At the end of the day, my favorite place in all my small world was the corner over by the main steps on the Methodist church next door. From there, I could command a vast view of the sunset over my little town.
On that Friday evening, September 20, 1968, I was still puzzling over why oh why Mrs. Keller had not said one word over her leaving to go live with Jesus. It wasn't as if she didn't know. Something like that had to have been planned in advance, it's not as if you and your box could just show up Jesus's door step without any warning.
I had a feeling that Jesus felt the same way about unplanned guests as my Mother did in that while it was lovely to see you, why in the heck didn't you call first? Of course Jesus wouldn't have said that nor did my Mom but you could see that she was thinking it in the back of her tight smile.
Please don't think that she didn't like visitors; she did. But understand, this was back in the day when ministers and their families, especially their wives, were expected to keep their houses like their lives; neat and tidy and ready for inspection at any minute.
Mom said that a good guest always called first and the best guests were the ones that waited until they were asked. I knew that she said this on account of some church ladies that were always and forever dropping in because they were "just passing by". With two small children, one of them handicapped, running the sweeper on an hourly basis didn't exactly rate high on Mom's list of things to do.
"If anyone were to drop by right now, " she would declare, "I swear I'll go right up the wall!"
This was her usual lament on those days when it looked as if the house had exploded from within and sure enough, the doorbell would ring heralding doom. I would wait with baited breath for that magical moment of my Mother walking straight up the wall like a fly but much to my disappointment, it never happened. She'd just put on that "gracious" smile of hers and act as if it were no big deal at all you dropped in for tea, no, not at all.
Another frequent visitor from out of the blue was my Aunt Marylou and Uncle John. They would just happen to be "passing through". They lived all the way over on the other side of the state and they always managed to have luggage with them for this extended drive. Never the less, they were just happening to be in the area and thought they'd drop in!
Mother, who swore by her many volumes of Amy Vanderbuilt's Gracious Hostessing Books, would get on that bright,tight smile and try not to go into orbit as everything in the house was turned upside down to accommodate the unexpected visitors with a proper bed fitted with proper sheets and the good towels that were dug out from the back of the closet.
I wondered if Jesus had good sheets tucked in the back of his closet or if that was something you should bring with you along with towels.
I was pondering this when a car rolled up the hill from the highway. A window rolled down and a familiar voice sang out:
The car was white and new looking. I didn't know it at all but I knew the voice and the face:
Aunt Mary Lou! And with her was Uncle John and oh, look! Grandma Mary Jane and Grandpa Ray! All just "passing through" on a Friday evening.
I smiled happily. This might finally be my lucky day to see Mom do a flying handstand up the wall!