The back door opened, a tall sandy haired man in his mid thirties dressed in a green dress shirt and dark blue slacks walked in. “Wow, what a gathering, what’s going on…oh…” he stopped mid-stride and began inhaling deeply through his nose, “Oh…I know. Sue, I smell your mother’s Oatmeal Raisin cookies, the delightful aroma is unmistakable.” He strode over to where his wife was moving a baking sheet full of just baked cookies onto a cooling rack. He put his arm around her waist, “You know, I think that heaven will smell just like this.”
“Dad’s home!!” and a thundering sound came from the stairwell. Stanley burst into the kitchen, ran over to his father and tackle-hugged his legs just as he was leaning over to give his wife a kiss. “Whoa, Stanley you nearly knocked me over there buddy!” He stooped down to hug his son and holding his shoulders he looked at Stanley and said, “You, young man, are getting bigger every day. Pretty soon you’ll be playing shortstop for the Mariners.” There was a general round of laughter in the kitchen as Stanley was short and slight for his 7 years, but overflowing with boundless energy and enthusiasm. He gave his Dad a big hug, turned around and shoved his hands in his mother’s direction and said, “Here mom, take a look at my hands, I got ‘em really clean. Can I have some cookies and milk now? Please?” Mrs. Johnson put down her tray of cookies, leaned over and looked closely at his hands, laughed and said, “Yes, you may. You did an excellent job; now get back in your chair I’m just about ready to serve some fresh ones.” “Oh boy, woo hoo” Stanley whooped as he ran quickly over to his chair, climbed up and said loudly. “So, are you ever going to pour that milk Jon ?” The kitchen echoed with laughter from everyone.
Pastor Johnson set his briefcase on the counter, walked over to the sink and rolled up his sleeves. “I guess that I had better wash my hands too, so I can have some of those fresh baked cookies handmade oh so skillfully by my lovely wife.” He then proceeded to wash both hands. Mrs. Johnson responded, “Thank you for the compliment, but you still only get two cookies”.
“Darn! And I was hoping for so much more…” he said with a laugh, finished washing his hands, grabbed a towel and begin drying them as he walked over toward the table. “By the way, I’m glad that all of you kids are here. I wanted to tell all of you about a new project the church is starting with the gospel mission.”
Mrs. Johnson held a big plate of hot oatmeal raisin cookies above the table and announced loudly “Only two cookies apiece” and then lowered it to the table. Moans of complaint about the limit were mixed with the noises of hands reaching and grabbing, biting into the chewy cookies and milk being gulped. It seemed that everyone’s attention was suddenly diverted to the cookie platter and to devouring the tasty morsels. Jon was the first to finish his allotment. “Mrs. Johnson, these are about the best cookies I have ever had in my whole life, they would be sure to win a blue ribbon at the state fair. Are you SURE we can’t have just ONE more? Please?” “Yes, Mommy, please?” followed Stanley. Sue and Andrea chimed in with a chorus of “PLEASE?” sung in harmony. Pastor Johnson followed up with his mouth still full of cookie, “Just one more, Dear?”
Mrs. Johnson stood near the stove, blew a wisp of hair out of her eyes and put her hands on her hips. Slowly a warm smile broke across her face, like a sunrise which turned into a laughing grin. “Oh, OK…but just one! I need to have enough to serve to Gram Susie’s Ladies Bible study tomorrow morning. And then we need to listen to the news about the church and the mission working together.”
Everyone grabbed another cookie and turned their eyes toward Pastor Johnson. “Well, what’s the big news Dad?” asked Sue.