Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: The Comedy of Errors (not about the play) (08/18/11)
TITLE: Then and Now
By Leola Ogle
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My oldest, Tammy, still a teen with a husband in the Air Force, her baby Ethan, myself and three other daughters were excited to be attending the Assemblies of God General Council in California, although we could only make the last night’s service.
Arriving in Anaheim after lunch, we joined our pastors, the Owens and Browns, at their hotel. The men would attend the afternoon business session while we women and children went to the beach.
After sun, sand, and surf, we made plans to meet later at the Anaheim Convention Center before we drove to our motel was several miles away.
To my dismay, our suite had only one bathroom. It would take ingenuity to get six people bathed and ready. I began barking instructions: “Three minutes each in the shower. Oh, no! Do NOT give me the rolling eyes! Get moving or we’ll be late!”
Things proceeded smoothly until I went to get dressed and discovered our dresses were nowhere to be found.
“Where’s the garment bag with our dresses?” My frantic eyes swept the room.
My question produced shrugging shoulders, sideways glances, and mumbling. My eyes widened.
“Did anyone grab it from the Owens’ room?” It had mistakenly been taken into their hotel instead of the bag containing our swimsuits.
I covered my mouth before a shriek could escape. “Tammy, you have to get our dresses! HURRY!”
I felt faint. This can’t be happening! Everyone…WOMEN…really dress up for these events. Without the dresses, we only had jeans or shorts! Neither would do! Tammy drove off while I held Ethan and nervously paced.
Denise and Heather had packed dresses in suitcases, so they were ready. Stephanie and I waited in our undergarments.
The clock ticked on. “What’s taking Tammy so long?” Glancing out the curtain, I squealed, “What’s she doing? This isn’t the time to be talking with some man in the parking lot!”
Sticking my head out the door, I shouted, “Tammy!” In she came, sniffling and crying. “I was pulling in and that man was pulling out. We hit each other. My bumper’s dented!”
“Dented? Where are the dresses?” Her car was of secondary importance at the moment.
Wiping her nose, she mumbled, “Everyone was gone.”
I froze! General Council and we had no dresses! What would people think? “Denise, I need your dress. You girls wear your jeans. We’ll have to sit in the back and hope no one we know sees us.”
I couldn’t believe how thrilled they looked. I felt betrayed by their delighted grins. Didn’t they understand the gravity of the situation?
I dressed, glanced in the mirror and groaned. The waist of my twelve-year-old’s dress was too high on me, and she hadn’t brought the belt. Huge loops stuck out, screaming, “Look, I have no belt!” And how could five females not have scissors or clippers? Unless someone got under my armpits and gnawed, the belt loops stayed.
Furthermore, fuchsia definitely wasn’t my color!
So much for hoping we wouldn’t see anyone we knew. After arriving at the Convention Center, we immediately ran into two minister’s families from Arizona. With thousands of people from all over the world, what were the chances?
We continued to encounter Arizonans. Each time, I felt the compulsion to explain our wardrobe. Later I realized their amused smiles weren’t because of our attire, but because of my rambling explanations. No one really cared what we were wearing.
We made our way to the back of the overflow area. Wouldn’t you know; up the aisle came the Happy Goodmans, smiling sweetly, shaking hands. Then I spotted Dino Kartsonakis and Jim Bakker. If Tammy Faye would’ve come walking up, I’d have crawled under my chair.
Twenty-eight years later, summer of 2011, General Council was held in Phoenix, my second ever to attend. Casual attire is now the trend. As in 1983, nobody gave a second glance to what I wore. How foolish we are when we place such significance on the unimportant!
This time, I soaked in God’s presence, savoring His word going forth, overwhelmed by how blessed I am. Ironically, in my home state, I bumped into very few of my Arizona friends.
God definitely has a sense of humor.
**True story with group photo of that 1983 night to remind me.
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