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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Easter (05/30/05)

TITLE: Sunrise Sea Gulls
By
06/01/05


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Dora Mae Davenport picked up Elsie and I at five thirty Easter Morning. We were headed for the sunrise service at Union Point. The three of us formed the Twin Rivers Methodist Widows Union and Coffee Club. So far, we were the only members, not that there were not more Methodist widows in the vicinity.

When we got to Union Point we discovered that several other folks had arrived before us and taken all the nearby parking spaces. Dora Mae finally parked the Buick about a block away from the park and along the riverside walkway.

“Figures,” said Elsie.

Dora Mae and I looked at our old friend and simultaneously said, “What?”

Elsie picked up a lawn chair and started walking waving her hand toward the park. “They got a Baptist preacher this morning at the Point, those Baptists draw a crowd,” then without much of a pause, she said, “I wonder if there are refreshments, I could use a biscuit, I’ve got some crackers in my pocket in case I get hungry.”

Dora Mae nudged Elsie in the rear with her chair. “Refreshments, my word Elsie, it’s a church service not a social.”

“Ladies.” I scolded, “Behave.”

We finally made it to the park and found a flat, ant-less, spot on the lawn. Union Point is a park in our town. It is where the Trent and Neuse Rivers run together, called a confluence; anyway, there is a gazebo for concerts, park benches, boat docks, and lots of trees and grass. The Easter preacher always set up his podium with the Neuse River at his back, the choir sat in chairs set on risers at his side; which meant that the congregation faced the East. A good preacher timed his remarks to coincide with the sun coming up – the coordination only happened once in every four or five years; which tells me God isn’t particularly interested in the trivial showmanship of the clergy.

The service went on as usual, and the pastor turned at the appropriate minute to face the East, and of course there was a five-minute gap between the end of his sermon and the sun actually peeking over the Pine Trees on the other side of the river. The choir was supposed to automatically break into song when the sun broke the treetops and after an appropriate signal from the minister. The congregation on cue would say “amen” or “Praise God,” and if there was a Pentecostal or two around some of the congregation might even shout “hallelujah.”

About the time the spectacular event was about to happen, a thousand sea gulls suddenly descended upon the choir and first rows of the congregation. They seemed particularly interested in those folks seated higher up on the risers. The sopranos shrieked, the basses waved their arms, the altos tripped down the risers, the tenors waved their music, and a general chaos broke out down by the river. The pastor who was lost in a prayerful gaze lost his concentration and started chasing birds away from the podium.

Dora Mae looked at me. “We might as well head back to the car. Where’s Elsie?”

“I thought she was sitting by you?”

“Huh un, she moved her chair to get in the shade.”

Then, in the clearing behind where the choir once stood, we saw our old friend Elsie, joyfully throwing cracker bits into the air.

In the midst of the sea gull frenzy, the sun rose, the choir didn’t sing, the pastor forgot the benediction; and a strange little woman rejoiced on Easter morning with God’s creatures.


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This article has been read 651 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Kyle Chezum06/06/05
Clever story! Good job.
Karri Compton06/06/05
That was so funny, lol. I could just see it. Well done.
Sally Hanan06/06/05
Hahaha. I can just see Elsie (thinking of Elsie in Coronation St.) stealing the limelight from the pastor like that.
Anthony Tophoney06/06/05
Humor flows so naturally through this narrative. I like the way you tie in the different denominations to add flavor. Very entertaining and easily readable. Nice work!
Helga Doermer06/06/05
That Elsie of yours is quite a character. She is delightfully unaware of social graces. Enjoyed the peice.
Karen Treharne06/06/05
Elsie wasn't the most reverent of characters but she was delightful none-the-less. A joy to read and laugh at the antics of a grown woman with moxie. Thanks for sharing and your sense of humor! Yours in Christ
Delores Baber06/08/05
How delightful! You are so creative and you allowed us to share your creative spirit in this wonderful account of an sunrise service that would not be easily forgotten.
dub W06/08/05
As said above - simply delightful. Thank you for posting this story.
Cheryl Thompson06/08/05
This was absolutely enjoyable! I can see it taking place... afterall, God does have a wonderful sense of humor!
Shari Armstrong 06/09/05
I loved the playfulness of this! I can just picture it all. I can also see a cousin of my Grandma's sitting there helping her with the cracker crumbs! :)
Suzanne R06/10/05
FUN! I know a lady like this too. Too funny!
Val Clark06/10/05
A very entertaining read. I've met some of these ladies before and love/d the fun way you bring us into their not so simple lives.
Sandra Petersen 06/11/05
Gotta keep your eyes on Elsie! Once again, wonderful! If this series of adventures would be published, I, as our church librarian, would definitely purchase the book! I could see in my mind the swarm of sea gulls descend on the unsuspecting choir.