'Round Midnight

January 2005By Arthur J. Brew

Arthur J. Brew is a freelance writer living in Mountain View in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Leaving home once a week around midnight probably arouses some suspicion on the part of the few night owls who are still up watching television. As they turn from Jay Leno and notice their neighbor's car slip away, regular as clockwork on the same day every week, they can be excused if they suspect the worst.

Though he seems like such a nice, decent, law-abiding person, and a good family man, he must be up to no good at that hour. An assignation, a gambling habit, perhaps an addiction to drugs -- all can be more easily satisfied after dark.

If they only knew the real reason for these nocturnal trips they would probably shake their heads even more. Who in his right mind would be going off to church in the wee hours of the morning? This is what Sundays are for -- for some, but not all, of the neighbors.

Traffic is still somewhat heavy at this hour, when graveyard-shift workers are on their way to their weary tasks, and late-night revelers are heading home or on their way to another bar or nightclub. Police patrol cars are scarce, and speed limits are generally ignored.

In the church parking lot three or four cars sit while a night watchman quietly strolls the grounds and parish hall.

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