It was late Sunday afternoon and we had just returned home after a full day. Sundays are usually like that in the life of a pastor and Larry was ready to settle in for the evening and already had the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle spread out on the dining room table. I'm not into puzzles so Rudy the dog and I decided to take a walk around the park that sits just across the way not far from the parsonage.
The park was quiet and I noticed the sky was turning a bit darker as I walked the trail. Rain clouds were slowly rolling in. But I could also see high plumes of water coming from the splash pad on the other side of the field. Someone was sticking it out til the last moment.
As I drew closer I heard the voices of children calling my name and then, "Where's Pastor Larry?" It was the Nichols children, Sierra, Duane, Jordan and Joyce. They come to church every week with their grandparents and are some of our favorites. I explained that he was back at the house working on a puzzle but pulled the cell phone out of my back pocket and dialed. It only rang a couple of times. "The Nichols kids are here at the splash pad. They're asking about you." He didn't hesitate, not even for his beloved pastime of puzzle making. "I'll be right there." And he hung up.
There are four entrances into the Park and ours is at the farther end from the splash pad. "What's taking him so long?" one of the boys asked. It was starting to sprinkle. I tried calling again but there was no answer this time. And then they saw him. He had changed from his dress shirt, tie and slacks into shorts and an Hawaiian-style shirt. And he was barreling as quickly as he could come down the middle of the field. "Pastor Larry, it's Pastor Larry!"
Somehow he ended in the midst of all four of them on the splash pad as a plume of water shot skyward. They were delighted. Pastor Larry had gotten all wet. For them. I asked him later as we walked home why he hadn't thought to bring a towel. Turns out he hadn't really meant to get wet but when he got there, well, that just seemed like the right thing to do.
|Larry with the Nichols kids at the splash pad|