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I have taken yet another step toward becoming an eccentric little old lady, besides getting another day older. The bookends of my day yesterday were training for Altar Guild and watching the Hall of Fame game.

Altar Guild is definitely the province of the grandmotherly portion of my church. (My church, like many, is pretty heavily weighted that way anyway.) Several of the women are in their nineties, although I have not personally met them yet. A whole new world of linens with highly specific names and detailed liturgical purposes opened to me. Delicate embroidery, smooth ironing, shiny brass and silver. The ironing and polishing parts of housework would be the parts where I’m not exactly at the top of the class, so we’ll see how that works out. I think it’s the crash course in the full Martha, but I won’t know until my official training begins; yesterday I simply shadowed the women in charge of the service.

I always do something else while I watch television so that it seems less like a complete waste of time. Ironing, for example, since I put it off long enough that it takes about a full football game to finish the pile, or needlework or knitting. The current project is a sock, my first that will have an actual heel, and in an eyelet pattern that means I have to pay attention to what I am doing. It’s perfect for a preseason football game because I really wanted to see the starters play the first quarter and the new Hall of Fame members. As a bonus, I saw perhaps the best trick play ever: a fake punt where the punter faked a handoff to a runner going one way and then ran 40 yards himself for the touchdown.

Even so, it was bittersweet football. There is no more John Madden in the booth. At halftime, I watched the loving tribute to his long career.

I will conclude with the quotation from Don Delillo that lurks at the bottom of all my emails: “I liked the idea of losing myself in an obscure part of the world. And I had discovered a very simple truth. My life meant nothing without football.”

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