Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: JOIE DE VIVRE (delight in being alive) (08/18/16)
TITLE: Monroe Baptist
By Leola Ogle
LEAVE COMMENT ON ARTICLE
SEND A PRIVATE COMMENT
ADD TO MY FAVORITES
Who names a town Surprise, anyway?
I hated moving away from friends in the city, so I hated Surprise. There was something wrong if a town had a witch. And who names a girl Monroe Baptist?
Daddy loved that Monroe sat on the front pew every Sunday and amen-ed throughout his sermon. I wasn’t fooled that she smiled and laughed all the time. Like I said, she cackled.
It made me mad that my parents loved her.
“I’ve never met anyone more joyous than Monroe. Such a happy soul,” Daddy told Momma.
“Considering everything she’s gone through, it makes me ashamed whenever I complain,” Momma replied.
“She looks like a witch.”
“Rose Ellen. You’re a smarty-mouth. That’s rude. Now git, and check on your brother.”
I stomped off. When Momma used my middle name, I better hush.
Monroe became the essence of everything I resented about the move to Surprise. The first week, she showed up with apple pie. “For Preacher Smith and his family.”
I answered her knock. “Good morning, Rosie. It’s a wonderful day to be alive. Can you feel the joy all around you? Earth is beautiful, and heaven will be breathtaking.”
I didn’t answer. Everyone knew I hated to be called Rosie. I clomped to the kitchen and got Momma. Momma fawned over Monroe, then invited her to stay and have pie with us. Daddy grabbed the ice cream we were saving for my brother’s birthday.
Everyone made a fuss about the pie. I ate some ice cream, but refused the pie.
“Don’t you like pie, Rosie? I make cookies, too. You like cookies?”
The next week, Monroe brought us gingerbread cookies. “Say thank you to Monroe,” Momma prompted me.
“Why’s your name Monroe? Monroe isn’t a girl name.”
Monroe cackled. “It’s fine, Sister Smith. She’s curious. As a baby, I was left in Monroe Baptist Church’s foyer. I was raised in foster homes. They gave me the name Monroe Baptist. Isn’t it a delightful name?”
Her family didn’t want her? How could she be happy telling a story like that? Maybe she wasn’t a witch, but she was weird. And ugly.
The cookies were delicious.
Monroe baked things for everyone. “Baking makes me happy because it makes others happy. If life is an adventure, I want my adventure full of fun and laughter.”
Maybe she was pretending. You shouldn’t be happy if your parents didn’t want you. When Momma wasn’t around, I asked Monroe, “Aren’t you sad your momma didn’t want you?”
She looked sad for a moment, then grinned. She wasn’t too ugly when she grinned. “It hurts, but my mother chose life for me. Every day is a gift from God. Cherish it. I get excited for what each day brings. Life is precious, Rosie.”
Didn’t anyone love Monroe enough to belong to her?
As I got older, I viewed Monroe differently. Her zeal was contagious. She made me laugh. She found out brownies were my favorite and made them for me. Many times. She took care of me and my little brother while my parents went to a church conference.
She became family. After all, she did call everyone brother and sister.
I was a teenager when Momma told me Monroe’s story. Monroe was so abused in one foster her arm was broken. At twelve she ended up in a foster home with a loving couple who adopted her. She was sixteen when they were killed in a car accident.
Monroe married an older man who could take care of her. She had a daughter, Grace, who died of leukemia when she was ten. Her husband was good to her, but he died a few years later of a heart attack. So, she moved to Surprise.
I cried. “But, Momma, how can she be so happy?” By then I cared about Monroe.
“She decided to enjoy life. She says when she gets to heaven, she’ll tell her husband and daughter she embraced her time here with joy to honor them.”
I’m in college now. When I go home for a visit, I spend time with Monroe. I call her grandma. She taught me life can be a grand adventure if we’re positive and see God’s goodness in everything.
The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
Accept Jesus as Your Lord and Savior Right Now - CLICK HERE
JOIN US at FaithWriters for Free. Grow as a Writer and Spread the Gospel.