Eight year old Deanna ran across the park to where her friend Sally from school was playing. “Come and see the clown,” she called.
“At our church picnic.”
The girls ran to ask Sally’s mother if she could see the clown. “OK, I’ll come too,” her mother answered, putting her book in her bag.
“Over here!” Deanna pointed. Children were sitting on the grass watching the clown. “His name’s Binky.”
The clown was rather silly and kept dropping his hoops. He didn’t talk or laugh but had a bright red painted smile. The children laughed and clapped with every funny antic until they were called to eat.
“Mommy, can Sally and her mother stay for the picnic?” Deanna asked, joining the adults.
“I’ve already suggested it.”
Binky came over to the table as the pastor gave thanks for the food. Binky accepted the plate from Deanna’s father and smiled. Everyone stood around the table waiting their turn to fill their plates.
“So, how long have you been a clown?” Sally grinned. Binky remain silent and took a coin from behind Deanna’s ear. Sally laughed with her. They helped themselves to sandwiches and a soda before sitting on a nearby seat.
“Binky sure is funny, Deanna. Does he go to your church?”
“No, but he goes to some of the other Sunday School kids’ birthday parties. He never talks and he never wants to go home. Daddy hopes he’ll come to church one day.”
“Why does your family go to church, Deanna?”
“Because we like to. It’s like a big, big family and we like to sing and pray and read the Bible.”
Binky came over to the girls and sat cross-legged on the grass. Deanna frowned. “Why don’t you talk, Binky?”
The clown chewed on his sandwich and smiled. Deanna looked up and saw her mother talking to Sally’s mother as her father approached.
“I think Binky is a special clown,” Daddy said, sitting down beside Binky on the grass.
“Special?” Sally asked.
“Yes, some clowns only mime and use their facial expressions to help them communicate.”
Deanna wriggled in her seat. “Can he talk for real?”
At this, Binky burst out laughing. “I’m sorry, I didn't mean to laugh. You’re a very clever girl and your father’s right. I’m a miming clown and I usually don’t talk when I’m working.”
“This is your job!” Deanna gasped.
“Yes, and I really enjoy my work and I must say, I enjoy your church functions the most. There’s something about… Christians. I like being with everyone and find it difficult to go home. I hope you don’t mind.” He looked shyly at Deanna’s father; his red smile still stuck in place.
“That’s OK. We enjoy having you as part of the fellowship. You don’t have to always come as Binky, either.”
“What’s your real name?” Deanna asked, eager to know more.
“Michael. My name is Michael Carter.” He shook Daddy’s hand and bobbed his head at the girls.
“I wonder if my mommy will let me be part of the fell…low...ship too,” Sally suddenly spoke up.
“I don’t see why not.” Sally’s mother answered.
The group looked up to see the two mothers with a plate of cakes in each hand.
“WOW!” Sally’s eyes were wide with surprise. “Now I know why you never want to go home, Binky.”
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