UBI CARITAS ET AMOR. DEUS IBI EST.
UBI CARITAS ET AMOR. DEUS IBI EST.
Saturday 13 July 2019
It's amazing how sometimes some people from one's past come to mind. Let me tell you about Erika Flounders. She lived next door to me many years ago when I was in London. She came to mind again recently as I was reading the Bible. Funny how sometimes there's a connection between reading something, or hearing a song, or seeing a photo, and it triggers something in your memory about someone from your past. Anyway ... reading the Bible I suddenly thought of Erika.
The passage I was reading said, "Do not desire your neighbour's house, do not desire his wife, his slaves, his cattle, his donkeys, or anything else that he owns."
Hmmm ... my neighbour at the time, Gesophat Flounders, was an accountant. He had no slaves, cattle, donkeys or anything else I would desire. But his wife !!!
His wife ... there's absolutely no chance on earth that I would have desired or coveted his wife.
She frightened me. She was a very thin and tall woman with a smile that would send a chill down your back and up again. So thin that if she stood sideways she would vanish. So thin that if you hugged her you'd be on the back of her. So thin that you could see right through her.
Anyway ... enough with all these analogies about her thinness. She had teeth like the Ten Commandments ... all broken.
She had a nose so long that it entered a room ten minutes before her.
She had long black hair all the way down her back ... none on her head; just down her back.
She had a long semi-crooked nose a bit like a parrot's beak which allowed her to smell round corners. Sorry ... already mentioned her nose.
She had warts on her nose and they had warts on them too.
She won Best Warthog Beauty Contest at the Country Fair.
I sometimes heard her cackle rather than laugh in her back garden. She was out there trying to sunbathe but to no avail whatsoever. As soon as she lies fully clothed on a couple of wooden planks the sun quickly hides behind the clouds in fear.
Even nature itself was frightened of her. One year the birds returned all the seeds they took from her garden the previous year. The flowers wilted and dried up at her very sight. The squirrels ran away holding on to their nuts. Basically, everyone kept at least a ten miles radius away from her ever burning gaze.
If I ever saw her in the street I quickly ran in before she notices me. I feared ever having to meet her in a dark alley at night. When my cat saw her he used to come running in the house and climb up the curtains; counting carefully his nine lives. Even the dog jumped on top of the fridge in fear. Have you ever had a bulldog on a fridge?
One day she accused me of sending frogs in her garden. I did not understand what she meant. She claimed that frogs come out of our pond and go through the hedge between us into her garden.
I saw her in her garden collecting frogs from the ground and throwing them high over the fence into our garden. I threw them back with my tennis racket as they flew through the air. Every so often I hit them hard and they didn't land in her garden but in the garden beyond that. She cackled madly and said "15-love!"
One night she rang me at 3.00am in the morning and complained that our horse was in her garden. I mumbled some apologies and went back to sleep.
It wasn't until the morning when I realised that we do not have a horse.
So I plucked up all my courage and I went next door to put her right. She cackled and said she'd had a nightmare!
Her house had the garage at the front of the house visible from the street. I saw her one day with the garage doors open. It was full of boxes, plastic bags, broomsticks, and containers of all sorts and so on. Basically, the garage was full to the roof with so much stuff she could hardly close the door. I volunteered to help her. I said, "You're looking for something. Can I help?"
She cackled as she usually does and replied, "I'm looking for my husband. I left him here three weeks ago!"
Come to think of it, I had not seen her husband for a while. He was a small short man who doesn't say much except, "Yes dear ... OK dear ... Whatever you say dear" and such like.
He used to be a safety officer in a coal mine. They used to tie a rope round his waist and send him down the mine. If he did not faint it was safe to go down and work. Otherwise they'd pull him up, revive him, and send him down again a few minutes later to check again.
I wonder whatever happened to Erika and her husband Gesophat. I left London a long time ago and have not kept in touch with them.
She must have had her good points I suppose, although she hid them well.
All this I have told you leads me to one question which has always crossed my mind: The Commandment clearly says you must not covet your neighbour's wife - and it is a sin to do so. Even if you covet her in your mind and not in reality like!
My question: Is it also a sin if, as in my case, you uncovet, or not covet at all, your neighbour's wife? Am I good because I obey the Commandment, or bad because I take its opposite to extremes?