Just Under the Surface
Author's note: When I was going to a Baptist church, I babysat for my Pastor and his wife... the children nor... Show full author's note »
Beautiful HorizonOpening our white front-door, I let my white sandal clop against the gray wood of our porch. The yellow and white under-cloth of my dress wrapped around my knees; the wind became jealous and joined into the billowy embrace. My mother’s chimes sounded their song as I walked by the pink and white swing. I hopped down the three steps with my usual grace and let my bible bounce against my hip in its brown case.
Today was a beautiful day… the light blue sky was splashed with clouds of cotton- candy, the trees whispered to one- another, birds sang to their young up in high and down in low nests. A butterfly played with my sun-bleached- brunette hair. What a wonderful day to be out.
Up ahead was the church, sitting like a shaded lemonade stand in the midst of a heat smothered water- park. Its baby- blue walls glittered in the sun’s rays, the parking lot an ants colony filing in. For such a small, quiet town, Faith’s Baptist was always filled to its high ceiling with fellow Christians.
“Sandra!” I heard in a soft, high pitched voice. Mrs. Nugshall waved from the other side of the street. Her smile stretching her lips to their fullest looked as if it would pull a muscle. But we all knew that wouldn’t happen: It wasn’t a secret that you could always count on Lynda Nugshall for a great and true smile on the grayest of days.
“Hello!” I smiled in earnest, “How are you doing this morning Lyn?”
“Well, I’m doing just fantastic! The grand-kids and I are heading down to lil’Kin Creek after the service; gonna have ourselves a nice little picnic- oohh I can’t wait! Can you imagine what the water will be like on such a fine day?”
I laughed, “Oh, what beauties it will hold in store for ya’ll. Just be careful of any little secrets it may be waiting to show; I heard that the waves have been pretty strong lately. And everything on this earth has a secret just under the surface that it doesn’t want seen.”
“Thanks for the tip deary.” Her smile grew even larger, “My, my, what a wise girl you are for 16 years.”
“Nah,” I grinned “I’m not wise, you just think I am.”
“And everyone else in this lil’ town who comes runnin’ to you with problems and advice needin’ “ She looked at me with that quizzical eye-brow.
I laughed a small chuckle and went off to enter the cool air-conditioned sanctuary. Along my way, I shook hands with our Pastor, Gerand Kenal, a few teenagers in my youth group, and many older people who wouldn’t let me get away without a soft, warm hug. I love the people here in our church; they’re warm, welcoming, and tender- hearted.
As the piano began its soft introduction, I made my way to the choir and picked up a white- bounded hymn book.
“Hey Miss. Beshell” Whispered a young women of thirty with reddish-brown hair, “Can I steal some of your time after the service this morning?”
“Of course Mrs. Kenal!” I wheezed back, a cough forming in my throat.
She smiled at me and went back to flipping through sheet music. I wonder what she would like to discuss… I do hope it’s not the absence of my Mama or Papa. Sometimes they miss church to go work in the fields around the town; there are some people who don’t approve of this… though they tend to keep it un-obvious.
The service was just as beautiful and breathtaking as the morning was. I could still feel the rhythm of the music flowing through my blood and the Preacher’s message dancing through my head as I walked down the porch steps to our Pastor’s wife, Helan Kenal. The day was still awestruck but I had to wonder… not everything can stay so perfect for long… when would the storm brew? But that was not the main matter at hand. Mrs. Kenal had spotted me and gave a wave that was accompanied with a wink.
“Gerand and I have to go out of town tomorrow, and I’m afraid to take the kids with us: We’re attending a formal dinner reception for Pastors, and I was wondering if you wouldn’t mind babysitting them for a few hours?” She looked at me questioningly.
I thought quietly to myself… I have babysat cousins before, and I have helped babysit for short intervals when my friend’s parents had to go out and their siblings got left behind. Plus, I work in the nursery when it’s my turn during church and occasionally help with Jr. Church… all the kids love me. I think it would be exciting to break away from the hassle for a little while and enjoy the presence of young children.
“Sure,” I said with a grin, “I’d love to.”
“Great! Thank-You so much sweetheart! I will drop them off about six tomorrow and be back around ten to pick them up. Just check with your parents and let me know if it’s okay.”
She walked away, her black high heels leaving little holes in the soft, grassy ground.
I smiled and half skipped the whole way home.
That night I was in such a buzz; I needed a nice break with something I loved, and Helan gave me that brake. I made my favorite meal: homemade meat-loaf, mashed potatoes, even homemade gravy. I went over the details with my parents while we sat down to dinner. I knew my father wouldn’t mind much, though he would pretend like it was a big deal. My mother would be the harder one to convince; she was so protective. But eventually, I got them both to agree. It was harder than I initially thought it would be, because both my parents happened to be going out of town also… I had forgotten that my mother had a class- reunion. But I reminded her that our neighbor, Mrs. Nugshall, lived only about five minutes from us in case of an emergency.