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His Family (standard:non fiction, 1130 words)
Author: AnonymousAdded: Jul 30 2001Views/Reads: 1768/1134Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
A stranger comes to a small midwestern town. He has no family or friends. He enrolls in a small sectarian college, but drops out. A very small church meeting in the chapel of that college adopts him and gives him his first real home, and for that mat

"His  Family." 

It was an early Spring Sunday, in a small Midwestern town, and it was
8:20 am, an ungodly hour for a supposedly "godly" man and his wife. An 
Episcopal Clergyman for many years, he had just retired, and this was 
to be his first small church to watch over, now that he was free of a 
regular work routine. 

The Father (Priest) and his spouse of  forty years arrived at the campus
of the small sectarian college, in which the little church held 
services in the  chapel. They arrived engulfed by a chilly, windy 
downpour. Not knowing where to park or where to enter the building, I 
got out of my car and ran from one side of the building to the next.  I 
checked this door and that, and finally found one open.  After parking 
our car, my wife and I gathered my vestments and hurried inside the 
cold, damp building.  No one seemed around at first, but then we saw 
him at the end of the long hallway. He had his white vestments on, and 
his huge belly was what was most noticeable about him.  He had a Santa 
Claus like beard, and dark piercing eyes; and he said nothing as we 
approached him.  We introduced ourselves and he very briefly replied in 
a rather gruff and deep voice. 

There was no welcome, no offer of help, no direction to the rest room,
just that dark stare.  Who was this character?  What in the world was I 
getting myself into, I asked myself throughout that morning with the 
very small congregation.  What were they doing here in this chapel, 
twelve of them in a room which could seat at least a couple of hundred. 
And "K", as I will call him, what was he all about? 

Some time later I visited him in his apartment on a sunny Tuesday
afternoon.  He came to the door looking very startled, even rather 
scared. There was no place to sit, he had to put back together a chair 
that had fallen apart.  Although church members had helped him get this 
apartment and moved him in, it looked as though nothing had changed 
since moving day. Almost everything was still covered with duct tape 
and plastic.  Boxes and books, and other items were piled onto each 
other.  He sat there looking at me with the same mixture of suspicion, 
fear, and a hint of hostility.  He kept fiddling with a broken pipe, as 
I tried to engage him in conversation. Again, and again, he tried 
putting the stem of the pipe back into its bow, but it just didn't 
work.  He kept cleaning and cleaning the pipe with a dirty pipe 
cleaner, blowing and blowing into it; and then seeing it fall apart 
again.  It was very obvious he was extremely uncomfortable, and 
although I became rather uncomfortable myself,  I did learn something 
about him. 

Years ago he had visited an Episcopal Church in a nearby Midwestern
city, on the Sunday before New Year's Eve.  It was his first visit to 
this large affluent parish, and the priest invited him to join his 
family on New Year's Day.  And so began "K's"  "membership" in a church 
which would seem not for someone of his "place in life." Years later, 
he moved to this little college town, to complete his education, but 
never finished. The leaders of the little church also took him in, and 
took care of him.They found him an old car, which is now filled to the 
brim with junk and decayed food.  They found him a place to live, and a 
menial job at a local industry. 

"K" became a reader of the lessons, an adult acolyte, who helped with
the Communion Service, for they bought him some very nice vestments.  
He took his turn providing snacks for the weekly coffee hour.  He even 
became, what is called in the Episcopal Church, "the Junior Warden."  
The Junior Warden is meant to be in charge of property and grounds.  
However, because this little church had no property and grounds, it 
meant "K's" main duty was to get the mail during the week, and 
distribute it on Sundays.  Each Sunday, on the coffee hour table, one 
could see plastic shopping bags with different names written with  
magic marker.  "K" had sorted the mail and put each person's mail in 
their labeled bag.  Sometimes, though, he would misdirect the mail or 
lose some.  No one dared say anything critical, for "K" was very 

As I got to know "K" better, I realized he was extremely intelligent. He
so enjoyed providing videos he had purchased for our Coffee Hour Sunday 
School Hour.  These were very intellectual lectures, on complicated 
theological and historical subjects.  When I said I was not interested 

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