8:00 Am on Sunday morning, the 1972 bluebird school bus rolled into town stopping in front of the post. Greg was sitting in the first row seat behind Dalton who was driving. Back at the church we had a 2013, 33 passenger motor coach fully decked out with all modern amenities that were available that year. It was rendered inoperable after the EMP attack. Now we had to dig this old relic out of the basement. Greg who had run most of the mowing operation before the EMP went off was against buying the new bus. The purchase was brought to the membership for input because of the amount involved. Greg was of the opinion that the money would be better spent on new mowers and a tractor snowblower for winter. He respectfully acquiesced when Pastor and the deacons and trustees voted unanimously to purchase the bus.
Dalton made a comment this morning when they boarded the bus about the beautiful motor coach sitting there, useless. Greg grumbled, “Yeah should have bought the mowers instead. Now that things just a giant boat anchor”. Dalton asked him “would the mowers work after the EMP with all that new modern electronics and stuff”? He knew the answer but didn’t want to challenge Greg. Greg just shot him a look and that was the end of that discussion. Greg retorted, “put the sign out, let's go”.
Dalton took the fold up sign that said Church service on it and set it up outside the bus door on the sidewalk. About thirty people, mostly rail workers and military troops boarded the bus to attend church. When the bus rolled back onto the church grounds Karl fairly and his family were arriving as well in their wagon. Before the EMP attack we ran a Sunday morning and a Sunday evening service at our church. Now because travel was more limited we ran the evening service at 2:00 pm instead. In between the morning and afternoon services we had pot luck luncheon and fellowship in the hall downstairs.
When the weather got warmer we would move it to the pavilion. Major Stillman had attended when he could but was absent today. He had encouraged his men to wear their uniforms and sit together in the closest row toward the front that was available. Today there were six soldiers in attendance sitting in the second row. In all there were 148 people in attendance this morning. Before the EMP we typically ran around 110-125. Pastor marveled that people who rejected God their whole lives would come out to seek him in times of trouble. Still he was happy to have them. Pastor loved everyone and truly wanted them all to know the Lord and the salvation that was made possible to everybody.
Pastor stood in the doorway greeting everyone as they entered. Our Pastor is a faithful man of God. Many people who attended brought fresh meat and eggs. Some brought produce or baked breads and rolls. After service we all gathered and had a feast. We enjoyed sweet fellowship with one another and spent the entire day together in praise and worship to the Lord. I for one looked forward to Sunday. All work parties at the church were suspended for the day. Except for feeding and caring for the animals we just rested and enjoyed each other's company. Shortly after Pastor delivered his greeting and opening prayer we all sat down.
In the lobby the main door opened. Richie and Steve who were ushers and stood in the foyer greeted this stranger. In these times we could not afford to let our guard down for a moment. We had learned that lesson the hard way. Richie and Steve, and just about every other man in the church were armed today as they were most days. Roger looked nervously around as he cautiously walked into church. Richie walked over to him and extended his hand to Roger and said “Good morning great to have you here, please come in”.
Roger shook his hand and went in and sat down in the third row from the back. Karl Fairly who was always acutely aware of his surroundings watched him take his seat. Jillian, who was sitting with Sadie and the children saw him too. She left the kids with her Mom and walked back and sat beside him. She greeted him warmly and said “Look at that, you’re here and the roof is still on the building” and she smiled. Roger managed a quick smile and said “It’s a strange new world”. She stood up to rejoin Sadie and the kids and invited Roger to come sit with them.
He politely declined saying “if it’s all the same I’d prefer to sit back here”. She said “that’s fine but make sure you come downstairs and join us for potluck after the service”. Then she said “you know I don’t even know your name sir”. She extended her hand and said “I’m Jillian”. He smiled and replied “Roger” and shook her hand. ‘she grabbed his hand with both her hands and said “It really great that you’re here Roger”. As she walked back to her seat she glanced over to where the Fairly's usually sat. There was Karl fairly watching her encounter with Roger.
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