It's a shame gossip is so denigrated in the Bible because the stories of people's lives can be quite captivating. I'll try to be neither casual nor unconstrained in my remarks. And truthful, always truthful.
On the flight from Philadelphia to Frankfurt, I shared a row but hadn't yet made her acquaintance. I noticed she carried a black NKJV Bible and a rosary. "An odd combination," I thought. She read the Bible only briefly during the long, overnight flight, from the Psalms. I couldn't tell whether she prayed the rosary, but probably.
When we landed in Frankfurt, I watched to see whether she would address Father who was traveling in the next row. She did not and I decided, mistakenly, that she was not in our party.
We changed not only flights but also terminals in Frankfurt for Lisbon. The terminals are connected by a long underground tunnel, which plenty of people walked although there is a train available. She was traveling with a couple who fell far behind and were later brought by airport transportation just before boarding. All three are Septa employees, the couple a part of the SEPTA 48 who became millionaires in the spring time lottery.
She had a thing for Our Lady and for Lourdes. Her mother had visited years ago and she felt called to imitate that. We had much in common, too much for me to be comfortable: working class childhood, married high school sweetheart, finished grad school later in life. A key difference was that she's the breadwinner in the family because her husband is chronically unemployed. On the contrary, I'm the bum here.
Her friend, who I discovered paid for her entire trip out of her lottery winnings, was a convert from an assortment of Protestant backgrounds, most recently Presbyterianism. I felt I could talk to her from that perspective and she asked me a question about the Bible. Immediately, I looked up the verses in question using the ESV Bible app on the iPhone Jeff had loaned me and we talked about them. She was impressed, saying she didn't think that Catholics "did Bible." All the Mary stuff on the trip wasn't working for her. I told her it didn't have to and she can't force it anyway. She invited me out to dinner, her treat, but I already had plans. It would have been interesting to talk with her some more but that's all we had.