Strawberry Lipstick

David R. Denny

From the Schoolhouse

Revlon Strawberry Suede Matte Lipstick

She painted on a blank canvass.  Lacking the proper brushes, she pulled out, instead, a dangerous tube of strawberry lipstick. Holding it up to the fluorescent hall light, she stared at it muttering dark things and looking pleased.  Then she dragged her victim to a corner of the 8th grade hallway beside the keyboarding room door.  She forced him to his knees and ordered compliance.  The victim shuddered anticipating the ritual, knowing its consequences.  

“Are you ready?” she growled.

He looked up at her and nodded, his eyes half closed, his jaw set for the humiliation to come.

“Very well,” she said like a mystic in a moonlit olive grove.  “Pucker!” she ordered.

He did so grimacing, searching his soul for meaning.

The first stroke hit his lower lip leaving strawberry scorch marks like a race car on a hot track.  She stood back and mused, plotting her next stroke.  Then she attacked the top lip making multiple passes, coloring outside the lines, leaving her marks with utter disdain.

After a few more dalliances, she ordered him to stand and then taking his hand, they waltzed off to lunch with him giggling.

From the Pulpit

Nehemiah had it made.  He was the king’s most trusted administrator.  The year was somewhere near 445 B.C.Artaxerxes was the king of Persia.  Nehemiah was his cupbearer, a dangerous but elevated position.  And so Nehemiah had it made.  As long as he never sipped poisonous wine, he could live the regal life of the palace.  But then his brother came calling from Jerusalem and everything changed.  When he told Nehemiah about the burnt gates of the once majestic city and its broken down walls, his spirit broke and he wept openly.  That was when he became a visionary, a quality I hope all of us develop.  He began to look at the world differently. He saw the pain of a distant land and hurting people, and he decided to go home and rebuild the city.  

From the Pews

I stood at the pulpit Sunday and looked out over a congregation that seemed to roll endlessly on into a distant mist of sorrow and pain.  So many weeping eyes before me.  So many mourners packed shoulder to shoulder saying goodbye to Tiffany.  I’ve done many funerals in my ministry, but this one was exceptional in its intensity, in the bonds of camaraderie that seemed to lock the family, friends, and locals into one dark oasis of tragedy.

I would like to thank Rev. John Cullup for assisting me with the service.   Carl, the funeral director was also kind and helpful.  And to all of my members who shaped and guided the affairs of the service, I give you all thanks as well.

My prayers are with Mark, Ross, Brandon, Joe and JoAnn, Wendy and all the other family members who will be grieving for many days to come.  


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