Good morning, y’all. Wow, how much fun is it watching articulate educated speakers talk about topics that relate to all of us? Of course I’m talking about the Democratic National Convention. Let me say right here, if Michelle Obama is the same off the stage as she is on it, President Obama showed his brilliance early on in life. She is a rock star. When she related that she woke up each day in a house built by slaves, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. And there shouldn’t have been. I don’t know if her speech can be topped by the other people scheduled to speak, but I’m going to be watching in case some one does.
Speaking of topping a speech bring us back to the retelling of the history of The Full Gospel Original Church of God. Sunday’s services were marked by the first ever “Opinion Poll” conducted by the church. Elder Cheatum had a moment of regret that he had decided to pick up the comment cards with the collection. The use of the prayer basket to gather the comment cards helped, but the Elder was concerned that the task of filling out the comment card would reduce the tithe. He shouldn’t have worried. Collections were still in line with previous week’s standards based on the preliminary report by Mulva Lite after the services.
A brief scanning of the comment cards revealed that the audience had a lot of questions on their mind. “Was Reverend Handbasket currently seeing anyone?” “What kind of music did Reverend Handbasket like?” and so on. There appeared to be far more comments than parishioners, so Elder Cheatum suggested to Mulva that the Ladies Auxillary sort the cards by topic.
“Divide them based off of actual church business, and everything else”, Elder Cheatum told Mulva. “If Reverend Helena wants to tell the world what kind of music she likes, that might be a good thing for Bud to put on the website.” “I want to be able to count how many people want to stay, how many want to look elsewhere, and how many want to go back to how it was.”
“Ok”, responded the secretary/treasurer as she separated the cash and the checks and created her deposit slip.
Elder Cheatum sighed as he continued, “If I was a smarter man, we would have put out the comment cards with just those three choices and had everybody just check one.” “If we do this again, let’s remember to be focused about our topic.”
Elder Cheatum read a card out loud before sailing it into the waste basket in the corner. “Boxers or briefs?” “What does that even mean?”
“Ok, I’m gone, see you Wednesday night”, said the Elder as he left the office and headed back into the sanctuary where Reverend Handbasket was still blessing pilgrims.
“We’ve got a keeper there”, he thought as he left the parking lot headed to his next mission.
Wednesday morning breakfast placed the three friends in the corner booth of the IHOP in Blairsville with a perfect view from the window of the pouring rain. It was raining buckets, non-stop.
“Well I tell you one thing”, began Elder Diggum, “they’ve cast old Al Gore as a fool, but something funny is going on with our weather.” “Ella made me watch this movie, “An Inconvenient Truth“, and honest to God, I think they’re right.”
“Was this before or after Ella had you crochet the new doilies for the sofa?” asked Elder Wiley.
As Elder Diggum’s mouth was completely full of biscuits and ham, he did not respond. He looked to Elder Cheatum for help, but none was forthcoming.
Elder Cheatum was scanning the classifieds of the North Georgia Gazette. “It’s still there he said as he passed the paper to Elder Wiley. ” “I’m disappointed in the lack of focus shown by our congregation in our comment cards, but I guess I didn’t explain the situation well enough.”
“Heck, who could”, said Elder Wiley, “Our little church in the valley has blown up like a bag of potato chips in a microwave.” “The TV broadcasts are covering the mountains with our message like kudzu.” “Shoot, we’re even marching on Atlanta.”
“Easy with that ‘marching on Atlanta’ talk, Yankee”, replied Elder Cheatum said, “But you’re right, we’re even creating our own reality TV stars.” “Mulva tells me that she’s had folks stop her in the Walmart because they’ve seen her on the telecast.”
“Me too”, Elder Diggum as he placed the fork loaded with pancakes into his mouth. “We’re just on camera during the passing of the plate, but people have recognized me.”
“Well, you do have a rather distinctive shape”, Elder Wiley replied.
“Well, you’re Momma dresses you funny”, responded Elder Diggum as he cut into his steak with his knife. “Geez, this steak is so rare I think they could throw a band aid on it and turn it back to pasture and it’d be all right.”
Elder Diggum motioned for the waitress to come over so that he could give the sub-minimum wage worker an epicure’s definition of medium-well.
“What are you all looking at?” he asked before the waitress arrived.
“The Crystal Palace”, replied Elder Cheatum, “it looks like the Mormon’s are willing to rent it now, instead of us having to buy it.” “It might be a way we can test the waters of a bigger presence without breaking the bank to do it.”
Elder Diggum is so dumbstruck by the proposal that he is ignoring the waitress standing patiently beside him.
Elder Wiley responds for him, “He’d like you to knock the horns off of this steer and give it a few more minutes on the grill, if you please”, he said as he handed Elder Diggum’s plate to the young girl.
“The Crystal Palace”, sputtered Elder Diggum, “I heard it was haunted.”
“Haunted by the memories of unmet expectations, maybe”, Elder Cheatum said, “other than that, I can’t see the downside.” “I’ve got the lockbox code for the church and I was thinking we could all do a little field trip after breakfast.” “What say you?”
“I say more butts in the seats will translate into more tithes”, said Elder Wiley, “but more importantly, a move to the ‘Crystal Palace’ will up the exposure of The Full Gospel Original Church of God to a very prominent place in our region.”
Elder Wiley chuckled and added, “Let’s be honest, there would be some ‘soul satisfaction’ in having our little group of evangelicals make it in the spot where the Mormon’s had to cut bait.”
“And”, began Elder Cheatum, “It will also make the directions for the folks coming from Atlanta a lot easier to follow.” “I resolve we go have a look, are we resolved?”
“We are”, said Elder Diggum.
The three friends left the parking lot of their “International” dining experience for an equally foreign experience.