Dust rose from the dry ground as Mandy skipped down the lane that led to her best friend’s house. She and Daisy had made plans to go exploring in the woods and stream behind Mr. Jamison’s corn field. They were on a quest to find her a pet. After all, every eight year old needed a pet of their own to love.
What a perfect day for their adventure, crystal blue skies and warm sunshine. As they ran through the meadow in childhood abandonment, summer could be heard in the buzzing of the bees, crickets chirping and all the sounds that made up country living. Giggling, they plunged into the coolness of the woods. The wonder of it all! Spider webs stretching from tree to tree sent shivers down their spines, but it didn’t keep them from stopping to watch the miracle of gossamer nettings being created before their very eyes.
“Spiders don’t make good pets; mom would freak out, me too.”
Squirrels, chipmunks and other forest creatures scampering about was all to their pleasure. The sound of water rushing over rocks and frogs croaking heralded their arrival at the stream.
“I would love a squirrel or chipmunk for a pet, but not a frog. Their yucky. Mom won’t let me have anything wild anyway. Do you think birds are wild? Oh well!”
With that, off came their shoes as they splashed into the cool, clear water, squealing as they ran back and forth jumping on and over rocks.
Finally spent, they sat on the muddy bank. Mandy pulled her knees up under her chin, while Daisy dangled her feet in the stream. As they lazily watched minnows swimming beneath the surface and spiders doing their water walk, something caught Daisy’s eye. “Oh, look!” she shouted. Daisy turned to where Mandy was pointing. “So, what’s the big deal?”
“Aren’t they beautiful?”
“They’re all slimy and dirty.”
“I don’t care. I think they’re beautiful and I’m going to ask my mom if I can keep them.”
“What are you going to do with them?”
“I’m going to clean them up, and if mommy will let me, I’m going to keep them in my room.”
As Mandy approached her back porch with her arms extended, she began to cry excitedly, “Look Mommy! See what I found. Can I keep them? Please! Please!”
“Ugg! Their so slimy and dirty”
“I’ll clean’em up. I promise!”
“Oh, all right, but be sure you scrub them really good. They’re nasty!”
Later that night, Mandy’s mom came into her room carrying a small box filled with stuffing. “It’s for your ‘pets’. Have you named them yet?”
Mandy put her finger up to her chin and tapped it while she thought. “I think I will call the bigger one Charlie and the littler one Callie.”
And so it was. Mandy had two new pets that went everywhere with her. When Mandy and Daisy played dolls, there sat Charlie and Callie. They were there for tea parties, dress up, trips to the grocery store and church.
Now, Mandy didn’t like going to her church much. It was way too quiet, and the kids had to stay with their parents the whole time. At Daisy’s church, they sang a lot and had services just for kids. But one Sunday something so spectacular happened at Mandy’s church, it changed things forever. They had a visiting preacher! After all the announcements were made and the collection taken, the visiting preacher stood up and boldly stated, “Let’s all stand and Praise the Lord.” Now, this preacher didn’t just preach, he also played the piano. So off he starts with a zippy rendition of “Down at the Cross”
The entire church congregation was appalled. Instead of praise, whispers broke out. “Outrageous! Scandalous!” Tsk, tsk’s could be heard loud and clear throughout the entire church.
Then, from some unknown place came a garbled but loud “PRAISE GOD!! HALLELUIAH!! BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD!!”
A deep intake of breath could be heard as the horrified congregation in unison turned to see where this upstart was sitting. Awe struck and trembling, Mandy’s mother gasped, “Did that sound come from that box?”
Not sure how to answer, Mandy dropped her head. Lifting her tear filled eyes, she looked up at her mother she said, “Uh huh, it was Charlie and Callie, my pet rocks.”
“I tell you,” He replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.” NIV Luke 19:40