Nice Stories about Nice People / Lorna B. Marlowe


Nice Stories about Nice People

stories by

Lorna B. Marlowe

Pure Heart Press
ISBN: 978-1-59948-740-3, 48 pages, $12 (+ shipping) 

Release Date:  February 2019


Lorna B. Marlowe has written short stories for the Christian Sunday school papers starting in 1988. Several of these papers are no longer published by their denominations, and others no longer publish fiction. This book is a collection of Lorna Marlowe’s most beloved stories, many of which were reprinted several times by other papers after they first appeared in print.

This volume includes “The Disappointed Burglars”, which won a Readers’ Choice award, and “The Littlest Angels,” where a Christmas pageant takes a hilarious wrong turn. Here you will read of the adventures of a well-intentioned woman whose church urges her to evangelize her family and friends, and also her enemies. She chooses to visit her enemies, with mixed but overall good results.

These stories are both heartwarming and empowering, as they show ordinary people solving their problems, and growing and learning from their experiences.

Unexpectedly Called Home

Clara! We’ve been climbing this hill for over an hour, and there’s still no sign of the van. We’ll never reach the campground before dark at this rate,” Dave called to his wife. Though he could not see her, he knew she was only a few steps behind him on the brush-strewn, rocky trail. From the way the sun was already sinking low toward the horizon, he judged it to be nearly six o’clock.
Clara, too, was growing concerned. If they didn’t find the van soon, the food they had been bringing to the Bible school’s annual campout would all be spoiled.

“I can’t imagine what could have happened to us,” she responded. “I hope the van wasn’t stolen. We haven’t even made the first year’s payments yet!”

“I’m afraid finance charges will always be the story of our lives,” Dave muttered. “I’m not blaming you for that, either, Clara. Sure, you bought the guitar for the church music, but I’m the one who shelled out fifty bucks to send the Madison boys to our camp.”

“I supposed I could stop feeding little Marvin Swickard every day after school,” Clara said. “But he always seems so hungry, and we both know his mom’s been having a hard time since his dad left.”

The sky darkened steadily as the sun dipped out of sight behind the distant trees. Gamely, Dave and Clara pushed onward through the vines and creepers. The trail leading up the cliff to where they supposed the highway would be was now only faintly visible. It was evident that this path was not often traveled, but they considered themselves fortunate to be among the few who had found it.
“Good thing the discounter was willing to take a credit card for the hot dogs and hamburgers,” said Dave. “I’ve only got about twelve dollars cash on me. I don’t know what we’ll do if the van needs any repairs beyond maybe a tank of gas.”

“I’ve got a twenty, and a little change,” Clara told him. “I honestly couldn’t tell you what becomes of our money.”

“We have to be the world’s worst money managers,” Dave responded. “Good thing we have plenty of life insurance, so Aunt Mattie could afford to take in Luke and Rebecca if anything ever happened to us. Aside from that, our net worth is probably a goose egg.”
“It’s amazing the banks still want to lend to us,” agreed Clara. “I’m surprised anyone would trust us with a wooden nickel!”

As the night’s gloom wrapped itself softly around them, they found themselves growing tired and sleepy. They stumbled over roots and rocks that they surely would have seen in daylight, but they continued their steady climb. By the faint glow of a sliver of moon, they could see that the top of the precipice was quite close now.

It was Dave who first reached the summit.

“Clara! Look here!” he called excitedly. Just past the edge of the rise, he had found a narrow gate in a shining golden wall that extended as far as the eye could see in both directions.

Clara stared in bewilderment at the awesome sight.

“Dave,” she whispered. “I have a feeling we’re never going to find the road we were on before.”

A man dressed all in white answered their knock at the gate. He led them into a sumptuous garden inside the wall. Their fatigue left them when, at his invitation, they drank from the clear, sparkling water of the river that flowed around its margin. Though it had been dark outside, the garden and the many mansions beyond it were so brilliantly lit that it seemed a thousand suns must be shining, though in the azure sky none could be seen.

“If you please…” faltered Dave as he followed the man in white, “…we seem to have lost a van…” He stopped, realizing how foolish his predicament must have sounded.

“Follow me,” was their companion’s response. “I have prepared a place for you.”

Obediently, Dave and Clara walked behind him toward the first glittering palace in the distance. On their way, they marveled to each other that the young man seemed so familiar. They felt as though they had conversed with him thousands of times before, though in fact they had both just met him for the first time.

When they reached the palace, its jewel-encrusted doors opened of their own accord. The young man circled behind an ornately carved desk and opened a great book filled with figures. As he turned to face them, Dave and Clara’s eyes were opened, and they finally recognized the face of their Guide.

After consulting the book briefly, he spoke again:

“Well done, good and faithful servants; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee rulers over many things: enter though into the joy of thy Lord!” (after Matthew 25:21 KJV)

As night fell, several police cars and ambulances were still congregated at the break in the guard rail. The small crowd that had gathered spoke in hushed tones as the paramedics gently removed the two bodies from the overturned wreck at the bottom of the gorge. Their consensus was that both the man and the woman had been knocked out in the accident, and had died within a couple of hours without ever regaining consciousness.

The explosion of the nearly-empty gas tank had charred the back of the van’s upholstery, but the fire never reached the driver and the passenger in the front seat beside him. It had, however, cooked the food its occupants had been carrying, so that even after three hours the accident scene bore the ironic odor of a campfire cookout.

The pastor and the leaders of the Sunday school prayed that the Lord would grant them the grace to understand His purpose in the seemingly senseless tragedy that had befallen their church. The Christian owner of the campground promised them a full refund for the trip they had so hastily cancelled, and had joined them this night at prayer.

Clara’s sister Mattie did her best to console her new charges as they began preparing for their move to her farm. The estate would be easily settled, for as Dave had noted, after the house was sold and the bills were paid, there would be almost nothing left.

At the university, a sophomore boy with a shiny new fraternity pin smirked to himself as he slipped up the stairs to the darkened second floor of the girls’ dormitory. How clever he felt, as he noiselessly affixed his diamond-shaped reflective yellow trophy of the previous night to the door of Room 214. In the morning, how the girls would laugh when they saw the sign that he had taken from that deserted stretch of the Interstate out by the campgrounds! He re-read the words: