Dinner at twelve



A quarter to twelve. Doreen Roberts glanced at the clock; then, stooping over the stove, raised the lid of the potato pan and peeped inside.

"Oh, it hasn't even boiled!" she gasped, and a look of fear chased all the brightness from her face. Hurriedly she opened the stove. The fire was black, except where a weak tongue of flame licked at the coal, and then died down again. In an instant Doreen flew for some kindling and, seizing the old bellows, blew desperately at the fire. Slowly it caught and blazed slowly it seemed a whole age!

"O God!" she cried, "please do let the potatoes be cooked in time. I put them on soon enough, and it isn't my fault, dear Lord. Thou hast said, "Call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.' I do call, Father. Oh! please deliver me, for Christ's sake."

Ten to twelve! and dinner at twelve o'clock sharp! "Sharp!" -- that was the trouble. Doreen knew, only too well, that for dinner to be late was an unforgivable crime to her father. He was a man of ungovernable temper, and sometimes a little thing, like a late meal, would result in an outburst of terrible anger which might even last for days. Doreen and her mother dreaded these outbursts, and did everything in their power to avoid them.

Today Mrs. Roberts was ill, and Doreen was responsible for the dinner. Oh, those potatoes! Would they never boil? It was quite impossible now for her to cook them by dinner-time. And yet she believed her prayer would be answered somehow. God could do it. Yes! God could do it! Hadn't He promised to deliver if she called?

"God can do it," she repeated to herself as she watched the finger of the clock move on. "God can do it, and I do believe He will"

Five to twelve! and Mr. Roberts' step sounded on the back verandah. In spite of her faith, Doreen trembled. She felt the potatoes with a fork. They were still hard. Her father came in and sat down at the table. It was terrible watching the time slowly but surely passing, and seeing him sitting there, waiting for twelve o'clock, and the dinner that was not nearly cooked.

Two minutes to twelve! Doreen's heart quickened its beat. It was hard to keep on believing. Then suddenly, to her intense surprise, Mr. Roberts got up and walked through the back door.

The clock ticked on. It was twelve! It was past twelve, and still he did not return. The potatoes were boiling gaily and Doreen's heart was one great song of gratitude to God, who had promised to deliver. She went to the window and glanced out. Her father was talking to an old friend. Presently he came in again. "Mr. Austin's coming for dinner," he said; "he has just to go over to Sharp's, but he won't be more than five minutes."

"All right, Father," Doreen answered brightly. Mr. Austin was such a great favorite that he could keep dinner waiting for ten minutes, and she knew nothing would be said, and his talks would put her father into splendid spirits.

Her heart was as light as a feather when she welcomed him several minutes later, for God had delivered her gloriously! The potatoes were ready for dinner. -- Vivian J. Russell.


From: THRILLING STORIES For Young And Old By Julia A. Shelhamer, God's Bible School and College, Cincinnati, Ohio. No Date