For what seemed like an eternity of the unending drone of the vicar’s sermon, the children thought they were going to perish from boredom. Father, who was as grumpy he always was on Sundays, glared at each one of the little ones if they so much as sniffed or sneezed during the service. Mother sat rapt, a soft smile on her face, reaching out occasionally to pat down Lily’s crumpled skirts. It seemed almost a miracle in itself when they were given leave to stand up, and to follow mother and father in an orderly pack down the aisle, where many other families were quietly filing out of the church. They impatiently fidgeted their way through the slow line. As now, the vicar hadn’t kept them all long enough, no, now he needed to insure that he bade each person an individual goodbye. It was grueling and torturous!
But suddenly, the line seemed to open up like a languid river fanning out in a delta, down the steps and out into the village common; and the children, as if shot out of a cannon, exploded from the church and broke into a wild run, wildly laughing and giggling and chasing one another; running circles ‘round mother, and dodging the jabs of father’s cane.
“Comport yourselves, you impertinent beasts!” father shouted, waving his cane in the air. Sandra and Timothy broke into a run, racing past their parents at full tilt.
“Oh, dear, Sandra; don’t run so, it’s not proper for a young lady…” to no avail Mrs. Souris made her plea; it fell upon deaf ears. The children couldn’t sit still, even if they were tied down.