Requiem For A Small Town

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Before the celebration there was a Mass. From the back of the church a procession of Sopris people came to the altar bearing the things for the Offertory: a loaf of freshly baked bread in a basket woven by Pop Incitti, a bottle of wine, a columbine, a miner’s helmet, a lump of coal on a silver tray.

A priest read from Ecclesiastes:

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die … … a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; A time to mourn, and a time to dance. …

After the Mass an old woman came out of a house nearby, shooing the chickens, and said, “Be sure and have a dance so when you’re old like me you can come back with a fishing pole and say, down there is where I had a dance.”