Miss Liza was a big woman. She took up her seat and the one beside her on the pew in her church. She wore big loud hats which blocked the view of the three pews behind her. Her opinions were as big as she was. They were not to be questioned or opposed. Her options were to be obeyed and shared by all those seeking to get along with Miss Liza.
Being a big woman with big opinions it was fitting Miss Liza had a big voice to boot. Even when she was whispering the whole church could hear her under-the-breath conversations. She was known for her running commentaries on the sermon in progress. She would rarely agree and mostly question the educational background of the present occupant of the pulpit. Even when she was muttering to herself the choir could hear every word. No one questioned whether this was purposeful or some kind of vocal accident. It was the way of Miss Liza and everyone knew it.
Liza sat on the same pew in the church for over seventy years. I think the pew gave out before Liza did. She died before the new sanctuary was opened and she could claim her big place in the new church. She was one of the salty saints. Even today they are telling Miss Liza stories in that church.
One Saturday there was a wedding in the church. Miss Liza was present on her pew. Her pew was on the groom’s side of the church. Liza was in her pew even though she didn’t know the groom nor any of his kinfolk. Liza would not be bothered by matrimonial decorum. The congregation was informed of her position on decorum during the pre-service music. Liza believed that any Prelude, before a wedding, a funeral or Sunday worship, was simply background music for her conversations.
The wedding proper began on time with the procession of groomsmen and bridesmaids. The wedding party, while numerically small was large in girth. They wore tuxedos and gowns, all of which evidenced an abundance of gussets.
There is a moment of silence in the wedding. The minister asks the congregation to be seated and while they are finishing up their ritualistic sitting down rustling, nothing is said. The minister waits for the creaking of the pews to subside. Then the minister will begin the ceremony with “Friends” or “Dearly beloved.”
There was a pre- “Dearly Beloved “moment of silence at this wedding.
Miss Liza could hold out no longer. For some reason she intoned her opinion of the size of wedding party to those sitting around her. The entire congregation, in this moment of pre-matrimonial silence heard Miss Liza say, “Would you look at that. There’s a lot of beef on that stage.”
There are some moments from which you never recover. There are some things which can never be unsaid.
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