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A Porch Over

Church Lady is nutty. Church Lady lives next door to me. She has five teenagers, six cats and three big dogs.
We moved here in December.
Church Lady had reindeer in her garden. Not just any reindeer, either. Beautiful life-size soft reindeer with a pine display of needles and red satin ribbon encasing them. It was breath-taking and would have been better suited to the front foyer of City Hall. You know. Inside.
Now it is summer and her too busy garden has just stayed weird. She still has the reindeer. Minus the ribbon.
She has bird cages she has torn the tops and bottoms from placed around her steps. Things grow in them. There is a gigantic wooden cardinal smack dab in the middle of her garden. The eyes seem to glow at night.
She has a huge blue and white patio umbrella attached to her porch's metal railing. There are no chairs underneath it. Everyday there is four new rugs hanging over the rest of the railing. They are of every description and colour. I think they must cover every last square inch of flooring in her house. Church Lady actually creeps me out.
She knocked on my door the first Saturday we were here. I smiled when I opened the door. She was so cute and plump with her big nose and curly hair.
Then she pointed her finger straight up in the air. Her eyes widened.
"I must talk to you!" she exclaimed in her harsh German accent as if she were Hitler herself.
I took a quick step back.
"Ooookay," I said.
"You. You and your children. You will go to church with me tomorrow. Yes?"
"Umm...no."
"Yes. We will go. All of us together. We will go and have a good time."
"Umm...no."
She covered her chest with her hands. She fluttered her eyes. I think she was pretending to have a heart attack. "You...you...you don't believe in...GOD?" Her loud shout and accusing eyes made me take another step back.
"Umm...uhhh...yeah."
"Then we go to church!" She spread her arms out and smiled at me.
I thought she wanted a hug so I took another step back.
"Umm...it was nice to meet you. I-yeah..okay..I am going to close the door now."
Afterwards, I thought maybe I had been too rude.

The following Saturday there was a knock on my door.
"I must talk to you!"
My eyes followed the finger. If you are up there, help me, I thought. "Hello to you, too."
"I am taking you to church tomorrow. You and your beautiful children."
"Umm...no."
"We will raise our arms. We will praise da Lord. You. Me. And your beautiful children."
"Umm...no."
"You do not share beautiful with your children?"
"Umm...uh...yeah."
"So church we go!"
"Umm...I...ok, I am going inside now."

Yes, she came the following Saturday. And the Saturday after that. She is here every Saturday.
Nothing stops her.

My son was playing outside a few months back. My front door slammed open quite suddenly. I jumped up from my chair. My friend Wendy gasped.
"AHHHHHHHHH," a man screamed. "AHHHH..OH MY GOD...HELP...OH HELP."
"What?" I hissed out, glued to my spot.
"MY WIFE...." he sobbed.
My front door opened again and there was a very pregnant woman standing there covered in blood.
"Attacked. She has been attacked. A dog. Next door. Help."
I grabbed my cordless and dialed 911.
"Wendy, get that woman sitting down. Grab some towels. Where has she been bit?"
"The arms. Oh my god. She is a hemophiliac."
I am suddenly scared she will die in my house.
Wendy led the shocked woman into my living room.
"Get her in the kitchen," I choked. A trail of blood followed them.
I was on the phone with the 911 operator when Wendy came running from the hallway. She had my children's first baby blankets in her hand.
"Are you crazy?" I hissed again as I ran back to the closet for towels. I felt bad when I entered my kitchen and took my first real look at the woman.
She was huddled on a kitchen chair, whimpering. Her eyes were back in her head.
I did not pull back her coat. I did not know what I was doing. I just tied one of the towels around her arm and squeezed for all I was worth. I instructed Wendy to do the same with the other arm.
I looked over at my stove and noticed I had turned on the wrong burner again and the front coil was burning hot.
My son was a few feet from me staring, wide-eyed. He would not have left if I had asked, this I knew.
"it is going to be okay," I said to him.
He looked me in the eyes and nodded.
"I can't stop the bleeding," Wendy whispered to me as the husband shouted at his wife, trying to get her to talk.
"Mister," I said. "Sit down." The bleeding has slowed considerably on the arm I had a hold of.
"We will trade," I whispered back to Wendy.
I heard sirens approaching. An older paramedic walked in my door. He surveyed the room calmly. His eyes were squinted. He pulled a pair of latex gloves out of his pocket. He slowly put them on.
I looked down at my own hands soaked in her blood.
"You have done a good job here," he said as he pulled back the shredded coat on the arm Wendy had been holding.
There was a gaping wound running up most of her arm. It looked six inches deep on all sides.
I could feel myself going faint and I turned my head.
The lady was shaking and I grabbed my winter coat off the back of the chair and wrapped her in it.
Everything became a blur. Reality sunk in.

Her name is Monica. She is fine. So is her new baby boy. She was lucky.

One of Church Lady's dogs had lunged passed her when she had opened her front door to this couple. This couple who decided they would like to attend her church.
Church Lady locked her doors that night. She turned off her lights. Sirens were blaring in my driveway and she never came over.

"I must talk to you!" I opened the door that following Saturday to Church Lady. I cocked an eyebrow at her.
"We must get you to church!"
"Umm..no."
"We have a beautiful church. You would love it."
"Umm..no."
"Why? Why do you say no? Do you not love God?"
I could have went on a rant. I could have asked where she was after her dog mauled a pregnant women. I could have said her church was teaching her nothing. I could have told her I had never been more disgusted by a human being in my life.
But truth of the matter, she had probably been scared out of her wits, too, by the horror of her dog. What was the point of judging her?
Truth of the matter, the only reason I refuse to attend with her is because someone had once given me the finger from the back window of her church's bus while I was walking down the street.
So what I said was, "Umm...uh...yeah."
"Then I will be here to get you in da morning!" She beamed at me.
I beamed back.
"See you next Saturday," I said as I closed the door.





Comments

Juner said…
WOW! What a scary experience THAT must have been! Church lady is hillarious - I can just picture her "beautiful" garden!
whirligirl said…
You should look into selling the movie rights to that story.
that was fantastic...and possibly a great short film....
AJ said…
Absolutely riveting, Beth. How horrifying.

What do you think got into that dog anyway?

Could it be...SATAN?!?(...and please tell me you got Saturday Night Live where you lived in the early 90s...)

:)

You're getting better too!
Jennifer said…
Hi Queenie, I got your site from Cath who is a good friend. I really enjoy reading your posts. This last one about Church Lady...wow. When I was young, a friend of mine was bit by a dog while we were out walking in a park. The little dog held on and wouldn't let go. At the age of 12 or 13 I was terrified. My friend was screaming in pain and couldn't move. I did all I could to get the dog off my friend. She was fine thankfully! I don't know what ever happened to the dog.
AJ said…
BTW Bethie...would you mind if I linked to your blog?
Jennifer said…
Thanks :) You're in my favourites too!
Queenie said…
Thank you for the kind words you have left for me all. You make me smile.

AJ-you are fantastic and I would think of it as an honor.
Thank you.
phoebe said…
Found your blog very randomly --- and wow, what a story! Thanks for sharing it.
Juner said…
About the pic #2 (little girl) - its the only one like it - if you check out the rest, you'll see how great she looks today, at age 18! In fact, she is in school to be a nurse!
cbeck said…
So this is what happens to the crazy people that witness to me everyweek. They never even get a chance to find out that I know romans road as well as they do. I imagine that they are all telemarketers.
Queenie said…
You have made me smile. Nice to see you again!

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