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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Guest Post: Firestorm Chapter 12 , by Christopher Young

People Problems

Sunday morning. The sun came up in the East, as it has done for the last year or two. Something comforting about that. No matter what the people of the world are doing to each other, the sun comes up in the East. Chris's battery powered alarm clock went off at 7 AM. He rolled over, and shut off the alarm signal. Put his glasses on, and looked around the room.

On the other side of Sam's living room, Gomer was also trying o tun off the alarm clock. However, there was no alarm clock near his bed roll. It was just force of old habit, he was responding to the noise of Chris's alarm clock.

Farther East, Heather was waking naturally, as the sun came streaming in the bedroom window. She gracefully slid her feet into her pink fuzzy slippers, and put on her bath robe. Walking down the hall, she knocked on the door of each of the kids bedrooms, to help get them started. Sunday was too important a day to miss by sleeping in.

Heather walked into the living room, and found Faith sitting up on the couch. Big surprise, she'd been laying down unconscious for the last day or two. "How you feeling?" Heather asked. Faith was barely able to focus her eyes on Heather, and then mumbled "What the heck happened". Faith's two daughters came down the hall about that moment, and were excited to see their Mom sitting up. They started to talk at the same time, and tell Mom all that had happened. The deer, the night in the mini van, the camp fire, Heather coming to get them. The phone call with Gomer, on her cell phone.

Faith didn't say much, just listened. Heather came over with the BP cuff, and stethoscope. Checked Faith's blood pressure and pulse. Both were much better than before. Heather told her that the family was going to church. She'd best to stay home, and get her strength back. They would be back shortly after noon. An then they would have lunch, after they got home. Are you hungry? Faith shook her head, no.

Heather went to the kitchen, where Melissa had already started mixing the pancake batter. Not much milk left, have to stop by the local dairy farm. Plenty of water, the drilled well never ran out. And there was plenty of fuel for the generator to run the well pump. There was a dug well and a pitcher pump for when that did happen.

After breakfast, Heather sent all five kids back to their bedrooms, to get dressed for church. Shawn looked disappointed. "You mean, clean clothes and shoes and all?" Heather nodded. Shawn burped, and tried to lick the pancake syrup off his nose. He twisted his eyes, cross eyed, so he could see what he was doing. Heather had to laugh, even though that wasn't Sunday behavior.

Seconds later, Melissa returned to the kitchen. She was wearing a bright yellow print dress, with pictures of flowers. And a correctly sized handbag, white gloves, and red high heels. For eight years old, she really knew how to dress for church. Faith's girls only had play clothes. But, that's ok, they were away from home. Zach and Shawn were much slower to return to the living room, they didn't enjoy church.

Heather said "Well, I guess Faith's girls can sit in the front seat with me. They have been through a lot." The other three kids were disappointed. Can't hardly see much from the back seat. But, they knew not to argue. Heather left a cold Pepsi on the end table for Faith, in case her appetite returned. And then locked the door as they left.

At Sam's place, much the same scene there. Sammy came out to breakfast in work clothes. Jeans, and T-shirt. Sam's daughter looked like she was going to a very expensive date. Gomer was wearing the same old BDU he'd worn the last couple days. The desert cammo pattern looked a bit out of place, rumpled and plenty of grease stains from working on the Model A. Chris hadn't brought a change of clothes. So, he looked like an appliance repairman, just like always. Brenda had a dress she hadn't worn in years. And sensible shoes, she'd be driving a stick shift car to church, after all. Sam looked a bit strange, wearing suit, tie, and crutches.

"Saddle up! We're riding out!" Sam hollered to no one in particular. said the same thing every Sunday. Five people would be a tight squeeze in a Model A. Gomer mumbled something, and Sam asked him to speak up. "Not going!" Gomer replied. He wasn't much interested in church. Sam told him in no uncertain terms that his soul needed saving like everyone else in the world. And to come along. God would watch the house. Gomer just wasn't much interested in church, and finally Sam looked at his watch. Rolled his eyes, and turned away.

With four people int he Model A, there was plenty of room for Bible cases, and Brenda's parasol, and all the other goods. Sam wore his pistol under his suit jacket. Bulged a bt, but he figured people would understand.

Chris asked for directions to the LDS meeting house, and headed off in the other direction in his Blazer. Left Sam sputtering. "Nice kid, we've got to do something for him. Poor lost soul." Brenda suggested to invite the pastor over to lunch, and let him do the job the church had been paying him to do. Gomer could use some preaching, too. Sam leaned over and kissed her. Such a smart wife, she was. And truly a gift from God.

In Tennessee, Martha was trying to convince the kids that they also needed to go to church. She didn't know what kind of religious education they had with Connie, but figured it wasn't much.

A couple minutes later, Chris pulled into the parking lot of the LDS church. About 100 people had arrived for services. The chapel was rather dark with no electricity. But there were windows, and plenty enough light for services. The microphone wasn't working, so the Bishop had to holler a bit to be heard in the back row. Greeted everyone at the services, and invited one of the High Priests to open with a word of prayer. They then sang an opening song, and the sermon began.

The LDs had a very brief sermon, and they passed the sacrament. Bread was getting hard to find, and they were near to out of cups for the sacrament water. But, there was enough to make do. The familiar pattern was reassuring to Chris. He recognized the familiar pattern of the church services, and that was comforting.

After church, no one wanted to leave. The water was on, and someone had set up a couple flash lights in the bathrooms. The women went to freshen up, and the guys went to take care of business. The folks stood around in the parking lot, and chatted. Chris got to meet many of the other people. Find out that typical of LDS / Mormon folks, many had some food and fuel stored at home. No one was in really hard times. And the folks who were having trouble were getting assistance from their home teachers, and visiting teachers.

Chris chatted with the other folks, for about half an hour. And then got in he Blazer, for the very short drive back to Sam's house. He met the two missionaries. Kids, 19 and 20 years old, who were serving from Salt Lake City, and from Idaho. He gave them Sam's address, and suggested they stop in for lunch. The kid missionaries had their bicycles, and five miles was possible. They said they would stop in today, as soon as they could get there.

"How about strap your bicycles to my luggage rack, I'll give you a ride there, you can bicycle back?" They accepted, and glad for the ride. They hadn't ridden in a car, in several days. At least since things got worse.

On the way back to Sam's house, Chris learned a bit about their missions. One of the Elders asked if Sam had a blessing for his broken leg? No, there wasn't a second Elder to help. Well, now there are three. Chris liked that idea. Maybe one for Gomer, also, as he was depressed.

Fortunately, it was a fairly short Sunday. Because the usual three hour church service, and they would have missed lunch at Sam's. The church Sam attended, did one hour service. Sam and Brenda arrived home. The two kids had chosen to stay in town. There were other teenagers at service. Sammy saw his girl frend, the gal he'd gone to high school with. So, Sammy decided to stay in town. Pastor Peter was kind enough to ride in the back seat. Give Sam more room to stretch out his broken leg. Pastor Peter did have several invitations for lunch. But figured that saving a Mormon's soul was the most important thing he could do with his day.

They got back to the house, and Pastor Peter opened his Bible on the dining room table, and began to read from it. Brenda excused herself to go to the kitchen and start lunch. Gomer turned up the volume on the video game he was playing, and tried to drown out the sound of the Bible teaching. Wrong thing to do, pastor Peter came from a long line of hollering fire and brimstone preachers. He just turned up his own volume a bit. After a while, the Bible teaching was echoing from the trees along side the house.

And, this was about the moment. Chris arrived, with the two Mormon elders. Really knows how to make an entrance, Chris does. Pastor Peter looked simply astounded. Well, now, he'd have three souls to save. Praise God! And, praise, he did. Even louder.

Finally, Brenda thought she could keep the lunch in the oven no longer. She quietly, without a word, brought out lunch from the kitchen, and sat it on the table in the dining room. Pastor Peter realized that everyone was hungry, and so he closed his sermon with a grand and quivering Amen.

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