"Art, Art, where are you Art? Art, come in here right now! Art, are you listening to me? Where are you Art?"
The sounds of Marylyn. I can still hear them ringing in my ears after all these years.
Art and Marylyn Cummings have been family friends for many, many years. Art and I went to high school together and after a few years, we settled into the same church.
After my wife and I were married, we joined a church known as Grace Tabernacle here in Tomball. Art and Marylyn were married and joined the same church. We both have daughters about the same age.
Art and Marylyn used to live in a mobile home parked behind the church. As time passed, our families grew close and we began to tease each other about the ways in which each of us treated our spouses. Art and Marylyn took the brunt of most jokes, because we accused Art of being hen pecked.
Marylyn had a way of calling out to Art from inside the house. Her voice would hit nasal octaves, which could be heard reverberating between the church building and metal walls of the house for hundreds of yards away. Regardless of where Art was on the church property, he would always promptly respond with his typical, "yes honey" and then go off and do whatever he wanted to do in the first place. Most of us men respond with the same answer. We always tell our wives what they want to hear, but do it our own way anyhow.
Marylyn was one to always be involved in a good joke. She could dish them out but she could take them as well. One night a joke was played that went real bad.
A work day was being held at the church. As with most of us, we are happy to help when we can. I had been at the church for several hours and was soon ready to leave. I had no desire to go announce to everyone I was leaving, because I knew I would get picked on for being the first one to leave, so I simply left! I didn't tell a soul I was leaving.
As I drove up my driveway, my wife came running out the door screaming at me to get back up to the church because Marylyn called and said the church house was on fire! As I turned to run back to my car, I told her to call the fire department.
I had been a volunteer fireman for several years and I knew the drill as I was making my way back to town. A call would go in to the dispatcher at the police department and a siren would sound off at Bill Snyder's house on East Main. I knew if I drove with my window down, I would be able to hear the alarm as it was being rung and would need to watch out for the trucks as they pulled out of the station. The closer I got to town, the more and more my ears strained to hear the sounds of the alarms.
As I began approaching the church house from Main, I strained to see the smoke. I really anticipated seeing black smoke billowing from all angles of the church, when a little voice inside my head told me to hold back and not rush to the scene without a moment of caution. I turned one block early and circled the church house from a one block distance. I soon saw the fire truck parked in front of the church, but the hoses were dry and still laying on the truck. The sirens were not on and I failed to see anybody scurrying around in much of a hurry.
That small voice started telling me somebody was pulling my leg. After circling the block a couple of times, I soon garnered the courage to drive into the lot. As I got out of my car, I realized a prank that was attempting to be pulled on me had turned real sour.
What really occurred, was that Marylyn had called my home attempting to force me to rush back to the church since I left work day without telling anyone. What she failed to tell my wife was, this was in fact a joke, so when I got home and my wife told me the church was on fire, I immediately told her to call the fire department! My wife then started calling other church members and soon everybody in church was panicking thinking the church was burning down.
For once, I was innocent and this prank turned bad by causing the volunteer firemen to come out and creating a lot of potential problems.
Art and Marylyn have moved and the church has changed names. Life goes on, but my memories of Art and Marylyn will be forever.