Thursday, March 6, 2008

stella & steph's picture

A few days ago I emailed my sister my work photo, the one I had just sent to head office. She said she had a hard time seeing it because it was too big for her screen. My heart did a quick palpitation as I imagined everyone at head office hee-hawing over me sending such a huge picture. "As if she thinks she's so hot that she needs this huge picture. What an ass!"... That's what I imagined them saying in the split second my rational brain took a leave of absence.

It all reminded me of what might be at the root of my picture neuroses. Here's how it went: When Stephanie was a baby we attended church with a lady, let's call her Stella, who stood up every Sunday to make a formal announcement about this, that, and the other. I don't recall that she carried a title, but I have little doubt that in her own way, she ran the church. Stella always had ideas, some of them plain frightening.

One morning she hit me up at the church entrance -- Stella always "worked" the front door. She asked me to bring a picture of Stephanie to church. Puzzled, I asked the whys and what fors of this strange request. She suggested it would be nice to have one of the nursery baby's picture displayed in the nursery every week. I clarified what I understood her strange, but workable request to be. Yes I would bring a framed picture of Steph to be displayed for one Sunday.

The following Sunday as we were leaving the house, remembering my commitment to Stella, I grabbed the adorable 8x10 framed photo of Stephanie off the tv. Stella was of course perched at the front door and was most grateful for my contribution.

After Sunday School, Stella rose gracefully and went to the front of the church for her customary announcements. Imagine my horror - no, there's no way you can - as Stella held up Stephanie's beautiful picture and said, "Look at the beautiful baby. Valerie brought this because she'd like us to put it on the nursery wall..." Then she pulled a plug for nursery workers out of her butt. She closed her announcement encouraging everyone to come by and enjoy a look at Stephanie's picture. Then to spread out the humiliation, she sat the picture on the communion table - right beside the gigantic Holy Bible - where it sat throughout the whole service.

Seconds before my eyes starting shooting lasers, (as in The Exorcist meets The Matrix) she turned to me and said, "Valerie, again thank you for sharing this beautiful picture of Stephanie. It's easy to see why you're so proud."

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

VALERIE, I DON'T THINK I'VE LAUGHED THIS HARD IN FOREVER. I'm not sure if you just remember everything w/such vivid detail or what but you have lived the life!

March 6, 2008 at 7:33 PM  

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