The Church Tam Dream

* I always thought a tam is a hat. The use in this context is from the dream.

A friend of mine (L) was beside me. He’s exactly how he now is, about twenty-five years older than me, a retired, silver-haired engineer coping with COPD.

We were on a wide, well-paved asphalt street lined with trees. I said, “Where’s Church Street?”

He said, “Here. You’re on it. This is Church Tam.”

“Church Tam?” The term confused me.

L said, “That’s why we were confused. You’re asking how to find the place where you are.”

I was still thinking about that when he moved off with a shoulder shift, nod, and wave that signified good-bye. At that point, I saw a white Church off to one side. It was set well-back on a sloping green lawn. Large and simple, it looked like many of the unassuming, clean-lined churches I’ve seen throughout my lifetime.

I was more interested in another set of buildings that were further back and off to one side. Built of cinnamon-orange bricks and of a straightforward, square design, the two buildings were in tandem, with a smaller one in front of the taller one. Whether I knew it or heard it, I knew that the building in the back hadn’t been opened in many years and that it held secrets and historic information. Wanting to explore it, I followed a sidewalk to the front door.

Large, paneled windows were visible on each. As I walked up to the front door, I saw movement behind the windows. A tall man was looking out at me as he moved toward the front door. Half-turning, he waved to others behind him. Two children trotted after him, followed by a woman.

Opening the door, he stepped out. Tall, slender and white, his hair and beard were a dark gray. He was dressed in a plaid shirt and blue jeans.

The children came up as he said, “Welcome. We’ve been expecting you.” As he finished that, a woman in an apron came out, wiping her hands as she joined the other three.

I didn’t say anything but looked at the group and building. I was wondering how to get into the big building to learn its secrets. The man said, “Come on in. We have room for you and food.”

“Thank you,” I said. He and I shook hands. The children were shy but seemed to know me. The woman smiled and then went into the house.

We followed her in. She was going down a polished, dark wood hall, but the man and I stopped in a large front room sparsely furnished with a fireplace, thick wooden coffee table, and several leather armchairs. He repeated his welcome. I protested that I couldn’t stay with him and that I thought he was mistaken about expecting me because I’d just decided to come here on an impulse. He laughed at that, telling me, “No, we’ve been expecting you.” Telling me that he’d been right back, he went down the hall.

I was left alone. Looking around, I saw pale-green double doors set in a stone wall. Sconces were on either side. Like cathedral doors, they were pointed at the top of the arc where they met. They were painted, but it looked like a century had passed since it was last painted. The doors were hinged, with a large keyhole in the middle.

Giggling, the children shuffled up, but stayed back. They talked in tandem, telling me that people couldn’t go into the other place because it had a lot of secret and important treasures and things in it, and that they’d never been allowed in it.

“I know,” I said. “That’s why I’m here. I want to go in.”

“You can’t,” the children said. “Nobody can. Nobody’s allowed to go in there.”

I said, “Someone must go in there. Does anyone have the key?”

“Yes,” one child and then the other said with thoughtful looks. “My Dad,” the boy said. “He has the key.”

“Maybe if I ask him nice, he’ll let me in,” I said.

As I was saying this, the man approached. In one hand was a large ring of keys. On his other palm was a single key. “Here you go,” he said. “I think this is what you’re looking for.”

The dream ended.

***

I had this dream four days ago as part of a dream bomb that lasted several days. Its impact was more sharply felt than the rest.

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