Mystery Solved—Sort Of

By Linda Porter Carlyle

Joseph Anderson Donetti blinked. “Didn’t we paint those walls light gray?” he asked.

“We sure did!” G.M. said. She squatted down and looked at the three big cans still sitting in the middle of the floor. She picked up the one marked “sunshine yellow” on the top. She shook it. “This can is almost empty,” she said. “It was completely full when we left it here yesterday afternoon!”

Mac looked at Trevor with squinty eyes. “Are you sure you don’t know anything about this?” she asked with deep suspicion.

Trevor threw his hands in the air. “Honestly! I don’t know anything!” he exclaimed. “Honestly! But I like the way it looks,” he added with a little grin.

“It doesn’t look bad,” Joseph said, turning all around slowly. “But who would just paint over our color with another color?” he asked. “And without even asking us!”

“Angels!” Mac shouted. Her eyes were bright. “Maybe it was angels who painted the walls yellow!”

“I’m sure that painting walls is definitely something angels could do,” G.M. said, standing up. “But I think we should consider human beings first as we try to solve this mystery.”

“We could look for someone with yellow freckles,” Trevor suggested.

“I don’t know if that will work,” G.M. said, studying the floor. “Whoever put on the yellow paint was a very careful painter. There are hardly any drops of yellow paint at all on the floor. He was probably just as careful not to get paint all over himself too.”

A sudden thought struck Mac. “It had to be somebody who has a key to the church,” she put in. “But that’s not a very helpful clue because there are lots of people who have keys. My dad has a key, but I don’t think he painted the walls yellow.” She paused. “Maybe Pastor Chuck did it.”

“But why?” Trevor asked. “Why would Pastor Chuck paint the walls a different color?”

“Why don’t you go see if Pastor Chuck is in his office?” G.M. suggested.

Joseph, Trevor, and Mac rocketed down the hall.

“Amazing!” Pastor Chuck said as he stood in the doorway and looked at the “sunshine yellow” walls. “They were light gray last night when I looked in here.”

“I like the yellow,” Trevor told him. “But I didn’t do it!” he hastened to add.

“Well, what are we going to do?” Mac asked impatiently. “We came over here to put a second coat of paint on the walls. Are we just going to leave the yellow there, or are we going to paint over it with the light gray, or what?”

G.M. thought for a minute. “What do you guys think?” she asked.

“I’m with Trevor,” Pastor Chuck said. “I kind of like the yellow.”

“It’s not the soothing, restful color the mothers had in mind,” G.M. pointed out.

Just then the door into the Fireside Room banged. “Anybody here?” a cheery voice called out. Mrs. Anderson’s footsteps came down the hall. A big smile stretched across her face. “You found my surprise!” she said.

Mac, Joseph, and Trevor looked at Mrs. Anderson. Then they looked at Pastor Chuck. And then they looked at G.M.

“I did a good, neat job,” Mrs. Anderson said. She reached up to poke some stray hairs back into her bun. “I came early this morning to scrub the kitchen floor. And I looked in here to see how the painting was coming along. And then I thought, ‘I haven’t painted for a long time. I think I’d like to try my hand at it again.’ So I did!”

Mrs. Anderson’s eyes sparkled, and she looked proudly at the walls. “But you did pick a very bright color,” she added.

Joseph choked back a laugh.

“You did a remarkably nice job of painting,” G.M. said kindly. “You have a real professional touch.”

“You don’t even have yellow freckles,” Trevor added.

“It’s bright,” Mac explained, “because we hadn’t decided yet how much yellow we were going to use.”

Mrs. Anderson suddenly looked worried. “Did I do something wrong?” she asked.

“No,” G.M. said quickly. “We artists were just painting the walls a nice background color before deciding on the details of the mural we want to paint. Yellow can be a good background color.”

The frown on Mrs. Anderson’s face disappeared. She rubbed her hands together. “Well, I cleaned the stove yesterday. I scrubbed the floor this morning. Now I’ll wash out the refrigerator, and the church kitchen will sparkle all over. I don’t mind cleaning,” she added, “but it was fun being a little more creative with the paint this morning.” Mrs. Anderson hurried back down the hall.

Mac looked at G.M. “I’m glad we didn’t hurt her feelings,” she said. “She seemed like she really wanted to help out. I mean, we could have told her that she did it all wrong. But that didn’t seem like the right thing to say.”

“I think you all were very tactful,” Pastor Chuck said with a smile. “I’m proud of you. You were encouraging. And it’s very important to encourage everybody in our church family. Someday you’ll be great leaders. Is that the phone I hear?” he asked. And he was gone.

“OK, creative people,” G.M. began, looking at the glowing, yellow walls. “Where do you think we should go from here?”

Everyone was lost in thought for a little while. Then Mac clapped her hands. “I know!” she exclaimed. “I know! I saw a little book once with no words in it. It told the story of salvation with just colors. Maybe we could do that in the Mother’s Room here. Let’s see, we could leave one yellow wall to represent God because the Bible says that God is light. We could paint one wall red to show the blood Jesus shed on the cross for us. We could paint one wall white to show that now we are forgiven and as clean as new snow. And we could paint one wall green to show that we have new life in Jesus! What do you think of that?”

Continued next week

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