I’m Detective Staff Sergeant Deviled Yeggs. I work homicide in the big city of Tracy. My partner is Jim Wednesday. Poached Yeggs, homicide detective and my nephew, has been working with Jim and me.
“Okay, everyone, that is how I usually start my reports, but this is a sermon, not a report. There will be a report at the end, in my usual style, to explain why our pastor asked me to do this. Since that little intro gave me a little familiarity to start with, it calmed the butterflies. As Cathie mentioned, I am filling in for Rev C.S.L. today at his request. I had worked yesterday at the office. I got a call from my wife, Trinity Naomi, but Glyce to some of you. She was helping at the hospital. I went by there late last night. I found out that Rev C.S.L. was alone with Dot Com, running the downtown mission. It was a little past midnight when I stuck my head in the door at the mission. Rev C.S.L. said that it was wonderful that I stopped by and, by the way, can you preach tomorrow, I mean today. With everything going on, half the residents are in a panic and the other half seem to have gone off their rocker or off the wagon. If I sleep at all, I will be lucky, and with all my backup plans being pastors who are preaching today, I cannot leave. Please, Deviled. Just talk about what you do and why you do it.”
There was a murmur from the crowd. The usuals were in attendance. Easter, Jemima, and a young college professor, who was probably Dr. Elvira Quinn, were near the front, with Lilith, Gisele, and Captain Hart on one side and my wife, Glyce, and our other two children on the other side. But oddly, half the precinct was there, too. Even Poached was there with Callie and Scarlet Ibis. The Pink Lady contingent had many from Lily the Pink that usually went to other churches or no church at all. The place was packed with visitors. Some were there for my special announcement, but some had no idea what was going on. But if they came to hear me, how did they find out? I suspected Gisele. As the secretary at our precinct, she seemed to know everything that went on, everywhere in Tracy. And she also seemed to have a knack for manipulating some of the things that went on. But really, if I survived this, it was one hundred percent the Holy Spirit at work.
After looking around the room and not finding a space for anyone to sit, and a few folding chairs in the aisles. I started, “I also want to thank Cathie for the wonderful prayer of illumination. Right now, I need a lot of that. And thank you for reading my changed Scripture, Genesis 30.”
I looked around the room and there were a few snickers, but a few groans.
“Yes, I chose that Scripture, not exactly children friendly, but they are off at their little service with the planned sermon title as their focus. I chose Genesis 30, because Rachel took matters into her own hands. Leah had four sons, Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah. Rachel was barren. As the chapter begins, Rachel gave Jacob her servant and Jacob has two sons with her, Bilhah. Not to be outdone, Leah gave Jacob her servant, Zilpah, and she had two more sons. Then Reuben shows up with the mandrakes. Rachel demands the mandrakes. Leah is put out with her younger sister. Rachel always demanding when Rachel had what Leah could never have, the love of her husband. But Rachel is so frantic to get the mandrakes, she trades sleeping with her husband for the mandrakes.”
“The Bible does not say that mandrakes were a hallucinogenic drug if prepared the right way. It could only be that Rachel wanted the mandrakes since the local false god worshippers said it brought fertility, but then why give up your conjugal bed with your husband to gain fertility from the root of a plant, a plant that God had created? God saw Leah’s plight and Leah gave birth to two more sons, Issachar and Zebulon. And Rachel still had nothing. Rachel had taken matters into her own hands in giving Jacob Bilhah to sleep with, but that did not get Rachel pregnant. She gave up her bed with Jacob for a false god in the form of mandrakes, but that did not work either. Rachel trusted all the wrong things. She would steal her father’s false gods, his idols, when Jacob and family left Laban’s employ in the middle of the night.”
“Before I tie this in with my life, I am a Yeggs, in a long line of Yeggs. A yegg is a safe cracker and my family was cracking safes since safes were first invented. If someone had a safe to keep their treasures in, the treasures must be worth something. But my brother, Scrambled and I, decided that we would break the mold, but when my Dad did not appear for a court date, my mother lost the bakery that she had mortgaged to get Dad out on bond. Scrambled roamed from one thing to another, rudderless. I vowed to redeemed the entire family by becoming a cop. A couple of years ago, my wife said that each individual must redeem themselves and my life’s goal was silly, but even then I pressed on. I had taken the matter into my own hands and I had to resolve it.
“As a cop I quickly gravitated toward homicide. People at the church here have asked me what it is like working with the worst criminals on the face of the earth. I can hear the groans from my homicide team and the other police officers. I work with them, not the criminals. And to be honest, many murderers are not lifelong criminals. Some are, but most get into a situation that they do not know how to get out of, and they take matters into their own hands.
“My father missed a court date, and my mother lost her bakery. Why? My Dad took matters into his own hands to pay my mother back by stealing from one more bank, but the tunnel collapsed, trapping him, and he missed the court date. He went to prison and did everything he could do to stay there. He could not forgive himself for causing our mother to lose the business that had been in her family for a couple of generations. But the prison released him anyway. Trinity Naomi got him to the mission, and they hired him as the bouncer. He made sure people were not using drugs or alcohol. As a condition of employment, he had to take counseling sessions. He became a Christian, and since God had forgiven him, he finally forgave himself. He fell in love with Maeve, the counselor and they married last year. My Dad’s given name is Thousand-Year-Old Yeggs. Maeve calls my Dad, Thou. No KJV English, just short for Thousand.
“My sermon, if you can call it that, is that when you take matters into your own hands, and you do not rely on God to do what God does, you waste a lot of time. You miss the point entirely. Rachel would eventually have two sons, Joseph and Benjamin, but I do not know if she ever trusted God. My Dad trusts God, but last night, it got rather shaky. I will give it in my usual report style.
“Dad was watching a golf match on television when Maeve came into the room. She said, ‘Thou, we need to go to the hospital now. You are about to become a father again.’
Dad shrugged, ‘It’s probably those Branson Chicks they told us about. You aren’t due for another few weeks.’
Maeve huffed, ‘Those are Braxton Hicks, but I am getting real contractions, fairly far apart, but they are real ones.’
Dad asked, ‘But this is your first time. Are you sure?’
Maeve screamed, ‘Yes, I’m sure! What part of MY WATER BROKE do you not understand?!’
Dad shrugged, ‘You didn’t say that until now. Is that important?’
Maeve growled, ‘I may be new to this, but you have two grown sons, and did you learn anything in those classes we took together?!’ Dad stared at the floor. ‘What did I see in you? Honestly! You love Jesus, but right now, you need to prove that you love me by getting a move on.’
Dad grumbled, ‘You don’t complain when I keep the house clean and unplug the toilets.’
‘And do not get a mop and clean the puddle in the kitchen. Grab our bags. We are leaving!’
Glyce came into the room. ‘I heard from the hallway. Put your bags in my SUV, I’ll drive.’ Within three blocks of leaving the mission, they were in gridlock.
Maeve asked, ‘This is Saturday, right?! Why so much traffic?’
Glyce remembered, ‘There’s a big hockey game today. Tracy is barely in position to make the playoffs, but the best team in the league is in town. They want a blue out, everybody wearing blue.’
Maeve screamed in pain. ‘Now that was a real contraction. Are we just stuck in traffic? Isn’t your SUV hooked up with a siren and lights?’
Glyce replied, ‘Yes, see that switch there? That turns on both, but Dev tells me that if I flip that switch, I am impersonating a police officer and I could go to jail.’
Maeve reached over and flipped the switch. ‘You didn’t do it; I did. Are they going to arrest a woman in labor?’
From the backseat, Dad said, ‘We need to turn around. They have two lady’s toilets clogged at the mission.’
‘Not now, Dad!’ Glyce yelled. Maeve added, ‘Turn your phone off or you will be eating it!’
Maeve then added, ‘I am wondering what I ever saw in you, Thou. You seem worthless as a father. Did you not learn anything with your first two?’
Dad replied, ‘My wife said I was worthless and kicked me out of the labor room with Scrambled. Then with Deviled, I was in jail at the time. Our neighbor got my wife to the hospital and babysat Scrambled. But, Maeve, you said I was wonderful nine months ago.’
Maeve said, ‘Don’t remind me, Thou. I was on my honeymoon at the time, even though we never left the mission. As for now, you are not helping.’
Glyce added, ‘And while I am weaving through traffic with the siren going, can you do me a big favor, Dad?’
In the rearview mirror, Glyce saw him roll his eyes and slump in his seat, as if he had fallen asleep. With everyone on city streets, it was hard to weave. Mostly the left lane moved further left and the right lane either pulled into parking spaces or drifted to the right edge. That allowed Glyce to drive down the middle. Once past the arena, the traffic was going the opposite way and Glyce could speed up. But going by the arena, there was a policeman directing traffic who knew Glyce was not a policeman.
“Note: May I break the narrative to plead with Captain Hart to temporarily deputize Trinity Naomi Tesla Yeggs?” Gisele lifted a piece of paper and smiled. What did I tell you, she knows everything that goes on in Tracy!
“Now back to the narrative: When Maeve was checked out by the labor nurse, the nurse said, ‘Two centimeters. You may have a long wait. Just practice your breathing. You’ll be fine.’
No sooner did the nurse get to the hallway, Dad suggested one type of breathing and Maeve complained that it wasn’t working. He switched his coaching to every type of breathing in the book and none worked.
Finally, Maeve screamed, ‘Aaaaagh!’ And then in a gravelly, almost inhuman voice, grabbing Dad’s collar and pulling him in close, ‘I changed my mind. Get me some drugs!’
The nurse had heard her from the hallway. She checked again. ‘Oh Dear, Mr. Yeggs, you need to go to the room across the hall and put on your gown and booties. She is now nine centimeters. Wow, only a few seconds. Someone is in a hurry.’
Dad went across the hall. All their training told him that it took quite a while in the delivery room. The key was to not panic. They had placed him in a hospital room to change, so he decided to go to the bathroom. He had not gone to the bathroom for hours, and this delivery thing might take a while, just like they said.
When he got his gown on, the nurse burst into the room. ‘Where have you been? You’re about to miss the whole thing! And those shoes! Do you not have something better to wear? You have to get those booties covering those filthy things.’
Dad replied, ‘They are filthy because I was unclogging toilets earlier. And after twenty years in prison, I finally have these things broken in. I don’t need another pair of shoes.’
The nurse recoiled in horror. This man was an ex-con! ‘That poor woman.’
Dad smiled, ‘But Maeve led me to Jesus. Have you met Jesus?’
The nurse rolled her eyes and grabbed one arm and started pulling Dad down the hallway. Dad was hopping on one foot while trying to put the booties on the other shoe, with only one free arm.
The nurse shouldered the doors open to the delivery room. A strange woman was there with her legs in stirrups. Legs spread apart so you saw everything. The delivery must have been going slowly because the doctor had taken a break. The expectant mother and father looked indignantly at the nurse and Dad. Dad took the opportunity to put on the booties before the nurse yelled, ‘Wrong delivery room!’
When they reached the next delivery room, there were the usual nurses in the room and the doctor, but Pink Lady had brought Jochebed to be a midwife. The medical center allows for both a doctor and a midwife. Glyce was also there as an additional coach, since Dad had not yet arrived. She left when Dad came in, and she joined Pink Lady in the waiting room. Pink Lady commented that the two waiting were both step-daughters-in-law and the impended newborn was going to be a brother or sister to two people old enough to be grandparents. Glyce groaned, hoping Pink wasn’t talking about any of her three children.
It wasn’t but a few more pushes and a baby girl appeared in the doctor’s arms. He handed the baby to the nurse and the nurse handed the little girl to Jochebed who bathed her. She turned to hand her to her mother to find the doctor coaching Maeve through more pushes. There was a secret that Maeve and Thou kept from everyone. They were having twins, fraternal twins.
A few hours later, a little boy was born. Both twins were born yesterday, but barely. Both children and the mother are fine. My new half-sister is named Jayne Olivia Yeggs. Her brother is named Judah Oswald Yeggs. Since their initials are both J.O.Y., the prayer is that they will bring Joy to their parents. Besides wanting the children to have the same initials, Jayne and Olivia were the names of Maeve’s grandmothers. Officer Jayne Crane, from the police precinct seems to spend all her spare time at the mission, and the name is partially due to Jayne’s tireless service. Maeve liked the name Judah, but the Oswald is for our former pastor here Rev. Oswald Tozer. He had a profound influence on Maeve.
After Judah was born, I went to the mission to find Dorothy Cahn, a.k.a. Dot Com, the big boss at the mission, up to her knees in sewage. The mission could not afford overtime hourly rates for plumbers unless they volunteered, but the mission had its own snake, and there was a major clogging problem in a main line. My Dad had only cleared a small piece of the problem before someone’s water broke. But that was not the major concern.
Strangely, everyone at the mission knew that Maeve was going to deliver during the month of March, but no one seemed to be prepared for it. Half the residents developed separation anxiety, even though they had talked to the various pastors when Maeve was gone during doctor visits. Many residents were thinking Thou and Maeve would move out since their family was suddenly bigger. And with Thou gone and the prospect of a new infant resident in the building, some of the others threw a party, violating the alcohol ban policy. Dot Com was tied up. Rev C.S.L. had a line forming for one-on-one counseling sessions after trying to reassure people through large group announcements. The line was long even after midnight. And that left me to find a place for the drunks to sleep it off before they could return to the mission later today.
So, that brings us back to the theme of this little talk, hardly a sermon at all.
Rachel took matters into her own hands and did not trust God. She eventually had two children, but only after God showed her mercy. She died after giving birth to Benjamin in a little town now known as Bethlehem.
My Dad took matters into his own hands and did not trust God. My mother became a baker that worked for others the rest of her life. Scrambled took matters into his own hands as he scrambled for a purpose in life. But now, both trusting in God, they know their purpose and they glorify God in doing it.
I tried to take matters into my own hands to redeem the family, but they each needed to redeem themselves.
But then, I have to think of a photo that Glyce sent me from her phone before she went home from the hospital. She wanted proof that my Dad had again taken matters into his own hands. The photo is of my Dad with infant Jayne in one arm and infant Judah in the other, and my Dad was praying over both of them.”
I thought that ended my portion of the service, but one of the ruling elders got up, with me not being on the ruling board at the time. He said, “Brother Yeggs, your talk on putting matters into one’s own hands has moved me. I wonder if it has touched the hearts of anyone else. Our polity defines the front of the church as simply being the front, not an altar, so if our evangelism team will come forward, I would like anyone who realizes that they have taken matters into their own hands instead of surrendering to Jesus. Come down front and a member of the evangelism team will pray with you.”
I was shocked. I hadn’t said much, not a talk worthy of the name ‘sermon,’ but twenty or so people came forward. Among them was Poached and Dr. Quinn. I walked along to see if there were more people coming forward that the team could not get to.
When I passed Dr. Quinn, she told the lady that she didn’t need any help with the prayer. She had two very good teachers. Then I heard her say a prayer that put my little talk to shame. Two very good teachers, and one had been my son, Easter. Maybe Rev C.S.L. asked the wrong Yeggs to do the talk.
My use of “Cathie” was intentional. By the time this is posted, Valentine’s Day will be nearly a month ago. A few days before that, the door to the treatment room at the dialysis center was opened. They were thinking that my wife was ready to come out, but she started complaining. Her complaint made no sense until I got context later. They had a wall decoration inside the room to wish every patient a Happy Valentine’s Day. But this is what I heard: My wife: “My name is not there. You have wished every patient a Happy Valentine’s Day. But my name is not there!” The mean nurse: “no, no, here is your name!” My wife: “My name is NOT Cathie! And if it was, I would not spell it that way!” So, I have decided that “Cathie” will be my name for the extra character in any story. You know, the checkout clerk at the grocery store, the student drop off traffic guard at the high school, or, as in this case, the liturgist for the church service. Be prepared; more Cathies are to come.
The events from Maeve’s water breaking to the eventual births of the twins may seem like a crazy made up fictional story that no one would believe, but I simply mashed various conversations and events of the births of my two sons, fifteen days short of being three years apart, not twins. I might have added a little here and there, mostly to stay in character with those involved. In one case, someone did not impersonate a police officer, but after the military jeep style ambulance went through the gap in the rush hour traffic, it closed back before I could follow. I arrived nearly an hour at the Heidelberg, Germany military hospital after my wife had arrived. But I got there in time for many of these other events to occur, including my wife asking for drugs (which she still denies to this day) and being shoved toward the open door of the wrong delivery room. And no, with our first son, I suggested Braxton Hicks, not Branson Chicks, not believing that our son was coming nearly a month early. So, not believing my son was really about to be born got me banished from the labor room and labeled “worthless.” My wife does admit to that one.
You are beyond crazy funny! I mean who else would come up with a character named Dot Com? I couldn’t concentrate on the rest of the story, because I was laughing so hard about her name.
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I think a few people would shorten that first sentence by one word, just “crazy.” But I haven’t seen the guys in the long white coats hanging around, so I am safe for now.
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I may have to send them over to do a wellness check on you❤️
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Just as long as they do not have huge butterfly nets, I might let them in.
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