The next morning being Sunday, we got up early and went to our new church. I can honestly say that was the first Pentecostal Methodist service I ever attended. It was also the last. The people were nice but it really isn’t our denomination… and besides, the service was unlike anything I’d ever seen before – and not in a good way. Daddy didn’t say a word all the way home and when he finally did speak it was to apologize for not paying close enough attention to the ad in the Yellow Pages.
While Mama fixed lunch, I went online and found a few prospects. I printed the pages – Daddy is still very old school – and took them to his study where he was ‘reading’. Actually, he was staring at the paper trying to forget the weird service we’d attended.
“Daddy?” I called as I knocked.
“Come in, Pumpkin.” he answered.
“I found some stuff online. There are some other Methodist churches pretty close to here…” I handed him the pages.
He sighed, “I’m so sorry…”
“Come on, Daddy, it wasn’t that bad. I mean, other than the live frogs and I’m pretty sure that was just because the message was about the plagues of Egypt…”
Daddy smiled, “I imagine that’ll be a good story to tell when we get back home…”
I nodded. “Can you imagine what Mrs. Ferguson will say?”
At that Daddy burst out laughing. The excessively prim and proper Mrs Ferguson would have had a heart attack at that service, “It’d almost be worth it to pay for her to come up here just to visit them.”
I laughed myself at the thought. I sat across from Daddy in the armchair he had placed by the window. Idly, I pushed open the curtain and looked at the street, “Have you met the neighbors yet?”
“Just a few. That Jack fellow and a couple from down the street. I’ve been too busy with moving and meetings to do much socializing. Your mother said you two had paid the family a visit?”
I nodded, “Yes sir. I ran into Jack and his brother yesterday. Mr Jenkins’ family is still gathering. I think the funeral is tomorrow or the next day.”
“Yes, pity that. He seemed a nice young man. I’m sorry he’s having such a bad time.”
I looked at Daddy. “Huh?”
“Your mother ran into a Mrs Myers yesterday. Seems Jack and Mr Jenkins were close and of course, he found the body. Mrs Myers seemed to think they were worried about him, Jack, I mean.”
I let the curtain fall closed and began twirling a lock of my hair, “I didn’t know…”
“Now, now, don’t start that. We’re new here – of course we’re not going to know a lot of the goings on.” Daddy pointed a finger at me, “And you cannot be everywhere, Young Lady.”
I nodded, “I know, Daddy. I just wish…”
“Why don’t you find out when the funeral is and get your mother to make her banana pudding for them?”
“Mama already sent a potato casserole. I’ll see if they need anything…” I stopped as an idea occurred to me, “Say, Daddy, could you get a copy of that new Pink Pandas album for me? I’ll pay for it…”
“Pink Pandas? I think so – I know the local distributor. Why, I thought you preferred contemporary?”
“I actually like some of their slow songs but that’s not it. Jack mentioned them when he was helping us unpack.”
Daddy nodded, “I’ll make the call. Now, skedaddle and go help your mother with the table.”
I smiled as I hopped up and crossed over to where my father was sitting. I gave him a quick peck on the cheek and hurried out.
After lunch I went out on the stoop and sat a while. Seeing John, I waved. He and a woman about his age came over. She proved to be his wife and they were from Delaware, not Philadelphia. Mama can keep these kind of details straight but I need a scorecard.
Jack and a girl I didn’t recognize came out of the building and crossed the street to join us. Jack introduced me to his sister Donna. I admit, it was a relief. It wasn’t like I’d had a lot of time to talk to Jack – barely any at all, really – but I had already begun to enjoy his company, and to hope he might enjoy mine. Now it dawned on me that I didn’t even know if he had a girlfriend. By the time they all left, I had my answer – Jack was unattached. Score one for girl power and the art of conversation, I thought as I climbed the steps to my house.
As I reached the door, something made me turn and look at Jack’s building. I don’t know why, I didn’t sense anything. No creatures or anything like that, just a sudden sense of foreboding.
Just as quickly, it was gone. I went inside. Tomorrow would be a long day.