I’m Pink Lady Apple Yeggs, and my friend Deviled Yeggs suggested that I record each project that I set up in the hopes of reforming the people who continue to work for Lily the Pink Enterprises. If for no other reason, it would show how God is at work.
To follow up on the Anna Hill saga, she and Nina are both back at work, but we have shifted the training schedule around so that Dyani can push Nina’s wheelchair and Anna can walk along, still in a soft cast.
I am going to have to consider getting a full-time safety manager. Gwen has been my safety person, but with the tracking of how many lost time days, limited workdays, and such, I may need a professional or promote and train someone already on staff.
Anna was at my door after a graveyard shift. She had opened a file on her Uncle Dalton’s cloud that got her very concerned, but with many mixed emotions. I will let the letter speak for itself.
I wish I could be there to hug and kiss you and help the pain go away. I will be praying for you, but please pray for me. Your misadventure is easily remedied, and I am so glad you are making friends.
My misadventure will change our lives forever. You may wish to sit down, maybe by yourself, to read this.
And unlike in your letter that was marked having come from a Medical Center with you not saying that your were fine, with a slight fracture to your arm near the end… I am fine and those with me are fine, at least in the physical sense. Emotionally, we are basket cases.
As we had discussed the night that you left, I prayed about going on a mission trip myself. I had always wanted to do so, but one thing or another would happen. I turned in my resignation the next morning, but Uncle Dalton refused. He has us both on extended leave so that we do not have a gap in benefits. And, yes, even with you not here, I call him Uncle Dalton. I have just developed a habit.
Uncle Dalton also had contacts with a mission in Africa. They waved the screening processes and lined me up with malaria pills that did not require starting to take them ahead of time. By the end of that week, I was on the edge of the jungle, getting debriefed. I won’t tell you which country, but if you promise not to come here, Uncle Dalton can tell you. I was given a briefing on most of what I needed to know. The most important thing was what they left out of the briefing. We drove as far as we could, and then I walked along with the courier for another full day to get to a remote village next to a river, along the border with another country.
I was introduced to a wonderful family. Abraham was the pastor of the church and the spokes person for the village when visitors would come through. The village had no electricity or cell service. Uncle Dalton expected this and set up the cloud communications so that we can leave letters to and from, but do not get explicit, since Uncle Dalton may also read them from each of us.
Back to Abraham’s family. He never went to college, but he felt a need to serve God after finishing high school at the missionary school. He married Ruth directly out of high school and worked while she went to college. Her village requested a new pastor just as she finished college. Abraham accepted the call, and Ruth became his interpreter, both with the village dialect and with visiting helpers, like me. The country language is French, maybe, an argument has arisen as to whether they should switch to English, but this area was mostly French while Abraham preached in English and Ruth translated. But the local dialects have words added from tribal languages and English. Flemish, and other origins. Ruth excelled in all the required languages. Of course, I have a business degree with a theology minor and my two languages in college were Spanish and German. I relied on Ruth. C’est la vie. Sorry, I am picking up some things.
There are two children: Resurrection, a boy, is four and his sister, Esther, is six-months. Resurrection is so named because he was born when Ruth was about to graduate college. After being born with no problems, he suddenly stopped breathing while they were bathing him there in the delivery room. They bathe the baby before they swaddle him and give him to the mother. But before she had touched her newborn there was no pulse, no breathing, he was considered dead. So that Ruth could say “Good-bye” they placed him on her chest while they cleaned up around her. She told them that she felt the baby move. They told her that corpses often twitch after death. It was natural. Then she said again that the baby was moving. They checked, and indeed, he had revived. As Ruth said, Resurrection emphatically announced his resurrection with a loud cry. Ruth had to leave the hospital to take some of her final exams, but she spent as much time in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU) as was possible. Thus, the name on his birth certificate is Resurrection.
They were in the middle of nowhere when Esther was born. They had a midwife deliver the baby. The church documented the birth, but they never got an official government birth certificate. We are working on that now. Esther was found to be allergic to formula. Ruth was not able to produce enough milk, and the midwife, Jochebed, was able to perform that duty as well. Although there was no electricity, couriers came once each week with supplies, usually by a motorcycle pulling a cart, but the courier walked in with me.
So, here I was the sixth member of the family. My task was to help Abraham with his theology. He and I would swap worship services preaching, but I would tutor him the rest of the time. It was a marvelous arrangement. I had the theological background and Abraham had the calling and Ruth translated. Jochebed was the nanny and wet nurse.
We never really got into a groove in our work together before the troubles came. About a week and a half into our work, a raiding party came from across the border. Abraham went out to ask them what their business was in the village, and they produced a rifle and shot him. He was dead before he hit the ground. With that first weapon being fired, the others started shooting. Jochebed recognized certain things about these visitors and had already bundled the children. I took Resurrection. Jochebed took Esther, and Ruth followed us into the jungle. Jochebed knew the way. We ran as fast as we could with bullets hitting the trees on either side of us.
When we reached a place where there was a spring to replenish our water supply, Jochebed had us stop to catch our breath. Ruth talked to Jochebed. There was something wrong, but she said nothing to me at first, only to Jochebed. Then she came to me and collapsed into my arms. She had been hit in the hail of bullets and she was bleeding out rapidly. With the running, the heart was rapidly pushing all her blood through the wounds.
She said, “Tyler, you have told us that your wife can have no children, at least not for some time. You have two children now, Resurrection and Esther. They are your children. Jochebed knows what to do. Follow her orders until you reach the city. Then take Jochebed and the two children with you back to America. Promise me, Tyler. Keep them safe and teach them about our Lord Jesus. I see my Abraham and the Lord Jesus now. Kiss my children for me. Oh, Jesus! Hallelujah!”
And she breathed her last.
I started to look for a way of burying the body, but Jochebed said, “No! Come! Come!!” Jochebed knows little English. I am sure Ruth taught her “Come!” as her one command, and Ruth told me to follow orders. We left Ruth uncovered. The jungle animals would find her soon. Much later, I learned why Jochebed had us move so quickly. The raiding party would find the blood trail and if they found a single body, they might call off the search. If they found a fresh grave, they would keep following us.
So, we made it to the village at the end of the road. We discovered that a vehicle that had made deliveries was soon to return to the nation’s capitol. We hitched a ride.
Since then, we have spent half our time at the US Embassy that seems to have no good relations with the home country at all. Otherwise, we are staying at the mission headquarters. They apologized for not mentioning that raiding parties might happen. They thought the chances to be too remote and it might scare me off.
I have talked about everyone except Jochebed. She was not originally from the village. Her husband had been the witch doctor of another village further away. He and Jochebed had become Christians. After learning about the ointments and balms in Leviticus, they decided that his potions were similar. He swapped the incantations with prayers and continued his medicinal practice. But a raiding party attacked their village. Only Jochebed escaped. She had lost her husband and four children. She basically volunteered to be the midwife, wet nurse, and potion maker for Ruth’s village. Her language is unlike anything that I have ever encountered, but we find a way of communicating. She is rough around the edges, but if I can get her to keep her upper clothing on and to learn how to use indoor plumbing, we can survive.
At the mission, I have streamlined their local purchasing which will save them some money, and I am writing a few devotions every day to go into the courier pouches. So, I am earning a place for the four of us to lay our heads. The mission staff are putting together the best means of communicating with Jochebed, but my problem is the red tape on both ends. The embassy does not want to do anything since I have not officially adopted the children and Jochebed is not my wife. And the host country has their red tape in getting a birth certificate for Esther, and Jochebed has no idea when she was born, what country she was born in, and of course, no paperwork at all.
But I am duty bound upon the last request of a dying mother. I hope I make it home before your year is finished in Tracy.
Your loving husband, now a father, to my loving wife, now a mother of two children she has never met,
I love you.
I am where I can get onto the internet, so write often and I will let you know if anything is done on this end.
After I read the letter, I looked up to see Anna crying. I had no idea whether they were tears of joy, sadness, or total unmitigated fear. I walked around my desk and offered a hug.
Anna said, “It all seems so impossible. What if he can never find a way home with the others?”
I thought for a moment. Could I ask another favor? Would it require many favors? Would Uncle Dalton have to get involved?
No, my duty was to my employees and whatever strings I could pull, I had to pull them.
I softly said, “I know some people. And the deadbeat from Washington, DC stiffed us without a wedding present. Sure, he was there to ensure security for GrandPa, but I think I can talk him into it.”
Anna pulled away, “Someone who can shove through the red tape?”
“No, dear, someone who avoids the red tape until the job is over. Once Uncle Dalton gives us the contact information, we can have boots on the ground within a few days. Then, the ‘cargo’ that goes onto the plane will not get unpacked until they reach Tracy. That is, if my friend brings me the wedding gift that I request.”
Anna made a confused face. “No criminal mastermind. I would not like that idea.”
I chuckled, “Oh, no, my dear Anna, he is far worse than an organized crime kingpin. He works for our government.”
It did not go as planned. The relations with the host country were so strained, we could not get an unmarked government airplane into the country. We pulled strings with Amy G. Dala. The government commandeered her private jet. Amy went along because she had never been to that part of Africa. To make it seem official, Mashie Niblick and his wife Pauline went in the jet to debrief “agents coming out of deep cover.” They brought along a linguist from the university for Jochebed. With the information that Jochebed and Tyler provided, Hugh McAdoo’s network, that employs Mashie and Pauline on contract, was able to learn important information about paramilitary insurgencies. With some information transferred to the country of Resurrection and Esther Hill’s birth, diplomatic relations were starting to improve, yet still tenuous at best.
The ”spies” came to Lily the Pink and we met in the “jungle” next to the pool, to let the newcomers feel a bit at home. We could not have the reunion at the airport, since four of the passengers were officially “cargo.”
But after a long welcoming kiss from Anna, and a dubious look at a young attractive black woman, Jochebed approached. She bowed before Anna and then started to touch Anna around the waist and her hands roamed lower. Anna wanted to slap her, but Tyler motioned to let Jochebed do her thing.
Jochebed finally stepped back and turned to Tyler. “Your woman is ready to have children. You go to mating now. She have child soon, but you must not delay.”
Anna, still with her soft cast, was puzzled that someone placing her palms against her abdomen could know such things. Tyler was puzzled in that Jochebed had never said that much English in his presence before. I was delighted in that I had reserved a large apartment on the second floor where the homeless families overflowed from our local mission.
Jochebed looked upset, “Go, go, no delay!”
Tyler and Anna smiled. Tyler grabbed Anna and started running as Anna directed him. After all, he had sworn to Ruth that he would follow Jochebed’s orders, up to a point. It did not matter that all in attendance knew what was going on. Nina and Dyani cheered them as the young married couple ran up the stairs.
As they disappeared, Mashie and Pauline Niblick emerged, carrying slumbering children. Pauline asked, “Where have the parents gone?” There would be time the next morning to introduce Resurrection and Esther to their new mother. That would be yet another process.
Then as Sandy Beech, my head of security, guided Jochebed and the Niblicks to the Hill apartment, I realized that teaching Jochebed would be an even harder process. Other than her time at the mission headquarters, Jochebed had never been in a modern apartment. She had never dealt with a key. She had never had to answer a door when someone knocked. I looked around and thought she would be more comfortable in a hammock in Zuzka’s artificial jungle.
Hmmm. When the language issues are resolved, maybe Jochebed can suggest some good plants to grow to give it a true jungle feel. Maybe Jochebed might need some of them for her potions. And little did we know that the jungle idea to hide the structure holding up the greenhouse roof and hide the suspended water troughs that are already growing water lilies, that we would need this jungle to help a few transplants adapt to a strange new world.
In all my years of running a cider house while my employees were also working as prostitutes, we had never had a birth at Lily the Pink other than my own, giving birth to Boaz Salmon Yeggs, the present mayor of Tracy. At least no births that I knew of. But Boaz was whisked away to a monastery. I already had a day care for the homeless families. With Callie and Pauline pregnant and needing day care services, I might get to take care of the little ones myself. This was going to get interesting. But then, what does an uneducated young woman from Africa know, simply by a simple touch?
And Tyler explained the younger-than-expected Jochebed the next day. She had four children, all before the age of eighteen, the first of them a few days after her fourteenth birthday. She had been “payment” for witch doctor services. So, she was only a year or two older than Tyler.
Jochebed was the mother of Moses. When Pharaoh’s daughter found the basket and Moses inside, she asked where she could find a wet nurse, and of course, Miriam suggested that she knew just the person. Of course, the perfect person to be a wet nurse would be the child’s birth mother.
I have watched some television show where a PhD chemical engineer explains a topical ointment described in Leviticus, breaking it down into anti-inflammatories, antiseptics, etc. Some tribal “cures” have the same types of properties. Crude, but to a limited sense, effective.
I kept the country vague. There are some countries in the area of the jungles of Africa where the official language is English, some French, and others disputing between the two. Of course, with European colonization and many tribal languages, the official language may only apply to the government and major businesses and business centers. There are usually a few languages and dialects within those outside the business and government centers. In the area where the jungles of Africa are located, the Niger-Congo family of languages are most common, but that does not narrow it down by much.
I try to make the murder mysteries as free from violence as possible. For you murder mystery lovers, my usual stories are closer to the “cozy mystery” than the “hard-boiled detective.” But in this case, I had to be true to what is going on in certain countries, with Muslim extremists, and others, expanding territory of influence by gunning down peace loving Christians. To know more or to donate or to start receiving a free magazine from the Voice of the Martyrs, go to www.Persecution.com
Lily the Pink is one of my favorite silly songs. It is adaptable for adding new verses, as long as the “cure” is far from what was wanted or expected. Although The Scaffold, a group that wrote the song, has a very British version, I prefer the Irish Rovers version, with a few of the same verses.
The writers of the song are the members of The Scaffold: John Gorman (comedian), Mike McGear (a pseudonym, really Paul McCartney’s brother), and Roger McGough (poet). The Scaffold had back singers and musicians to fill out the “band” that included a young Elton John, Jack Bruce, and Graham Nash. The song is based on a poem written about snake oil sold in the USA under the label of Lydia Pinkham’s Vegetable Compound, with a picture of a sweet young girl on the label. The poem states that the snake oil is sold by this face that only wants to love others.
The chorus of the song is:
We’ll drink a drink, a drink
To Lily the Pink, the Pink, the Pink
The savior of the human race
For she invented medicinal compound
Most efficacious in every case
Of course, Jesus is the Savior of the human race, and He cured people rather than selling them snake oil that promised cures that did not work.