By Debbonnaire Kovacs
Solomon Nassim El-Charif was whispering to himself and looking worried. If any of his friends could have heard him, they wouldn’t have understood a single word he said.
Solly had been thinking a lot about the program the primaries planned to have in the park next Sabbath. What could he do? He couldn’t write beautifully like Susannah. He wasn’t like Kenya, who could make things beautiful without even trying and was always full of great, new ideas. He couldn’t play the recorder like Mike.
Besides, Solly had horses on his mind. The El-Charifs had finally bought horses, and they would be arriving today. In his excitement, all Solly could think of was to recite the Lord’s Prayer in Arabic. The class had liked that. Maybe the people in the park would too. None of his friends knew it, but Solly also spoke some French. So he was sitting on Mother’s garden gate watching for the horse trailer and whispering the Lord’s Prayer in French, but he couldn’t remember it very well.
“They’re here! They’re here!” he shouted, leaping from the gate. His family poured out of the house, and that was the end of Solly’s practicing.
* * *
Kenya Jayne Washington had a great idea. She would make up a puppet show for the program in the park and make puppets to go with it. She hoped to convince Susannah or Mike to do the show with her, but she hadn’t had time to see either of them yet this week and it was already Wednesday. If she had to, she could always do it alone. She could do two puppets at a time and make different voices.
She was in her room making a crown out of foil for the Queen Esther puppet and trying out funny, deep voices for King Xerxes when the phone rang. Mom called up the stairs, “Kenya, it’s Susannah.”
“The El-Charifs’ horses came yesterday!” Susannah told Kenya in a breathless voice. “Can you come over? They’re so beautiful!”
“Mom, Mom, Solly’s horses are here. Can you take me over there, please, please?”
And that was the end of Kenya’s practicing.
* * *
Susannah May Farmer flung herself on her bed with a sigh of joy. She had never in her life seen such beautiful, gorgeous, perfect horses as the ones next door! All four horses were Arabians. Solly and his sister had glossy black ones with long manes they tossed while they snorted and pranced. His mom and dad had white ones, as white as angel wings, Susannah thought. They had gentle, dark eyes, and one had actually let her touch its nose for a second. They were still nervous in their new home, and it would be a few days before they could be ridden. Solly had promised Susannah she could ride his sometime. She could hardly believe it.
Suddenly Susannah sat up with a gasp. It was Wednesday night already, and she had completely forgotten to talk to anyone about the program in the park. She had meant to call, and then decided to talk to them while they were here admiring horses . . . oh, rats! She would have to call tomorrow, for sure. It was only two more days.
Her puppet skit was almost finished, but only one puppet was made so far. Matt was supposed to build her a puppet theater. She should have asked Kenya to help. Well, maybe she’d shorten the skit and make only two puppets. If she had to, she could do the skit alone. And a sheet could make a curtain for a theater.
Oh, well, tomorrow was another day.
* * *
Michael Arthur Patterson sighed and tried the fast part of “Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee” again. He would never get it right in time for Sabbath! And besides, weren’t they supposed to sing some songs together too? It would be a good idea if they practiced. Who was in charge of this program, anyway? He almost wished they had gotten some grown-ups to help, but they had wanted to do it all themselves. Kids could use their gifts to serve God and others. Ms. Kimoto said so. Dad and Aunt Rose said so too.
Anyway, Mike knew it was so. He wished he had another gift, but the only thing he knew about was flowers. What kind of a gift was that? He put his recorder to his lips and started over from the beginning.
The primaries sat under the maple tree at the park. The sky was full of thunderclouds, and so were their faces.
“We’ll have to get home soon. It’s going to pour,” Mike said. “I can smell it.”
“But what are we going to do?” Susannah asked nobody in particular.
“Well, we can’t have it tomorrow, that’s for sure,” Kenya grumbled. “I wish you’d told me you were going to have a puppet show too.”
“Did anybody even ask their parents?” Susannah looked around.
The only one who nodded was Solly. “And my dad asked if we had the permission of the park board.”
“The park board!”
“Who are they?”
“Do you mean we might not be able to do it at all?” Mike wasn’t sure whether to be sorry or relieved.
“We’re trying to use our gifts for God! What went wrong?” Kenya asked.
Solly got a funny look on his face. “Uh-oh.”
“I know what we did. Don’t you remember our lesson two weeks ago? The disciples prayed together, and then they were prepared for service!”
Kenya’s mouth grew round. “That’s right! Jesus told them to stay in the city and not even try to preach or anything until—what was that? They received . . .”
“Power from on high,” Susannah answered. “You’re right, Solly.”
“Well, how about now?” Mike asked.
“Sure, now and here. We want to have the program here, don’t we? Let’s pray together that Jesus will bless this place, and bless us, and bless all the people that will come to hear us.”
“And tell us what to do!” Kenya exclaimed.
So they did.
Then they hurried home as the first drops of rain fell.
Continued next week.