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Thursday, March 14, 2013

Jesus Loves Dancing

"Did I tell you? I met Jesus."

Vovó Flora's connection with reality grew ever more flimsy as she she aged. Dreams were related as if they had really happened. She often told people she had seen them on TV. It was so common that the family sometimes used this confusion to their advantage, like the time she received sound financial advice from a dead banker. So when Vovó Flora mentioned that she met Jesus, my mother didn't pay much attention. At first.

Unlike the fleeting mentions of events that were clearly the product of dreams, Flora brought up Jesus several times. She mentioned it as if she had spotted a celebrity while on vacation in Hollywood. "Oh, did I tell you who I saw the other day?" The story grew more detailed with each retelling. She had seen Jesus, she said. He smiled and waved to her from across the room. Later she mentioned that Jesus didn't really dress the way he was drawn in all the pictures. "He doesn't wear white robes, you know," she informed my mother. "He wears a gray suit and his beard is long but neatly trimmed."  Eventually the tale grew from a mere celebrity sighting into a real interaction.  "Jesus told me it was OK to dance, because dancing makes me feel good."

Like many Vovó stories, this one made the rounds among family and friends. My mother's friend Cida was the one who uncovered the origin of her Jesus-spotting. At my wedding a few weeks earlier she had sat with Vovó Flora. Directly across from her at the next table sat Philip's father Stephen, a long-bearded gentleman in a gray suit. He was in Vovó's line of sight through the meal. He doesn't remember ever talking to Flora about dancing, but dance she did, several times throughout the night all the way until the final dance. I seem to recall her on the dance floor during "Baby Got Back." And why not? Jesus himself approves.

Stephen impressing the children at our wedding.

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