Copyright 2006, Terry F. Phillips Sr.
All rights reserved
Chapter 24 – the morning of the big storm
Kelly noticed the sky looked threatening as he and Grace, with their three children, walked up the steps to the white frame church building.
Stormy days really bothered him.
“Reminds you of your parents, doesn’t it?’ Grace asked.
“It looked a lot like this when they died in that Palm Sunday storm,” he said and then squeezed his son’s shoulder, without realizing it.
The church made it through Sunday school. As Frank Zellers finished his lesson, members of the congregation looked at the windows. She could hear rain pelting the windows and the sky had turned an ugly green color.
“Kelly, don’t you think we should go right into communion so people can get home?”
Kelly felt sick and didn’t notice Frank’s approach.
Kelly nodded, made the announcement as some of the Sunday school members were still walking out the door.
The pianist took her bench and Kelly announced the communion hymn.
As the congregation sang, Kelly tried to close out the sounds of the storm that were now fairly howling outside the building. The wind was accentuated from time to time by the crash of thunder. Then the lights went out.
Fortunately, it was daylight enough to barely make out the words in the hymnal.
When Kelly next looked up, he was astounded to see the storm had passed.
It was sunny and bright, almost as if the storm hadn’t been real.
But his wonder at the weather was soon replaced by astonishment as people walked into the sanctuary. He thought they were strangers, but heard cries of recognition from the congregation. All had quit singing and most had dropped their hymnbooks or put them down on the pew.
There was hugging and crying as the congregation obviously knew each and every one of the people who had filed in, just as if they were coming to church on a typical Sunday.
Kelly’s own heart leaped as a high-school age boy grinned up at him.
“Hi, Kelly,” he said. “Meet my dog, Maverick!”
Kelly didn’t know what to do; whether to hug him in front of everyone or not. Finally, he gave in and rushed to him.
In a big bear hug, Kelly found himself saying, “Mark, Mark, Mark…”
“Don’t you have a hug for me, too?”
Kelly instantly recognized the voice as that of Betty, his friend who had departed so many years before.
But when he turned, he saw a young woman in the full flower of youth, rather than the elderly woman who had invited him home the morning after he spent the night in the church.
“Betty! Betty! Betty!”
He was too stunned to speak as questions about how and why ran through his mind.
“Why, Kelly, you act as if you haven’t seen me for years! You were just at my house last weekend!
“Mark, where is that watermelon and ice cream?” Betty asked. “I’m starving!”