“Parson, Wanda Tibbets. How are you?”
“Wanda!” the parson exclaimed. “How are you is the question. And the second question is what prompted this call? The third question is where are you? The fourth is what’s been happening these last fifteen years?”
Wanda and the parson become friends way back in the last century when they were in college. The parson had introduced her to his roommate. Theirs was the first marriage the parson performed when he was appointed to his first church. For five years Wanda and the parson’s old roommate, Jim, had lived near the parson’s first church. While they only attended church irregularly, they and the parson’s wife had remained close. Every pastor needs someone outside the church to support him. Jim and Wanda were the parson’s.
Not long before the parson moved from this first church to the second, Jim and Wanda moved out west, where Jim had obtained a job in forest management. They kept in touch by phone and letter for years, but as time wore on the letters became more infrequent along with the phone calls. Finally, they were limited to important happenings in their various lives. And yet, the two couples remained close.
When the parson’s wife died, Wanda and Jim were there. When Jim died the parson was immediately by Wanda’s side. Following each death they kept in touch to support each other. The parson remarried. Wanda did not, but began to expand her horizons by pursuing the things that had interested her which she never before could afford. Jim had believed in life insurance.
“It has been a long time. I’ve been traveling a lot and doing some work with a charity. Gosh, it has been a long time hasn’t it? How are you?”
“The parson caught her up on the twists and turns his life had taken since their last meeting and his children and grandchildren, joys Wanda had experienced for herself. He then asked, “Where are you now?”
“Actually, I’m in Atlanta. I came here for some medical tests.”
“What kind of tests?”
“Well, there were a lot of them. The long and short of it is, it’s terminal, very terminal.”
“What hospital?” the parson asked. She told him. The parson responded, “I’ll be there in two hours.”
The ride to the hospital took forever. Unbelievably, he was too late.