Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Reverend Josephus

Jesse Halsey |c1927
Reverend Josephus has a big house—and a big family; a big church building and a big congregation; a large parish house with many rooms, but also with many activities.

He has a room designated a study, but it is a perpetual motion office. Parties, dances, classes, conferences, meetings for prayer, for praise, for study, and whatnot. Committees and boards and agencies, meetings morning afternoon and night are held in Reverend Josephus’ church and parish hall. He is seldom alone or unattended. His telephone is like a junebug on the first hot night of late spring.

And his house; in the attic he took an unused room, stacked the boxes, whitewashed the walls, and improvised a desk, for two mornings it was his, unmolested. Then his little girl needed a playhouse—she got it.

One boy went away to school. Rev. Josephus appropriated his room, forgot the trinkets on the wall, covered up the stuffed snakes that gave him the jitters, and began to write. Mother needed a sewing room “where there was sunshine.” She got it.

A study was provided in the parsonage. It had an inside and outside door; it was a convenient pass to the side yard, as such it was successful; but as a study it was not a success—the adjoining garden was the children’s playground.

Then the radio for some reason seemed to fit this study best and night and day if any of the family were home it wailed away.

Reverend hated the radio—except for a few minutes a week—but the family were addicts: Tiny Tim to Fire Chief and School Boy Pete; the Cook to Tink and Wink; Jimmie to ____; and mother to Danroch (Rev always tried to finish his sermon on Friday morning, and Saturday afternoon) and the opera.

In the evening, he hit upon the kitchen; it was warm; the big table could accommodate his books. For a while it worked, but Helen came home from boarding school and fudge and cookies were concocted by night and after she went back Mirandy, the cook, got a beaux and the Rev moved out.

Sermon quality began to deteriorate; people spoke of it. All parish activities boomed, but sermons were thin.

The pastor put a sign on his (church) study door: “Occupied”; but the phone didn’t heed and the beggars who stopped in could read, and the President of the Board, or the Ladies Aid, didn’t. So he burned it up.

One day at the trade show he heard shop management. It worked. The boys carried on their studies in the noise.

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