A bit ago you were introduced to the Pratt twins, Darlene and Darren. Today, a bit about the rest of the family.
Mr. Pratt, Edwin, if it really matters, because everyone calls him "Pastor" or sometimes "Reverend," is the pastor of Pineville Community Church. Pineville, as you are aware, is tucked away in a serene, not to mention somnolent, valley just a bit past beyond. Parochial? Not so very much. If you were not born there you are not a "local," even though you may have lived there for seventy years. Go figure. The Pratts are not locals. They came to town to pastor PCC nine years ago, just six weeks after the birth of the twins. Five years later Mindy was born. Mindy will ever be known as a local. But never her parents or her siblings. See above.
Mrs. Pratt, Samantha, is very much involved in the good works of the church and with the community at large. She is a regular participant in the doings of the PTA and is a volunteer at the Pineville Community Hospital.
The baby, four-year old Mindy, is beautiful, charming, a living doll, one might say, and is beloved by all. She is the good child, the payoff to perseverance, the balance over against the antics of the twins. And how does Mrs. Pratt cope with all the responsibilities that devolve upon her as pastor's wife, mother to an angel and two hellions, still finding time to be of real service to the townspeople?
Bad luck often brings with it good fortune and in this case the bad luck of Samantha's mother in losing her husband to cancer three years ago has turned into the Pratts' good fortune. For the past year Mrs. Cline has lived with the Pratts.
There is no cause for mother-in-law jokes, for Edwin and Eldena, that's Mrs. Cline, are the best of friends. It might even be said that they adore each other, and Samantha loves them both and all is peachy-keen in the household.
Except for Darren and Darlene. Please understand that these children are loved by all the occupants of the house, that there is no abuse going on. They are well and properly cared for. It is just that they are exasperating. Twins: double the trouble, half the restraint. If the girl-one don't get you, the boy-one will. Or they both will.
Case in point. Last Saturday Pineville Community Church had a Sunday School picnic in Pine Park. The feast was consumed and the ladies of the Silver Set were tending to the cleanup duties. People of all ages were entertaining themselves and each other, letting the meal settle a bit, you see, and the softball and volleyball games had not yet started. Guys sitting around picking their teeth, ladies standing about in little clusters relating-- What? You think gossip is going to slip into this account? Not so.
Last Sunday Darren's Sunday School teacher, Miss Prunella (we call her, for Darren thinks of her as an old prune) had been a bit harsh with the lad over an itching powder incident involving Suzie Fletcher. The young Pratt had yet to develop sufficient spiritual strength to forgive and forget.
So it was that Darren was crawling around on the ground, ostensibly looking for-- for what? Lost spectacles? A four-leaf clover? Never mind. As the boy sees his sister, pigtails flying, rushing headlong toward her, Darren positions himself, on his knees, directly behind Miss Prunella's legs. Darlene turns her head to look back, ostensibly to see if the one chasing her is gaining on her (this is how she told it later) and in that instant of looking back and moving forward she ran into the unlucky SS teacher who staggered backward half-step, ran into Darren and fell on her back, plum knocking the wind out of her. Beautifully executed teamwork by the twins, all deniability factors rehearsed in advance and carried off flawlessly.
The preacher's kids. You know what they say about those.