This is part 2 of the story. If you have not read part 1 already, just hit the “Previous Post” icon on the bottom of this page.Because it is a true story it ended when it ended, which was 2000 words. That surprised even me, so I have chosen to split it in half for you.
Just what could three girls find to do in an unoccupied church anyhow? Pretty much what we did at other times and in other places. We pretended. As we hummed the tunes that we thought might suit the occasion, mostly the intro music to TV shows we were fond of , or the odd fast classical piece we picked up from cartoons,we enjoyed pretending that we were chorus girls kicking our legs up high, in our little knee-length skirts. This dancing was also something we learned from cartoons, which seemed to be geared to the lascivious thoughts of old geezer cartoonists at the time. We wore skirts then because wearing pants to school was unthinkable in those years, unless you were a boy of course. Sliding into home plate in a dress or skirt, as some of the older ball playing girls had discovered, was well worth the muddy undies if they won the game. As long as their outward appearance of femininity remained unsmudged in “modest” womanly attire!
After chorus girl dancing started to bore us Marsha took the doilies out from somewhere (that my guilt seems to have buried too deeply for the adult me to remember.) From under the silver Communion chalice and the Communion bread dish? Or were they from under the large open Bible and a nearby candelabra? Where they had come from is perhaps best left forgotten, as we then placed them on our heads, because it was important to adhere to proper church behavior. Hats must surely be mandatory for us in any church, now that we were Holy-communioned young ladies! Christine broke one of her own denomination’s rules though, by standing up to give a pretend sermon! No women in the pulpit ever, even if all the guys were abducted by aliens! Then we folded our hands and prayed— pretend or not— depending on whether we heard any cars slowing down on the gravel road outside. Were they stopping in at the church, or braking for the a stop sign? (We prayed it was the latter.)
After that we headed downstairs and walked around the perimeter of the big open room, on top of the seats of the dark varnished church chairs lining all the walls. It looked as if it was a nice cozy dance hall waiting for all the people to arrive. While Christine was up there on a chair, just underneath the big old church clock with its Roman numerals and pendulum, Marsha and I urged her to wind the clock up again and get it going. We thought it would be nice to hear it strike out some hour or other. We didn’t care much which one. Just as she turned the little wind up key and gave the pendulum a nice big Heave! Ho! Bong!
“Is that the high school bus?” Bong! Christine half -yelled, half -whispered (or whatever you call it when you think to whisper at mid-panic) Bong! “Jack is on that bus!” (Jack was her brother.)
Bong! “Stop it Christine! Stop it!” Marsha whisper-begged.
Bong! “I can’t!” Christine panic- mimed!
” Just hold the bonger!” I squeaked, (assuming the pendulum was the cause), and she did…
It stopped, but not without a seismic wobble forward towards a cataclysmic fall. She forced it firmly back into position, on whatever 100-year-old square- headed hand-made nail held it. With a full hand to its 100-year-old face she held back time! (Sorry) I for one, judging by the definite super elasticity in my knee joints, and the quivering jelly that would hardly pass for leg muscles, felt that an earthquake would have been no more frightening than that. Perhaps it was from all the dancing on the raised platform in the church sanctuary, perhaps it was from walking around on the pews and chair seats, perhaps it was from running up and downstairs, but I was as limp as a wet dish rag. After we unjumbled ourselves from the huddle in the dark corner of the church basement, where we hid until we thought we were safe from Jack coming in to check things out in the church— you could never tell when people might try to earn some good Samaritan points— I could barely walk.
We opened the back door a crack and checked for onlookers, and when we saw no one we came out and shut the door behind us. Then the three of us dragged ourselves on home, our mothers none the wiser, because they were so used to our dawdling. I lay in my bed that night with shooting pains in my legs, which my mother would have just told me were growing pains so I didn’t bother to ask. I know she would have been right anyhow. That would have been a good time to sing that last part of Abide With Me. —”When other helpers fail and comforts flee, Help of the helpless, O abide with me.” I don’t remember if I did that night or not, but I know I did some time later because He does… Abide with me, I mean.
I am going to leave this post for my husband the head trustee of Poplar Hill Christian Church to read in his own good time. It just might be a lot for a guy who worries about little footprints on the carpet in church to process all at once. Love you Honey! 🙂