Every Church Needs a Bag Lady

She usually arrived midway through the morning worship service, attired in three or four dresses, an apron, and a coat. Her red wig, often off to one side, was usually secured by a tight-fitting knit cap, even in summer. She resembled an older, slightly frail Munchkin from the mythical land of Oz.

Stealthily, she would seek a seat near the back of the sanctuary. As she did, coats and Bibles would seem to sprout alongside the other worshipers, occupying any vacant seats. Undaunted, Katie would keep looking, a large shopping bag dangling from each hand, until she found a row with an empty seat, usually near the front or beside a first-time visitor. Setting her two bags in the aisle, she would kneel, cross herself, then pick up her bags, rustle past the other parishioners, and nest.

During the remainder of the service, she would gesture eccentrically and mumble comments either to her neighbors or toward the pastor. At the conclusion of the service, she would strike a pose of reverent prayer ...

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