The hour hand had just reached eleven and the the couple had already settled into their favorite corner table tucked away by the front window under a painting of Puck from a Midsummer's Nights Dream. He had ordered the Raspberry Tea with fresh raspberries layered among the ice; she drank espresso on ice. Each time they dined at this favorite spot they'd read the menu as if they were exploring the entrees for the first time, but like the sun breaking over the eastern horizon they always ended up ordering "The Regular." The menu reading was more of a game. Often they'd pick a dish, appetizer, dessert or drink and discuss it's strengths, weakness, origin, etc. Today? - The Wedge Salad. The menu read:
Geyser's Wedge Salad
A refreshing quarter of iceberg lettuce adorned with
organic tomatoes, green onions, freshly cooked bacon,
blue cheese crumbles, and topped with our homemade
blue cheese dressing.
She speaks first, "Mmmm! That looks good, except for the blue cheese crumbles. I'd substitute with cheddar!"
"What?" he responds with disbelief, "You can't eat a Wedge Salad without blue cheese!"
"Sure you can. You just say, 'I'd like the Geyser Wedge with cheddar instead of blue cheese.'"
"No, no you can't. If you cut out blue cheese it is no longer a Wedge!"
"Of course it is!"
"No, it is not!"
"You order your burgers without onions. It is the same thing!"
"Shut up! Not even close. Ordering a wedge without the blue cheese is like ordering the burger without the meat."
"I'd argue that cheddar goes better with bacon than blue cheese anyway. Think, 'Bacon cheddar burger.'"
"That doesn't matter. Pull out Betty Crocker; flip to salads and guess what? There will be blue cheese."
"Seriously? You are going to Betty Crocker me?"
"Hon, you are wrong; it doesn't matter what you think because when it comes to the wedge...."
And their banter carried on through the appetizer, through the entree, and even through his after-dinner coffee. Unbeknownst to them, two blocks over in the ally out back of Danielle's Paninis, an middle-aged man rummaged through the trash looking for provolone that happened to cling to the side of the dumpster, or a half chewed piece of french bread, or some chicken scraps. His stomach cramped with hunger, his head a little light, legs shaky and all the while they argued over blue cheese.
This is a story, too often, about the church.