09 December 2007

Out of Practice

It's the second Sunday of Advent and I'm beginning to wonder how much of an Advent we'll actually have here at the prison. Last Sunday, I was caught in a white-out (a lot of snow) when I was halfway to work. I called the prison to ask how things were. A mix of rain and snow, they told me. I cancelled the first service because it was already getting late and the road looked slick and the snow was thick. I didn't want to chance sliding off the road and ending up in a ditch on my way to church.

I used the tunnel to make most of the trip to the chapel. That way I missed most of the couple of inches of snow on the ground. At least one set of volunteers was unable to make it in from Bremerton. Services in a second part of the institution were cancelled.

The Protestant service at 9:30 happened. "Feliz Navidad," "Joy to the World," "We Three Kings." I know, I know, it's not Christmas yet, but someone was in the mood for celebrating. And the snow kept falling. The volunteers who'd made it in for the 9:30 service decided they were not coming back after lunch.

By 11, we were looking at more than 6 inches of snow at the prison and I was starting to wonder if I'd make it back to Tacoma with any trouble.

We cancelled the afternoon services. I went home at 12:30 when the snow was 8 inches deep. Getting out of the parking lot wasn't too difficult. Good thing there weren't any other cars there! And the road from the prison to the main road is fairly well maintained because the State Patrol is just down the road.

Five miles from the prison? No snow at all. Just rain. I shook my head and swam through the rain.

Then there was all that nasty flooding. Nothing here, but there are a number of men who have families in the hardest hit areas and some have lost everything.

Now it's Sunday again. And it is snowing. Count was late. Breakfast was late. The Catholic service was about 17 minutes long. Services in the other part of the institution were cancelled because there wasn't enough time to clean up from breakfast, have a service, and get lunch ready.

Afternoon services? We shall see. I keep checking the weather outside. It keeps snowing, but not as bad as last week.

I miss preaching and I really miss that time with the guys that happens on Sunday. We catch up on the news and try for a bit of normal. I'm feeling out of practice.

Update: the snow stopped. The sidewalks cleared. The only place left covered with snow were the garden plots.

Two services this afternoon. It's finally beginning to feel like Advent.

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