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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Light and Dark (05/21/09)

TITLE: Across the Road
By Mary McLeary


Across the Road

Today at the mens breakfast the discussion was centered on the family that had moved across the road from the church. Cousin Sidney Hendon, a life long member, now owned that house which had once been Grandmother and Granddaddy Hendon’s. With a bit of information here and there, the men soon pieced together random facts shared while they ate. These would then be shared with their wives who were assembling their own set of facts. They had no thought of gossiping, they were just interested. Their congregation was literally dying. The old and faithful gathered every Sunday, but the young didn’t come. Now within the shadow of the church were children who, according to Bobby Smith, another life long member, had some real needs.

Bobby began, “Missy has had the little boy, Brian, in her pre-K class this year. She’s never met the mom. The grandmother, the one living in Sidney’s house, brings them, picks them up and comes to the parent/teacher meetings. Missy saw the mom once and said she looked like she’d been rode hard and put up wet.”

“Well, you know who she is Bobby. That’s Vern Peat’s daughter. She comes in the store once or twice a week. She could probable beat my rear.” This came from Donny Matthews who ran the local store and was a former marine. “Old Vern is a mean coot and the apple don’t fall far from the tree, as they say.”

“You guys have summed her up pretty well with your spiffy sayings,” Judge Hughes piped up. “Might I add that when she came before me in court she was as high as a kite. I hate it for the kids. Who’s the dad?”

“I don’t know Brian’s dad, but Rafael Menendez is the little girls’ dad. He’s living across the road too. Joe Drake wanted to hire him, but since he didn’t have a social security card, Joe backed off. I don’t know how he makes a living.” This came from Clyde Deloach who had lost interest in most food since his fight with cancer began a year ago, but he still came to mens breakfast for the company.

“My grandmother would turn over in her grave,” said Sidney, “if she could see that mess over there. I called them yesterday and told them to get those bags of trash out of the yard and to the dump. Sounded like a riot in the back ground. I rented it to the grandmother, but there’s no telling how many are staying there. Their lease is up next month and that may be it. I can’t stand trashiness.”

Doug Rhodes had done what he usually did. He listened. After downing his last piece of country ham with a sip of stout coffee he looked around, grinned and said, “I’m going over to invite them to Sunday school. Anybody want to come with me?”

All eyes turned to Doug. At sixty-one he had retired from banking. He had also finished a term as state senator. He had been assured a second term, but when he spoke out against obvious voting violations he had been ostracized by leaders in his own party. They then recruited a local lawyer to run against him. It proved impossible to win against an opponent whose backers included the governor; the Lt. Governor, and a couple of congressmen. There was now a highway in his former district thanks to Doug’s belief that the ballot box was sacred. There was also a new senator. When Doug did speak, his fellow church members listened.

“It does sounds like these folks are in the dark, but when Jesus said ‘Go ye therefore and teach all nations’, I think he meant for that first step to be from right where we are. How can we teach all nations if we don’t cross the road? We’ve been praying that our church would grow and God has brought us three kids who need to know Him. It seems like it’s up to us to show them the Light.”

Clyde cleared his throat and said, “Let’s pray.” In his raspy voice he prayed for the Holy Spirit to guide them. He asked for open hearts to know and do His will.

A month later, members waved to Rafael and his three children as they arrived for Sunday school. A new children’s class had been formed and Rafael was a welcomed new member in Judge Hughes’ adult class. There was also a new face at the monthly mens breakfast.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 05/28/09
Great job with the authentic dialogue.

The end seemed a bit of a fizzle for me--just the last paragraph or so.

Wonderful message, important to all who at times feel hopeless about our small churches.
Dee Yoder 06/01/09
Oh my! These crusty characters sure have the dialogue and "discussion" down pat, don't they? I like the humor and the way you added the voice of reason at the end.
Helen Murray06/04/09
I love it that the men's group focussed on the needs of children - signs of the last days when the fathers' hearts return to the children. Go for it.