While I considered the imperfection of nature's timing, a bevy (or is it a family?) of Jehovah's Witnesses approached.
"Good morning," the obvious leader spoke. An overweight black woman, she had the ability to speak while smiling. "You have a beautiful yard."
"Thanks," I said, trying to move away.
"Have you prepared your soul to meet the Lord?" she asked, as if her question was a natural follow up to "Good morning." With her, were six other people—black and white, old and young—including a boy about five. As different as these folks were, they made it clear they were united in one goal: to save my immortal soul.
My only thought was: how can I get rid of them?
"I'm busy," I said.
"Too busy for the Lord?"
Damn, she's good. My eye caught the earnest face of the child, a black boy in a starched white shirt and red tie.
Apparently, she and her holy soldiers perceived my hesitation as weakness. They circled for the kill.
"Would you like to talk about redemption?"
"No," I said.
"Don't you have faith in Jesus Christ, Our Savior?"
I was angry at this point, and frustrated I couldn't get rid of them. I wondered if I should tell them I'm Jewish. Or Muslim. "Not particularly," I said.
An eerie silence followed. I feared some of them were considering pushing a stake through my heart. They had me surrounded. The leader smiled. "I'm sure you don't mean that. We could talk about..."
I cut her off. "No. Please. I have to go." I tried freeing myself by walking between the boy and a young woman.
But before I walked away, I saw the disappointment in the boy's eyes.
He whispered. "Can I pray for you, sir?"
"Sure," I said, waving my arm in a gesture, mixing goodbye with whatever.
After they left, I tried weeding the flower garden, but the look in the boy's eyes kept haunting me.
Wayne Scheer lives in Georgia. "This incident happened a while back. The boy must be teenaged by now and my soul, alas, remains unsaved. But my garden is growing nicely."
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