Pastor Girard strolled toward the front, his smile as wide as the aisle. “How are we doing tonight?” His emerald eyes twinkled and newly sprouted salt and pepper whiskers quivered slightly in the breeze.
“It’s cold in here. It’s always cold in here!” Missy Adams groused while tugging at her navy blue pullover. Her bright blue eyes shot angry glares toward the offending ceiling fan which spun in circles at mach speed.
“Are you anemic, dear?” Blythe Nichols questioned, arching a bushy brown eyebrow toward the blonde. Although retired, large red ‘x’s still seemed to fly from her mouth whenever the school teacher spoke. “You always complain about the cold.”
“Because I love summer and sunshine? The last time I checked, this was church, not the meat locker at Grange Meats!”
“Well!” the elder woman huffed, blinking from the affront. “No need to get testy, dear.” Blythe’s tight pewter curls bounced as she hiked her nose and gave the watch on her wrist a few quick spins.
“Missy has a point,” Scott Frame agreed from several pews back. He dipped his head protectively toward the young woman. “We could turn it down a little and save electricity.” Missy reminded him of a shivering doe sitting huddled in her seat. He was rewarded at her flash of an appreciative smile.
Missy hadn’t noticed the cute indentation on her rescuing knight’s chin before. His hair was cut nicely, too, just barely brushing his muscular shoulder. Like sunny stalks of gleaming wheat.
Pastor Girard placed his Bible down on the podium and flipped spectacles out from the pocket of his shirt. “Welcome everyone, to Wednesday night service at Water at the Spring and High Cross Holy Standing Baptist Church. Let’s turn in our Bibles to the book of Judges!”
“Whazzat!?” Dillard Stern’s ice blue eyes popped open in protest. “That’s not a gospel!”
“It’s sure not!” Dillard’s wife Josey bobbed in agreement.
“Tonight, we’re going to discuss the story of Gideon,” the pastor continued.
As turning pages whished toward crescendo, Pastor Girard stole a glance at Samuel, a sulking teen crouched in the front corner pew. From just behind, his mother Marilyn sat with Bible at the ready, her eyes looking like large junior mints.
“Pastor, speak up,” Snead Olson croaked from the back.
Pastor Girard shifted his feet. “Uh, sorry. HOW’S THIS?”
“Snead, start bringing your hearing aid or sit up front!” Miss Mamie barked, craning her neck back in the direction of the former postman. “You got yerself here. A few more steps won’t do you in!”
“OKAY, THE LORD APPROACHED GIDEON…”
“The kid dun what?” Like a gopher poking out of his hole, Ty Harper’s head shot up. Roving in his seat, his eyes scanned the room suspiciously then landed on Samuel.
The teen flipped his hoodie over his head and hunched lower.
“GIDEON. NOT ‘kid dun’ . Pay attention”. Blythe hissed toward Ty.
“Gideon thought all was lost.”
“Pastor, speak up!” Snead squawked again, jabbing the air with a cane clutched in one gnarled hand.
“Oh good grief.” Miss Mamie grumped, hitting her forehead with the heel of her hand and waggling French cut nails.
Missy took the opportunity to glance back at the drama, sweeping helicopter eyes over Scott on return.
Just then, the sound of stifled giggles caused Jasmine Girard to whirl and face Bernadette and Nora, bumping shoulders in some conspiracy. The pastor’s wife, normally sweet as divinity, brooked no disrespect for her husband or the Word of God. Long auburn curls swaying, she issued “the look” and whipped back around to turn adoring hazel eyes on her husband. The women responded with a roll of eyes toward heaven.
“Pastor, you’re not going to be bringing any of that ‘hippity-hop’ music in on Sundays, are you?” Mabel shouted suddenly, her maple eyes darkening.
“We’re in Judges,” Pastor Girard attempted, masking a sigh.
“It’s DEMONIC, you know,” Mable continued. The librarian was generally esteemed as the “go-to-gal” concerning things of the dark angel realm.
“Come on!” Rupert Black entreated. “Let the Pastor finish. I want dinner before midnight.”
“Why aren’t we studying the gospels? My bookmark’s already there.”
Hands on the clock swept the final seconds of the hour away. Pastor Girard, his smile flashing on, snapped his Bible closed. Slipping his spectacles back into his pocket, he mused silently. “Lord, and they say that it’s our skin that makes a colorful world!”
Still chuckling, the angels turned to go as well.
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