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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Fellowship (among believers) (10/11/07)

TITLE: The All Church Cast Party
By Glenn A. Hascall


I recognize Mr. Finley. If Mr. Finley has a first name I never heard it. I suppose what is most remarkable about the Mr. is his pants were always too short. I could see the tops of his white socks, but then that’s probably due to the fact that the top of his pants cover the bubble in the middle and were held up with short suspenders. I never saw the Mr. dressed any other way. He loved Jesus, loves people and doesn’t mind what others think of him.

Everet and Grace Brown sat with their son and daughter-in-law at the table to my right. Wayne sells insurance and Ronnie Kay likes the fact that insurance sales have given them a nice home. They invite people over often. Hospitality is just normal with the Brown’s.

Mrs. Houk came to church each week without her husband. She falls asleep during the service and snores sometimes. She once caught a fly in a rather violent intake of breath. We don’t bother her though, she has a son with downs syndrome and she is dedicated to taking care of her boy. She’s tired.

Mr. Tanouse is the pastor. He’s from an Arab country and he talks differently than the rest of the folk in the sanctuary. When I eat at their house I’m never really sure what I am eating and I need lots of water to cool things off. Salam Tanouse loves Jesus and he is the first Arab man I ever met.

Maxine Foster watched her husband as he was lowered in the ground. She’s birthed a few babies in her past and taken care of more children in our little congregation than she can remember. She watches the sermon through the nursery window and listens through a little speaker they set up just for her. She loves her grandbabies, but in the dark of night the weight of solitude becomes a burden heavier than she ever thought she would have to bear and she cries.

The Barkman’s have four children and they are very well behaved. The pastor’s son loves to play jokes by placing toys that squeak right where the children will sit. Everybody seems to expect the noise after we sing hymn 342. I wonder if Mr. Barkman knows his wife will only be attending church with him just a few short years before she’s called home. You could tell he loves her and she’s happy to return the favor.

My mental wonderings are forty years in the past and many of these blessed believers are no longer with us. They have taken the rough and tumble of a messy little thing called life and bound it together with other folks who had their own problems and called it the ‘fellowship of the saints’.

There were times of potlucks, special singing, as well as ribbon candy, oranges and nuts for Christmas, but there were also times of barn raisings, cattle branding and hauling groceries. In my small town we did for each other and we were family.

Sometimes it was hard to get away from the widow Foster who just wanted someone to talk to, but she always had lemonade and a memory to share and I was taught to respect, so I did.

Sometimes it was hard not to make fun of Mr. Finley and his perennial highwaters, but his genuine niceness made it hard to feel like being mean.

Sometimes it was hard not to think the Brown’s lived in too nice a home, but they were the first to let the youth group come by for a get together.

Sometimes it was hard not to laugh when Mrs. Houke snored, but she never failed to bring her downs boy to church.

Sometimes I wish I could go back and let these people know how much they meant to me, but too much time has passed and they can only know sometime in the future when I can pass along my gratitude and apologize for the misguided notions of childhood from the vantage point of eternity.

They simply faded from view when I was pursuing life and then vanished altogether, but fragments of memories remain and I work to frame them into a patchwork quilt that resembles the heritage they passed along to a kid who probably wasn’t worth their attention, but is warmed by their memories.

Thank you. I really did learn something – and I’m doing my best to pass it along.

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This article has been read 888 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Joanne Sher 10/19/07
I love all the little character studies - I feel like I know each person. Your message is also wonderful - I love how you weave it all together.
Deborah Engle 10/20/07
What a unique approach. I love it.
sarah rauch10/23/07
these characters are exactly like the people that fill every church - each with their own uniqueness. Thank you. prompts me to remember...
Dee Yoder 10/24/07
I felt teary-eyed as I read this because I've known a wonderful church family like this one. I love the image of being able to say "Thanks" to them one day in Heaven. They were all so nurturing and like you, I didn't realize at the time how much they shaped my Christian world, both then and now. The characters you describe are very richly drawn. Wonderful entry!
Betty Castleberry10/24/07
This deserves to be read because it is so "relatable." (Is that a word?) Many of us know people like these. One teensy thing; Down, as in Down's Syndrome, should be capitalized.
This line is wonderful: "They simply faded from view when I was pursuing life and then vanished altogether,"
Well done.
Joy Faire Stewart10/24/07
Love the reminiscing. Some of the characters are people I know. I esp. like the way the next to last paragraph tied the story together.
Marty Wellington 10/24/07
Loved the folksy language and style you used to convey memories of this congregation. Especially liked this part: "They have taken the rough and tumble of a messy little thing called life and bound it together with other folks who had their own problems and called it the fellowship of the saints." A most enjoyable read.
George Parler 10/24/07
I love the use of memories in the making of the patch work quilt. Nice touch that definitely embodies the tone of this wonderful piece. Good job.