December 2, 2009
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The muted pink carpet of the church lobby is worn down to its woven underbelly. Its gray patches splotch in an unyielding pathway that passes the dusty plastic plants and rows of untouched coat hangers in the entry. Ancient trailblazers wheeze and wobble biweekly along the same path to the ageless pews of the church’s main room. A fog of mothballs and hairspray follows them to their seats. They dress in their same Wednesday and Sunday fashions, sometimes with different gaudy brooches or gloves in the winter to battle the biting wind that pierces through the stained glass windows.
Hundreds of blackened organ pipes gawk rigidly from their wall mounts at the half-empty congregation, waiting for the right moment to scream out for a cleaning. Squeaks from the hinges of the doors sting the ears of the ushers as the timeless procession commences. The constant droning of scripture and verse lulls even the organ pipes to sleep, until they are forced awake by the musty wind of the organ master.
Thundering frequencies of tired hymns rumble the hidden crossbeams in the ceiling of the hall; painted quotes of Psalms and Exodus rattle with appreciation for the ever-present fear of God in the singer’s voices. Later, the green copper collection plate is passed delicately from grandmother to grandfather in hopes to collect enough to survive until Christmas Day, when the brown folding chairs are brought out from the spider webbed boiler room to seat the Christmas guests. The alter readers remove their glasses and switch the squeaking knob of the brass reading lamp to signify the end of the service. A look of relief and ease exudes from every elderly face as their wrinkles relax with every step toward the outdoors while they wish the ushers a good afternoon. Behind them, the ornate wooden doors creak shut until the next service.
Their church stands alone; a defeated tan against the light of the sun. Change beats mercilessly on the crumbling mortar between the stone. Still, the tired patrons grumble and scoot to their cars without a backward glance, knowing that their Wednesday and Sunday routines will always be safely sealed within the church’s walls.

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