Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Pastor (11/30/06)
TITLE: FUMES OF FAITH
By Patricia Williams
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Twenty years had passed since we had come to our first pastorate in Tahlaquah, Oklahoma. We had returned for me to go to medical school. We were all excitedly climbing up to Goats Bluff, that hung precariously over the Illinois River, for our oldest daughter’s wedding. It brought an avalanche of memories. We were so proud our new son-in-law was taking on his first pastorate after their honeymoon.
Tahlaquah, Doug was to Pastor the local church three weeks each month and be a circuit Pastor for three distant towns the fourth week. He was twenty-six and I was sixteen. It was the pastorate that strengthened our faith.
Leeanna’s face glowed happily as the wind blew gently through her hair. Gratefully it was a different era of time for her. My hair had been long and flowed softly over my shoulders. The first Sabbath Doug preached Sister Rebecca, who conducted her life to the letter of the law, was quick to teach me it was inappropriate for one to”flaunt their hair.” I aged from sixteen to sixty-six by simply twisting my hair into a knot.
The soft guitar musicand love song that came from Jack’s heart to his bride made me thankful he would start out as an Associate Pastor. Maybe there wouldn’t be as many hard times for them.
As a city girl I had looked out the parsonage window to see a scene that looked like it came straight out of the Lil Abner comic strip, 10 kids, 2 goats, and a four room house. Our introduction came with the birth of the eleventh child. Mama was going to be down a couple of days. Their world was alarming to me.
Putting the children to bed seemed like a safe decision. I noted there were only four beds. Each bed slept 3-4 children each. Pajamas?? IThey didn’t have enough for everyone. All they had was stacked in the middle of the table. The children were to line up against the wall and I was to yell “go.” Each one charged at the table hoping to get something to sleep in. There was no tub for baths.. My stomach turned as the youngest child climbed on the kitchen table, grabbed the ladle from a bucket that sat in the middle and drank the warm goats milk that had been put there earlier in the day. He promptly put the ladle back in the bucket.
“Jack, do you take Leeanna to be your .....” penetrated my revelry of thought. God had made a way for us to give the kids a car that was dependable for their wedding gift..I didn’t want them having to drive down the side of a mountain in the pitch black without car lights because they shorted out. God had taken care of us by sending a thunder storm that repeatedly shot flashes of lightning that guided us safely to the bottom. We weren’t going to get to make the circuit trip that month because there wasn’t any gas money. Oklahoma’s known for having huge pack rats. At first I had been alarmed by them. They often left us a variety of items on our porch. That morning was no different. Glancing around carefully for any hairy intruders I went out to pick up a waded mass that when pulled apart revealed a tattered ten dollar bill. It was spendable regardless of it’s crumpled condition..
“I take Leeanna to be my lawfully wedded wife.....” My first encounter with Jack had occurred at his grandmother’s local department store. She had been the first to suggest my episodes of morning vomiting probably wasn’t from eating Bro. John’s duck eggs. I had shared my worry with her over my neighbors children not having enough pajama’s. She supplied me with material and I made most of the clothing they needed. She had a beautiful little redheaded grandson she kept in a playpen at the store with her. We would slip downstairs for a cup of tea. I loved picking him up and sitting him on my expanding tummy.
“I now pronounce you man and wife. You may kiss the bride.” My heart melted at the look of love that passed between the two as they sealed their commitment with their first kiss as man and wife. I had no way of knowing that darling little red headed baby would become a part of our family. I wasn’t losing a daughter today I was being given another son.
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