ALL OR NUN—OR SOMEWHERE IN BETWEEN
Even a nun’s habit isn’t completely black and white–at least, ours weren’t. If you look close, you will see a bit of gray. Gray—not black and white– seems to be the rule in life.
Halloween blessings to you from The Sisters of the Stained Cloth
Gail, Suzanne and I departed from Gail’s home Thursday morning—Halloween—after Suzanne and I traveled to her home from our small city Wednesday night. It was time once again for us to head west, and this time, all three of us were in tow. We missed Suzanne last time, and she was up for a rally against the altitude sickness. It appears she lost a few of the battles, but this time, she won the war.
It’s just not the same if we’re not all three together.
It was her idea, after all, to dress as sisters—nuns. We are sisters to each other, so the costume idea was brilliant. We were born and raised Catholic, so we know the territory.
It was Halloween, but still, it appeared some people weren’t sure if we were the real deal, or if we were in costume. Several people said it was the socks and shoes that gave us away.
We made a few trick-or-treat stops in Gail’s small town to see several of her friends at work before we headed west. Because everyone—and I mean pretty much everyone—in her small town of 1,194, according to Wikipedia– knows Gail, those who saw us knew we were in costume.
Nuns have to eat, too, but down the road a bit when we ate lunch, most people weren’t sure.
And, because most people don’t realize that nuns can indeed drink beer, I think the socks/shoes were indeed a giveaway.
A kind man named David who stopped to take a picture of the iconic sign was nice enough to take our picture at the state line.
I’m pretty sure real nuns wouldn’t attempt to climb on the nunasaurus, but we did.
Our usual stop at the Pop-a-Top saloon just outside Colorado Springs wasn’t to be missed, so we didn’t.
And, because the world is indeed small, we met some fine folks there who live just down the road from Gail.
Old traditions prevail, like John Denver singing Rocky Mountain High to us as we complete the final twists and turns just before our arrival. That’s a black and white matter.
Lunch at one of our favorite restaurants can’t be missed either.
Even though she doesn’t like to drink beer, Suzanne is just as much a real woman as Gail and I are.
We were a bit chagrined because we expected more Halloween revelers like us at the casinos. However, we realized that everyone who was supposed to be there, was indeed there.
Sometimes in life, things “coincidentally” line up so perfectly that humans couldn’t have planned them any better without screwing them up. Quite by surprise, Cruella found one of her Dalmatians at the casino. The Dalmatian waitress Janelle didn’t know that Julie—Cruella—would be there, and neither did Cruella know that she would find a Dalmatian there. With a bit of red added, that was a black and white matter, too.
Because we saw them both alive and well the next day, Cruella lived a bit more happily ever after than she fared in the movie.
We had goodies to pass out in our jack-o-lantern bucket—the usual candy, and special treats for certain people that fit into the we don’t tell all category. Let’s just say that nuns are hip to the world, and understand more than one might think.
The population of Cripple Creek, Colorado—according to Wikipedia—is five people less than Gail’s small town: 1,189. However, it is the county seat of Teller County, and is home to this beautiful courthouse, built in 1904.
When we ask some people if they have been to Cripple Creek, sometimes they respond “I think I’ve been through it.” We think, however, that this response means they are confusing it with another Colorado town, because, except for seven miles further to Victor, it is essentially the end of the road. It is typically the destination that one has when traveling the twisty-turny hairpins on the last 18 miles of road there, 18 miles on Colorado 67 when you turn off US Highway 24 at Divide, Colorado.
These twisty-turny roads were snow packed and icy early in the week, just before we arrived. This proved to be challenge for the extra hundreds of people—potential jurors, national media and spectating citizens– traveling to this courthouse for the beginning of the trial of the man standing accused of killing his fiancé last year on Thanksgiving Day in nearby Woodland Park.
No media cameras were allowed inside, so they set up camp outside, across the street.
This tragic real-life saga stood in stark contrast to the comedy in the local theater half a block away.
This contrast, as I see it, is indeed black and white, as black and white as the Dalmatian’s spots. No gray there. Sometimes the blackness of real life can be devastating. The time for sadness, the time to mourn can be overwhelming. We’ve been there, too. But in time, and with a little faith and a little help, perhaps, the black fades to gray, and eventually some white shines through.
Whenever possible, we make time for laughter because we know it heals. It permeates the black, and helps the gray become white. So, we took in the afternoon show, which provided several hours of entertainment and raucous laughter. We can be cultured when we want to, although it may not be apparent from our earlier antics.
Gail and Suzanne are gifted with the ability to bring the gift of laughter to others. Quick and sharp, they both pounce on any occasion to create humor, sometimes apropos of nothing otherwise funny, like a daily shower.
Or fruits and vegetables–this one is a classic from a long-ago trip.
Or challenging a road sign
Or, while driving, the opportunity to fling me off my seat when I unbuckled to crawl into the way-back to get something that Suzanne didn’t want to get for me from her nest in the back seat, probably to cause a laugh.
But there is a time to be serious, too. We need that time just as much as we need to laugh, and we took that time while we were away. Time to sit and talk about our heartbreaks and joys. Time to reflect on our lives—past decisions that forever closed one door and flung open another. Time to talk about dreams derailed and deferred, and dreams we keep working on. Time to tell secrets we only tell each other. Time to reflect on the profound loss we all experienced when our parents died together, but even more so on the legacy of love and joy they left all of us. The legacy that continues to grow and strengthen as we continue to celebrate our sisterhood—and I’m not talking about our nun get-ups.
Our black and white—and gray—nun costumes. Gray like life. And gray is beautiful.
Happy Halloween from Sister Gail Jean, Sister Kathleen Ann and Sister Suzanne Patrice.