my religion. This guy failed to step over and lead grace when our order arrived at the table and we were forced to partake of unblessed food. Sadly it was delicious, which made me wonder what he could have added to it. That shook my faith in him a little. The final straw was when he failed to pick up the check when it got to his table. I figured if I signed on to his program I was going to have to contribute to paying it off. I don’t know when, but it looked like he had consumed quite a bit and it was probably top of the line stuff, which he no doubt deserved.
He had more success than I suspected though. When he left, I noticed peaceful smiles on the faces of most of the people at the other tables and the reverent silence left in his wake. At least it sounded like silence in comparison with the previous half hour or so. I kind of hope the people up on Bailey’s island connect with him to add another twist to their save the beach campaign.
I need to get out more often.