Pam Weathering tapped her grandma’s tattered pumpkin pie recipe card and took in a deep breath.
“You aren’t going to a lot of trouble for this dessert auction, are you?”
Pam felt her husband’s hands caressing her shoulders.
“This is more than a dessert auction and you know it. This is my initiation as the new pastor’s wife. The women continue to rave about how great Grace Stewart was as their pastor’s wife.”
“They love you honey, everyone does. You jumped right in and re organized the nursery schedule. The teens are always asking you to sing worship with them because you play their style of music. You make me look good. The dessert auction is just an autumn get together to raise money for the marriage ministry. Throw a pie together and enjoy the fellowship.”
Pam managed a weak smile and returned to her recipe. No matter what delusion Phil lived under, Pam felt the pie equaled fellowship approval or outright church spurn.
Hours later Phil handed the two warm pies over to Connie Blythe, his secretary, who beamed. Phil led his nervous wife to the middle section of the folding chairs when panic hit Pam’s gut full force. She grabbed Phil and let out a high pitched but quiet squeal.
“Honey, what is it? You look pale.”
They excused themselves and went to the empty hallway leading to the Rec Center. Pam failed in her attempt to not show the range of her rising emotions.
“I forgot sugar. I was so worried about the pumpkin pie spice I forgot the brown sugar. You have to retrieve those pies. If anyone in the church buys those pies, I’ll die. I will just die.”
“I don’t think you’ll actually die…”
Pam’s look unloaded about one hundred daggers through Phil’s words. He cleared his throat and headed for the dessert table. All desserts disappeared.
“Say Connie? Where did all the desserts go?”
Connie looked to her boss and lifted a bony finger his way.
“Now Pastor Phil, no tasting without paying up. Actually they‘re all up front ready to be auctioned off. Jason Clark is our auctioneer tonight and when he saw Pam’s pies he said pumpkin always goes for at least thirty-five dollars. Hope you brought your checkbook!”
Pam’s hands trembled throughout the auction. She prayed Jason would drop both her pies or that a sudden snow storm would halt the evening. Phil tried to hold her hand but her squeeze was so desperate he let go to save his circulation.
“I saved the best for last because if this pie is as sweet as the baker, you’re in for a treat. We’re so blessed to have Pastor Phil and Pam Weathering here at Central. It’s hard to take over a position someone else had for decades but Pastor Phil and Pam make it look easy. Ladies and gentlemen, let’s start the bidding for this pumpkin pie at fifteen dollars.”
Jason’s bidding ensued right along with Pam’s elbowing Phil to buy the pies. They were sure the pie was theirs when Phil bid forty, creating a chorus of awws from folks thinking the pastor was romancing his wife. When a new female voice chirped a bid for fifty, the entire body turned to see retired pastor’s wife Grace Stewart waving a wad of cash. Pam threw her face in her hands. Grace won the pie with a hundred dollar bid for both pies.
“I have to tell her Phil. I’ll be right back.”
Pam’s heels click clacked all the way down the hall where Grace was saying hello to former parishioners. She locked eyes with Pam and smiled, excusing herself to chat with Pam.
“Mrs. Stewart I’ll pay you anything to get those pies back. I…”
“Nonsense Pam. I don’t care if that pie tastes like garbage or a million dollars. I came here on purpose to buy whatever you made. I remember my first year in ministry and I was scared to death. I was so nervous I left egg shells in the first cake I made. I vowed right then and there whoever came after me, I’d rescue them from the dreaded dessert auction.”
Pam started to cry. Grace gave her a hug and grinned.
“In time you’ll wonder where the time went and how you’ll do once you move on to something else. When you do, just come back and buy the new person’s desserts. I call it random acts of dessert auction kindness!”
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