It all started Monday morning, with Lena Madsen’s phone call. Ginny recognized her voice, knowing what was coming.
“Hello, Virginia,” she began in her stiff, formal way.
Why can’t she just call me Ginny, like everybody else? In her seventy-two years of life, Ginny had known Lena for at least forty of them.
Lena continued,“Just confirming that you’ll be able to take your usual booth at the charity bazaar on Saturday afternoon.” She waited for an answer.
The last thing I want is to sit through another bazaar, watching uppity women eyeing handmade crafts.
Was that her own voice Ginny heard next?
“Lena, I might be visiting my daughter Katie for the weekend. With Ron in Iraq, it would mean so much to her and the boys.”
Lena was put out with her, but too proper to say so. Mumbling something about short notice, she hung up.
Feeling a bit guilty, Ginny recalled a Psalm she’d read only yesterday: “Keep your tongue from evil, and your lips from speaking lies.” Psalms 34:13 (NIV)
You know, it’s not really a lie. Only a little fib. Old ladies don’t lie, do they? It was just a little white lie. I couldn’t hurt her feelings now, could I?
Actually, she had been planning to make that visit, just not this week. Hoping Lena wouldn’t ever know that, she brushed her thoughts aside.
Truthfully, Ginny had reservations for brunch and a book signing at Landon’s restaurant Saturday, with the literary guild. She was to introduce the speaker, who was a favorite author.
Then there was that editor’s deadline for her own short story next Tuesday, and she was far from finished.
Wednesday afternoon Sarah Kenzie, president of the literary guild, called her.
“Uh, Ginny, I ran into Lena Madsen at the mall last night. She told me you were having to leave for the week-end. I’m so sorry, and we’ll miss you at our book signing. Beth White offered to fill in if there was extra space for brunch, so I just gave her your place, and it worked out okay, ” Sarah finished in a rush, leaving Ginny time for only shocked agreement.
Unbelievable. I’d think Lena did it deliberately, but she never keeps up with any events except her own. Oh well... maybe I can finish my story, at least.
Katie’s call came on Thursday. She’d just talked with her friend, Carol, who was Sarah Kinzie’s daughter, and Ginny couldn’t believe her ears.
“Oh Mom, I hope I’m not spoiling your surprise, but she said you were coming tomorrow. Wonderful! Our county fair is Saturday, so dress for it. Dillon’s favorite part is the petting zoo.”
“But honey, maybe not...” Ginny began.
“Mom, the boys are already excited and expecting you. Please don’t back out now.”
Trapped. Life is completely out of control.
Friday afternoon she started the three hour drive to Katie’s, to be there for an early start on Saturday. About halfway, she encountered thunderstorms and torrential rain. She was frazzled and late, but greeted enthusiastically by Katie, seven-year-old Dillon, and Brad, who was ten.
Saturday morning, in sprinkling rain, they arrived at the fair's entrance, and headed almost directly to the petting zoo.
A low platform had been built for walking near the animals, yet above mushy ground. Dillon, very excited, took Ginny straight to the goats, who suddenly stood on hind legs, begging for food. Ginny lost her balance, felt her ankle turn, and, next minute, sat in the muck beside three goats.
Brad, more embarrassed than concerned, stood for a moment before he spoke.
“Gran, you gotta get up. You’re sitting in mud, goat mud, if you know what I mean.”
“Yes, Bradley, I may be old but I can still smell. Help me here.”
Later, in the emergency room, the doctor said the ankle was sprained, nothing broken, and she was very fortunate.
“Except,” he added with a twinkle, “for the odor.”
Seven days later, her deadline missed, Ginny was finally able to return home. She collapsed in her recliner, and reached for her Bible, still open to Psalm 13. Grinning wryly, she glanced down.
Well, Lord, You sure were right. My little white lie has turned black and blue, from my knee to the bottom of my foot.
But penance wasn’t quite done. Lena phoned to say the bazaar was postponed due to weather, and rescheduled for next week. And, could she count on her?
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