You see the oddest things at Christmastime in America. The bigger the city, the stranger the sights.
I was driving downtown to buy gifts for the family and enjoying bouquets of beautiful people bundled in big coats and colorful scarves. They were clustered on corners and shopping in good cheer amid petals of snow dancing in the sun.
One of the people was a beautiful young lady who had stopped to take issue with an old woman in a shawl picketing Planned Parenthood. The old woman was picketing on a motor scooter designed for the elderly. She held a sign bigger than she was and kept motoring back and forth. She was as resolute and granite-faced as my Aunt Polly who had been renowned for protesting any injustice she had perceived.
Saving the seals wherever human beings might be clubbing them to death had been very important to Aunt Polly. She left all of her money to an organization devoted to saving the seals.
On this day, however, the beautiful young lady who had taken issue with the old woman on the motor scooter was livid. She marched behind the scooter and yelled at the old woman, pounding her fist into her palm and screaming things I could not hear. The old woman appeared oblivious to the chaos in her wake. Maybe she was deaf, I thought, like my aunt. That can be an advantage when loud people disagree with you.
The letters on the sign were huge but I couldn't read them so I drove around the block and found a spot at the curb. It was then that I realized that the sign said, "What might have happened if Mary of Nazareth had been pro-choice?"
Now I understood why the young lady was ranting and raving and why the old woman kept motoring to and fro. At Christmastime in America people get excited, more so than usual.
When I got home I hid my packages and told my wife at supper what I had seen. I also told her that if Mary had chosen otherwise, I wouldn't have had to go shopping today.
That's obvious, she said.
Donal Mahoney, a native of Chicago, lives in St. Louis, Missouri. His fiction and poetry have appeared in various publications, including The Wisconsin Review, The Kansas Quarterly, The South Carolina Review, The Christian Science Monitor, The Chicago Tribune and Commonweal. Some of his work can be found at http://eyeonlifemag.com/the-poetry-locksmith/donal-mahoney-poet.html#sthash.OSYzpgmQ.dpbs=