Sometimes a day has a theme in spite of one’s best efforts. It was my intention, of course, to arrive in Salem early enough to do a good deal of fellowshipping before church began, but as the saying goes, the best laid plans of mice and men oft go astray . As it happens, I had checked their website to see services at 2PM but did not go far enough to see that on the third week of the month they have a Bible Study format and services begin at 1PM. So, as it happens, my mum and I arrived in Salem at about 1:20PM or so after a drive of about an hour and immediately I felt as if I had missed a memo, as there were plenty of cars but no kids playing happily outside. Sure enough, church had started and we found a quiet place to sit and listen to the sermon. After that there was some fellowship, a bit of food, and then we stayed for the Bible Study as well. Overall it was pretty friendly and my mom enjoyed chatting with some of the people there (as did I).
At that point we went to our usual dining spot. I had thought that we would be the last ones there, but that was not the case, as I was called by our hosts, my mom was not able to figure out how to call her back on the cell phone by pressing the caller’s info, and I found out that our hosts were just then leaving church because one of our brethren had a late taxi that took forever to arrive to bring her home. So it was that we saved a table and found ourselves alone for a few minutes until our hosts arrived and we had a small but lively conversation. It appeared as if some other people had missed the memo that we would be there–as perhaps it was thought by our usual dining companions, reasonably enough, that because we were not at Portland today that we would not be eating with them. There are certainly some places that we could have eaten at if we did not think we would have very much in the way of company, after all.
As it happened, during our drive from Salem back to Portland, I commented on the various towns that we were driving through, and when we came to Gladstone it came about that my mom had visited the town vastly more than I had. In fact, I have never been to Gladstone at all, while my mother has regularly visited a thrift store there. Of course, there are good reasons why I have never been to Gladstone, namely that I have never had any reasons to go there. When driving to Oregon City I have always found it faster to go from 99E to OR-224 to I-205 rather than going through downtown Gladstone. Likewise, I have never had any reason to go to Gladstone. I am not a noted thrift shopper, nor have I had any other reason to go there, since anytime I am near Gladstone I am pretty near to other places where I would deliberately go, like Happy Valley/Clackamas or Oregon City. Gladstone has just sort of been too far to go randomly and too close to other locations I go to purposefully for me to go there before, strangely enough.
It appears, though, that I was not the only person I was around to miss the memo when it came to yesterday. From what I was told, there was at least one other person who missed a very important memo in Portland. When one is going to church, one expects, as unreasonable as it is, that other people should be friendly to their fellow brethren. Salem, of course, was friendly, and while that surprised my mother a bit, it did not surprise me. (It should be noted, though, that it was not a surprise for me because I visit Salem not infrequently for various reasons, and know a great many people from the area from our mutual service at Preteen camp or because they visit Portland or because we both visit other areas.) This person, though, responded to a friendly greeting with an upturned nose. That may be missing the most important memo of all, knowing how to treat one’s fellow brethren with graciousness and friendliness and respect and love.
 See, for example: