Sunday, September 6, 2009

To The Picnic 9/5/09

To The Picnic 

Saturday weather
Clear skies
Temp 55 F Wind 15-25 mph

Wednesday night we were told by one of the young adults about a picnic for First Branch and that we must go to support the branch president who is trying to get better branch unity by having this event. What we experienced was typical of such events.

First, we had to make a decision between helping some friends in 4th branch dig potatoes at their dacha (small garden plot outside of town), attend this bar-B-Q with First Branch, or do what we had planned; clean and cook at home and work in the office in the afternoon.

Since the dacha event was an hour away and we had not actually been invited to help them and we have been asked to be more involved in the First Branch as mentors, and since we could opt-out of the picnic at some point and still get in a few hours in the office, the picnic won the coin-toss.

Now it starts. First we call the Zone Leaders Friday night to clarify the picnic starting time. The original invitation involved meeting at the church (Zoloni Kupola) at 11 AM and walking as a group to the picnic place which was to be at a park near the branch president's house. The answer comes back that president's wife would be near our office that morning and could meet us there at 11 AM and accompany us to the picnic. We decided that our starting time might be unpredictable so we'd just go to the church at the new time 11:30AM. All set, right? Nope.

We rushed through our Saturday work; I did two loads of white wash, wet-dusted all surfaces, cleaned the tub room and toilet rooms, watered the garden, vacuumed, and got dressed for the day (sans shower); while Sister Cindy showered, talked to Trisha while sitting in the Cabo chair in the sun, baked, and whatever; and we streaked out of the door at a few minutes before 11.

After mounting the stairs at the Zoloni Kupola train station (30 or so steps from the street level to the ground level at the church and rail station) we ran into the Sisters just coming from their apartment, headed for the church.

At the church entry, Sister Cindy, not wanting to mount the four floors of stairs to the branch level and just come back down again, suggested she just wait at the ground level. We all said she should come with us and we started up the 9 flights of stairs to the church level. Good thing. She could have been waiting half an hour for us to return.

We arrived to find the event chairman , Olga, alone in the kitchen washing produce. Right after we said hello, two other young sisters arrived, one is in this picture.

It was obvious that Olga was not going to be ready to leave at 11:30 so I left the girls to chat and I took pictures of the rooms and corridors of the church floor for my files. As you know, we do not have a building of our own, but rent the fourth floor in a business office building near the Zoloni Kupola (green roof) train station.

Here is Sister Nichiniyeva crossing the entry hall by the door at the head of the last set of stairs. Turning around I caught Sister Cindy sitting on a bench, planning something while staying WAY out of the kitchen. Finally I went down the hall to the right from her bench and took this picture of the chapel meeting room.

Back down the hall past Sister Cindy, still planning, I turned right and went into the Young Women's room with its banners, pictures and closet full of "girl" stuff.

Back out the door and into the Primary room, the Relief Society room and back to Sister Cindy now jointed in her planning by Sister Nichiniyeva.

While wandering around the halls I was still trying to find out where the picnic was to be held. Olga said it was at a park near the presidents', the Zone Leaders said in the president's yard, some said it was near our office (from which we has rushed to be on time) and some said it was not near the office, but near president's. By about 12:20 we were ready to go to the picnic and had not idea where we were going and no confidence that anyone else did either. Sure glad we weren't late.

We started down to the Metro to wait for the train, but Olga had to stop at the "mom-and-pop" store for something on the way. (Proper Prior Planning Prevents Pitifully Poor Performance). Wait a minute Elder Simmons. You've got a lot of Chutzpah (Chutzpah (pronounced /ˈxʊtspə/) is the quality of audacity, for good or for bad. The word derives from the Hebrew word ḥuṣpâ (חֻצְפָּה), meaning "insolence", "audacity", and "impertinence.") to be criticizing a 20 year old new convert who is trying to do a good thing with little or no direction or help. LIGHTEN UP!

OK, OK, that was a little, well, a lot, unkind to even mention in a blog read by the whole world, but that is the object of this blog posting isn't it, to have a little fun with a situation that just drives us crazy. Well, crazy; people with little or no experience doing their best at something they have not, cannot, and will not do without some help. Harashol (OK).

By now we have collected Andre, Donna, and the two young girls (neither of us know their names), Olga, the sisters and us. We waited for 15 minutes on the platform for Olga and her new purchases. Donna and one of the unknowns waited on the other side of the turnstiles and I thought they had no ticket so I kept walking up the 50 stairs from the platform to the turnstiles, offering my metro card and them smiling demurely but shaking their heads. (no English & no Russian).

As we waited we met a sister from the branch who was not going to the picnic, but to her dacha to dig potatoes. She knew a better choice.

With Olga finally with us, we boarded a west-bound and got off at Octyabraskaya (our office stop) and began to walk. I kid you not, we must have walked five miles with me carrying the bag that was left in the hall that must have weighed twenty pounds. I didn't know which would give out first, my feet or my arms.

We turned right off of Kirova, our street, and into a residential section, through multiples of housing projects, left at the intersection and down hill toward the freeway that cuts through a gulley near the Sports Night park, then right again and up the hill. Along the way we passed a man holding a stick forced into a hole in a 55 gal drum that contained a pretty good fire. Upon further investigation, I realized that he was melting tar in the middle of the barrel and the stick was plugging the hole where the melted tar would later flow. As I tried to get a good look at him while not being too obvious, I almost stepped in one of the cracks that he was filling with the tar. I fired off this picture as I passed, trying not to be too obvious.

We finally got to the picnic and guess where it was?

What a country

1 comment:

Trisha said...

You Rock! I love to hear about the stories you have. Life is much different.