The Minister's Daughters

You don't go into book publishing without a sincere love for writing. At Orange Frazer Press, we love writing that is honest, bold, well-crafted, loving, humorous, unsettling, warm, and even provocative. Because we strive to find these qualities in the books that we publish, we are constantly honing the skills within our own writing. And, we just have fun doing it. We thought we would invite you into our world and share with you pieces from our team. We write through a variety of genres--including playful flash fiction, limericks, and poetry--but it's no secret that we have a predilection for nonfiction. This is the first post in our nonfiction series, and it is by our Production Manager, Sarah Hawley. It is titled, "The Minister's Daughters."

-Kelsey Swindler, Marketing and Publicity 

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When my sister Margaret and I were in elementary school, we would go to church with Dad while we were on summer break. Actually, we’d go to vacation bible school and take bible classes, coloring pictures of Jesus in coloring books or making shadow boxes of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph out of clay. Vacation bible school lasted just a week and went from the morning until lunchtime. When it was over and all of the kids left for the day, Margaret and I stayed behind with Dad so he could get in an extra hour of work. We played in the nursery with the toys. If we begged hard enough he would let us play in the sanctuary which was our favorite place because it had—microphones.

“But you can’t be too loud,” he’d say. “Ruby will get angry.”

Ruby was the sweet church secretary, and we could never imagine her angry. She babysat us from time to time and bought us root beers from the little market next to her house. So we said we’d keep it down—we adored Ruby. Dad would shut the doors to the sanctuary, flip a switch in the circuit breaker and Margaret and I were live. Once he went back to his office, Margaret and I would scamper up to the pulpit, grab the mics, which had cords so long you could jump rope with them, and put on a show. We’d sing songs to our audience of dolls we had dragged in from the nursery; songs form the musicals Annie or Grease. We’d slink around the sanctuary, the long microphone cords giving us enough room to become someone else. We’d sing and perform these tunes loud enough to entertain each other but not loud enough to get in trouble or bother Ruby.

However, there was one song that we could not help but belt out and it was Bette Midler’s, “The Rose.” Our eight and nine-year-old souls would mimic a tortured Bette as she woefully sang, “Just remember in the winter, far beneath the bitter snow…” And once we got to the last line of the song, we would forget about Ruby altogether and sing in unison as loud and as heartbrokenly as possible, “THE ROOOOOSSSSSSSSSSE.” bellowing the last word so that not only could Ruby hear us but so could Dad and possibly God. Then the doors would swing open and Dad would yell, “You are being too loud. Ruby can’t hear the person on the other end of the phone!” And then, ‘click.’ he would flip off the microphones. We didn’t protest, we knew we had gone completely overboard. But Dad, being dedicated to the time clock, still had more work to do.

So we came up with other games to play in the sanctuary. Cathedral ceilings presented nothing more than a challenge to us. Another game we enjoyed was to see who could launch Betsy Wetsy to the apex of the ceiling without knocking out any of the lights. “I bet you can’t fly her higher than the top of the cross,” Margaret would say. And we would begin flinging the doll as high as we could and any other doll we could get our hands on. They would cartwheel through the air, and we screamed with glee as they barely missed an ancient chandelier and landed on a pew or in the aisle. The sanctuary looked as if a nursery had exploded—dolls and toys laying haphazardly everywhere like a drunken congregation. Dad would come in, “Girls! You are being way too loud!” Defeated, we would gather up all the toys and put them back in the nursery. Dad realizing that two energetic girls could not be contained by a sanctuary or their adoration for Ruby, needed to just go home and play outside in the summertime sun.