She said, “It’s a guessing game.”
He disagreed. “It is a test of your powers of observation, and of the informed deductions you make based on that observation.”
She sniffed. “Of course if you know the person well, like Lizzie, it’s not hard to read her actions or even to understand the most likely words or phrases she will choose to illustrate.”
Lizzie was the enthusiastic and effective primary children’s worker in the church. She loved and taught the old inter-active Sunday school songs and choruses, with all the actions. The small children responded readily, learning with joy and a lively anticipation of Lizzie’s recommendation of each one.
He laughed. “True. Lizzie’s too easy. But what about Vivian? Now he is much more a case in point. He is good – very good – but he sometimes comes out of left field. You have to take careful note of what Viv is doing.”
The weekend seminar on “Care and Counsel” was very intensive. In the breaks between teaching sessions, ‘charades’ were served with the tea and coffee. Apart from involvement in solving the mimes, participants were required to make notes on the presentations, and the final sessions of each of the two days was devoted to a discussion on the effectiveness or otherwise of the message conveyed.
For Lilian and Desmond the discussions continued at intervals throughout the week.
Lounging against the kitchen counter while Lilian slid a tray of Crunchies from the oven and turned to pack the cooled biscuits into tins, Desmond continued to expound the value of ‘charades’ as a training tool in contrast with it’s value as a friendly game on social occasions. Placing the filled tins on the shelf above her head, Lilian sliced the Crunchies into squares, standing the tray on a wire cooling rack until she was ready to pack them away.
She turned to Desmond, slid her arms around his waist and burrowed her face into his waistcoat. He pulled her close, resting his chin on her head. They leaned into each other in companionable silence.
“What’s this? What’s this?” A loud and cheerful voice broke the silence. “A holy huddle, and me knocking and calling for hours – well, five minutes anyway! But when I smelled the Crunchies I couldn’t wait a minute more. And the door was unlocked anyway.”
His parents straightened up, regarding their youngest son in speechless surprise while he stepped around them to reach into the tray of Crunchies. “Hmm. Just right.” His voice was muffled. He flicked the switch of the kettle on. “I rang last weekend. Where were you?”
His mother tried to answer, “We were at a training seminar…”
“Ah!” He interrupted, “Ever learning and never coming to a knowledge of the truth. I can see someone is going to have to take you two in hand and explain the meaning of the word ‘retirement’. When I didn’t get any reply I was a bit concerned so I thought as I was going from here to there I’d just take a detour to make sure.”
His hands were as busy as his mouth, loading a tray with mugs and plates, finding the coffee and sugar, filling a jug with milk. His parents watched with amusement. A stranger in this house where his parents had lived for two short years, he had the assurance that their home was still his home. He lifted the tray. “Show me the way, Mom. Dad, bring the Crunchies – don’t bother with a plate, just bring the tray. What were you learning about?”
They answered together. Lilian said, “Charades.” Desmond said, “Care and counsel.”
Terry looked from one to the other. “C, C, and C. I see. What came first?”
Lilian bowed to Desmond who replied, “The training was on care and counsel. Charades were used to develop our powers of observation and deduction.”
Terry gave a hoot. “Bet they couldn’t teach Mom anything! Powers of O. and D. are built-in equipment for mothers.”
With a dry chuckle Desmond answered, “You’re right, they couldn’t. She thinks ‘charades’ is just a guessing game!”
“Well,” conceded Terry, “she might be right at that. We boys spent years trying to out-guess Mom – and guess who won?”
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