Mack Williams column: An unmasked day

Published 12:00 am Sunday, June 13, 2021

By Mack Williams

When I walked into early choir warm-up this past Sunday at church, I found that the choir had joined the rest of the vaccinated congregation in going maskless. Joining in (being one of the many vaccinated), I removed my mask. I regretted my shaving was not caught up. I was essentially proving that the saying about a hat solving a “bad hair day” equals a mask being a solution to a “bad face day!”

Speaking of “day,” I thought about comparisons between the gospel song, “The Unclouded Day” and a long-awaited “unmasked day.”

Like that vintage wrestling star, “The Great Bolo,” we had been unmasked (but not the same circumstances).

Since the sanctuary is undergoing repairs, the congregation was in the smaller, but still roomy fellowship hall. It’s a little more spatially intimate than the sanctuary, so the faces revealed after a year’s covering weren’t very far away. Other people were doing as I, slowly looking around to see friends and fellow worshipers’ complete faces again. I didn’t linger too long on each face, not wishing to seem untoward.

Although those facial features had been unseen for a year, none seemed to have aged, but I guess a year is a relatively short time for that sort of thing.

It was nice to see that the only gloves involved in the service were the white gloves worn by bell ringers to announce the beginning of the service.

With my mind freed from thoughts of contagion, I found myself better able to make mental associations with topics in the pastor’s sermon. When she mentioned Christ being put to death on that burning trash heap of Calvary, I immediately though of a place in Caswell County from which red Carolina clay is periodically taken for repeated covering of the county landfill across the road. It’s been some time since the last hauling, with rain and erosion gouging out hollow places on that soil cliff which almost resemble the hollow “sockets” of a skull’s face. Whenever I ride past it, I look over and say to myself: “The clay Golgotha.”

When a friend extended his hand, I unreservedly shook it (this “elbow bump” thing, if not done just right, can produce that “electric shock” funny bone sensation.

One poignant scene, involving a young couple and their baby will always remain with me. When the baby began making baby noises, it was good to again see the bemused smiles of people gazing its way; no longer just smiling eyes, but everything in the human face which makes up a smile.

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