Thursday, December 18, 2014

Arlissa - Her Story - Day 154

Reverend Willetts opened his Bible to Psalm 36 and read aloud.

"To the Choirmaster. Of David, the servant of the LORD. Transgression speaks to the wicked deep in his heart; there is no fear of God before his eyes. For he flatters himself in his own eyes that his iniquity cannot be found out and hated. The words of his mouth are trouble and deceit; he has ceased to act wisely and do good."

He began to speak then what he had prepared to preach.

"Continuing in our study of the Psalms of David, I have chosen the scripture for today's reading with the guidance of the Holy Spirit. I know that our church and all churches are in a constant war with gossip and the other sins of mankind.

You may ask, 'Preacher, what's the problem with a little harmless gossip? We don't mean nothing by it.' 

The problem is, they are idle words, that though spoken in jest, can be carried to others and misquoted, changing meaning, and become outright lies. Gossip is never harmless. Once a word is spoken, it cannot be called back into nonexistence. 

Take for instance, the arrow which leaves the bow, when it reaches its target, it pierces whatever it hits. It cannot be unshot, once it leaves. So are words. 

You've heard the expression, 'I could've eaten my words when I heard ...'. Well, we should remember that, before we speak the words that will hurt anyone, either intentionally or unintentionally.

As for the statement of David that we believe our iniquities will be safe and never be discovered...we deceive ourselves when we believe this.

In Numbers 32:23, Moses tells his people that if they do not follow the Lord faithfully, which they stubbornly were refusing to do, but pretending to obey, to be sure their sins would be revealed. 

In Romans 2:16, Paul tells us that our sins may not be revealed in this lifetime. For instance, the person who is a thief may not be discovered; the adulterer may keep it secret all his life, but God knows what they are, and what they do. 

He then goes on to say that all sins will be revealed by Christ  on the Day of Judgment. 

I pray that our congregation will take to heart what our Lord tells us about speaking ill of our neighbors, carrying gossip and harming lives. Remember that when we speak ill of others, we often take what is not ours to take. 

We need to always do good. When we take someone's reputation, we are robbing them. 

Taking what we do not own is thievery. We know that taking anything that is not ours is wrong. 

If any of you is guilty of any of these things, you need to repent and ask God's forgiveness and that also of the person you have wronged. Living with guilt can destroy peace of mind. Let us pray." 

The pastor then led the congregation in prayer, after which the young man who led the music got up and announced the hymn, "Have Thine Own Way, Lord". 

The congregation stood to their feet and sang. 

The ladies of the volunteer group had been nudging one another about the pastor's sermon and how it could have been directed at Hetty, forgetting they could have been included in the guilty parties in the pastor's sermon.

How about Hetty? Had she been listening, really hearing what the pastor preached about? 

And Alberto Donelli, what about his hearing and reception of the message?

These among the others, none of them being perfect, were all included in the needing to hear his words.

(To be continued)


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Arlissa - Her Story - Day 153

"Why don't we eat right now, since Sarah has it all ready for us?" Woodrow Bradshaw asked.

"Oh, yes, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to delay us. I have a kind of a date to church today, Sheriff." 

"Really? Well, that's no great surprise, a girl as pretty as you should have somebody to take them everywhere they wanted to go." 

Sarah was seated then, after pouring coffee for the three of them, and the Sheriff asked the blessing on their meal. 

Once they had begun to eat, Arlissa asked, "What ever happened to Savannah O'Hanlon, Sheriff?"

"Oh, I don't know, Arlissa. She went off somewhere and nobody has seen her for several years, I reckon. At least, not as far as I know."

"Do you suppose Mrs. Hinton would know? Wasn't she married first to Savannah's brother?"

"Well, yeah, I suppose you could ask her, but I'm not thinking that right now with the custody of the boy up in the air would be a good time for it. She's got a lot on her plate these days."


Later that morning, after Bobby Joe had stopped by, taking Arlissa with him, they walked into the little Hickston Methodist Church, and all heads turned in their direction. Eyebrows lifted, and the buzz began. It was just a little murmur, but anyone could see they had caused quite a stir.

Hands were placed beside mouths and heads tilted toward each other. One could almost imagine what they were saying.

"Who is that walking in with that Hinton girl?"

"He's that new state trooper that's been buzzin' around on the county roads, givin' out tickets like they was confetti, 'er some such thing. I'll have you know, I jist tore them up like they was a losin' lottery ticket! Hmphh!"

"Oh, him! Yeah, Mz. Hetty got one the other day. I heard her complainin' to her friends about it. Right funny, it was!"

Across the room, the volunteer group who had been working at the farm were making their own observations. 

"Look at that! Is that the handsome young man who rides around on that motorcycle?" Myrtle Johnson whispered to her husband, Wilbur, who looked as though he would rather be napping in his office, and no doubt would be napping before the pastor finished his sermon. 

"Hmmm? What? Oh! Oh, yeah, I guess." 

Mz. Hetty was sitting in her pew, deep in thought about that box out on the farm, when Jan Hankins nudged her. 

"What? What?" 

"Look who just walked in. That good looking cop that gave you those speeding tickets did. Look who he's got with him."

Hetty slowly looked up and her eyes opened wide when she saw the two young people come in and sit down in the pew in front of them.

The O'Hanlon, Hinton family group had already entered and were sitting across the aisle from Hetty and her friends.
No one observed the young man who came in last and sat in the very back pew.

Slowly the buzzing came to a stop and the pastor got up to pray. The meeting had begun.

(To be continued)

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Arlissa - Her Story - Day 152

Sunday morning dawned bright and clear. Arlissa stretched and yawned, thinking about what the day might hold for her. This was the first time she would have been escorted to church by a fella. Oh, she'd been in youth group with others on Sunday evenings, but never had been on a regular church date, where somebody had come by to take her. 

She jumped out of bed and ran to the closet where her few borrowed clothes were hanging. She picked out the pale blue one, with the ruffles just above the hem. They just seemed to float around her knees when she had the dress on. It made her feel like a princess. 

Putting on the borrowed housecoat, she went into the kitchen/dining area, where Sarah was making breakfast for the three of them. 

"Good morning, sir! How is Mrs. Bradshaw this morning?"

"Oh, she's not doing any better, but no worse, either. Would you like to go in and visit with her for a few minutes before we eat?"

"Yes, yes, I would! I'll be back in a bit."

Arlissa went into the bedroom where the frail little old lady lay in the semi-dark. She approached the bed gently and spoke.

"Good morning, Mrs. Bradshaw!"

"Savannah! You've come to visit me! Sit down and let me see you! How are you? Have you come back to live here? Why did you go away?"

"I'm not...Uh...I'm sorry! I should have come back sooner, I know. But I promise not to stay away so long again. Will you forgive me?" 

Arlissa had decided to go along with the idea, because she was afraid she'd upset the old lady.

"Do you remember when we were children and we would sneak into the apple orchard near the springhouse and swipe old Franklin's apples?"

Apparently the old woman was harking back to childhood days, and Arlissa laughed pleasantly with her, as the old lady chuckled. 

"That was fun, wasn't it? Listen, I have to go now, but it has been good visiting with you. I'll come again, okay?"

Leaning over, she kissed the old lady on the soft, wrinkled cheek and patted  her hand.

Arlissa wiped a tear from her own cheek as she left the room quietly.

When she reentered the dining area, she told the Sheriff and Sarah what she had done.

"She thinks I'm someone named Savannah, so I just played along with her."

"Yes, she and Savannah grew up together, then they lost touch with one another.

"Who is Savannah, anyway?"

"She was an aunt to Rosie O'Hanlon, Arlissa," replied Sarah.

The sheriff looked at Sarah quickly.

(To be continued) 

Monday, December 15, 2014

Arlissa - Her Story - Day 151

The ladies saw Hetty sitting on the bed, fanning herself furiously. 

"Why, what's the matter, Hetty? Did you get overheated doin' all that painting? Bless your heart, honey. You look a little flustered! Listen, it's about time to go home. Why don't we get all this mess cleaned up so we can finish on Monday? We oughta be able to get it done in one more day, with some of the fellas to help us." 

Mrytle patted Hetty on the shoulders as she spoke to her.

The other ladies smiled and nodded their assent to Myrtle's plan. By this time, Hetty had regained her regal calm, and stood. 

"Say," Carla suggested, "Why don't I just drive us all back in Hetty's car, since she still looks a little peaked around the gills, and drop you all off, then I can just walk from my house up the street from hers, or I'll get one of Jack's workers to come pick me up."

"Nonsense, I feel perfectly fine to drive back. It is my car after all!" 

"If you're sure," replied Myrtle, hesitantly. "You are gettin' up in years, after all. You bein' the oldest in the group."

Hetty reared back and looked at her with contempt and surprise. 

"Myrtle Johnson! How can you look me in the eyes and say such a thing! Everybody knows you have me beat by a full two and a half years! No wonder your Wilbur flirts with everything in a skirt!"

Carla stepped in then, and said, "Ladies! Ladies! This is not the time or place to get into such a discussion! Remember, we are on a Mission of Mercy here! And we are all friends, are we not?"

Jan stood by and watched these ladies, and wondered how she had ever got involved with them. She had at first thought them to be so refined, but the longer she knew them, the more disillusioned she became. They were just like a lot of women she had known when she was growing up in a town in another state. 

'They must park their religion inside the church when they leave for home at Sunday noon,' she supposed to herself.

Within a few minutes, everyone had washed the paint utensils, and gathered their belongings, and were on their way home, with Hetty driving her big car, of course. 

"Now, not a word to the Hinton girl! I want this all to be a big, pleasant surprise for them," Hetty remarked as they neared home.

"Of course, Hetty!" they all chorused to her.

"See you at church in the morning, girls!" She said to them each, as she dropped them off at their homes.

Then she told herself she would just take a short trip back out there some time tomorrow when no one was there.

(To be continued)  

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Arlissa - Her Story - Day 150

The ladies worked all afternoon in the farmhouse, painting the walls; after finishing Granny's walls, Myrtle decided to put the box in her own oversized pocketbook and take it to Arlissa later on, and thus get it out of the way of Hetty's grasp.

From Granny's room, they moved on into the living room. They sat down about ten minutes to rest and have a glass of cold iced tea. 

"I'm sure glad you thought to bring that tea from the diner, Jan!" Carla remarked to the banker's wife. 

"Whew! Yeah! That painting is hard work! I'd rather work in the garden anytime!" spoke up Betty Crowe, Harvey's wife.

"I sure hope the girl and her grandma like the paint you picked out, Carla!" Hetty remarked.

"Ah, yeah, I'm sure they will! They don't seem to be too hard to please, anyway!"

"Well, they won't have much room to complain, since we are doing it for them!" replied the sometimes uncharitable Hetty.

Carla Sanderson, whose husband operated the coal mines, turned to Hetty.

"Sometimes, Hetty, you're just plain mean! Shame on you! What's got your back up, anyways?"

Myrtle looked over at the others and gave a little smirk. They all knew what was bothering Hetty, but didn't let on. Carla was just turning the knife, so to speak. She could do it, because the mines supplied the town with most of its economy. Nobody dared to cross the Sandersons.

"Never mind! Listen, ladies, it's time to get back to work, ain't it?" Hetty stood up and picked up the roller she was using to paint with. "We gotta rinse these pans and rollers, and change colors."

"Whew! I'm gonna have pains in parts of my body I'd forgot I had tonight when I go to bed!" griped Betty.

"How about I go see how the paint is looking in Granny's room?" Hetty asked about an hour later.

"Sure," Myrtle replied, "That sounds like a good idea!"

Hetty smiled and headed for what she thought was going to be fun, but when she got there, the box was gone. She blanched as she felt the blood draining from her face. 

Where was it? What had happened to the box? She was sure she had put it into the top drawer of the dresser! 

'Maybe I put it in the second drawer down!' she thought.

Quietly, but frantically, she began pulling out the rest of the drawers. 

Gone! It was gone! She ran over to the closet and pulled open the door. Not there, either!

She sat down on the bed, heart pumping furiously. 

"I know one of them must have hidden it! They guessed that I was interested in it and now I don't know where it is! But, I'll come back out here, and I'll find it! I can take it for myself and the Hintons will just think that Douglas boy stole it. Yeah!"

Just then, the other women came into the room to look at the walls and to see how Hetty was reacting to the loss of the box. 

(To be continued) 

Friday, December 12, 2014

Arlissa - Her Story - Day 149

Donelli left Lawyer Johnson's office feeling quite satisfied. With the information that he had given the shyster, he knew he could claim custody of his son and once again have control of the boy, raising him in the way it was necessary for the boy to one day take over the family business. Besides, nobody else was going to have what was rightfully his.

The next thing was to gain possession of the other thing that the woman who had borne his son had stolen away from him. Roberto Donelli was going to find it, if it was the last thing he did! He knew the key to locating it was that Hinton woman. He decided to win her over. She was so naive, it should be as easy as pie. He had certainly fooled Rosie! These country hicks were so dumb, they would believe anything he told them! Rubbing his hands together, he chuckled to himself.

Thinking back, he remembered the first time he saw Rose O'Hanlon. He was standing around on the street corner, waiting for an associate, when he saw her walking along, looking lost. Struck at once by her youth and beauty, he bumped into her, as if by accident. From then on, she was easy to win over.

It wasn't long before she became like putty in his skillful hands. She was new to the city, had no place to stay. He was very respectful to her in the beginning, until she fell for him. She met his family who accepted her after awhile because she was his.

Smiling, he remembered when she realized they were going to become parents. He had been so happy and excited. At first, she had been happy, too,  She had become like a fishwife when he began paying innocent attention to a neighborhood girl who came in to help out Rosie. That was when he blew up and began to slap Rosie around a little. She shouldn't have acted that way. After all, Rosie was his, wasn't she? He gave her everything she wanted! She should have appreciated him more, then he wouldn't have had to punish her.

Then, after Benito had been born, Alberto had been over the moon, showing his boy to family and friends. Rosie had changed, was never home... she loved the boy, but, somehow. seemed to be jealous of Alberto's attention to him.

Then came the drugs...

(To be gontinued)

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Arlissa - Her Story - Day 148

As Arlissa entered Granny's room, Bobby Joe stood up and shook Granny's hand, then turned to face Arlissa. 

"Miss Arlissa, would you do me the honor of letting me escort you to church in the morning? It would sure be pleasing to me, and I do have your Grandmother's approval, if you wish to go with me."

Arlissa was somewhat taken aback by this request out of the blue from the young trooper, but she smiled and said, "Maybe."

"What time does your church take up?"

"It begins at eleven; if you're sure you want to."

"Yes. I feel like you and me got off on the wrong foot when I chased you down to give you a warning about going too fast. I'd like to make it up to you, if you'll give me a chance."

"Well, you did rescue me from out in the wilds of the county and I'm grateful for that."

"What time would you like me to pick you up tomorrow?"

"About ten forty-five, or so, I guess. You know that I'm staying with the Sheriff, right?"

"Sure, I know that. Do you need a ride back there this afternoon?"

"I'm pretty sure that Sheriff Bradshaw's deputy is pickin' me up later today, but thanks anyway."

"Hmmm. Sheriff's deputy, eh? Is he that man I saw you with at the funeral home?"

"Well, yes, why?"

" reason, just asking."

Granny was lying there, watching the interchange between the two young people and smiling. She figured a little competition might be a good thing, so she wrote on her slate and got their attention by clearing her throat.

"Newman boy good looking?"

"Now, Granny, you know what he looks like! He's been in here to see you, you know."

Bobby looked a bit uncomfortable, but continued smiling. He figured he could beat out any deputy for her affections. He hadn't turned on his full charm for her yet.

"Well, I guess I'll be going, Ms. Hinton. I'll be seeing you soon. Arlissa, I'll see you in the morning." 

He nodded to them both and left.

Granny lay back satisfied. If she died any time soon, she wanted to see her granddaughter settled and happy. 

Just then, the nurse came in to check her vitals and to let them know that supper trays were on their way up.

After the nurse left, Arlissa turned to her grandmother and asked what she had been talking to Bobby Joe about.

"My business" was what Granny wrote on the slate, smiling.

That was all Arlissa could get from her. 

(To be continued)