The Fluffy Top Epiphanies

The Fluffy Top Epiphanies

A Story by Easter3

Amazingly unexpected things take place at the Fluffy Top Cafe......

The heavy oak wood doors in front of Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church popped open with the congenial, lilting chatter and laughter of the Women’s Auxiliary Group.  The twelve women met every other Wednesday to attend to the Church and Community outreach programs that they were proudly in charge of.

“Say, Peggy Joy, why don’t you and I stop by the Fluffy Top Café, and grab ourselves a quick cup of coffee, and one of Roxanne’s famous cinnamon rolls,” Janet Lynn suggested.

“Um, umm. ! Now, how can I say no to that ?  That woman makes the best tastin’ cinnamon rolls this side of the Red River,”  Peggy Joy answered.
“I am so glad that I hitched a ride with you to the meetin’ today, Janet Lynn, because you are always comin’ up with such good suggestions afterwards.”

As the two women drove toward the town square of Cut-’n’Shoot, Peggy Joy said, “I sure did enjoy that Tent Revival that we had last week.  That Preacher really knew how to keep everybody’s attention, and he really seemed to know his Bible.”

“Yes, but I’m not really a Hell Fire and Brimstone kind of gal, Peggy Joy.  Now, mind you, he sure scared everybody into listenin’ to and Amenin’ him with all of his talk of hell and damnation, and the devil and all of his demons runnin’ amuck in the world, and all of the signs of the End Time bein’ upon us.  But I’m more of a “Jesus Loves You and Everybody Else” kind of gal.  I want the lions to lay down cuddlin’ with the sheep, and for the World to be at Peace, and filled with rainbows and angels singin’ on high.”  Janet Lynn explained.  “I don’t wanna’ be scared into Heaven.  I wanna’ be Loved out of Hell.”

“Peggy Joy gave her best friend one of her famous sidelong looks with a crooked eyebrow.  “I sure hope that you don’t repeat that to anyone else in the Ladies Auxiliary.  You’re libel to be banned as a Heretic.”

Janet Lynn and Peggy Joy both burst out into good-hearted laughter at one another, just as Janet Lynn was pulling into a vacant slot across the street from the Fluffy Top Café.
“The Fluffy Top is always so busy.  I can never seem to get here when there’s a parkin’ place left in front of the Café,”  Janet Lynn complained.

The two friends entered Fluffy Top with the familiar jingle of the bells strung along the front door signaling their arrival.

“How are you girls doin’?”  A tall and pleasantly plump woman announced as she strode across the noisy and busy room to greet Peggy Joy and Janet Lynn.  She gave each woman a warm hug.  “Long time no see.”

“Well, if the family and I came to the Fluffy Top as often as we liked, Cherry, we’d all be as big as barn doors,” Peggy Joy answered.

“Wouldn’t we all,”  Janet Lynn agreed. “How are Butch and your boys doin’ these days, Cherry ?”

“Fine, fine.  And how are your better halves and your young ones doin’?”  Cherry asked.

“Oh, everybody’s just fine,”  Janet Lynn and Peggy Joy answered almost simultaneously.

All three women laughed together briefly. “Well, y’all follow me, and I‘ll see whether or not I‘ve got a place to put y‘all right now..  Let’s see, I’ve got just the place for y’all.  How about over there in the corner by the window ?”  Cherry pointed over to the big paned window overlooking a lovely oak and pecan tree grove full of wild birds and a few squirrels running up and down the trees.

“Oh, that’s just perfect, Cherry,” Peggy Joy cooed.  “And we won’t be needin’ a menu.  Just a cup of y’all’s delicious coffee, and one of 
Roxanne’s luscious cinnamon rolls.”

“Wonderful.  Y’all just make yourselves comfortable and I’ll be right back with your orders, ladies,”  Cherry said as she whisked away to the other side of the Café.

“If we have time Peggy Joy, maybe we could do a little window shoppin’ before we pick up the kiddos at the elementary school this afternoon.  I sure would like to take a gander at some of the antique and art shops along the Square today.  I never seem to have enough time to do simple little things like that anymore,”  Janet admitted.

“Who does ?  Now, how are you and Billy Bob doin’?”  Peggy Joy asked pointedly.

“What have you heard ?”  Janet Lynn asked with surprised embarrassment as she nervously perused the room to see whether or not anyone was listenin’ in on their conversation.

“Henry Lee told me all about Billy Bob losin’ his job unexpectedly at the Plant last month,” Peggy Joy said in a low voice.  She was supremely aware of how damaging town gossip based on half-truths, twisted truths or no truths at all could be, and did not want to embarrass her friend.  She merely wanted to be of help if she could.

“Billy Bob losin’ his Foreman’s job has surprised everyone at the Plant.  No one there can figure it out.  Everybody always talks about what a good and fair Foreman Billy Bob is - I mean, was,”  Peggy Joy corrected herself.  “What happened ?”

“Well, a few months back the Frackin’ Folks came by our Farm, and offered us a lot of money to let them run their tar-and-sands pipeline through our back pasture,”  Janet Lynn began.  “Billy Bob and I talked it over, and researched everything we could find on frackin’, and decided that the possibility that it might ruin our Water Table and our Land for ourselves, our Children, and everyone else around us for years to come for short term monetary gain, made it a non-starter.  So, Billy Bob told the Frackin’ Folks, ’thank you, but no’.”

“Here we are, girls.  Two cups of coffee and Roxanne’s famous cinnamon rolls,”  Cherry announced as she set everything up on the table for Janet Lynn and Peggy Joy.  “I remembered that both of you gals like cream, but no sugar.  So, I brought you a boatload of creamers.”

“Oh, Cherry, thank you.  I promise you that we’ll put it to good use,”  Janet Lynn replied.

“Oh my, would you just look as those rolls.  I do believe that they get bigger and bigger each and every year.  They are a meal all by themselves,“ Peggy Joy said enthusiastically.

“Well, you girls, enjoy.  I’ll be back a little later to check on you,”  Cherry said as she sidled over toward another table with her ever ready pot of coffee.

“What do the Frackin’ Folks have to do with Billy Bob’s job ?”  Peggy Joy asked as soon as Cherry was gone.

“I’m gettin’ to that.  Just hold your horses,”  Janet Lynn answered a little snappishly.  “About a month after Billy Bob told the Frackin’ Folks ‘no’ regarding their offer, Billy Bob’s Boss called him into his office to tell him how much he appreciated the good job he was doin’ at the Plant.  And then proceeded to suggest that it would be a good idea for Billy Bob to reconsider the offer the Frackin’ Folks had made on our Land.”

“Mr. Boggs said that it was a good business deal that would bring some temporary jobs into the Community as a whole, as well as bringin’ some extra money our way.  That it was a win-win situation for everyone.”

“Well, Mr. Boggs made a good point, Janet Lynn.  Now, I must admit that a lot of folks around here that have been made that very same offer for their Land are split right down the middle as to what to do, because they’re afraid of how it might poison their Property and their Water Aquifers, too.   But the money makes the offer from the Frackin’ Corporation mighty attractive, and hard to turn down.”  Peggy Joy said.

“Did Boggs let Billy Bob go because he wouldn’t sell his land to the Frackin’ Folks ?’  Peggy Joy asked pointedly.  “That’s illegal isn’t it?”

“Yes, it is, but Mr. Boggs is a member of the Cut-‘n-Shoot City Council, as you well know, and it can’t be proved that the rejected offer was the reason he let Billy Bob go, Peggy Joy.  Mr. Boggs told Billy Bob that business was slow, that some cut-backs were goin’ to have to be made.  And that he was sorry, but Billy Bob was gonna’ have to be the first to go.”  Janet said shortly.

“This is not right.  I’m gonna’ tell Pastor Wright to have a chat with that ‘ole Boggs, so that Billy Bob can get his job back, Janet Lynn,”  Peggy Joy said hotly.  “Who does that man think he is.  You and Billy Bob have four children to raise and think about.  Besides that Land and Water are y’alls.  Not Boggs’s, and not the Frackin’ Corporation’s.”

“No, no don’t go gettin’ the Pastor involved in this.  Billy Bob would wring my neck if he knew that I was talkin’ to anyone about this.,”  Janet Lynn begged.  “And the whole thing has gotten a lot more complicated.  We got a letter from the City Council’s lawyer sayin’ that they were thinkin’ about takin’ our Land anyway through Imminent Domain.”

“Imminent Domain ?”  Peggy Joy repeated incredulously.  “But that Law is only supposed to be used over private properties needed for the Public Good.  How is using this Law to steal your Land, that’s been in your Family for over four generations, for a pipeline that might poison the Water Table and the Land it runs through to pump finite Toxic Energy for a finite Profit to sell primarily to Folks overseas for the Public Good ?  For anybody’s long term Good for that matter ?”

“You’re preachin’ to the choir, Peggy Joy,”  Janet Lynn said sighing, and pausing to take a bite of her cinnamon roll.  “Billy Bob’s parents, and mine, taught us to be Stewards of the Land and Water.  To cherish it, and take good care of it.  To Give back to it what it Gave, and Gives to us.”

“Yes, I know, Janet Lynn.  Henry Lee and I feel the same way about our Farm Land and the Water Aquifer.  Especially since the whole state has been sufferin’ a little more each year through this long drought we’re in.  In fact, one of our Water Wells ran dry.  The one at our house.  So, we’ve had to go onto City Water.  It’s just an added expense, just when we’re makin’ less, and having to spend more, on our animal stock and all of the crops that we’ve planted that have dried up in the fields due to lack of the Water to sustain them,”  Peggy Joy took a large gulp of her coffee, and scooped a large piece of her cinnamon roll into her mouth.  “It’s been hard.  So, I can understand why you and Billy Bob told those Frackin’ Folks to go fly a kite.”

“To tell you the truth, Peggy Joy, I’d rather put Wind Turbines or Solar Panels on our property to help the state‘s, and the country’s Energy problems, than to mess around with that poisonous sludge they wanna’ drag across the center of America, and the back of our property,”  Janet Lynn added.

“You have always been a Tree Hugger, Janet Lynn,”  Peggy Joy smiled impishly at her friend.

“I know I am.  I’ve been accused of, and teased incessantly about it my entire life.  And never understood why, until I had to sit down and listen to that  Hell Fire and Brimstone Preacher last week.  Because, it seems to me that if we are to Love everybody, that it’s just as important to Love the Earth and all of its flora and fauna, too, because it’s our Home.  And everyone knows that you Protect and take Good Care of your Home so that it will take Good Care of and Protect you,”  Janet Lynn mused.  “You would think that folks who call themselves Christians would feel that way about the Earth, because God made it.  But a lot of ‘em don’t.  So, it got me to wonderin’ why not.”

“You have always been a rengade, Janet Lynn…

“Peggy Joy, this has nothin’ to do with bein‘ rebellious.  No, it has to do with researchin’ the Bible, and Bible History.  How can Christian peoples who have been raised to think that Hell is located at the very Center of the Earth, ever really Love or Honor Earth as a Home ?”  

“The answer is that they can‘t, because it‘s been drilled into them that the boilin’ hot Center of the Earth is the Home of Evil.  The Home of Lucifer - of Satan, himself. And so those Beliefs have created somethin’ like a  cognitive dissonance, that allows Human Bein‘s to be destructive within their very own Nest !”  Janet Lynn exclaimed.

“You and I are Protestants, Peggy Joy.  We’re from Puritanical stock and traditions,”  Janet Lynn continued.  “When our European, Puritanical ancestors came over to escape to a new and better life here in America, they were scared to death of the deep and far reachin’ Forests that were here when they first arrived.”

“The scholars of that time, I think it was around the 17th century, wrote about the mysterious and dangerous presence of the seemingly endless Forests of the New Lands that they were here to colonize.  That the Forests were a place where the demons of the Devil slipped out of Hell to possess and torment any unsuspecting‘ fool who wandered around in ‘em,”  Janet Lynn paused.  “So, because they feared the Forest they began to believe and Preach that it was filled with Demons and the Evil Workin’s of Satan.  And eventually that led to ugly finger pointin’, and Witch burnin’s, drownin‘, stonin’s and pressin’s, just because folks Thought or Acted differently from everybody else in the Community or went up against the Powers that Be.  All of that ugliness was all over bein’ Afraid of one thing or another in an unfamiliar place.”

“The Land became their Evil Enemy to conquer, not God’s Garden of Eden to Love and Cherish.  And that profoundly destructive tradition, which is unspoken for the most part in today’s world, is what I think allows Christian people to not blink over the poisonin’ and killin’ of Earth’s Natural Resources, like our Water and our Land, and all of the other livin’ creatures on Earth.  Human Bein’s included.  Most Christians believe that we are living on top of Hell.  A Hell we need to conquer and overcome.  Not that the Earth is our Home, and should be treated as such.  That the Earth is another one of God‘s Livin’ things with finite resources that need to be Seen as preciously Sacred.  Imagine how different the world would be if we saw the Earth as bein‘ just as Sacred as our Churches or our Temples.”

“Well, where do you think that Hell is, Janet Lynn ?”  Peggy Joy asked sincerely.

“Somewhere else.  And I’m not so sure that it’s a fiery place.  It might be cold as ice, because I see Hell as separation from God,”  Janet Lynn answered.

“And all of this talk about the Rapture and the End Times.  We’ve got people creatin’ compounds and underground livin’ spaces all over the place, and armin’ themselves to the teeth, in order to survive somethin’ that they are bringin’ about, knowingly or unknowingly, through their very own Thought Patterns and Actions, Peggy Joy,”  Janet Lynn whispered.  “Our fear-based Thought Patterns, our Bad Habits and destructive Actions are what are bringin’ on the End Times, Peggy Joy.”

“Why, we even have Christians and Jews pushin’ to rebuild the Ancient Temple of the Jews on the very spot where a Muslim Mosque now exists in Jerusalem.  They want to tear down the Mosque to rebuild somethin’ from the long gone past.  Israel has even gone and named itself a Jewish State because of all this Caliphate Chaos and murderin’ goin’ on in the Middle East right now.  They’re all creatin’ more and more tension in that part of the world over somethin’ that existed thousands of years ago,”  Janet Lynn’s voice grew a little louder.  “How insanely ridiculous is that ?”

“If you ask me, sometimes I think that we prefer Hell to Heaven, because we think that it’s more excitin‘,”  Peggy Joy interjected.

“I think you’re right, Peggy Joy.  I think that it’s the worst and most destructive parts of ourselves that are the world’s demons at work on this beautiful planet of ours.  And we just use the Devil - The Great Deceiver and Essence of Evil as an excuse to do it and get away with it,”  Janet Lynn said emphatically.

“The Bible doesn’t tell us that the End Times are near,”  Janet Lynn continued.  “The Preachers of Hell Fire and Brimstone that interpret the Bible do.  I’ll declare, it’s like hangin’ on to a long and hateful grudge.  Over time the hate festers and rots the very Soul of everybody and everything it touches.  And we just keep on passin’ all of that hate and fear on down to every generation, and callin‘ it God‘s Will.  Now, that’s what I call evil.”

“You really did not like that Revival Preacher that the Reverend brought in last week did you ?  You have been broodin’ over that man’s sermons ever since he folded up his tent and left Cut-’n‘Shoot, Janet Lynn.”  Peggy Joy leaned over and whispered, “Listen, don’t you dare repeat any of this to the Auxiliary Ladies at the Church.  They don’t know you like I do and they, and the whole congregation, for that matter, are libel to take it the wrong way.  You and Billy Bob have enough problems on your plate as it is”

“Don’t worry, I won’t,”  Janet Lynn smiled wryly.  “If I did, I’d never be able to attend another Church meetin’ or barbeque.  I’d be too afraid of bein’ the main menu.  Ha !”

“Speakin’ of barbeque,”  Peggy Joy said, taking her last bite of cinnamon roll.  “Why don’t you and Billy Bob come on over to our house this weekend for dinner, and we’ll all put our heads together, and see what we can do about helpin’ Billy Bob to find a new job.  Maybe we can even find a way to get y’all out from under this Frackin’ mess.”

“Are you sure, Peggy Joy ?”  Janet Lynn asked.  “Billy Bob and I don’t want to be an imposition or a burden on anyone else.  Besides, it means that I’d also have to tell Billy Bob that I discussed all of this mess with you.  And I guarantee that news will not make him a happy camper. ”

“Well, you’ll just have to ‘fess up, girl.  Because y’all need a little Helpin’ Hand right now.  Y’all would do it for us.  So, what’s all the fuss about ?”  Peggy Joy insisted.

“Have I told you how much I Love and Cherish you and Henry Lee, lately, Peggy Joy ?”  Janet Lynn asked with tears in her eyes.

“Nope, but if you Love and Cherish me as much as you do God’s Green Earth, you won’t hear any complaints from me,”  Peggy Joy said, as she and Janet Lynn got up from their empty plates, laid a big tip on the table for Cherry, and headed for Fluffy Top’s cash register.



© 2014 Easter3

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Liberty Hill, TX

Leah Sellers is a native Texan who has enjoyed four varied careers in her lifetime as a: Secondary Education teacher in the fields of English, History, Journalism and Special Education, an Activity di.. more..