Although much of the crowd are from the Unitarian church I once went to, the dream itself is set in what was my family church. Not only that, but the pre-remodeled church. I'm with a group of singers, not the director. We run through something mundane. We are told to sit in the congregation, not the choir loft. I ask if there's a program with the hymn numbers. The guy in charge replies that there will be no music except for the song we'll be singing. It dawns on me that this is a Christmas Eve service and that people sitting randomly in will stand up and sing something that has nothing to do with the season...at a Presbyterian church. Someone asks if we will at least process into the sanctuary. No, the minister is the only one to do that, but we are expected to stand and line the center aisle for him. A not-delighted murmur rises among us. The sanctuary is now full. Someone tells us to rise; only a few do. The person reminds them that the minister wants us to stand. No one joins those already standing. In fact, some of those standing sit with a disgusted sigh. The minister enters. He is the Reverend Mister Howard Dana, once of the Unitarian Church of Harrisburg. This will be his final service. Not many people are sad that he's leaving. He enters and crosses the stage to the pulpit. He's followed by two kids corked up in black face wearing stereotype wigs and Santa suits. (I apologize for Dream Center's depiction of this, but it's also interesting that I associate this gross stereotype with the Reverend Mister Howard Dana.) Seeing this, much of the congregation stands up and leaves, I among them. The cemetery is filled with snow as I trudge my way home.
I've not been to my hometown in a long time. I stand beside the turnpike. In real life, the turnpike is nowhere near Gap. However, in my dream, it's apparently always been there, but I understand that the traffic is snarled because of a bridge. I wasn't aware there was a bridge. Nor could I think why a bridge would be needed. A tunnel maybe, but not a bridge. Coming from one of the parked cars is a news report about a murder the previous night. The newscaster ad libs that he knows who did it and gives the name, then goes back to reporting. I go to a farmhouse. The farmer is about to head out to the fields on his tractor. He waves as the tractor chugs away. His wife doesn't know me, but we're quite easily friendly with each other. She tells me of things I might find interesting in the area, then notices that I'm kind of detached. I ask her about a mall. She hesitates but then tells me she knows about it. She then tells me there was a murder there last night. I tell her I'd heard about that and that I heard on the radio a man named so-and-so killed the man. She blanches. She hoped no one knew about that. The two men had a bad history and the muderer was a minister she thought had left the previous winter.