All the Little Voices
The small white colonial church was filled with families--parents, babies, toddlers, whining children. The voices were loud, unruly, as if desperately trying to reach out, grab the town and pull it inside with them, and God.
"We are fighting for lives abroad," said Reverend Smith, adding a "thank the lord" at the end, then allowing it to rest above the piercing cries of babies. He held 18 month old Charlie Matzer at his hip while he spoke at the pulpit." Now we got to make sure we fight for life here, too. It matters!" he screamed.
So they clapped, hands oily from the humid air that snuck in through open windows and doors. They stood shoulder to shoulder under a roof topped with a little cross, a steeple pointing up to God, the one who created them, the one who loved them and encouraged them to fight for life.
Reverend Smith had told Arnold Humard, the senior warden, they had an obligation to God to get involved. "So why are we different from the cattle people, oil folks, drug boys. Why cannot God be a special interest?"
The air was filled with the effluvium of family life--dirty diapers, unwashed hair, stressed out underarms of mothers who were tired. The babies crawled over each other in the far corner; toddlers giggled and stood, bouncing on the balls of their feet as if listening to a Barney song; tired teenagers chased unruly younger brothers. There were no empty seats, and bodies spilled out of the church onto the steps. From the street the church looked like it was spitting up life. Family life.
The flyers were handed out on the serving trays, the same ones they used to hold grape juice on Sundays.
"We need to get out the vote. Everyone," continued Reverend Smith. "And we need to make sure Christians know what's at stake in our country--our right to pray, our right to life." Claps could barely be heard over the giggles and cries and mothers' shushings. Charlie Matzer grabbed a piece of the reverends hair and pulled, which stopped his talking. The reverend laughed as he pried the tiny fingers off, then turned and raised the boy to the choir. A middle-aged woman in a green gown that looked like a tent scurried down and took the boy away. A wave of chuckles passed through the congregation.
They were part of the movement, the majority movement, they proudly added. There were rumors that the President would visit them, give them his thanks for standing up for America, for taking back their country. They had already started fixing up the town a bit, painting the Town Hall, cutting down some of the dead trees in Bangly Park. They took the flyers, stuffed them into their pocketbooks and pants. They would send them out to everyone, everywhere. This was the beginning. Today said, "here we are America, families fighting for babies and prayer." The sound of their voices of determination traveled out of church doors and windows and down the street.
The sound of the movement could even be heard a half a mile away, at the corner of Limpton and Jones, where Martha Wilkerson stood with her boy, listening. The babysitter was ill, and she didn't have many friends who would take Henry . Even in chaos, Henry stood out with his loud moans, bizarre hand movements, hysteria and occasional drool. He was an accident waiting to happen, and church was no place for accidents. Still, here she was, one hand holding her boy, the other the small limb of her old maple, as she took in the voices of freedom.
About the author:
Debbie Ann Ice lives in Connecticut with her two boys, bulldog and husband. Her work has been in various publications. She is happy to be appearing in Pindeldyboz, and quite happy to be living in a blue state.