Anne and I arrived early for church, so we sat in the back and watched people come in. Since I'd not lived in the area for years, Anne updated me with particulars.
"Evadene's got a new knee." Evidently it was working fine: Evadene squatted down three times to pick up escaping Cheerios her grandchild had sown along the carpet.
A couple entered from the other side of the chapel. "Jo's getting her hip replacement after Thanksgiving. She says if they can afford Hawley's fishing boat, they can afford her hip." As they squeezed into a pew, Hawley gave her hip, and the rest of her, a wide berth.
"Now she," indicating a short woman whose long white braid hinted of an earlier, less mainstream lifestyle, "she has two knee replacements and
a hip. And Charles Bybee over there has a metal shoulder--he just loves it!"
By the time the service began, Anne (who herself has one knee and one hip that weren't part of her original complement) had pointed out a dozen congregants with newly installed joints. I thought back to our adolescent years, when we spent long dull services keeping tabs on clothes and hair styles, and then later, guessing about possible romances among the singles. (Well, okay, so I used the word "we" loosely. But my friends kept tabs on those things.) The crucial news then concerned who was developing an interesting bustline or a curvaceous derriere. Now, it seems, we're getting deeper into anatomy; it's the basic bones and joints that matter at this end.
But here's what really puzzled me: how does Anne KNOW about all these new installations? Anne works full-time at her profession, has four grown children and five grandchildren whose demands on her, day in and day out, seem breath-taking to me, and has recently finished remodeling her house. So how does she keep up with the orthopedic news? Does the women's auxilary publish a head-shoulders-knees-and-toes newsletter? Or does Anne have some sort of graydar that signals "new joint on this old body"? I suspect the latter. After all, Paul teaches in Romans 12:6 that we all have "gifts differing." I just never guessed the full panoply of those gifts!