29 March 2011


Mrs. Dremond’s sobbing could be heard faintly through the ceiling.
Father Dremond cast a furtive glance at the empty cat bed.  
“Give it time, Father.”  Mrs. Pendleton said.
“I appreciate you coming to my home to work, Mrs. Pendleton.  Things have been… difficult, what with Mrs. Dremond not feeling well.  Especially since the cat…”
“It is my pleasure, Father.”
“That damned cat.”  He said under his breath.  “Oh, forgive me, Mrs. Pendleton. “
“Not necessary, Father.”  She blushed and looked back at her computer screen.   
Mrs. Dremond’s bedroom door opened.  Father Dremond and Mrs. Pendelton stood in silence until they heard the bathroom door closed.
Mrs. Pendelton cleared her throat, “What do you think?”  she asked, turning the computer monitor for Father Dremond to see.  On the screen was a mock up of the floral guild’s newsletter.  Brightly colored floral arrangements sprang from the page.  The largest photo and focal point of the spread was a withered branch with brown, limp buds threatening to fall from their host.  His brow furrowed.  He heard a giggle behind him. Father Dremond relaxed.
“It looks like a metaphor for our pledge drive.”  He said. 
Mrs. Pendleton smiled as she sorted the church’s mail.  Father Dremond’s gaze rested on her smiling face for a few moments.  She took hold of her finger.  When nervous, she used to spin her wedding band around her finger.  The band was buried but the habit remained.  Turning, she knocked a photo on the desk to the ground. 
“I am so sorry, Father!”
“I am sure I can fix it.”  Father Dremond said, picking up the picture.  It was of he and Mrs. Dremond as newlyweds.  He put the broken frame and photo in a side drawer and closed it.
Mrs. Dremond appeared in the doorway.
“Oh, hello Mrs. Pendleton.  Pardon me.  I did not know you were here.”  She said.
“Hello.”  Mrs. Pendleton with a start.
“Mildred!” Father Dremond exclaimed.  “You’re dressed.  That’s wonderful.” 
 “George?  Did you offer Mrs. Pendleton something?  Do we have coffee?”  Mrs. Dremond asked. 
“Please don’t go to any trouble.”  said Mrs. Pendelton, straightening paperwork.
 “Mildred,” Father Dremond began.  “Will you be going out today?”
 “I think not today.”
“The fresh air would do you well.”  Father Dremond continued.
Mrs. Pendleton looked from Mrs. Dremond to Father Dremond
“I shall.  Soon.   But not yet.”  Mrs. Dremond said staring at the floor.
Father Dremond followed her gaze.  A chewed cat toy lay on the floor next to him. He kicked it under the desk.  He pointed to the computer monitor.  “Look at what Mrs. Pendelton did.”  He said with a smile.
Mrs. Dremond regarded the screen. “The center one looks...”  She trailed off.
“Yes, I know.  That’s the point… It’s funny, don’t you think?”
Mrs. Dremond whispered “oh” and started upstairs. 
Father Dremond saw her nightgown spilling out from under her sweater in back.  He hadn’t noticed her slippers until now either.  Mrs. Pendleton had.
“Father,” Mrs. Pendleton began when Mrs. Dremond was in her room.  “Do you know what the New York Mets have in common with Billy Graham?”
Father Dremond looked at Mrs. Pendleton perplexed, “I have no idea.”
“They both make 10,000 people stand up in a stadium and say “OH MY GOD!”
Father Dremond laughed so hard, he had to take a seat.   Mrs. Pendleton smiled as the Father’s laughter embraced her. 
“George?  The cat needs water.”  Mrs. Dremond called out from upstairs.

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