When a church closes.
They break wide open.
Hearts hurt when their parish church is sold.
Take Joan, Jim, Irene, Shirley, Dixie, Leona and June, for example.
They served the church family fish and "pierogi" with an assortment of cakes this Friday of Lent.
Some rolled plastic ware into napkins for those who came to eat on their lunch hour, and, as late as 6 pm.
Young people enrolled in the technical school adjacent to the church hall came during their lunch break. Groups at a time.
One guy recalled enjoying a fish dinner last Lent at St. Sylvester Church in Warren, Michigan.
Memories filled the table talk everywhere, it seemed.
Wonderment do also.
Where I will go to church after we close I don't know.
Who will buy this beautiful site?
This is our last fish fry during Lent, said one server who has been tending tables for more than a decade.
One lady told of her own husband's death years ago. He pick up the newspaper, fell, came into the house and died in my arms, she shared.
Another recalled her own husband who died five years ago. She smiled when she told about a companion who joins her for dinner often now.
Rick was remembered also. His mother told of his death at the church while she packed "pierogi" in bags for sale.
People talked about the pain of this loss of their home church poking deep within them.
Plenty of stories were told.
All of it is grief and loss.
They won't leave the memories behind when the church is closed and sold by June. Sad memories of closing go with these human beings. The building remains, however, sold.
After all, the church is the people, one guy affirmed, and my time with Alcoholics Anonymous pointed me here for over a dozen years, he admitted.
"I've been close to these people ever since," he said, as he returned to his post serving fish this final Lent.