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Smoking in the. . .Sanctuary?!

WHO in the WORLD would be so disrespectful as to smoke in the sanctuary of a church?!

Let me introduce you to my youngest sister, Mary Ellen. You’d think that someone named after her sweet maternal grandmother (Ellen) and her totally loveable aunt (Mary Golden) would inherit some of their sweet, lovesble traits. You poor, naive readers—although, to be totally fair, Mary Ellen wasn’t exactly smoking in the sanctuary. Here’s what happened. . .

My Dad was pastoring a small, mission church in small town Ohio back in the mid-to-late ‘70’s. Mary Ellen was the only little one there for a while, so of course, she was the church baby. Spoiled. Rotten. The small congregation was more like an extended family, and Mary Ellen was at home with everyone. This particular Sunday morning, she slipped away from one of her admirers, but instead of going back to where Mom was sitting, Mary Ellen decided to put on a little show.

The next thing Mom knew, Dad was saying, (from the pulpit, mind you—where he was preaching) “Ruby, you need to come and get this baby.” Mom looked up from her Bible and there was Mary Ellen, standing in front of the step leading to the podium, a long piece of white chalk between her fingers, puffing away with the practiced ease of a 1940’s movie siren.

No one in our family even smokes! We have no idea where she got that—a remnant of her misspent babyhood, no doubt.

And that’s not the only time this precocious two-year-old disrupted a church service. But that is a story for another day.

Don’t miss the rest of the Stories My Family Tells as I Write 31 Days this October. Click here to check out the wide range of topics from a wide range of writers. Hey, it’s not too late for you to join us!

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  1. I’m really enjoying these stories. Thank you for the laugh today 🙂

  2. briarhopper

     /  October 4, 2015

    So glad you’re enjoying them. Mary Ellen really was a little stinker at that age. One of the elderly ladies at church was always patting her on the shoulder and saying, “Salt wouldn’t save her.” 😃

  3. Too funny! You know what they say about those preacher’s kids.. ha! My brother, at about that same age, crawled under the seat and bit the ankle of the older lady sitting in front of my parents. I think he may have gotten his behind swatted for that one. (we weren’t preacher’s kids, just grandkids, which brought enough expectations of it’s own.) Loving this series.

    • briarhopper

       /  October 10, 2015

      Thanks, Teresa. So glad you are enjoying the stories, and let me know. Believe me, I know what they say about PK’s! Your bit about your brother made me laugh. I guess there is a reason kids are known as ankle biters!

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