The short stories of Pastor Bob are fictional, although possibly based on real events in ministers’ lives. He does not represent anyone living or dead. He is a figment of my imagination and yours.
2:32 pm: The call came just as Pastor Bob started to really get into his sermon prep. It was a family that had experienced the loss of their loved one. Bob consoled the caller and got the pertinent information from them. As he left his office he mentioned the name to his secretary who shrugged her shoulders. Apparently, this family was one of those who came once in a blue moon, Christmas and Easter every other year.
This would be Bob’s first funeral at his new appointment and even as he hung up the phone he started getting nervous. He had never done a funeral before. He had never consoled a family during their grieving period. To add to this, no one he talked to could tell him much about the family. No one seemed to know them. But this family called Bob’s church their home and they had called Bob in their time of need. So Bob went.
3:49 pm: Bob pulled into the families’ drive way which was already littered with the family’s vehicles. Google had taken him to a dead end street and Bob had spent the last 30 minutes wandering the neighborhood hunting for their house. As he shut his car door he glanced at his watch. 20 minutes later than he told them he would be there. This would certainly give a great first impression.
Bob knocked on the door. His nerves started to pump through his body as he felt like an agitating sprinkler. His first knock was too light for them to hear and the second one Bob knew was too loud. The man who answered the door turned Bob’s nerves up to high speed. “You the preacher?” the man slurred because of the lack of teeth. His long white beard seemed to point out to Bob that this man was not wearing a shirt because it came to a rest in between his nipples. As Bob made eye contact with the old man once again he forced a smile onto his face and prayed…“Lord keep me safe, Lord keep me safe!”
As Bob walked into the house he was ushered into the family room. “Grandpa! Put a shirt on, you old kook. The Preacher’s here for God sakes.” The man who yelled these directions stood up and shook Bob’s hand. “I’m Tate. I’m Eleanor’s grandson. That was Eleanor’s boyfriend. They had been together ever since my grandfather died fifteen years ago. Com’on in. Let me introduce to you the rest of the fam.” Tate walked Bob around the room and introduced him to the rest of the family. The final person they got to was a young woman in her early twenties. She was holding a 4 month old baby. “This is my wife Kristy and our son, Tate, Jr. Have a seat Preacher.”
Bob sat down next to Kristy and Junior. Bob commented on the number of people who were in the room and how family must have been important to Eleanor. He took the next twenty minutes to walk the family through the service that would honor Eleanor. He asked for favorite hymns and scriptures. He asked about funeral homes arrangements and timing for the viewing and service. Then he asked for the family to share memories of Eleanor with him in order for him to get a picture of who Eleanor was as a wife, mother, grandmother and all around person. The stories flowed and Bob hastily wrong notes down. Junior kept staring at him this whole time which was distracting to him. Not only the baby cute but Kristy was fairly attractive with a glorious smile. Bob knew when he shook her hand that there was no way she could be blood to this family! She had to have married in.
Bob was finishing up jotting down notes to the last story when Kristy leaned over. Bob looked her in the eyes to divert his own from the cleavage that was showing as Junior pulled on the middle of her v-neck shirt. “Preacher, if this makes you feel uncomfortable just let me know.” Bob nodded, while keeping eye contact, and thinking, “That is sweet of her. She must have felt I was nervous about the whole funeral thing.” As Bob glanced back to the originator of the last story in order to ask a clarifying question, out of the corner of his eye something happened that pulled his attention back to Kristy.
Kristy had slipped the right sleeve off her shoulder along with her bra strap and the cup of the bra. To Bob’s utter horror Kristy had just exposed her right breast and started to offer it to Junior. Bob watched in amazement and confusion. Why is she doing this here? Why? Am I staring? Is someone staring at me?
In a flustered moment, Bob jerked his head around and tried to pose his question to the story teller. “Was…I mean, did Eleanor have…I mean, go to school there for three years or four?” As he wrote down his answer, there was a long pause of silence. He scanned the room. Two of the uncles were asleep. Tate was smiling as he watched Kristy and Junior. The others seemed oblivious to what was happening, which left Bob, two feet from an exposed breast with a baby tapped to it, trying to shrink away from the situation.
Bob tried to come up with something that diverts his eyes from what was happening next to him. He knew of pastors who had lost their credentials for being around women who exposed their breasts. “This, of course, is not the same situation,” Bob thought, “because Junior was offered the breast not me.” Bob could not believe he actually thought that and he started to panic. His hands were sweating and started to leave puddles on his khaki pants. People started to look at him and NOW they were staring. Bob didn’t know what to do. “I have gone through everything for the funeral…what else do they want,” he thought.
Finally it hit him, prayer. Bob leaned forward in his chair. Kristy’s boob moved just out of his peripheral vision. Bob looked around to the rest of the family and said, “How about we pray.” They all bowed their heads and Bob tried to think of what to say. Nothing was coming to mind. All the classes about worship, theology, and pastoral care left his mind the moment the breast arrived. Bob, now working up into a panic attack tried to think of something to get him out of this situation. After what seemed to be a year of silence and everyone starting to get uncomfortable, Bob’s mouth opened even though his mind was trying to keep it shut.
“Come Lord Jesus, and be our guest and let this food to us be blest.” Their was a snicker from one of the uncles. Tate thought for a minute and then busted out laughing. Soon the whole room was on the floor in laughter and Kristy was trying to laugh while keeping Junior latched. Bob simply sat there. Trying to sink into the floor. Tate finally stood up and so did Bob, who wanted to run to his car and cry. “Preacher, you’re a’right. Granny would have loved that! I guess we will see you at the viewing.”
5:10 pm: Bob left…puzzled…embarrassed…weeping as he backed out of the driveway and attempted to find his way back home.