Idioms...sayings understood by native speakers part thirty
"Come on, let's call it a night." Rick got up and helped Lynn off the stoop. He held the door open for her. Then as he proceeded to put the beer bottle in the recycle bin, he noticed Carl asleep in Jenny's lap who was nodding off. He cleared his throat loudly and Jenny sprung up, dumping Carl off the couch.
"Time for bed." He stated with a wicked grin, heading to the bathroom.
Carl rubbed his head that had contacted the floor. "Jenny, couldn't you think of a better way to wake me up."
"Um, er, Not really." she fled to the bedroom following Lynn.
Once again, the two men lay quietly listening as the gentle breathing of Charlie was the only sound to be heard...until...
"Lynn, are you okay?"
"What seems the matter?"
"It is too comfortable."
"I don't know... it feels too comfortable. I feel like I don't know... like Rick is family."
"So? Isn't that a good thing?"
"But, I always thought love was like a lightning bolt."
"Ah, I see." Jenny smiled to herself in the dark, contemplating her naive friend.
"What is love to you, Jenny?"
"Humm, now that is a question... If I had an answer, I bet I could retire."
"Jenny, I am being serious. Stop deflecting with that wit of yours."
"I think," she paused, " love is when the other person becomes more important than yourself."
"Wow. All I have been doing is taking this whole weekend. I haven't given anything."
"Lynn, sometimes I wonder at that intellect of yours." Jenny stated crytically.
"How do you mean?'
"I think that is why I like you so much. If Edison had depended on your light bulb, he would have given up."
"What?" Lynn sounded cross. "Could you just spell it out?"
"Don't want to."
"ooooohhhh, Jennifer Lundstrom sometimes you make me soooo mad."
"Good." Jenny paused. "I am supposed to be irritating, isn't that what big sisters are for?"
"Ha, only by a month. How dare you pull rank on me."
She giggled again.
Lynn sighed. "How is it going with your guy? Any lightning bolts?"
Jenny laughed, "Ah, we had some sparks tonight, maybe even some thunder, but, no bolts."
"What is that supposed to mean?"
"It means I am dead tired and don't forget about the play tomorrow."
"OOOH... I forgot about that."
"The kids are ready. We practiced for four nights this week so... "
"So we are in the sanctuary tomorrow." Lynn spoke in a worried tone.
"Yup, and no help for it. Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead."
"Shuush, Jenny. Let's not tempt fate here. We are gonna need all the help we can get."
"You got that right." she yawned. "Goodnight, lil' sis."
"Goodnight, big sis." returning the yawn.
The two men listened in.
Rick said, "Lightening bolts?"
Carl said, "Thunder?"
They both looked at each other absolutely confused.
"Must be..." Rick paused, not wanting to say it...
"A girl thing" Carl finished. "Night cuz."
They arrived at St. Joe's thirty minutes ahead of schedule. Charlie, in his new suit, pulled at his tie as he got out ot the car. He whispered, "Li LI, it hurts."
Rick overheard. He smiled. "Come here, Charlie. That tie really hurts?"
"I can't breathe."
"Here." Rick took off his clip on. "Hold this." Then he removed the tie from around Charlie's neck. "I am sorry. I should have thought about this when I got it for you." As he clipped the tie to the front of the shirt. "Is that better?"
"But what about Wick's thingy?"
Rick laughed. "Church is only an hour or so, I can handle it." As he pulled up his collar and draped the tie under his collar, then, pulled it to tighten the knot. "But, Charlie, you are right, It feels like a noose." As he smoothed his collar done, he grinned at Charlie.
"Never mind, buddy. Shall we go?"
"Um, you guys go ahead. We have to meet in the classroom and then will come in after we are introduced."
Rick watched Lynn head towards the church. She looked so pretty in that dress, he could not keep his eyes off of her.
Carl, too watched as Jenny gingerly walked away in a navy blue, short sleeved shirt dress, wondering why something so simple could look so glamourous.
As the men found their way inside, the two were greeted by an elderly couple.
An elegantly dressed woman grabbed hold of Rick's hand. "Ah it is you two. You helped with the Easter egg hunt last Sunday." She plucked at the sleeve of an impeccably dressed man who was beside her, not paying attention. "Judge, come meet these two." The man turned and gave the men a huge smile, upon recognizing them.
"I am so glad you came. My Timmy hasn't stopped talking about the Easter Bunny men."
Carl asked, "Easter Bunny men?"
"Yes. Lynn had the children watch as you two hid the eggs and told them the Easter Bunny was so busy that he had his two special helpers come and hide the eggs."
Rick smiled broader and nodded, thinking, now I know how they figured out we were finished.
"Here. Take a program, and try to sit up front. It is going to be a fun service." As the woman turned to greet someone else.
"Rick, I think you have gotten a promotion."
"Last Sunday, you were Skunkman. Today, you are Easter Bunny man." Carl chuckled as he sat down behind the pews with ribbons on them.
"You know, Carl, I would quit while I was ahead if I were you. After all, you are an Easter Bunny man, too." He whispered.
People filed in. The church looked packed.
The minister stood and said. "God be with you."
The congregation stood and said, "And may He be with you."
"Please be seated. Today, we have a special program from our Loving Lambs class. They will be presenting a play that will convey my message for today."
The back door of the church opened and about thirty children (All ages and sizes) entered into the sanctuary, they walked together and in line, wearing white sheets. As they came up to the staging area they turned, albeit some left, some right. Their eyes searched... some waved to parents, some just waved to everyone. One elbowed another and said, "There's my mommy."
Lynn headed up to the pulpit and cleared her throat. Charlie immediately got to the elbowing kid, and whispered something in his ear. He stopped and grinned.
"We, the Loving Lambs, are going to portray a parable for you today. As you know, a parable is a story that uses common place things to give a deeper meaning. Jesus used this to teach the masses of his day... a mustard seed, a pearl of great price, the Good Samaritan, the prodigal son... to name a few, and today, we submit for your approval, the parable of the difference between heaven and hell."
Jenny came forward and scattered the Children in two lines perpendicular to the pulpit area. Each were given long rubber covered spoons.
"Please picture in your mind's eye, A table filled with all good things to eat. Nothing is left out... fruit galore, meat of all kinds, breads of all shapes, dishes of vegetables all spread out before you. You are given a spoon. You are informed that you can only eat with this spoon, and your other arm is tied behind your back."
The children dipped their spoons into the imaginary banquet, and try as they might, they could not reach their mouths. Some started to cry. Others whimpered. And a few groaned. Charlie doubled over and wailed, "I am soooooo hungry."
"As you can see, no one could eat. They live in a state of continuous starvation. This is our definition of hell."
The lights of the sanctuary went out.
Lynn spoke again, "Now the same banquet. The same rules. The same spoons."
The lights came on, and the children dipped their spoons again, but used the long spoons to feed the one across from them. They smiled, they rubbed their tummies to show how good it was, They laughed and giggled. Charlie rolled over and said, "I am soooo full."
"In heaven, the people were happy, because, they fed each other."
Jenny motioned for the children to rise, lined them up facing the crowd.
"And thus concludes our play."
Applause rung out as the parents stood up, clapping loudly. A couple of wolf whistles were heard. Jenny and Lynn stood on either side of the queues, and bowed. The children smiling from ear to ear did the same. Then Jenny signaled them into the pews.
The minister came up and smiled. "Miss Jenny Lundstrom and Miss Lynn Johnson, the teachers of our Loving Lambs class." He applauded along with everyone. As the applause died down, he smiled, ";A famous actor once said, one should never follow animal or children's acts, because he could never top them."
"But when I heard of this parable, I, too, learned. It is said that a family that relies on God shall never fall, even in bad times. We are not perfect, none of us are, but we serve a perfect Saviour. So, as Jesus faced the adulterous woman, when the crowd asked him to sentence her to death, he stated, Let him who is without sin, cast the first stone."
Jenny suddenly felt uncomfortable. She thought to herself, this wasn't what the minister had planned to tell the congregation. She had never seen him so angry, save the day she confessed to him, some seven years ago, when she and Lynn had come up with the idea of this class, and then his anger was towards her stepfather, not her. She swallowed hard.
"Gossip, it can be like a stone. I hope we all remember that we are a family here. We accept each other as imperfect beings. That our transgressions are forgiven by God, and are not for us to judge or talk about." He pointed a finger at the congregation.
"Remember, when you point a finger, four are pointing back at you. Remember, if you cannot say anything good about someone, do not speak at all. Remember, in heaven, we feed each other because of our love for each other and that our sustenance is spiritual food." He held up a piece of paper. "So, anyone who reads this and repeats it, will have me to deal with." He paused. "We will pass the offering plate now. I do not want a single offering in the plate save for these papers. Do we understand each other?"
A man stood up. "But Minister, if this is true...?"
"George, if you say one more word, you will have my resignation on your desk in about two minutes."
The man backed down.
"This is malicious in nature. It is the devil's work and is devoid of any facts... just innuendo."
Jenny couldn't breath. Carl reached up and placed both hands on her shoulders, she was trembling. He whispered, "Don't bolt. Stay in your seat."
Jenny watched the plate pass and get filled with papers.
Rick noticed something stuck to the back of his program.
He read it. "There is a murderer among you. She had an abortion... and is teaching your children." He ripped it off and tore it to shreds.
Carl looked down at the sound. Rick asked, "Where is your program?"
"Here, why?" he whispered.
Rick held it so he could read it. He went red in the face.
"Carl, if you never do anything I say again, you will not move or say a word, right now."
As the plate was passed, the papers filled it to the brim.
As it got taken to the front the minister accepted it. He placed anointing oil on the paper.
" I will not be apart of this malice." And then removed one of the sanctuary candles and lit it. Watching it burn, he said, "It is said that the devil only bothers those he fears." as the fire died down and the papers were consumed. He covered the plate with another to extinguish the flames. He smiled at his congregation, "I guess we must be doing something right." He paused, looking out amongst his sheep... he loved them dearly but knew some would fail him and so, he played his last trump.
"Now we will proceed with the holy sacrament. If you believe in the lies on this paper, then you had better not partake. For this is a covenant between you and the Lord, to remember him and obey his commandments. If you cannot do this, I beg you, leave now."
As planned the Loving Lambs class walked up to the altar first. The pastor took a deep breath and said a prayer to himself to make sure he spent exactly the same amount of time with each of his parishioners. He made eye contact and gave each one an encouraging smile. As he got to Jenny who had paled beyond pale, he bit his tongue and kept up the ritual, As he made eye contact he saw her eyes filled with fear and guilt. "Fear not, for God is with you."came out of his mouth instead of the sacrament. The Class then filed out of the sanctuary to their room to await for pickup.
Carl and Rick came up to the next line. They accepted the sacrament and then headed out of the sanctuary to wait at the car.
Carl hit the tire with his foot.
"Calm down and tell me what is going on." Rick said, hitting the open lock button on his car and climbing in.
"I can't, not here." Carl managed to get out.
"Fine, give me your cell." Carl handed it over to him without question. "Jenny, it's me, Rick. We are so proud of the kids, that we are going to give them a special treat. Can you give us about twenty minutes?" he paused, hearing pain in her voice as she just said, "Fine, sure. No problem." in a dull tone.
He buckled and hit his GPS, the closest McDonald's and their phone number. He called as he headed following the directions.
"Hi, I need thirty happy meals to go. Um, make them all chicken nuggets with the fruit, not the fries. Don't care how much extra, but you have about ten minutes to fill that order. Can you do it? Let me talk to your manager,"Rick repeated his order.
"Can do."stated the manager.
Rick hung up and handed the phone back. "Now spill the beans."
Carl looked out the window. "I should have protected her."
"Carl, if you don't tell me the facts, I cannot help with the fall out, now, TELL ME!!!!"
"Jenny grew up on the poor side of the tracks."
"So, I could tell that. She is street smart. So what?"
"Her stepfather raped her when she was twelve and she got pregnant, then he beat her and she lost the baby. There was so much bleeding that her mother had to take her to the hospital. CPS got involved and she was placed in a foster home as a runaway, to keep the truth hidden."
"Why hide the truth?"
"Because, her stepfather was somehow connected."
"What was her stepfather's name?"
"All I know is that he went by Wilson... I don't remember what his first name was."
"That would have been what... some sixteen years ago?"
"I don't know. What has that got to do with anything?"
"You know, the only connected people in this town are people related to the Matthews."
As he pulled into the drive thru, he paid quickly, and received his food.
"Where is the manager?"
A kid about twenty came to the window. "Here is my card, if ever you want to check out another line of work, just call this number. Oh, and here." He handed the boy a hundred dollar bill. "Split this amongst your team." The back seat was filled with happy meals and as they turned into the church, Rick said, "Call Jenny and tell her to meet us in the picnic area."
The kids all were sitting around the picnic tables munching away as the parents came out of church.
They thanked the teachers for a wonderful program. and collected their children.
Lynn came over and said, "Jenny, you don't look too good." She placed her hand on her forehead. "it could be the flu, you have a raging fever." She made sure the parents heard.
Carl came up to her. "Come on. Let me get you to the car." And with his arm around her waist, he felt her falter as he grabbed her arm and pulled it around his shoulder. "Jenny, just move your legs. It is going to be all right."
She looked at him with dead blue eyes. "The only thing I absolutely enjoyed was my Sundays here with the kids."
"Jenny, you are going..."
"Carl, just shut up. My sins keep catching up with me."
Rick watched Lynn send off the last child as he and Charlie started to pick up the picnic area.
"Charlie, I have something I have to speak to Lynn about. Can you just keep doing this? I promise I will return to help you."
"Sure, Wick." he paused, "Oh, and Wick?"
"Thank you for the food."
Lynn turned and slowly walked towards the tables and sat down dejected.
"Lynn, you okay?"
She looked up at him with tears forming. "How did they know?"
"Where we print our programs? They would have had to research that. How did they know we go here? How did they know about everything?"
"They have money, Lynn. So much that they don't know what to do with it, except, find out things that will hurt people."
"Rick, remember when I told you how I got to meet Jenny? It took me so long before I won her trust... and she helped me fight off those bullies. It took her another six months to be able to talk to about what happened to her... and then, it was only because she had spent the night and woke up screaming from her nightmare." tears fell... "She has come so far... yet deep down inside she still believes she has caused all of this. If this ever got out...."
"Lynn, I need you to call into work tomorrow."
"You need to stay with Jenny tonight and all day tomorrow. She must not be left by herself."
"Mrs, Allen can come over today and take care of Charlie, he will understand, if his Aunt Jenny is sick and has no one to take care of her."
"Okay, but what about..."
"Don't. Carl will be fine with this. But I need about twenty four hours to find out a few things... Okay?" He paused... "If I can prove something, I might be able to stop this."
"Really?" Lynn sniffled and wiped her eyes.
to be continued....