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Stories from the Cafe

Two events really stand out from the Poetry Cafe on Saturday, I suppose because I have a personal connection with both.

The first concerns a lovely lady from my choir I have invited numerous times to attend my poetry readings, but for one reason or another has never been available to attend.  A few days before the Cafe, I gave her an invitation and I could see by the look in her eyes she had made other plans for that Saturday.  Remarkably, she turned up at the Cafe, husband in tow.  The next day at church she told me how much she had enjoyed the reading (her first) and then told me that she did indeed have a previous engagement for that Saturday, her annual  teacher’s sorority dinner.  But she called up her president and said, “A dear friend of mine has invited me to her poetry reading on Saturday, and I’ve always had to refuse before this.  So this time I’ll pay for my dinner, but I’m going to her reading.”  Wow!  I was just speechless when she told me this!  And believe me, that rarely happens.  Just ask my husband.

The second story concerns another close friend of mine who has been travelling a hard road lately having undergone three surgeries for breast cancer in the last two months, the third a radical mastectomy.  She’s staring at weeks of chemo and radiation, and after that the removal of her other breast.  I usually close my readings with St. Agatha, the saint who underwent the removal of her breasts during torture.  (I posted that particular poem on my web site under “Learn more about the book.”)  But on Saturday, out of sensitivity to what my friend is going through, I substituted St. Teresa instead as my closer, only to find out later that she had been looking forward to hearing Agatha, as that is her favourite poem!  Oy veh!  So much for trying to be sensitive…

One last snippet – I was explaining to my audience how the Catholic Church used to dismember the bodies of its saints for relics, and I said I wasn’t sure if that were still the practice but I hoped it wasn’t, when my wag of a publisher piped up, “You’ll never need to worry about that.”  Which garnered the biggest laugh of the afternoon.

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