Monday, July 16, 2012

Saved by the Bell

I get all kinds of doorbell visitors. 

Phone companies, magazine and candy salesman. High School Band members, cheerleaders. Gas and electric suppliers, politicians and young kids who are intent on saving the environment, but not so much concerned about polluting the neighborhood.

And in most every instance I cut them off very quickly, tell them I’m not interested and turn them away.

And to be honest I kind of enjoy watching those smiles turn upside down. 

But sometimes I do offer them a bottle of water on a very hot day…especially the environmentalist, because they tend to get crankier than the others.

About once every month or so, a couple of Church Ladies ring my doorbell to say hello, hand me a couple of their latest publications, and attempt to save my misbegotten soul.

Oh, and they come to laugh, because saving souls can be a bit of a downer most of the time.

When they come to save me, though, they know it will at least be a good time for all.

They’re nice people. And they put up with me, who can be…well, let’s say difficult, when it comes to people talking to me about religion.

One of the nice ladies is always the same, but she seems to bring a new partner every time.

I guess I’m an acquired taste, even in soul saving endeavors. 

I’ve given my views when it comes to all things theological, here before, so I’ll spare you any discourse now. But the Church Lady first arrived at my door not long after we first moved here, a decade ago. 

I had seen her in the neighborhood walking from door to door on a hot sticky Saturday afternoon, that first summer, and she was receiving a less than welcome reception from most of the places she’d been.

Whereas I would probably have been ripping flowers from people gardens on the way out, this effervescent woman was always smiling, undeterred from her mission.

When she showed up at my door, I did what was only natural….I threw myself on the floor and crawled behind the couch.

The only problem was the front door was open, and since I had also knocked over a lamp, she was yoo hooing through the screen, asking if everything was alright in there…..

So I mustered a big smile, crawled out from behind the couch and went to meet my maker, or at least a very good friend of my maker.

I politely listened to her spiel, which to be honest was very short and to the point.  I told her how much I admired what she was doing; her dedication and above all her patience with some of my less than hospitable new neighbors. I told her that if I was running heaven, which I hoped to someday, I would make sure she got a room with a view and possibly even a swimming pool, while my neighbors would be relegated to split levels in the Heavenly equivalent of Levittown, NY.

That earned me a great big belly laugh, mostly because I don’t think she was expecting it, and I actually caught some of the neighbors peeking through their curtains wondering just what kind of person had taken up residence on their block.

I then proceeded to make very clear that while I certainly had my views on spirituality and religions of all kindssome positive, most negativeI had talked it all to death, was very happy where I was in that regard, but I’d be happy to have her drop by and leave her reading material, if that was of any benefit to her.  But no discussions, no bible thumping and especially no praying for my obstinate soul.

This pleased her to no end, and she told me that was a much better deal than she gets at most places, so she would see me in a month.

And she did, and she did...and she still does, when I’m not hiding behind the couch, almost every month, for about 10 years; but, like I said, with a different partner each time.

I think it’s how they break in the new people.  Or punish the old people. 

Not sure….

The first time she returned, she called me by name so I asked her if Jesus had told her my name…or if she had written it down.

She immediately burst out in that great big window rattling laugh of her’s and admitted that she had written it down.

Again the neighbors were peeking out the windows.

Again she handed me her little magazines.

Most times I get a little spiel on the hot topic of the month, to which I nod my head a lot, then comment on what a good looking Jesus they have pictured on the cover.  I tell her that I didn’t know Jesus looked so much like James Brolin, or that he was able to afford 200 dollar haircuts.

This elicits another big laugh from my friend, and a horrified expression from her partner who usually starts to wave various herbs and preventative talismans in my direction.

And then she’s gone until the next soul lifting moment….for both her and for me.

Most of my friends are befuddled when they learn about this and just how long it’s been going on.

They think I’m the last person they know who would allow such an invasion of time and space.

But I tell them, I don’t mind at all, and since all that’s asked of me is that I listen to what she has to say for 30 seconds and take a glance at her magazines to see if anything strikes my fancy, how can I not have time for that.

My friend the Church Lady is the one putting in all the time. It doesn’t matter if I think it’s time well spent or not.

So she wants to save my soul....what’s wrong with that?

To be honest it could use a good scrubbing.

So the next time you’re doorbell rings, don’t be so quick to go visit the dust bunnies behind the couch.

And there’s no law here or above—or even below— that says you can’t laugh about it.

Is there…?


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  1. Oh,this is so funny and so true. Reminded me of the Baptist ladies in TN who tried so hard to save me. Then there were other sales types who used to come to the door. We were in our twenties in the 1950s, when the aluminum siding and combination windows salesfolks regularly visited. The funniest one was the cemetery plot man. Thanks for reminding me of all we learned from the many doorbell ringers who came to our neighborhood. Where are they now?

    1. Now they send e-mails instead of ringing…either once or twice.

      When do we get to see your life story in print…or better yet, up on the big screen?


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