Berniece was beside herself. Imagine Vincent, that idiot brother of
hers, leaving two young children all alone while he ran off to do who
knew what in some faraway land. How were two youngsters supposed to
fend for themselves like that? Where was his bubble-brained wife? She
had stopped by on a whim, while doing some business in the area, only
to find the house utterly devoid of adults. Little Trent and Jane were
running around unsupervised, eating whatever they wanted, no discipline
or order to their lives whatsoever. Imagine if Child Services knew
about that! Berniece had insisted that both must come with her to
stay until their parents returned, paying out of her own pocket for the
airfare. They hadn't been too happy at first, but Berniece had allowed
Jane to bring her drawing supplies, and little Trent brought his
plastic guitar, and things had been fairly quiet. The two of them kept
pretty much to themselves, talking quietly with each other, and
Berniece had been certain that her decision had been the right one.
This morning, she had awoken them early and told them to get dressed
for church. Trent had simply said "What?", but little Jane had grabbed
him by the arm and told him to get ready. She had smiled that pure
little smile of hers at her aunt and shut the guest room door. Berniece
had then heard them talking to one another in those low voices they
used most of the time. Trent had laughed; but shortly thereafter, the
two had emerged dressed simply, but their clothes were at least clean.
They smiled at their aunt, and went willingly to the car.
The two dears sat sweetly beside their aunt during the opening
services, not fidgeting once, grinning the whole time. Presently,
Reverend Bonham began to address the congregation.
"It's woderful to have such a large turnout for Easter Sunday. I am
especially pleased to see so many of you youngsters here today." He
turned his gaze to Berniece and the two little ones next to her.
Berniece beamed with pride.
"I wonder," Reverand Bonham continued, "if any of you children know the
reason why we celebrate Easter?"
Little Jane's hand went up like a shot, waving furiously in the air.
Trent did not seem surprised, and continued to grin.
"I know! I know!" cried Jane.
Reverend Bonham smiled at the small girl. "Well! Come on up here with
me and share what you know with everyone!"
Jane bounced out of her seat beside her aunt and rushed to join the
Reverend in the pulpit.
"Well, little one, I don't believe we've seen you here before,"
Reverend Bonham said when she arrived.
"I'm Jane Lane, and my Aunt Berniece brought us here today," Jane said,
her blue eyes sparkling. "That's my brother Trent beside her."
Berniece continued to bask in the glow of such prominent attention.
Trent continued to grin at his sister.
Reverend Bonham gestured to the center of the pulpit. "Alright, Jane,
go on and tell the congregation why we celebrate Easter."
Jane turned and faced the throng of people. "Well, it all started when
Jesus was crucified. You guys know about that?" Laughter rippled
through the church at the precocious child's question.
Jane continued her story. "They buried Jesus in this big cave, and
rolled a big old rock over the front so no one would could get in and
steal his wallet." Another wave of polite laughter rang through the
Jane waited until it was quiet again, and resumed. "Three days later,
some people went up to the cave to check on things, when a miracle
happened. The rock was rolled back, and Jesus was standing outside the
cave, alive and well."
Reverend Bonham smiled, and appeared to be about to speak again, when
Jane gave her brother a barely perceptable wink, and said:
"And then he saw his shadow, and there was six more weeks of winter!"
The entire congregation gasped in shock, and Berniece vowed to herself
that she would never again speak to her brother or his children.