The parson was wasting a little time in the library of the seminary before heading home. He’d just come up from the stacks when Bill Harwell, a retired pastor who was supplying a rural congregation not far from where the parson served.
“Hello, Parson,” greeted Bill; “you still hanging around trying to finish that paper for Dr. Hollifield?”
The parson grinned at the memory of the paper he’d totally forgotten until the weekend before it was due on Monday. He had bluffed his way through the paper, but had received a lot of kidding from his friends, especially Bill, for forgetting it.
“Actually, Bill, I was downstairs researching an article I’m writing, and the deadline is two months away.”
“Well, I guess we do improve with age,” laughed Bill.
They both moved toward the exit to the library and paused on the front porch to catch up on the latest gossip. The conversation continued for a few minutes and then Bill asked:
“Did a woman named Janice Whittlemeir contact you a few months ago?”
“She did,” said the parson; “she’s been attending the church. I’m hoping she’ll join soon.”
“That would be a change,” said Bill. “She’s from the community where my church is. When she said she was moving to your area I suggested she check you out.”
“I appreciate that,” said the parson. “Actually, I’m baptizing her baby in a couple of weeks.”
Bill seemed taken aback. “She’s having her baby baptized?”
“Boy, I’m wondering how she’s going to answer the questions that are in the ritual. That woman has a really, well let’s just say, checkered past.”
“You think her checkered past would be a detriment to taking vows for her child at the baptism?”
“Well it sure opens things up for questions.”
The parson smiled. He grabbed Bill’s arm and pulled him down the steps and up a rise where he could look down at the village across the street.
The parson pointed, “Remember that place?” His finger was zeroed in on a pizza establishment where, in the parson’s younger days in the wild 60s, he and Bill and a couple of friends would often drink lunch that was served to them in pitchers served by waitresses wearing t-shirts, just t-shirts.”
Bill smiled and quietly responded, “Yeah, those were the days.”
“And when we knelt down at the altar for our ordination, Bill, there were a lot of folks who knew about our time across the street. I’m thinking they were probably murmuring to themselves, “Wonder how those guys are going to answer the questions.”Graphic by subscription with Clip Art [dot] Com