Thursday, April 02, 2009

The Church Bag (April Humor Story)

Note: This is a sample chapter from "Confessions of a Completely Insane Mother"

It’s 9:00am on Sunday morning. We’ve just screeched into the church parking lot. My husband shouts out orders: “Son, you run and get us a seat. You, carry in all the scriptures, and you…” he points at my teenage daughter, “grab the baby.”

He hands the toddler to me and tries to pick up the church bag. “Ugh. What is in this thing? I can’t even lift it out of the car.”

I look at the bag. It’s big and lumpy with pencils and papers sticking out of several holes in the bottom corners.

“Just stuff that we need in church,” I reply, “Do you want me to carry it?”

“No,” he grunts, “I can get it.” He hoists it onto his back and begins to trudge toward the church.

“Don’t forget to grab the blankee and the pacifier,” I call out over my shoulder. “Oh yeah, and I brought some coloring books for the kids.”

My husband grumbles under his breath as he drags the bag back to the car and grabs the necessary paraphernalia.

“Don’t forget to grab the diapers and wipes under the front seat,” I say, turning around to see if he’s all right.

He looks like a pack llama, and he is dropping things left and right. Muttering, he finally catches up to me by the door.

“Did you get the sippy cup?” I ask sweetly.

He glares at me. Shrugging, I walk through the glass doors of the church. As I walk and he waddles down the hall, people stop us.

“Are you okay?”

“Can I give you hand with that?”

My husband shakes his head, his face red. He is out of breath and unable to speak.

Finally we reach our seats. With a loud thump and an enormous clatter he drops the church bag and everything else he is carrying next to our pew. Sitting down next to me, he leans over and whispers, “I know this is a dumb question. But may I ask what the purpose of a church bag is, if you can’t fit the church stuff inside of it? ”

I sigh. “You’ll be glad I brought everything when the kids start whining.”

“Humph,” he grumbles, digging through the bag. “What is this? You have every church bulletin in here since 1993!”

Grinning, I respond, “Hey, there are phone numbers on those papers that we might need someday.”

The baby starts to fuss. “Find him a toy, will you?” I ask.

My husband digs through the mounds of church bulletins and pulls out, a half-eaten bagel.

“When is the last time you cleaned this thing out?” he whispers.

Digging deeper he finds: an old lesson manual, twenty-six “Smarties” wrappers, a dirty diaper, and five broken pencils.

Finally, he strikes gold. He holds up a headless Barbie.

“You can’t give him that to play with in church,” I hiss.

My husband looks confused as I shove the doll back into the bag. “She’s not dressed modestly. What will the Banks’ think when they see our son playing in the pew with a half-dressed Barbie doll?”

“Fine,” he grumps, heaving the church bag in my direction and taking the baby. “You find something for him to play with.”

“Fine,” I reply. I bite my lip, trying to remember what is lurking beneath all of those church bulletins. Aha! I know one way to find out. Lifting up the corner of the bag, I stick my finger into one of the holes and yank out a pen. Then I uncrumple a church bulletin and give it to the baby to draw on. The baby squeals contentedly as he chews on the pen and rips up the bulletin.
I smile at my husband. “It’s a good thing I keep this old bag. Those holes at the bottom are pretty handy.”

“Yeah. Pure genius,” my husband replies.

After sacrament meeting, my visiting teacher stops by our pew. Her eyebrows rise as she takes in the mayhem that has spilled out of our lumpy old bag. Hiding her dismay, she offers to take my church bag home and organize it for me.

“Organize?” I laugh. “This is organized!” I say, meaning it. I’m the most organized person I know. “Go ahead,” I tell her. “Ask me for the phone number of the missionaries who lived here in 1997. I bet there is no one else in this ward who has that information.”

She smiles and nods politely before edging away. I stand up and heave the bag onto my shoulder. I just hope I can coax some old Smarties to fall out of the holes in the bottom for my primary class. There’s nothing like a bribe to help those sunbeams sit in their chairs.

See? Good old church bag. If you leave it long enough, there’ll be stuff in there to solve all of your problems. Don’t ever clean it, and don’t ever leave home without it.

1 comment:

Gillian said...

Ohhhhh....we love this one. We laughed and laughed. I wish I had read it earlier...I just cleaned out our church bag this morning!