For an entire year, they’d been in my head. Ever since the message had come, they’d huddled there, waiting, expectant in the back of my fertile brain.
It was in October 2012 that an email had come, slipping into my inbox on an ordinary day with a not-so-ordinary request. “We’re having a retreat, our church, for the women. We’re needing a speaker. Four sessions. Would you?”
At long last, it was the night before retreat. We had decided that Mr. Schrock would play Jeeves, the butler, as the conference was out in Ohio. The Schrocklets would have the house to themselves, a prospect that excited them terribly, though their excitement dimmed noticeably at the mention of “chores” and “list.”
I was standing at the sink, preparing a small whale toothbrush for a little set of teeth. All at once, I heard what I shall only describe as a boy sound. This was followed by uproarious laughter from the little tooter and his dad. Seeing my cue, I made what I’d describe as a girl sound that went like this: “Disgusting!” Unfortunately, in Manville here, this is taken as a compliment. (You’d think I would know this by now and would find a new sound, but even I have lapses. Even I.)
Anyway. So in the midst the chaos there by the bathroom sink, I lifted my eyes to the heavens and uttered this plaintive cry, “Where are the girls in my life?” Just that quick, the Cheerful Little Cricket piped up, “They’re in Ohio.” That quick, with his unbrushed teeth.
And that’s how I opened it up. I took Little’s line with me to the camp in Ohio and shared it with all of the women. Standing at the podium, the girl from Elkhart County found herself giving thanks for the girls of Holmes County and for the privilege of speaking to them.