Foolish People

By Linda Porter Carlyle

Hannah Maria Estevez sat on the floor, her back against Mac’s couch. She held up a flash card.

“49!” Mac said promptly.

Hannah grinned. “You’re getting really fast,” she said encouragingly. She held up another card. It read, “3 X 12.”

“36!” Mac responded instantly. She untangled her legs from the cross-legged way she had been sitting and stretched them straight out in front of her. “It’s your turn,” she said, reaching across the carpet for the pile of flash cards.

Just then the kitchen door banged. They heard Mr. Evans’s deep voice. “Are those cookies I smell? I knew it! I knew it! I was driving by the house, and the car just turned in and stopped. It must have smelled the cookies too. Sort of like the olden days, I guess, when a horse would turn into the barn because it smelled the hay.”

The girls heard Mac’s mother laugh.

“Dad’s home!” Mac exclaimed, jumping up. “Let’s show him how fast I am now at the multiplication tables.” She hurried down the hall.

Hannah followed. She stopped in the kitchen doorway. Mac’s dad had his arms around his wife. Her head rested on his chest. Hannah watched Mac scurry over to her parents and push under her dad’s arm. There was no way Mac was going to miss out on a hug!

The timer on the stove began to buzz. Mac’s mom gave her husband a quick kiss and turned to pick up a potholder and open the oven door. The spicy smell of molasses cookies rushed out into the room.

Mr. Evans rubbed his hands together. “Ah! A glass of cold milk. A couple of warm cookies. I can hardly wait until supper-time.” He reached over and turned on the little TV that sat on the counter. “I want to see what’s happening with that big storm in the Carolinas,” he said.

The weather channel reporter stood in front of a huge map of the United States. Parts of the map were completely covered with clouds. Especially the eastern part on the right side of the map. “A fierce storm has struck the South Carolina coast,” the reporter said. “There is a great deal of damage in towns along the coast. Here’s an example of what has happened to some unlucky property owners.”

The map disappeared and was replaced by a picture of a house beside the ocean. The house looked as if it had been built on stilts. Wind blew the tall beach grass beside the house almost flat. Rain hammered the house. Waves rose up and pounded it. Suddenly one of the stilts holding the house up collapsed. The house tipped. One wall broke apart, and then the whole house fell down.

“Oh, dear!” Mac’s mom murmured as she stood in the middle of the floor holding the pan of hot cookies. “Those poor people!”

Mr. Evans switched the TV off. “Foolish people is more like it!” he exclaimed. “They have to know what’s going to happen if they choose to build their homes in places like that.”

Mac’s mom put the cookie sheet down and began to lift the cookies with a spatula and put them on the cooling rack. She swatted at her husband’s hand. “You have to wait until after supper,” she said.

“It’s just like the Sabbath School lesson,” Hannah whispered.

“What did you say?” Mr. Evans asked.

“It’s just like the Sabbath School lesson,” Hannah repeated. “The house that was built on the rock and the house that was built on the sand,” she explained.

“Yeah!” Mac exclaimed. “It’s the Sabbath School lesson on the weather channel!”

Mr. Evans leaned again the counter and folded his arms. “You’re right,” he said. “That was certainly a good example of someone who didn’t build his house on the rock!”

“But why do people build houses in places where they will just get washed away in storms?” Mac asked. “It’s dumb!”

“I guess they think they can get away with it,” her dad said. “They probably think something that bad won’t really happen to them. Like people who try to build their lives on something besides Jesus. They think they don’t need Him. But stormy problems come to everyone. And it’s only people who have built their lives on Jesus that don’t fall apart.”

“What will the people do who lived in that house?” Mac asked.

“Well,” her dad answered, “they will either learn their lesson and rebuild somewhere else, or they won’t learn anything from the experience and will build again in the same place.”

“I wouldn’t build my house again in the same place!” Mac exclaimed.

“Of course, you wouldn’t!” Mr. Evans agreed. “You’re a quick learner.”

“Oh!” Mac said, “that reminds me. Ask me one, Hannah!”

“6 X 7,” Hannah said.

“42!” Mac snapped out. She grinned at her dad. “I am quick!”

 

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