Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Slop Pails

Three of us SOOPers along with our fearless leader form Carlsbad Mennonite worked on our remodelling job this morning. A. told us about a farmer in Indiana whose friend visited him while he was carrying two huge slop pails across the yard to the pigs. The farmer stood listening for a long time, not knowing that his visitor was talking on and on in order to see how long it would take before the man set the slop pails down. Eventually, the visitor took pity on the farmer and ended the story. E. and I were holding a half-sheet of gyproc over our heads while A. went ot get a screw-drill and the fact that he took a long time to get it from the truck outside prompted the above story. Now, the phrase for indicating that one of us should relax while waiting for something to happen is, ". . . put down your slop pails."

Working at SOOP is not like working for MDS or MCC in every way, but I hope the birthing and nurturance of friendships is similar. "On the job", you get to know people really quickly, and because we're all Mennonites, are all seniors and have all applied to SOOP, we already have a start on knowing what values we probably share. This makes it easier, and, I think, makes participation in the program here in Carlsbad - at least - more than worthwhile.

For most of the SOOPers here who work at the thrift store, the biggest temptation is keeping their hands off the merchandise. Last Friday, I came across a pair of jeans that actually had the size-tag still attached. The waist and leg length matched mine exactly and I needed some jeans because the ones I brought have almost all been put through the construction-worker mill. So there I was with a pair of jeans I wanted in one hand and the pricing pen in the other. Talk about your conflict of interest. I marked them at $2.00 - the going rate - and took them to the till where another SOOPer said, "you should get these for half price!" I have also purchased two or three shirts, another pair of pants, a pedometer, and a TV that I had to return because it would only work for 15 minutes at a time.

We're exploring the Grand Canyon via library materials since we plan to go there on the way home. They've just constructed a viewing platform that looks like a huge horseshoe with the round part extending over the canyon's rim. The floor of this "horseshoe", however, is made of glass and when you walk on it, you apparently get the sensation of flying, or, in my case, of vomiting. It's just opened and we're already talking about which of us will be too chicken to go on it. I suspect it will be both.

I'm writing as much as time and energy will allow. Right now, I'm beginning work on an article for the Mennonite papers (on spec - no reqest) that will be called "Carlsbad Soop." I've also picked up work on short essays I'm writing for a meditation-style book with a difference. We have taken to reading the standard Mennonite booklet every morning (Rejoice) but find that it seems to be great for new Christians, but doesn't give one much to chew on. I hope to appeal to a different audience.

Agnes is done her emails and is reading in the car, so I guess it's time for me to wrap up here.

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