That's Okay

By E Walk

(Copyrighted by the Author)

Edited By Radio Rancher

Chapter 19 - Darrin's Down

Mrs. Withers finally closed the door at 6:15. She came to the young people and announced, "I think this is the most people we have served in one day except on special holidays."

She turned to the clients and suggested, "I think it would be nice if you people showed these young people how much you appreciated the time and effort they spent to bring you a good meal."

The people in the nearly full dining area stood and applauded.

Cleanup was a breeze. We left all of the leftovers so the Mission could use them for lunch on Sunday. The roaster ovens had been cleaned as well as some of the other containers from the church. We made a detour to the church to put them away, since Don Daniels had a key.

Darrin and David hugged the teenagers as they departed the church and thanked them for their help. Mike held them and I heard him say, "Guys, I wish you could be my brothers. I'll talk to you soon."

As we were getting into our vehicles, Mrs. Archer suggested, "Why don't we go meet you at the Summer Kitchen Café for dinner. I don't think any of us feels like cooking tonight. We have no idea when Bill will be back."

Kent responded immediately, "I need to go home and check on my Mother."

Don Daniels knew Kent from school, "Kent, I'll take you home and then go wait for Mr. Degan to get home. We're supposed to go to the opera tonight."

That left me with my four boys and Doctor Jacobs and Mrs. Archer. We were seated almost immediately. The hostess explained that the night had been slow because of the rodeo in town. They were expecting things to get busy when the rodeo let out.

We had just placed our order when Bill entered with the Madsens and two very confused young men. When they saw us, Hank practically dived bombed Darrin.

Darrin responded immediately. "Hey man, you smell like you had a bath. Everyone, this is Hank and his brother Pete. They are going to be staying with Mr. and Mrs. Madsen for a few days."

Darrin introduced the two guys to the others at the table. The waiter came and enlarged the table and Hank sat between Darrin and the twins. Pete was a little out of place so he sat between me and Bill across from the Madsens.

The waiter came and took the newcomers' orders and it seemed like we had more people waiting on us than necessary. The drinks were served and the waiter brought two orders of steaming fried cheese sticks. I don't think any of the young guys had ever had one of those before because they were hesitant to try them. George Madsen chided them, "Try them. You might like them."

They tried them and the two platters of cheese sticks disappeared post haste. The waiter brought everyone a cup of vegetable soup each. Darrin got the funniest look on his face. "I don't remember ordering any soup."

He looked around and everyone was already eating their soup so he joined the partaking. "I probably won't be able to eat my dinner now."

The waiter brought a small salad and Darrin looked at the Madsens, "I'm beginning to smell some rats. I know I didn't order a salad. I think I'm being given a lesson in nutrition."

The waiters brought what everyone had ordered. I was sure that after the appetizer, soup and salad that boys wouldn't be hungry, but was I wrong.

As we were leaving, Mr. Madsen demanded that he be given the check. The Madsens announced, "We're going to go get the two boys some new clothes. Does anyone want to go with us?"

David looked at the Madsens and the two guys, "I think all of us are going to pass, since we have been working since early this morning. We need to get Father Bill home so he can do his job tomorrow. We want to go to the early service so we can have the rest of the day free. Thanks for dinner."

When we got home, I took the twins to get ready for bed since it was almost 9:00 o'clock. Bill took Darrin and David and was sitting and waiting for the two boys to come out of the bathroom. He had them sit down beside him on Darrin's bed, "Guys, please be the best friend that you can be to Hank and especially Peter. They have had a horrible life. Please don't ask what happened, because I can't tell you. Darrin, you need to tell Mike that he needs to be a friend for Peter. Peter has lost a lot of his dignity trying to make sure that Hank was going to be okay. I can't say anymore, but please be the best friends you can be."

I had heard what Bill had said to the two boys. When Bill walked into the room, he looked at me. "Les, I hate days like this. I would like to go strangle some people. I just hope that Mr. and Mrs. Madsen can connect with Hank and Peter. They are so right for each other. We know that the Madsens can afford to take care of the boys. I'm rather sure that Hank will not have a problem, but I'm not sure about Peter."

I wanted to throw him down on the bed and have my way with him but that was not an option since this was Saturday night. I undressed and went to take a shower and called back, "Father, I'll behave if you can."

The outcome of the shower was a lot of kissing and touching but nothing else. I couldn't believe when the alarm went off at 6:00A.M. I watched as Bill got out of bed and thought to myself, `I can't understand why someone hasn't claimed this prized possession before now. The man is beautiful in every way.'

I watched as he dressed in his clerical clothes. He came and kissed me. "I'll see you and the boys at the early service as the boys promised."

After I heard Bill pull away I went and took a shower. I dressed in some slacks and shirt since it was warm outside. I hadn't even put on my socks when I went to wake the boys. Talk about a universal reaction. They all told me to go away. Darrin responded differently than the other three boys, "Dad, do you think Hank and Pete will be okay with Mr. and Mrs. Madsen?"

I hugged Darrin, "Son, they will be fine, if Pete is willing to accept their help. The Madsens don't have any children or grandchildren and I'm sure that the two boys would be well taken care of if Peter will let it happen."

The five of us were eating cold cereal which is what the boys wanted for a change when Mom Archer came in.

Before she could say anything David looked at her, "Grandmother, we are just eating light this morning since we had such a big dinner so late last night. Remember, we're going to the early service."

The conversation was interrupted by the phone. I answered and I heard Kent asking, "Mr. Phillips, when are you and the boys going to church? May I please go with you?"

"Kent, if you can be ready in fifteen minutes, we'll pick you up."

"I'm ready, sir."

I hung up and turned to Mrs. Archer, "Will you be going with us?"

Mrs. Archer shook her head, "Jake is picking me up and we're going to the late service."

The boys reappeared and we stopped at Kent's apartment and Kent came running down the sidewalk toward the van.

We were seated in the third row when the Madsens and their two new charges came and sat down in the pew with us. Hank moved and positioned himself between Darrin and Kent. We were a little cozy in our pew until Mike and his parents came in and sat in the pew behind us. Mike leaned over and tapped Pete on the shoulder, "Why don't you come back and sit with us. You look a little scrunched in that pew."

George Degan and Don Daniels came in and sat next to the two guys and it was like Homecoming Week.

Bill was making the announcements when he asked Darrin and Mike to please come forward. Darrin looked at me but I shrugged my shoulders, because I honestly did not know what was happening.

As Mike and Darrin walked to the pulpit area, Mrs. Withers from the Good Will Mission came from where she was seated and started to speak. "I would like to commend this congregation and your fine young people who have fed the homeless and needy two nights within the past month. It is my understanding that they plan to do so once a month, at least, with some financial assistance from some very generous donors. I called Father Roberts last evening and asked for permission to personally come and express my thanks on behalf of the clientele at the Good Will Mission."

Mrs. Withers continued, "Father Archer suggested that these two young people be specifically recognized because they have been two of the prime organizers."

The congregation applauded, and Mrs. Withers handed the microphone to Mike. Mike in turn handed it to Darrin. Darrin looked at him in disbelief.

I watched as Darrin took a deep breath, "Thank you for the kind words Mrs. Withers. Let me tell everyone that Mike and I were just two tiny cogs in providing the meals. We had a lot of help and support from the members of this church and the young people of the church The people at the mission were very appreciative of the meal that we as a church family were able to provide."

"We plan to provide a meal one Saturday evening each month. We will plan the meals ahead of time and be asking for your help. Please watch for the details of what will be needed each month in the church's newsletter and the bulletin announcements. With your help, we can bring a little bit of cheer into the lives of those less fortunate than us. Again, thank you."

Darrin handed the microphone to Bill and shook Mrs. Withers hand as did Mike. The two boys came back to the pews and I was watching to see how the other boys would react, especially David. David was sitting beside me. He looked up at me and whispered, "Darrin's good isn't he. I could never have done what he just did. I probably wouldn't have been able to even talk."

When Darrin sat down, David reached over and gave Darrin a thumbs up.

When it was time for the offering to be taken, George Madsen leaned over and gave Hank a bill that was folded. He handed one back to Pete also. I looked to see if my boys had thought to bring money. I watched as my four boys each pulled a bill out of their pockets. Even Kent had a bill. Hank looked a little lost with what was happening, but realized that he was to put the money in the offering plate when he saw what the guys were doing.

As we were getting ready to leave, I saw the Longs, Mike's parents talking to the Madsens. Mike asked, "Mr. and Mrs. Madsen, would it be okay if I brought Pete to the Senior High Youth Group this afternoon? We're going roller skating from two until four. It would be a good way for Pete to meet some of the other guys and gals."

Mr. Madsen nodded, "That's fine with us Mike, if Pete would like to go."

Mike and Pete talked and I heard Mike say, "Great, I'll pick you up at 1:30."

Mrs. Madsen looked at Denny and Danny, "Guys, why don't we pick you up at two o'clock and you can go with us when we take Hank to get some more new clothes since we ran out of time last night?"

The guys looked at me, and I nodded yes. Denny spoke for the two of them, "That sounds like fun, Mrs. Madsen."

David was talking to one of his friends. He looked at me, "Dad, John asked me to go to a movie with him and his parents this afternoon. May I go, please?"

I knew John's parents. "Yes, if you pay your own way and listen what Mr. and Mrs. Short tell you to do."

David gave me the funniest look. `Don't tell me I said something wrong again?'

As we were walking out, Father Roberts stopped us, "Darrin and Mike, would it be possible for you two to come again at the 11:00 service and say some words similar to what Darrin said at this service. It is important to let the members know that what they are doing is appreciated."

Darrin looked at Mike, "I'll do it, but I don't want to be the only one saying something."

Mike laughed, "I'll pick you up at 10:45."

Darrin shook his head no, "I'll just catch a ride with Doctor Jacobs and Grandma Archer. They're coming to that service. Maybe you take me home if we can slip out after we talk."

Mike nodded, "Sounds like a plan. See you then."

When we got to the van, I asked Kent where he would like for us to drop him off. "Mr. Phillips, please drop me at the apartment. I need to vacuum and dust since we were busy all day yesterday. Mother is to get her casts off tomorrow and hopefully she will be able to start her new job on Tuesday. Darrin, I'll come over after lunch and maybe we can do something since your brothers will be gone."

When we got home the guys must have gotten the hint from Kent because they were cleaning their rooms. Darrin came and asked, "Dad, would you bring the vacuum cleaner upstairs for us, please."

I delivered the vacuum as requested and as I was leaving, I suggested, "Guys, when you're finished with it, park the vacuum outside our bedroom door."

I went and cleaned our bathroom and gathered the dirty towels, took them to the laundry room and started the washing machine. I was thinking to myself, `We need to slow down. It seems like we keep meeting each other coming and going. I think I'll sneak into the second service to see how the guys' presentation goes. I have a feeling that it might be a little different than at the 8:30 service since they know they are going to be doing it."

I waited until Mrs. Archer, Doctor Jacobs and Darrin had left and then told David that I would be back in about thirty minutes. I slipped into the back of the sanctuary and was there for the opening. Father Roberts was giving the announcements this time. "At the first service this morning, we had a visit from Mrs. Withers who is director the Good Will Mission thanking our congregation for the support that we provided at the evening meal last night. At this time, I believe Mr. Michael Long and Mr. Darrin Phillips have a few words that they would like to say about last night's experience.

The two guys went forward and Bill handed them each a microphone.

Mike looked at Darrin, "Darrin, that was an eye opening experience at the Good Will Mission last night; I thought my heart was going to break when that young boy who was about seven years old told you that his Mommy was dead and that his Dad was in prison."

I thought to myself, `Guys, please don't go too far with that story.'

Darrin took over nicely, "I'm sure the other 149 people who enjoyed the meal that this congregation made possible would have stories that are just as scary."

Mike caught on that Darrin wanted to change the direction of the discussion. "Darrin, there is an extremely generous family in our congregation that has provided the necessary funds so we can buy perishable items."

Darrin nodded, "Yep, but Mike, if it hadn't been for the work of the Senior High Youth Group people and the other adult volunteers, it would never have happened. Just as important are the contributions that the members of this congregation made."

Darrin looked out, "Will all of those people in the congregation who helped preparing the meal or serving please stand?" I watched as about 20 people stood.

Darrin continued, "There were a number of other members who were at the early service that also helped."

Darrin and Mike led a round of applause. Mike took over, "Now will any of you who had contributed something for the meal please stand."

A larger number stood this time and again Darrin and Mike lead a round of applause.

Darrin took over, "Ladies and gentlemen, we are planning to provide a meal one Saturday night each month. We will be planning the meals in advance. Please watch the church newsletter and bulletin to see how you can help. With your support, we can make a small difference."

The two guys left the pulpit area and Father Robert's got up and said, "There go two rather remarkable young men."

I ducked out before Darrin could see me and was at the house when Darrin came in. "Hey Dad, what's for lunch? I'm starved. Grandma Archer and Doctor Jacobs and are going to eat out. She said they wouldn't be home until about four o'clock. They're going to some concert."

Darrin looked in the refrigerator, "Hey, Dad, how about we fix some bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwiches for everyone? When Daddy Bill gets home, we can make him one too."

We started to fix the sandwiches and the other three boys mysteriously appeared. The smell of food brought them begging like little puppies. We were eating when Bill came in. Darrin immediately got up and made a him two sandwiches since he hadn't eaten any breakfast that we knew of. When Darrin set the food in front of Bill, he asked, "Dad, what would you like to drink?"

Bill just wanted some juice. When we finished eating the boys took care of the clean up. The Madsens came to pick up the twins and the Shorts came to pick up David. Almost immediately after everyone had departed, Kent arrived and the guys came to Bill and me in the living room wearing bike helmets, "Dads, is it okay if we go riding?"

I looked at the two guys, "Go, but please be careful."

The two guys were just leaving the living room when the doorbell sounded. Darrin went to answer it. Bill and I heard this loud voice, "David, I want you to get your brothers because I'm taking out of this house of sin and I'm going to raise you like your Mother would have wanted."

David backed up, "Look, Grandmother Witmer, I'm not David. I'm Darrin. My brothers are not here, and we wouldn't go anywhere with you. We sure don't want to be treated like our Mother treated us ever again. It is easy to see why she was such a nasty person if she had to live with you."

Mrs. Witmer slapped Darrin on the face. Fortunately, the helmet deflected the blow. Darrin spit out, "Look witch, I wouldn't go with you if you were the last person on Earth. You're probably going to rot in hell. You smell like you're drunk."

Mrs. Witmer started toward Darrin, "Look, you little bastard. You're going to come with me and I'm going to teach you some manners."

Bill stepped between Mrs. Witmer and Darrin, "Darrin, you and Kent go to your Dad's bedroom and lock the door. Les, call 911 and report that we have a drunk and disorderly person on the premises who just assaulted a minor for no reason. She's driving a black Toyota Sequoia van with the license plate of QVC-696."

I went to make the phone call and Mrs. Witmer hightailed it to her van and screeched away. Bill and I went to check on Darrin and Kent. Darrin opened the door when we knocked and identified ourselves. Kent was sitting on the bed crying. He looked at us, "That woman scared me. She's worse than a wicked witch."

Bill put his arms around the boys, "Guys, the woman is gone for the time being. Just go ride the bicycles to get rid of the jitters."

The two boys left and Bill held me, "Les, I hope and pray I didn't just tell the two boys to do something that I'll regret."

We were sitting in the living room when Kent came busting in the door, "Mr. Phillips and Father Bill. Darrin's been hurt and isn't moving. That wicked lady deliberately hit him with her car while we were riding. Please come help him."

Author's Note: If you would like to read more of this story and other interesting stories, you might want to visit

Editor's Notes: Now there is no excuse, in my opinion for ending that chapter right there. I consider that to be grounds for intervention by the Cliffhanger Police. I certainly hope that we get some serious satisfaction in the next chapter. That witch should be arrested and charged with attempted murder, and driving while under the influence. She deserves to be in prison for a long time. She is a real menace. Of course, I also hope Darrin will be all right.

Darryl AKA The Radio Rancher