Monday, April 2, 2012

mourning in a chapel (lyn)

I love the story of how Zelia met her husband.

Chico (Zelia’s ex-husband) was the host of a popular comedy-skit show in Brazil. He was known for the many characters (some real, others not) he created.  At the time, Zelia was Brazil’s Minister of Finance.  She was one of the characters Chico became.   Think Will Ferrell as (a much prettier) Janet Reno on SNL.  Chico invited Zelia to appear on his show, and she accepted.  Within a few years they were married and had two kids.  Although the marriage eventually ended, Chico and Zelia remained good friends.  And, the kids saw their father several times a year, despite a geographic separation of almost 5,000 miles.

For the past few months, Chico had been sick, and last week he died. Zelia and her children went to Brazil to say a final good-bye.

Today I go with Zelia to look at a chapel for a memorial service she’d like to have here.  It’s about three-miles from my home, so I decide to walk.  The weather is still wintery, but the many flowers in Central Park say it’s spring.

We meet with Father John who is a clone of Chris Noth.  He admits he is often mistaken for him. He even tells a story of how one of his parishoners, thinking he was Chris Noth when she saw him on the street, tries to hit on him.  I'm amused that he actually uses the expression, "Hit on me."   But he appears pretty hip, sitting in his office with an iPhone and a huge Apple monitor.  For the next half hour, we discuss details of the service.  Father John is quite rigid in the requirements for the service, though his charming demeanor masterfully hides his inflexibility.

We leave, and Zelia and I agree that we could learn a lot from this priest.  Smile when we disagree.  Kindly put forth our own views even if the ones presented back at us seem preposterous.  Reiterate what we want, in the kindest of voices.  And pretend in the end it was a great negotiation, though nothing was ever negotiated.

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