Charlie Brown, the parson's faithful canine companion, completed his walk around the outskirts of the the QuikTrip, America's best gas/convenience establishment. Having led the parson back to the car, Charlie Brown then jumped into the backseat, after allowing the parson to divest him of his leash and harness.
As was the custom, the parson then made his way inside where he purchased his daily allotment of cappuccino and then returned to the car where Charlie Brown waited. As was the normal procedure, the parson moved behind the driver's seat, fastened his seat belt, and, in union with the parson's placing the key in the ignition, Charlie Brown barked his “let's go” bark.
The parson responded. Charlie Brown settled down in the backseat and within minutes was asleep. The parson headed north on the interstate toward the exit that would take him back to his abode. For some reason he didn't exit as planned. He headed further north. Sometimes the parson does this in his old age. He just goes where the whim leads.
This day it lead him to an exit north of the usual one. The parson then headed east in search of no particular destination. A few miles from the interstate he turned left down a country road. That's when he saw it.
The building was covered in vines. Shrubs that once decorated it now grew in disarray, obscuring the features. It was a brick building. All the windows had long ago been broken, or possibly removed. And yet it called to the parson. He stopped and surveyed the structure out the car window. Noticing the about to fall over steeple over the roof, the parson gave in to the call of curiosity.
“Come on, Charlie,” he said as he opened his door. Upon opening the rear passenger door, Charlie Brown bounded out, stuck his nose in the air and inhaled deeply to ascertain whatever it is Charlie Brown seeks to ascertain whenever Charlie Brown sticks his nose in the air.
The parson headed toward the building covered in vines and branches. He climbed over the barbed wire fence that bordered the pasture in which the structure was standing. Charlie Brown elected to crawl under the bottom strand of barbed wire.
The parson made his way up to the entrance of what was once a church. He looked into the doorway. The sanctuary floor had fallen in. An oak tree was growing in the center aisle reaching toward the sun that flowed through the large hole in what was once the roof. The chancel was decorated with a preponderance of morning glory vines whose purple blooms seemed to whisper a once forgotten song of praise.
From where sermons had once been preached, the pulpit now leaned at an awkward angle to the left, having partially fallen through what was once the chancel floor but being saved from total disappearance by the exposed joist.
The parson stared into what once was a place of worship, of hymns, and prayers, and sermons, and hope for the future, and children, and baptisms, and ….
The parson pulled back from the door, knowing it was unsafe to enter what was left of the sanctuary. He looked around the front porch. There off to the side he noticed what might be a cornerstone. He walked down from the porch and headed toward the northeaster corner of the building. He pushed branches aside, clamped shrubs under his foot, and pulled the obstructions out of the way to behold the cornerstone. It read:
The parson stared at it a long while. Then he turned and headed back to his car. Halfway there he whistled. Charlie Brown came bounding across the pasture, slid under the lower strand of barbed wire and jumped into the car whereupon he immediately began lapping from his water container. The parson, in deference to his advanced age, gingerly climbed over the top strand of barbed wire. He slid behind the steering wheel, fastened his seat belt, cranked the car, and headed out.
“It's a good idea,” the parson said to Charlie Brown. “Maybe someday ….”