While I worked with the new senior pastor of the trendy Revive the World Church, who happened to be my father, and the secret first son of the founder, Pastor Annie, his wife got a visit from an unexpected leader of the church.
No other than Pastor Sade, the property manager of the resort. She’s the same woman Brother Julius called on to help accommodate us on our first day.
My mum wasn’t the very outgoing type, though ironically, she could be loud and playful at home, and with people she found common ground. Since Sunday, just days earlier when we were introduced in the church, she had been morose. Beside the bad dream she continued to have, none of the many visitors from different departments of the church made any impression on her. Dad had complained she was refusing to adapt but I could only imagine the internal feelings she battled with daily.
Pastor Sade was asked to sit in the guest parlour downstairs while Mama Pepper went to fetch Mum.
Annie frowned. “What does she want?”
Mama Pepper shrugged. “Ah, Mammy, I don’t know. She’s one of the rich women in the church.”
I forgot to mention Mama Pepper was one of the nosiest people on earth, and I loved her to bits. Already. She wasn’t educated in any formal way, but she knew her job, and did it well. In addition, she made good observations and was never afraid to tell.
“Well, tell her I’m coming.”
It took Mum over an hour to get to the visitor. Pastor Sade stood when she entered, and curtseyed.
“Good morning, Pastor Annie.”
As formal as can be, and my mother did not take the cue. She looked at the silver-plated wall clock. “Oh, it’s still morning. Good morning. You’re welcome.”
She noticed the drink and snacks earlier served and nodded subconsciously before she took a seat right across the room from her guest.
Sade sat. “I hope I didn’t wake you up.”
Annie arched her eyebrow. “At almost twelve?” She pressed her lips together. “No, I was wide awake.”
Sade clasped her hands. “I wanted to come earlier, but a lot has been going on, many people moving here and there.” She paused. “I hope you like the house.”
My mother wanted to snap, tell her if she didn’t like the house, what would have happened. Instead, she sucked in her breath.
“It’s a beautiful house, thank you.”
“I personally supervised the re-decoration.” Sade looked around. “I wasn’t sure about the colours you liked but from our meeting last time, you struck me as a very conservative person.”
Annie also looked around. She didn’t think the décor or colours were conservative but she nodded. “They are beautiful.”
Sade stood. “I want to walk you round the house. There are parts we didn’t quite finish. I left them on purpose because I wanted to put just what you want.”
Annie remained seated. “Pastor Sade, please sit down.”
The other woman hesitated but obliged.
“This whole house,” Annie spread her hands as wide out as possible, “is too big for my family. We are more than happy with what you have done here.”
“But really, some rooms upstairs were left unpainted. The walls were just screeded and—”
“Please ma, we’re very okay.”
Sade stared with her mouth open for some seconds, then sighed. “I also brought a collection of artworks. I didn’t want to hang them up until you arrive and we can do it together.”
“Yes,” Sade nodded. “Paintings. They are really beautiful and—”
“You bought them?”
“It was part of the budget for the interior designs. I just didn’t want to hang them up till you arrived.”
Annie scoffed. “How much did you buy them?”
“They were just a part of a whole lot of purchases—”
“Did you not get a receipt?”
“Well, yes. There are different types. We got one for every room in the house, different shapes and concepts.”
“So, the most expensive is how much?”
Sade smiled. “Well, I’ll say the cheapest was about sixty-five thousand and some change.”
“And the highest price?”
“Half a million.”
Annie jumped to her feet. “Thank you, Pastor Sade. You have been very good. My family loves God, and we are very modest. Besides, the church has benefitted us more than you can imagine. Thank you but you can go with the artwork or any other money you want to spend on the house.” She tented her hands and pressed her lips together. “Bye.”
Sade shook her head once to probably shake off the heat on her face, and the extent of her embarrassment. After a moment, thick silence hung in the air like a smoke, she stood, and curtseyed.
“Thank you, ma. Bye.”
Her stilted heels rang through the house and in Annie’s brain long after she was gone.
When my mother related the story, a different kind of heat engulfed me. I didn’t think Mum handled the woman well.
Photo credit: https://pixabay.com/en/ready-vicar-church-religion-faith-1153149/