Good morning, y’all. Orlando is still reeling, and it makes you wonder if the fates have decided that Mickey has had a good run, but now it’s over. Of course, the tragedies have given The Donald ample opportunities to show his ignorance on almost all topics. The Donald has criticized the President for caring more about Muslims than the people shot. I guess next The Donald will criticize the President for caring more about alligators than little children. The Donald’s ignorance, like his sens of decorum, knows no bounds. Taking a victory lap for his imaginary friends congratulating him for “being right about the Muslims”, is the lowest of the low. Sadly, I feel The Donald will find a way to sink lower.
Feeling low is a great starting point to continue our story of the Little Church in the Valley. Elder Cheatum walked into the Rectory that fifth day of Summer Revival 2010 feeling like he’d dodged a bullet. As he took a cup of coffee and sat down at his place at the table, all eyes turned upon him with a collective look of, “well?”
“I guess you all are waiting to hear about my visit with Hugh Morris”, he said as he sipped his coffee. “It went much better than expected.” “Hugh is going to be all right, and really doesn’t remember that much.” “Now, we don’t know if he might have some trace memory of something in the future, but right now he just thinks the batteries died on his pacemaker.” “The batteries died, but they ‘didn’t die a natural death’, I guess you might say.”
There was a collective sigh of relief from the committee sitting a round the table. Reverend Daniel looked at Elder Cheatum and said with a smile, “You ain’t nearly done yet, son.” “What’s going on with our ‘star’?”
“I don’t know, what’s he done today?” Elder Cheatum said as he leaned in closer to the table. “Hap looked like he’d been rode hard and put up wet last night when I talked to him after the show.” “It’s too early for him to have gotten in to too much trouble.”
“Oh, nothing today”, Reverend Daniel said, “we just hadn’t heard from you last night, it being late on all.”
“Well, we’re definitely going to have to deal with him for sure.” “He’s got about as angry a rash covering his body as you’ve ever seen.” “It was right clever of him to dress up formal so he could wear gloves to hide his rash, but, what’s he going to do tonight?”
Elder Cheatum turned to his business partner, Elder Diggum, and said, “He had about half an inch of pancake makeup on, covering from his neck into his hairline.” “It reminded me of that old boy that we did that was in the motorcycle accident.” “You remember, he had that road rash all down one side of his face.” “I mean it was just like applying makeup with a putty knife, one of the big ones.”
Elder Diggum shook his head in agreement, “Yep, I remember that old boy, it was a good thing we had that picture to work from.”
“Y’all can talk shop later”, interrupted Reverend Daniel, “we need to know what we’re going to do for the next two nights to keep this thing going.” “We’ve at least got to see Reverend Rhoades on the big stage before trying to make a decision.” “Maybe we can scramble a bit for Saturday, but we need to give Reverend Rhoades a shot.” “I’d like to compare apples to apples, if possible.”
“I agree”, said Elder Cheatum, “I just don’t know how Hap’s going to come back out.” “Let me think on it for a minute.” “Sister Mulva, give us some good news, we’ve had far too much of the other kind already.”
Mulva Lite raised her head up and beamed with the excitement of being able to contribute to the meeting. Passing the plate had resulted in donations of six thousand, four hundred and fifty dollars for night number four. Mulva reminded everyone that collections and concessions generally tapered a bit in the middle of the Revival. Statistically, Tent number three had pulled in a higher share than their audience would indicate.
Elder Cheatum interrupted at this point to ask rhetorically, “Reverend Bread has been in Tent number three the last two nights, right?”
Mulva checked her paperwork and confirmed that the last two nights, Reverend Bread had been in Tent number three, and that both nights, Tent number three had pulled a higher portion of revenue than the numbers in the tent would be expected to contribute.
“Thanks, I didn’t mean to interrupt, I just wanted to confirm my recollections.” said Elder Cheatum.
Mulva forged ahead. The church’s share of the collection, after paying the ministers, was thirty six hundred dollars. Still very respectable. Mulva then reported that concessions had gone over eleven thousand dollars for the night, another record. Projected profits from concessions were eight thousand eight hundred sixty one dollars. Mulva read the report like she had made each sale herself, she was that proud of the Ladies Auxillary and all of the volunteers. “I’d like to single one person out for special attention, if I may.” Mulva said as she laid her papers back down on the kitchen table. “The new T-shirt painter, Lavonia, has just worked her heart out.” “I think everybody under twenty had something painted on their face last night.” “How smart was it to print “John 3:16″ instead of trying to paint the whole verse on somebody’s cheek?” “That’s right smart.” “It makes everybody more aware of their Bible verses, and I think she said she did over a hundred cheeks last night.” “We need to find a way to get her more involved, she’s a ‘doer’.”
“Thank you, Mulva, we’ll see what we can do for the painter.” said Elder Cheatum, “before we go to lunch, there’s one more item we need to discuss, and we should do it before lunch.”
The Elder proceeded to tell the committee about the run in with the “Happy Johnny” employee and his feelings on what the resolution should be. Elder Cheatum suggested that Reverend Daniel call the owner of “Happy Johnny” and hammer him on religious intolerance until “Happy Johnny” felt obliged to donate the rest of their services for this Revival. If Reverend Daniel could bring it home by getting free service for the next Revival, well, so much the better.
Reverend Daniel agreed and the group reconvened around the picnic tables for the lunch provided by the Ladies Auxillary. Today’s lunch was country fried steak, mashed potatoes and gravy and green beans with fatback. As the assorted Ministers, entourages, and staff members took their places, Elder Cheatum looked for the Right Reverend Hap T. Johnstone. Hap was not to be found, but his assistant was sitting across from Reverend Bread. Elder Cheatum would let Ms. Leer eat her lunch before pursuing the “what’s new with Hap?” game.
As he listened to Reverend Daniel deliver the blessing, the Elder reflected on how easy it had been to just wait for a Hawker to retire to pass the mantle to the next generation. It was clear “they weren’t in Kansas” anymore, and there were going to be some big changes with the little church.