Without reading the bulletin, having any knowledge of our worship service, or spoken clue, you will know when our choir is about to sing. Right before we sing, papers get shuffled into place, assorted rustles of choir robes, blowing noses, throat clearing, and coughing take place. As these sounds rise to a crescendo and then begin to subside, we are given the hand signal to rise, black music folders in hand.

Because of the aforementioned rustling, throat clearing, nose wiping, etc., not everyone sees the hand signal at the same time. On those rare occasions when we all rise as a single entity I want to stop and applaud, but we haven’t actually sung anything yet. Also, actual applause in our church is not encouraged unless you are impelled by the Spirit to acknowledge the message. I think we are only allowed to clap along with the Spirit and the Creator (they tend to clap softly). You can feel a rush of joy when the music and the moment all work together. I think that is an approved variation of applause.

Last Thursday during choir rehearsal it was non-stop coughing, hacking, sneezing, sniffling, and throat clearing. Cold season in New England begins in October and lasts until Spring allergies begin.

My colds and sore throats are usually of short duration and treatable by OTC drugs and syrups. Those times I feel I might be contagious I am scrupulous about washing hands, coughing into my shoulder rather than open air or hands. (Think about it. You cover your mough with your hands to contain the spray and then use your hands to touch everything. I don’t think so!) I also generally retreat to the back row (easier to knit there while waiting for other sections rehearse ) when we rehearse in the choir room (as opposed to the sanctuary where I stay up front and off to the side). Last Thursday the entire back row (except for me) was coughing, sneezing and spraying germs.

They got me good this time. Friday it was barely a tickle. By Saturday morning it was difficult to swallow. By last night, I was taking my “medicinal” liquids in hot form…hot tea, hot chocolate (spiced with appropriate liquors), and even just hot water. Today I stayed home from church instead of going in to sing both services as I normally would on the first Sunday of every month. I feel vaguely guilty …maybe because I have every intention of going to my Sunday knitting group this afternoon.

The only good thing about hurting to swallow is that while I may drink more fluids, I eat less solids. Good for the diet. My system is so efficient nowadays that I can eat a bowl of cereal (real cooked oatmeal with raisins) for breakfast and my body can get by on it for 12 hours. My stomach and my mouth do not agree. Therefore, I NEED to exercise in order to be able to eat even a fraction of what I enjoy eating, or even have three meals a day.

Walking is my exercise of choice these days. Being in the air cast has meant no walking with the dogs. I did try it once and was totally shot after 12 minutes. Not 15, TWELVE. I mentioned it to the orthopedic surgeon when I was re-x rayed on Friday and he frowned and said “what did you expect?? It’s broken! I said to stay off it!”