07 April 20XX + 1
My Dear Lucilius:
Palm Sunday was lovely this year, probably lovelier than it has been for me in many years. Certainly more meaningful.
This was the first time in quite a while that we had all assembled in the former storefront that seems to have become a general meeting center. It was certainly a bit colder than it has been in recent days and a number of people commented as such; post-service scuttlebutt seemed to suggest installing a stove if one could be found would probably be a good idea.
I would guess by looking at the crowd assembled that almost everyone in our little township and even some who are outside our had assembled here. I find it hard to fathom that every one of them is a believer, but perhaps people are just desperate to be together. Or perhaps, for a small time, being assembled in one place around a single Person gave us all a sense of hope.
It certainly did in Jerusalem on the long ago day.
The message was nice, given the circumstances under which it was preached – although to be fair, Palm Sunday usually presents a singular topic the world over. Although to doubly fair, a message of victory and hope after a coming betrayal is what may be needed after the year we have had.
After the service and the goodbyes, we adjourned to Xerxes’ girlfriend’s house (let us give her a name, shall we? It will just be easier on both of use). Stateira (I will leave it to you to look up, my friend – I like the thought of giving you homework even now!) and her mother live in house on the road out of town that runs by the school and over to the reservoir. I have walked by it a thousand times without knowing who lived there. As well in attendance were Xerxes’ parents and his two younger brothers and their girlfriends and their families. All told, there must have been over 20 of us packed in cheek by jowl. They, of course, all know each other.
I smiled, shook many hands, and made genial conversation.
Brunch was lovely concoction of what was available: eggs, steak, pickled vegetables, coffee (where Xerxes procured yet more of that precious material, I have no idea), and an actual sweet potato pie to top it off. My contribution was honey for the tea, which got a great many (undeserved I suppose) kind comments.
The conversation was largely about the events of the last year, the Winter past, and the Spring upcoming. It was fascinating (to me, anyway) to hear the experiences of others in actual detail rather than the bits and pieces I glean from conversations with Xerxes. I would characterize the observations as guarded, grim, and yet potentially infused with hope – so long, everyone seemed to think, as the world can be kept far enough away long enough to allow recovery.
Why yes (anticipating the question I know is coming), I did in fact meet Stateira’s mother. A very lovely woman. Apparently she was responsible for the sweet potato pie. And yes, we had a very lovely conversational exchange (the cynic in me would argue that we were put in a position to have such a conversation, but then again, the cynic in me can be overly cynical as can anyone else).
And no, I think that is all I care to share about that at this time.
I can feel your disapproval glowering at me from a thousand miles away.
Your Obedient Servant, Seneca