Maybe Next Time
What were you doing at around 6:00 AM on Monday, July 21, 2008? I was waking up and thinking I would be getting ready for a week of Vacation Bible School. I ended up looking out my kitchen window saying, “Wow! Look at those trees blowing around!” I didn’t know trees could move like those I saw blowing that morning in the nearly 100 mile-per-hour winds. My son was looking out the Living Room window, away from the storm, saying such things as, “Look! There go our shingles! There goes some siding!” Those are things one LOVES to hear first thing on a Monday morning. It sort of sets the tone for the entire week, you know?
When the storm ended, most of Cable emerged from their homes to survey the damage. I was among those braving the still-darkened skies to look at what had happened. I noticed the shingles were from the parsonage roof, but I couldn’t see where any siding had blown away. I saw the metal lying in my yard, but assumed that it was from a neighbor’s garage. In better light, I discovered I was wrong. This was a piece of facia from above the North window of the house. Better lighting also revealed a basketball-sized hole in the roof from a missing roof vent.
Speaking with some neighbors, I learned that trees were blocking nearly all the roads out of Cable. Likewise trees had brought down power lines from here to who-knows-where? With the news of no access to the church and no power, I headed down to the church, to VBS Central, with the grim news: There would be no VBS on Monday.
Plans were formed as to how to combine lessons and puppet skits to fit five days into four. It was also established that without power we would not receive children. Power runs the well pump and provides water pressure. Without water, we had no toilets. We were not about to receive 50-80 children for three hours without toilets!
Tuesday morning found a musky crew longing for power and desperately in need of showers! No VBS. We began to consider how to cram five days worth of lessons and skits into three days, providing we would receive power soon – that, no guarantee. There were rumors going around that power wouldn’t be back until Saturday! I spent much of the day seeking out water. One trip to Aledo secured two seven gallon containers. Another trip to Viola filled those with liquid life. Thank you, Dick McMeekan.
Wednesday morning: No power. No VBS. I began to question if five days worth of teaching could effectively be crammed into two, should the power return. We were in a slightly better disposition, personally, having recently showered. The work of maintaining some semblance of civility was beginning to become routine. Gas the generator. Check the oil. Start it. Plug in the freezer. Plug in the refrigerator. Plug in the Television to check the evening news. Unplug all and shut down. Go to bed early, in the dark!
Wednesday night power was returned to Cable! It came too late to save VBS in 2008. I find it incredibly ironic that all of the VBS’s scheduled this summer, many called “Power UP!” went off without a hitch while the Cable Church VBS, called “Rock Solid!” fell flat for lack of power. Oh, we put on a brave face. We went forward with our Friday evening program, changing the event from a “closing program” into a “2009 Preview.” Creative, no?
So now, the puppets have been stowed away. The stage is disassembled, the songs are drifting away from the band member’s memories. 2008 will go down in history as the year without a VBS (in Cable anyway!) I suppose it’s appropriate now to trot out that time-worn phrase that proclaims, we’ll try it again next time. I pray that next time finds volunteers who are willing, again, to take a weeks vacation from work. I hope that next year again sees kids from far and near who make plans to stay with grandma or beg rides from neighbors to attend Cable VBS. In other words, I hope that next year we pretend that 2008 never really happened, and press on with VBS as we all have come to know and love it.
Praying for next time,