You can’t have valleys without mountains. It’s the beauty of the landscape of life.
In the midst of the sludge of mundane activity and the alarm of tragedies, there are everyday decisions which either tickle the funny bone or leave us with a tiny ball of aggravation which tends to growl for weeks after the infestation.
Mike and Maggie had been wed for thirty-two years. They were married at the Garsonville Church. They had served on almost every committee, and faithfully performed the duties of nearly all positions. Although they loved each other dearly, they rarely agreed when it came to matters of what should be done with the sanctuary.
Ten years earlier, they had a huge conflict–long before Meningsbee arrived–about carpet.
Maggie was a traditionalist, a woman whose grandparents came to America from Ireland during the potato famine. She had fiery red hair, now streaked with gray, and possessed a Catholic passion with her Protestant faith.
Her husband, on the other hand, was a progressive–well, as progressive as you dare be in Garsonville, Nebraska. He nearly convinced a majority of the church board to sell the organ to put a down-payment on a project to build a gymnasium, so the local kids could come and play games on Saturday, with the intent that they might decide to stay over for Sunday services out of curiosity.
The measure lost by one vote. Maggie’s.
Even though the two loved each other faithfully, they rarely agreed on God’s will for Garsonville.
So when it was time to purchase carpet ten years earlier, Maggie insisted the only suitable color for the sanctuary was red. She had two reasons. Red carpet was a sign of welcoming and also a tribute to the blood of Jesus.
Mike strongly disagreed. He contended it was “just too red.” He led a group which desired cranberry carpet from Dalton, Georgia. Amazingly, this time, unlike the gymnasium, the “cranberries” won.
So the sanctuary was covered with cranberry carpet, much to the chagrin of Maggie and her crimson cohorts.
There had been complaints that the cranberry carpet was looking dingy and needed to be cleaned, so it was agreed to find a contractor to remove all the pews so the carpet could be shampooed. It was quite a job.
Several local carpet cleaners bid on the job but it was the Garsonville Bubble-Uppers, a new firm in town, which underpriced the competition and was given the contract.
Arrangements were made to hold services elsewhere for two weeks so the cleaners could have full access to the church and be able to do a great job.
Everyone was elated. Maggie thought cleaning the carpet might make it more red, and Mike was convinced that such a cleansing would restore the original beauty of his cranberry vision.
But no one was prepared for what happened.
One of the young men working with the Bubble-Uppers thought it might be a good idea to add a little bleach to the concoction which was traditionally used by the company. He didn’t inform anyone of his decision–just poured it in.
So they scrubbed the carpets faithfully, only to discover when they returned the next day that the cranberry carpets had been transformed.
They were orange.
The Bubble-Uppers were very apologetic, and refused to charge the church for their services, but a very shocked and bewildered congregation restored its pews on top of a carpet ablaze with bright fall-colored pumpkin.
Everyone was afraid to say too much about it–they knew there was no money in the budget to get new carpeting.
So for the first time ever, Mike and Maggie came to consolation.
Mike decided that orange was better than red, and Maggie was convinced that it was closer to red than that horrible cranberry.