I had it easy the rest of the trip; Todd had Sunday services well in hand, so I sat with Joelene (that’s with her proper “e”) through the morning masses in Sheridan and, a mere twenty miles away, Virginia City. This is the same Virginia City that provided the setting for Bonanza, so now you know that I’ve been there. I don’t know if St. Paul’s Episcopal Church appeared in the TV series, but if it didn’t, it was their loss.
I’d be willing to bet, if I were permitted to bet, that Lorne Greene never used the windshield of his carriage as a device to protect him from low-flying magpies, as we did. Well, not Lorne Greene’s carriage, but the Youngs’ car. One moment I saw a big lump of gray flapping its wings toward the car, and the next I heard a loud whomp and saw feathers going all over the place — luckily (for us — I don’t think the bird cared much any more by that point) only on the exterior of the windshield. We held a learned ornithological debate over what sort of bird it might have been (I lobbied for “quail,” because the underside of the bird, at which I got an especially close look, reminded me of the quail etchings and engravings that my grandfather made), but the indigenous population felt sure it was a magpie, and their word was good enough for me. No damage to the car, but the magpie probably did not have the opportunity to fly into any other vehicles.
Meanwhile, Joelene had arranged for someone to meet us at Virginia City bearing electrical tape, so after the service, I shifted into my boy-electrical-engineer mode and splice together the cell-phone cord, and patched the computer cord, both successfully.
Rev. Ref preached at both services on the text in which the angel instructs Joseph to name the baby Jesus, in order to fulfill a prophecy that he would be called Emmanuel. He did a fine job, even with his New Testament professor sitting in the front row; I, at least, didn’t heckle him the way a certain not-to-be-identified spouse did. Todd stumped me with a question in the middle of the sermon, but then when he asked a question to which I did know the answer, he wouldn’t call on me.
Two masses and an electrical repair did not bring our day’s accomplishments to an end, though. We returned to Sheridan, ate some delicious leftover lasagna, did some odds and ends, and then hopped back into the car to take part in the Lessons and Carols service at St. Paul’s. That very well-attended service (including Fr. Ed, who claimed he was only there for the food) was followed by a lively pot luck dinner, pitching tips for Cece from a retired Little League coach (me), and another drive back to Sheridan. No further collisions.