He was the son of a preacher man, or more accurately the son of the village Pastor … doesn’t have the same ring does it! However, he was young and unattached and played guitar in the Gospel group.
She was the daughter of Mr and Mrs Regular Jo Public, who grew veg and kept a few laying hens. She also was young and single and knew a good catch when she saw one!
Thomas and Tiffany! Inevitably Tom and Tiff connected.
They first met in the Mission Hall where Tom attended three meetings each Sunday and Tiff went along to appease an old maiden aunt, but …
“Just the one time, mind.”
Now Tom being a bit headstrong, though only sixteen, belonged to the Edward’s clan and kept his head down seething quietly. His numerous hang ups centred round his father’s obsession with all things Godly.
Not that he felt in any way threatened by his Heavenly Father, but was slightly embarrassed by his earthly one, who was held in great esteem by the parishioners and was also a well sought after lay preacher!
If that wasn’t enough, he wore a ridiculous Liberace bow tie to wow his fans from the pulpit!
Now what pimply, testosterone fuelled youth needs a preacher man for a dad! And especially one who frowns upon school friends and actively discourages any socialising outside school hours, being on account of their worldliness; visiting the cinema and owning parents who smoked cigarettes. The sure road to hell!
Even as a child Tom’s burden was a heavy one. He wasn’t allowed a plastic gun to shoot Indians, nor a bow and arrow to strike cowboys dead. Such was his lot!
In contrast Tiff’s parents were laid back, honest folk whose outlook on life was to live and let live.
“Don’t do anyone a bad turn and work hard for the things you need in life.” They didn’t mind Tiff doing the God bothering bit but it wasn’t their cup of tea thank you.
There was a bit of bother on at church when Tom and Tiff, ‘came out of the closet.’
“Tom Edwards dating that girl? Is she saved? Her mother never has a fag out of her mouth and her father gambles on horses!” Tiff’s maiden aunt knew for a fact that these were speculative porkies and said as much; then decided Tiff’s parents should attend the Mission Hall to meet the congregation and be approved by them.
“You must wear a suit and tie though,” she told Tiff’s dad. “I don’t want to feel ashamed of you!”
Surprisingly both politely refused, fearing they may not gel with this selective highbrow cult; but at the same time becoming genuinely concerned that Tiff’s innocuous disposition may become tainted with their self-righteous piety.
So when Tom and Tiff turned up with her engagement ring finger bedecked with sparkling stone, one camp was marginally pleased and the other positively mortified!
Tom was taken aside by a member of the Mafia,
“What … in the Lord’s name … are you playing at?” followed by sound Godly advice on the lines of,
“Dump her! She’ll steal you away from the fellowship.” Tom’s mum, who cherished every strand of hair on his shaggy head, shed a tear for the loss of Mavis Smith, her intended daughter in law.
The dust settled, and then Tiff did a really daft thing. From a genuinely enquiring mind, with true yearning for the truth, she asked Pastor Edwards about the dinosaurs.
His reply was short, sharp and delivered with unholy denigration!
Tiff was belittled and humiliated and vowed never again to place herself in such a vulnerable position. She turned instead to the scriptures and sought God for answers.
Meanwhile, Tom who’d been indoctrinated with the answers from birth had a fleeting moment of folly. Acutely aware of his father’s disappointment in him and the shame he felt for not being in control of his household, unexpectedly, ‘got saved,’ in the evening gospel service; and then ceremoniously pulled a packet of Woodbines from his pocket and triumphantly crushed them underfoot.
A lifetime passed. Tiff a committed Christian; Tom a committed atheist, but Tiff knows that Tom is just a little boy with a screwed up head, anger simmering on the back burner because God has claimed his wife also.
Immature? - yes
Unhealthy? - yes
Hopeless? - NEVER!
Not with the God of Love, who hears every faith filled prayer, and whose timing is perfect!
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