Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Poetry Contest "Reflections From Within"

Any Wood County individual 50 years of age or older may participate.

Poems should share stories of life, hope, dreams and love. We are looking for poetry that, in some way, celebrates the heart and souls of members of Wood County citizens as they continue to celebrate their lives.

A submitted poem is restricted to a letter-sized 8 ½ X 11 page. If hand written, please print and if typing on computer, please use Verdana 12 point font. All styles of poems are acceptable but they must be originals. Any plagiarized poems will be disqualified!

You can submit up to two poems per individual. You may resubmit poems from previous years if they did not win and previous winners may submit new poems.

Poems are due to the Program Department at the Wood County Committee on Aging, Inc., 305 North Main Street, Bowling Green, Ohio 43402 on Monday, February 14, 2011 by 4 p.m. You may also e-mail your entry to programs@wccoa.net. No intentions to submit will be accepted.

All entries must have their name, phone number and address on the poems.

Winners will be chosen by three celebrity judges and by popular vote. All poems entered will be available for reading in a loosely bound edition, at all Senior Center sites on Thursday, February 24, 2011. 

Winning poems will be published in the newsletter, on the web site, in local papers and a grand prize valued at $50 will be awarded at our awards banquet on Wednesday, March 30 at 4:30 p.m.  All participants are encouraged to attend the awards celebration and participate in the poetry readings to learn if their poem is a winner. A special guest poet will be honored.

The 2011 Wood County Poetry Contest books will be for sale for $5 between March and April of 2011 by request only. All poems will be posted on our blog site woodcountycommitteeonaging@blogspot.com.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Lee Forse: Story by and Brief Biography


Lee has lived in the Bowling Green area for 44 years and her children have grown up here.  Those children have produced 10 grandchildren and all live in various parts of Ohio.  During Lee’s working life she wrote plans and programs for individuals with handicaps.  After she retired, she joined the Wood County Senior’s writing group which has given her the opportunity to write fiction and most especially to use humor.  Writing these stories entertains her as much as she hopes they entertain others.  

Marj looked at the tree lying in the front yard, the tinsel on it’s braches blowing in the December wind and thought “oh, boy.  Hope none of the neighbors are looking outside right now.”  She watched her irate husband Dave who was now stomping back up the stairs to the front porch after throwing the tree in the yard and saw their three kids who were standing on the porch.  Joan, eleven, was staring open mouthed at her father.  Paul, nine, was standing with his arms folded and his lower lip out and quivering.  Donna, eight was starting to cry and howl, “Daaaaad”.
     Dave stormed back into the house and slammed the front door.  Marj said to the children, “well, you brought this on yourselves.”
     Joan asked indignantly, “what did we do?”
     “How about whining for weeks about everything possible you could want for Christmas and now complaining and crying that what you will be getting is not what you want?  And how do you know what your are getting, hm?”
     “Joan told us!” exclaimed Paul.
     “Did not!
     “Yes you did! cried Donna.
     “Well you said you wanted to know.  You said you wouldn’t tell!” 
     Joan could not stand not knowing what she was getting for Christmas and every year no matter where her parents hid the presents, Joan would find them, unwrap them enough to see what they were, then wrap them back up.  It had been apparent to her parents that this year she had also told her brother and sister what they would be getting and the presents did not live up to their expectations.    
     Dave and Marj on Dave’s limited teacher’s salary, had done their best to get presents they thought the kids would enjoy but they could not afford some of the fancy T.V. game systems and clothing that the kids wanted.
     Marj went into the house and tried to talk to Dave who was sitting in the family room watching T.V. and was obviously still fuming.
     “Honey”, tried Marj.
     “Don’t talk to me now.  I have had it with their grasping greediness!  That is not what Christmas should be.”
     “I know Dave.  They have been horrible, but why throw the tree out?”
     “I can’t take back their presents, but I can show them what I think of their attitude about Christmas! They don’t care about me!  All I am is a paycheck to them! I don’t want to talk about it any more!”
     Marj thought it was best to retreat for a while until he calmed down and go into the living room to sort through the lights and ornaments Dave had ripped from the tree.
Donna was still crying and Marj hugged her.
     “Mom, we love Dad.” sobbed Donna.
     “Ya Mom”, put in Joan, “if we just wanted a Dad with a big paycheck we would have picked out a lawyer or doctor or something.”
     “That’s not funny Joan.  You snooping into the presents is what started this,”
     “Well, I just thought they should know that they weren’t getting what they wanted.”
     “Joan, Christmas is not just about presents you know.  It is celebrating the birth of Christ.  That is what your father is so mad about.  That you kid’s attitude is not right”
     “But I wanted a Mario Brothers game!” exclaimed Paul.
     Marj looked at them.  “There are a lot of children in the world that don’t have enough to eat much less games.”
     “But I still want the Mario Brothers” pouted Paul.
     Marj just shook her head and went back to see how Dave was doing.  He was not as red in the face and he was breathing quieter.  “Honey, is it okay if I bring the tree in?”
     Dave looked at Marj for a long moment.  “I’ll get it.  But I’m not putting in back up!”
     “That’s okay.  The kids and I will put it up.”
     Dave brought in the tree and Marj made the kids help with setting it up and putting the lights and ornaments back on.
     Marj informed Dave and the kids.  “I want everyone to go to the 11:00 service tonight.  It’s Christmas Eve and I think this family needs it.”
     There was some grumbling, but in the end everyone piled into the Pacer and went to the service.
     It was a beautiful service of bible readings about the birth of Jesus, singing Christmas carols and ending with everyone having a lighted small candle in a cardboard holder.  On the way home, after the usual squabbling of who was going to sit where, the kids started singing carols. 
     When they got into the house, Marj asked the children, “Now do you understand about Christmas?  You are not going to get all you wanted, but I don’t want any complaining tomorrow”
     “Well I still wan….” started Paul.
     Paul folded his arms then said “oh, okay.”
     Donna hugged her father.  “Daddy, we really do love you.”
     Dave gruffly  replied “ya, ya” but bent down and hugged Donna.
     Joan hung her head. “I’m sorry I told them about their presents.”
     The kids trooped upstairs and got ready for bed with the usual wail of Joan who shared a bedroom with her messy little sister.  “Look at the mess you made and when Mom told us to clean up, you put it all under my bed so Mom would think it was my mess and not yours.  Mooom.  Mooom.”
     Marj and Dave looked at each other and Marj laughed.  “Like I wouldn’t know who’s mess it really is.”
     They gave each other a hug and a kiss and Dave said “Merry Christmas Mooom.”
     As Marj headed up the stairs to settle the dispute she had to shake her head at her  family, every one of which cared deeply about what they wanted, argued strongly for how they felt, and were a loud passionate bunch.  She just hoped that as they got older, compassion, sharing and living their faith would grow as strong.  And it did.  It’s funny how faith works that way, and the entire family loves telling the story of the year Dad threw the tree into the front yard.

A Story By: Lee Forse

Jill was cleaning the various items hung on the wall of the family room.  She had to admit that it had been a while, probably two years since they had all been taken down and dusted and cleaned well.  She and Ralph were getting older and each had suffered a few bouts of ill health so she had not felt like doing much deep cleaning.  But after looking at the wall of familiar things gathered during their travels to different parts of the world, the layers of dust on the top of the items had become too much for even Jill,   who had a plaque in her kitchen stating, “An Immaculate House is the Sign of a Misspent Life.”
She was standing on a short ladder and had just finished cleaning the glass on the print they had gotten in the south of France.  Lifting the replica of a English wax seal from the wall, the cord which looped at the top of the seal broke.  The seal, about the size of a salad plate, crashed down to the floor and broke in two.  Jill scrambled down from the ladder and bent over to pick up the broken pieces.  “Oh, that’s too bad.  We bought this is Salisbury.  I wonder if I can glue it back together.”
The seal had beautiful carvings of Elizabethan religious life, including an angel whose wings encircled Salisbury Cathedral.  Jill picked up the pieces and sat down on the sofa to examine them.
“Thank you for releasing me.”
The voice had seemed to come from the area of the chair and the television and Jill looked to see if she had left the television on.
“It has been a long time.”
The voice was coming from the chair!  There was something perched on the back of the chair!
At first Jill thought it was a bat.  It was about that size and spread it’s wings.  Jill screeched,  “ahh, ahh, a bat!” and ran toward the kitchen.
“I may be dusty from the wax and four and a half centuries, but I can assure you madam that I am not a bat.”
Jill was pressed against the wall leading to the kitchen with the pieces of the seal clutched in her hands, which were in turn pressed against her chest.  She felt cold all over and was panting.  The thing on the back of the chair was getting bigger!
“Madam, please do not be alarmed.  I am just returning to my normal size.”
“I am a cathedral angel.  I am charged with giving peace to man when he worships my Lord.”  By this time it was the size of a tall man.
“I was encased in the seal.”
Jill threw the seal from her, which landed on the floor, breaking into more pieces.  A metal key which had been in the seal clanked as it hit the wood.
“Ah, there is the key to the strongroom.  Madam, could I trouble you for a towel and some water?  I am very dirty.”
Jill stood in the doorway, leaning against the wall.  She had read about people’s mouths hanging open in surprise but thought it had been an exaggeration and herself had never experienced it.  She could feel her mouth open but could not close it or form any words.
“Madam, do you need to sit down?”
Madam continued to stand against the wall, mouth open, eyes wide.
“Madam, please do sit down.”  It started toward her and she uttered a small scream.
It stared at Jill for a minute then sat in the chair, folding its dark grey wings around itself.
They continued to stare at each other.
After two minutes, the angel said “madam, please pick up the key and sit down.”
She stared down at the key lying on the floor then looked back at the angel.  It was still looking at her!
“Pick up the key.”
Jill picked up the key.
“Sit down.”
Jill sat on the sofa across from the chair.  She laid the key in her lap and started rubbing her arms and her chest.  “Am I going crazy?”
“No.  I am real.”
“I thought angels were these celestial beings, God’s messengers, who can do anything.”
“Many of us are.  A few are given special tasks.  We are to stay in places where man comes together to worship our Lord.  Have you not felt our presence in your churches?”
“Uh, but how did you, uh….., well….., get in the seal?”
“That is because man changes his mind about how he worships.  For centuries he made large stone buildings with elaborate carvings like my place in Salisbury.  For two hundred years I gave grace to the art work, vestments, alter cloths and candles, blessed the strongroom and answered prayers.  Then a king decided to divorce his wife and changed the church.”
The angel stood and paced back and forth, shaking out his wings which were leaving clouds of dust.  “Everything was changed and the art work, vestments, cloths and carved alter pieces had to be stored away.  Some of them were destroyed!  Then his son became king and more was confiscated and hidden away.  Then his daughter was queen, a good catholic, and everything was supposed to be put back!”  The angel was pacing faster and faster and dust was getting thicker in the air.
“Then that catholic daughter died and before the churches could be restored, her sister Elizabeth became queen and everything was hidden again so all would not be lost.  I had been staying in man’s world as one of the large standing carved candle holders when they melted it down.  I went to the strongroom key to protect the key where all the beautiful things man had made to celebrate God were hidden.  When the canons made the seal to hide the key, I got encased along with the key.  We have been there since our lord 1560.”  He stopped pacing and dropped down in the chair, panting, wings drooping down alongside his body.
“Wow!.....  Since 1560?.....  Cannons?”   Jill waved some dust away and coughed.  She was amazed at the length of time being discussed and was not sure what big guns had to do with anything.
The angel just looked at her for a minute as the dust in the room settled.  “Canons are the title given to monks who are responsible for maintaining the cathedral.”
“Oh.”  Jill was starting to get used to this dirty angel who expressed human emotions.
“The canons who were caretakers of the cathedral made the seal to remember the beauty that was being destroyed and to hide the key to the strongroom of other things they had hidden and could not bear to destroy.”
“You would call it a vault or a safe.  It is hidden under the cathedral.”
Both were silent as each thought of man’s past and how and why the church changed over centuries .  Each gave a great sigh at the same time,  looked at each other, then smiled.
“Could you give me a bowl of water so that I might bathe?”
Jill stood up.  “How about a shower?”
“A lot has changed in 450 years.  Come with me.”
Jill had lead the way into the bathroom, turned on the shower, showed him the soap, laid out a towel and gone back to the family room.  She picked up the pieces of the seal and laid them on the dining room table.  She could see the open areas inside the seal, which had held the small angel and the key.  The key was about half the size of a pen and made of some metal with elaborate filigree.  She scraped at some of the dirt and the metal gleamed.  Water and cleaning solution revealed the key was a gilded metal.
“The strongroom key is quite beautiful, is it not?”
Jill jumped and gasped and turned to the clean angel who had come up behind her.  “You startled me!”
Jill felt her mouth open again.  He was dazzling white, his hair golden and flowing while damp at the edges and his feathers shimmered.  “Well, you are just as beautiful as the key!”
“Thank you.  I do try.”
Jill started laughing hysterically.  She was having a hard time stopping but managed after a minute or so.  “What happens now?  Do you go back to Salisbury?”
“Will you take me?”
“Me?  Can’t you just appear or something?”
“I must not leave the key and cannot take it with me.”
“Why not?”
“The key is my sacred charge, I cannot leave it!”  He appeared scandalized at the thought of leaving the key.
“I meant why can’t you take it with you?”
“It is a man made object and I cannot transport something of this world into God’s world.  You were the one who released me.  You must take me and the key back to Salisbury.”
“Do you know where we are?”
“We are half way around the world from Salisbury in a place called Ohio.”
“Well, if you know where we are, you know it will take a lot of effort to get you back to Salisbury.”
“When can we start?”
Jill groaned and started rubbing her head.  She heard a car pull into the driveway.  “Oh boy, that’s my husband.  You better stay in the family room until I explain all of this to him.”
Ralph came in the house.  “Here’s the milk we needed.  I got some ice cream too.  Want some?”
Jill guided Ralph toward the dining room table.  “Honey, the seal got broken.”
“You broke my seal!”
“I didn’t break it!  The cord broke and it fell.  Look what was in it!”
Ralph touched the broken pieces.  “Ahh.  I really liked that seal.  Remember when we bought it?  We took a train from London, then went to the cathedral and heard the choir practicing.  We bought it in that old antique shop on the little side street in back of the cathedral.  They had a lot of seals but this one seemed special.”
“I know honey.  Look at this key.  It was inside the seal.”
“Inside?  It’s beautiful.”
“That’s not all that was inside.  See these voids in the wax.  There was an angel inside too.”
“An angel?  Where is it?
“In the family room.  I need to talk to you about it.”
“Look at the workmanship on this key.  It can’t be solid gold as it would be too soft for a key.  It must be gilded.  It looks very old.  I bet we could get a pretty penny for it!”
There was a gasp from the doorway of the dining room and a rustle of feathers.  “Sir, you can not sell the strongroom key!”
Ralph turned to look where the voice had come from, saw the angel and the key dropped from his fingers onto the table.  His eyes became huge and he clutched his chest.  He was having the same trouble with his open mouth as Jill had.
Jill put her arm around Ralph, “honey, honey, it’s okay.  He’s a real angel.  I’ve gotten used to him.
“Use…..used to him?”
“He wants us to bring him back?”
Ralph raised his eyes upward.  “Bring him back?”
“No, not to heaven.  To Salisbury.  He was a cathedral angel and was trapped in the wax seal.”
“Trapped?  How can an angel get trapped?”
“I was guarding the key after the queen’s men melted down the candle holder I was residing in.  I need to take back the key.  The canons hid beautiful treasure in the strongroom.” 
Ralph looked skeptical.  He was a retired history teacher and knew a lot of church and English history.  “What does an angel care for man’s treasure on earth?”
“God does not care where man worships him or how beautiful the surroundings, but he has given man the gift of appreciating and creating beauty, and he wishes to have beautiful things shared with all of man.”
“Will you help me go back to Salisbury?  I cannot leave the key and cannot transport the key back myself.”
Jill put her hand on Ralph’s arm.  “Honey, we were going to take a vacation next month and took our annual dispersement from the deferred compensation account.  I have it in the bank.”
Ralph looked at her in amazement.  “Do you know how much air fare to England will be?.....Would he need a seat too?  What the heck am I saying?   How can we take an angel on an airplane?  Can’t you just appear over there or something?”  This last was said to the angel.
“No.  I cannot leave the key.  I would not be able to be seen by others but they could not sit on me.  It would be uncomfortable for me and as I am charged to give good will, it would be too much for some.”
Ralph stared at the angel for a minute.  “Now look here Gabriel, or whatever, this is impossible.  Do you know how much three tickets to England, then hotel and ground transportation would cost?  We are not rich, we are just two retired teachers.”
“Actually, the name is Micha.  Do I understand that travel is costly?
The phone rang.  Jill was tempted to ignore it but felt compelled to answer it.  She left the room and when she returned, Ralph and the angel were staring at each other again.
“Ralph, that was the deferred compensation people.  They said they made a mistake in calculating our total account and they need to send us more money this year.  They will send $5,000 by express mail.  It should be here by tomorrow.”  She and Ralph stared at the angel.
“It seemed the thing to do.  When do we leave?”
Two days later Jill and Ralph were driving up to the Detroit airport to catch a flight to London.  Occasionally they heard rustling wings in the back seat from the invisible angel.  Jill was driving and smiling at everything and everyone she saw.  Ralph also had a happy, smiling face.  Two older, retired teachers, graying with expanding girths, smiling at the world.
Jill asked, “Micha.  All this good will is making me smile all the time.  My face hurts.  Can you tone down the good will aura or something?”
“I am sorry.  That is my charge.”
The good will thing happened at the ticket counter where the clerk was exceedingly nice, at the security check point where the guard was laughing and smiling and on the plane were they were given enough peanuts for an elephant.  They had told the airline that they had to have three seats due to Ralph’s extreme claustrophobia and were treated very solicitously.  By the time they were in the hotel room in London, they were exhausted by all the happy people.
Jill asked Micha, “Do you mind if we go get something to eat?  We will leave the key here.”
After they left the room, they were tired and grouchy.
Ralph hugged Jill.  “It feels good to feel normal doesn’t it?”
Jill laughed and they had a good meal together before girding themselves to go back to the room and all the joy.
The next morning they set out in their rental car, driving on what they considered the wrong side of the road and becoming nervous wrecks at the round-abouts or traffic circles at many intersecting roads.  It was with great relief that they arrived in Salisbury.  They were staying in a hotel close to the cathedral.  Micah commented on the cars, traffic, roads, how the landscape had changed and when they reached the old part of town, how the streets, building and cathedral were the same.
After checking into the hotel they walked along the cobblestone street toward the cathedral then onto the grassy area surrounding the church.
Ralph said “Micha, can you hear me?”
Micha rustled his wings.
“You have to understand that the catholic church does not maintain the cathedral now, so there are no canons here.  It is called the Church of England and they have Episcopal priests.”
“I know.  The king changed the church.  It does not matter the name of the church or how they worship, just as long as they come together as believers.  The priests will be able to take us down to the crypt.”
“Crypt?” asked Jill.  “That’s where they have the bodies?”  This was not sounding like a place Jill wanted to go.
“You have to take me and the key there Jill.  You were the one who released me.”
“Oh boy.” 
They entered the cathedral and the boys choir was rehearsing.  The young voices floated up to the tall groin vaults.  It was lovely and they stood a while in appreciation.  Rustling feathers made known Micha’s restlessness.  They saw a man in black trousers and a black shirt with a white collar and  Ralph approached the priest.
“Excuse me father, might we have a word with you?”
“I’m sorry, but I have an appointment.”  There was the sound of feathers rustling and the priest turned a smiling face toward them.  “I think the appointment can wait.  I am Father Edward Swathmore. What can I do for you?”
“Father, my name is Ralph Nelson and this is my wife Jill.”
Jill held up the gilded key.  “We bought a wax seal in an antique store about 20 years ago.  It recently broke and this key was inside.  We think it may belong to the cathedral.”
The priest looked at the key.  “It is beautiful workmanship isn’t it?  I don’t think it belongs to us.”  Rustling.  “It may fit one of the old rooms down in the crypt.  Would you like to see the crypt?”  Father Swathmore looked puzzled at himself.  “I don’t normally take anyone down into the crypt.  It is this way.”
They went down some narrow stairs into a dimly lit large cavernous place beneath the cathedral.  Various brick and stone archways marked multiple passageways in which were stored the remains of generations of churchmen and important leaders of their day.  Jill looked nervously at the damp, dim entries and felt a pressure on her elbow to walk into one particular doorway.
The priest took three flashlights from a cabinet by the entry door and handed one to Paul and Jill.  “There has been an archeological group digging and opening passages that have been closed for centuries.  There are legends of hidden treasure and for years we were asked to allow excavations but we were afraid for the integrity of the foundation, but this year the bishop agreed to some careful digging, but only on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.  We don’t want clunking and clanking during services or weddings.  You are lucky this is a Monday.  I’ll show you where they have been excavating.”  He walked down a passageway where Micha had been indicating Jill should go.
They walked what seemed like a half mile down a dark, bricked corridor with alcoves built into its walls, their moving lights being the only illumination.   Jill wiped a cobweb from her face.  “This place is giving me the creeps.”
“Yes”, replied the smiling priest.  “It is dirty down here.  And it is a cemetery.  This passageway has recently been excavated after being sealed for a long time.  The archeologists think that someone deliberately sealed this passageway with rock and rubble and they have carefully been removing it.  They have been transporting all the debris to a field in back of the cathedral so they can assess the age of the stones and sift for anything interesting.  The dates on the tombs are getting older as they go deeper into the passageway.  Perhaps we should stop now.”
Jill felt a more insistent pressure on her elbow leading her further along.  “Uh father, uh…..I feel..…uh….lead to go this way.”  She shone her light out and headed further down the dark, dirty, very old passageway.
The priest, smiling happily, followed them.  “Be careful of your footing.  There is still a lot of rubble around.  The archeologists restrict anyone from coming down here.  I have never been here.  I am not sure why we are here now.  But here we are.”  He beamed at them.
The pressure on Jill’s elbow was growing.  “We need to continue down this way.”
Building stones and other debris were littering the passageway.  Ralph cleared his throat.  “Uh Jill, this may not be safe.” 
Jill smiled brightly at him.  “I know.”  I don’t seem to have a choice.”
Jill scrambled over some large blocks then stopped in front of a pile of stones and dirt which clogged the passageway from the floor to the bricked arched ceiling.  It was obviously where the excavations had ended.  “Well it looks like we have come to a dead end.”
The air became charged and the dirt and rocks in front of them shimmered and started sliding toward the floor.
Ralph put his arms around Jill to protect her and both felt wings around them.
The three of them bent over coughing at the dust, then when they recovered, shone their flashlights on the mound of rubble which now had a large opening at the top near the ceiling.
Jill started climbing over the dirt and rocks.  Ralph, alarmed, grabbed her arm to stop her.  “This is crazy.  It is not safe!”
“Honey, it’s fine.  Just have a little faith.”
“Mrs. Nelson.  I have to agree.  I can’t believe I brought you down here.  If anything happens to you, I would never forgive myself and I have to tell you, my Bishop is going to kill me!”
“Mr. Swathmore, I think your Bishop will be very happy to find the treasure.”
“The treasure is not as important as you are.  Please come down.”
Jill had already climbed over the mound and was on the other side.    “It is clear over here and …..Ralph!  Ralph! ”
“What?  WHAT?  Are you okay?  
“Come over here you two.  You aren’t going to believe this!” 
They climbed over the mound to join Jill and the passageway was fairly clear.  There was room for all three to stand and stare at the obviously old wooden door.  It was dark with age and had iron straps at the top and bottom.  The straps were rusted as was the iron keyhole.
All three felt a presence and great joy and started to laugh.  Jill felt a warmth surrounding the key in her hand.  “It looks like this is the strongroom.  Let’s try the key.”  Jill placed the key in the lock, then paused.
Ralph, continuing to cough at the dust,  looked at Jill.  “What are you waiting for?  Let’s open it and get out of here.”
“What if this wasn’t meant to be?  What if people still don’t appreciate these things?”
“Too late for that.  Open ‘er up.”
Jill turned the key in the lock.  It did not move.  She put all her strength into trying to move the key but it did not move until she felt pressure on her hand and the key turned.  In slow degrees the key turned through centuries of dirt and rust.  There was a distinct click and the door was unlocked.
“Well, this is amazing, just amazing” said the priest.  Then excitedly,   “let’s see what’s in here.”  He laid his flashlight down on the floor to shine on the door and pushed, getting his shirt grey with dust.  The door slowly opened, groaning on its hinges.  He picked up his light and shown it into the room and they saw shapes covered with shreds of old cloth.  “This must have been an old storeroom.”
Ralph put his arm around Jill.  “No, this was the strongroom.  The vault where the art of the catholic church was hidden to prevent it being destroyed when England became a protestant nation.”
Jill went into the room and gently pulled a cloth off a tall item.  A cloud of dust made them wave a hand in front of their faces to clear it away.  Their lights shown on a kneeling life sized angel holding a large candle holder.  The face was painted and the body gilded.  It’s face was raised to heaven in joy and as they watched, it seemed to become infused with life.
As other cloths were pulled away, paintings and golden objects were seen for the first time in centuries.  A multiple of other items in the vault were crosses, crucifixes, plate, reliquaries, vestments and altar cloths woven with gold thread.   
The priest looked stunned.  “What a gift!  What a gift from God!”
Ralph asked sadly.  “Will you be selling this?  Any church is always short of money.”
Dust rose in the air from shifting wings.
“Oh no.  No, no!  This is a priceless gift from the past to the cathedral.  Neither the bishop nor the government would agree to sell these things. We will keep them but….”  He hesitated, then chuckled,  “Of course, we may ask for a donation for everyone to see them.  The meeting I was going to was with the board about our finances.  It takes a huge amount of money to maintain a building of this age and size.  I know just the room we can use next to the gift shop where we can display everything!  Oh, come on.  Let’s go.  I can’t wait to tell the Bishop and the Board!”
Jill felt Micha’s peace at being with the beautiful art work again.  “I think there will be an angel looking over these items and the cathedral.”
The priest looked at Jill with an expression of great joy.  “I have always felt angels here at the cathedral, and in this room with these beautiful things made by man but inspired by God and now found again, I know that angels exist.  Let’s go back upstairs.”  He excitedly headed toward the door.
Jill called softly to Ralph who was following the priest to the door.  “Ralph wait.”  She took Ralph’s hand, then put her flashlight on the ground and laid her other hand on the feathered shoulder of the angel candle holder.  The feathers were warm to her touch.
She whispered, “goodby Micha.”  Both she and Ralph felt the brush of an angel’s wing on their cheek and a great peace about what they had done and the future of the beautiful things around them.