First, I wish you all a very Happy Easter - also, at the start of this post I am digressing a little for there is a serious matter I wish to get off my chest concerning my great grandfather and his father before him. I have built this into the story along with my true belief that Jesus will always help us in our hour of need. I hope you will all bear with me but this matter is 'heavy' on my heart.
Eddie walked over to James, his great grandfather, shook him by the hand and then threw his arms round him. With tears in his eyes he said, "I would be gateful if you would give me a couple of minutes vicars, just a few. You see, James, I am Walter's grandson and therefore your great grandson and I have come to see you from a long way into the future. I am very grateful to have the opportunity of speaking with you at long last. I wish to warn you because I have discovered some very disturbing news about your father, John Pendleton, and also about you concerning your future. As you may know, your father took his own life by poisoning three months before you were born. I have his death certificate, but I have yours as well, and it disturbs me for alas on your death certificate I discovered to my horror you also took your own life by hanging whilst at work on 2 January 1905. I have written an earlier post about this tragedy. I cannot do anything about John, except to pray for him, but I implore you when the time comes please reconsider your actions and please do not do it - I dearly hope I can alter the course of history on this matter - there must be another way out of whatever caused you to do that, James! We all love you! I certainly have grown to love you through my researches - I feel I know you very well, and surely no matter what may occur in your life and however depressed or upset you may become, there is another way other than what you did. I have found your house in my home town, I found your unmarked grave and I found the factory where you died. I first discovered the factory where you worked as manager on my way to work whilst driving my ambulance. My time travelling is not nearly as precise as Geraldine's because I arrived at the scene 102 years 3 months late - there was nothing left of you to save. I had hoped to prevent the incident altogether, but here am I 14 years too early this time and at least I can do something for you now to give you some hope to help you overcome what is to come. In the distant future, in my time, we have already had a little service at your graveside to pray for you and your father, plus the priest at the local Catholic church has already offered a mass for you both. I made a little cross for your grave as well and had a brass plaque made for you.
Today is Easter Sunday and this is highly appropriate because I pray that God will comfort you and guide you throughout your life with Elizabeth. Please put your trust in Him, open your heart to Him and ask Him into your life. He will come in only if you invite Him into your heart, but when He does, and if things get tough in your life ask Him to help you! It may not seem as though He is actually doing anything, with little apparent difference in your life, but I promise you He WILL move things around for you, He really will - if, and only if you really ask Him to from the deepest recess of your heart. It is Easter and remember, Jesus died for us all because He loves us. He loves you too, and wants to help you, and if there is anyone else out there feeling low and depressed He loves you too! But He didn't just die for you, He rose again so we can rise again too into eternal glory later and for now to help us rise from all that troubles us in this world. Please vicars, please pray for him and for all who are depressed and upset, especially for James in 1905 and John in 1847."
James strode forward and shook Eddie's hand saying. "I was very touched by that, Eddie, how very kind. I will always remember that!" Walter, Cyril and Sarah also came over and gave him a hug.
Sarah, his future grandmother later taught him a lovely little poem about prayer which he thought was highly relevant - he will never forget it:
I often say my prayers, but do I ever pray?
Do the words upon my lips mean everything they say?
I might as well bow down and worship gods of stone
Than pray before my living God just prayers of words alone!
Everyone started crying and they all came up to Eddie and gave him a cuddle, one by one. All 767 Elizabeths came and gave him a hug and he will not mind me telling you that he held on to one or two of them for a little longer than he should have. It all took ages but this time the vicars were not upset.
Eddie noticed three people in the front row smiling at him, two ladies and a gentleman. They walked slowly towards him and he recognised them at once. The ladies were very attractive - one was undecided as to whether she wanted to sniffle or smile, for Janine was so overcome by the proceedings she was quite incapable of making up her mind. The other younger lady was a bit shy but such a beauty with long dark hair and she wore red leather boots and a beautiful white dress - the gent, C. Michael Cox, was there to look after them and he carried a Donald Duck masot. They all had come from bloggyland, far far away. They threw their arms round each other and the lady wearing the red leather boots opened her arms and invited Eddie to kiss her cheek. As he did so he went weak at the knees and time stopped dead for him and his world ceased for almost an eternity as his senses were dulled completely - he was aware of nothing else but that glorious occasion. "Mr Eddie, you have Cherry lipstick on your cheek!", she said with a gentle voice and an affectionate smile, waking him from his eternal ecstasy, her feet within those red boots clearly pointing straight towards him.
He replied, "I do not care, I never want to wash it off, I want it to be there for ever!"
The vicars said a powerful prayer for John and James and everyone said, "Amen".
A little voice repeated, "Amen!" and something small and blue flew out of Eddie's pocket and materialised on top of his head. It was Mickey, the budgie, who said, "Hello Eddie Boy! Hello everyone! Whose a pretty boy?"
He flew round and round the church, making loud ambulance siren noises as he went, and started introducing himself to all the Elizabeths one by one.
"Well, well, well", said the vicar, "I have changed my opinion of you. Eddie Bluelights, my man. Perhaps you are not a bumble bee after all. But please take off that awful yellow jacket - the green uniform I can just about stand.
Another gent appeared near the front row wearing a smart suit and shirt and striped tie, looking immaculate. "Good on yer sports -good day, poms, I'm 'ere from Melbourne, Australia and I've chosen this event for my next lesson in photography."
It was David of Authorblog - he continued . . . "I've brought all 687 followers (sorry 688) and they are outside! Can they come in? That window looks very interesting! I could take the shot from this angle but if I do the light would be wrong! If I switch to a telephoto lense and take it form over there, then that would be much better and . . . . . . . . . . "
The vicar interrupted, "It's only a church, not a Cathedral? Where are you going to put all 688 (sorry 689)? As for the photgraphs, do it silently - I have a wedding ceremony which has barely started as yet - can I get on with it please?
James from Liverpool was a bit overcome by Eddie's news and all the emotion but soon regained his composure and looked at his new Elizabeth, anxious to learn why he had not seen her living at 21 Danby Street, the same house where he lived at flat no 2. He remarked he could hardly miss such a beauty living under the same roof. He must have seen her somewhere else he thought, or maybe in his dreams.
“Just moved in this week with my flat mate Alice Scott who is here today as my witness to the wedding, there she is over there, see, 'Coooie!' I live at flat no 4 across the hall to you! Saw your photograph on the mantelpiece in the lounge and said to myself 'that's the man for me'. I expect the vicar thinks we’ve been living in sin!”
“No such luck”, remarked James giving her a wink, but give me a few minutes!”
"Oh you are a naughty boy James!”
Said Geraldine, "Elizabeth Evans. I have observed your behaviour and your chemistry towards this man but have I your confirmation that you like this James Pendleton with whom I have introduced you? Is he your Mr Right, the right James Pendleton for you?"
"Not arrf!” said Elizabeth Thomas, waving her birth certificate. "He looks just like George Clooney!"
"George who?”, enquired the whole company, except one man with failing ears who misheard and said,
"Ah yes George Pendleton the Miller, father of John and grandfather of James here, I knew him well - I am Joseph Pendleton from Runcorn and am related to him along with Mary Ann Pendleton and a lot of other Pendletons. George lived at . . . . . . . . . . . . . and, his wife was Ann Prince I think, or was she Ann Wallace, perhaps not? . . . . . . . and his children were John Pendleton and Joseph Pendleton and. . . . . . . several others . . and his parents were . . . . . and his cousins were . . . . .. I can go back 23 generations !" I can recite it all from memory like they did in Roots."
"Oh shut that idiot up! No-one will ever want to hear all that nonsense!"
"No! No! No! Do not shut up!”, screamed Geraldine, "that is all vital information for the Pendleton Family Tree. I must give it to Eddie Bluelights. My mission is to please him and I must have this information. Old man please say that again and write it all down quickly - quiet you lot - let the man speak, say it again!", implored Geraldine.
“What did you say! I can’t hear you, speak up”, said the old man.
"Ahhhhhhh! say it quickly all about George Pendleton and his family and mother and father, I can't stay any longer, my husband is pulling me back, he wants a second helping and a fried egg for his tea! I must be away! Eddie will look after things now!" Flash!
As soon as had vanished, hopefully for the last time, the recovering vicar of Congleton, and the vicar of St Benedicts both felt much better and enquired of Elizabeth, “Can you prove your genealogy beyond doubt? Because I have a note that your father could be Joseph Pendleton and not Joseph Evans. Please explain! What is your genealogy, precisely? Is there any chance you could be a Pendleton after all?”
"What!", exclaimed the whole chorus, "A Pendleton marrying a Pendleton!"
"Incest! Incest!” exclaimed the self righteous woman again, wearing a smile in the middle row.” Goody, goody, I have a vivacious appetite for a scandal".
“I say again!” said the vicar, “explain your genealogy.”
“I can’t see why you would have a note with my father as Joseph Pendleton”, said Elizabeth. ”His name was Joseph Evans and he was a cattle dealer but he also worked on the railways when my sister, Mary, and I were little and when he married my mum. I am Elizabeth Evans b 1857 in W Derby. My dad was Joseph Evans b 1831 and my mum was Ann Price b 1833 and they married in Hesketh Parish Church, near Manchester on 1 June 1856. I have a younger sister called Mary b 1859 who was a stewardess on passenger steamships from Liverpool, and my grandfather was John Evans, a farmer, and his dad was Thomas Evans b 1777. I have all the certificates to prove it.”
“Impeccable! That is good enough for me – obviously yet another error this Pendleton name on my note – disregard it!! I've had enough today!" exclaimed the vicar.
Mickey was cruising round the church now and remarked it was really great for aerobatics. He looped the loop and did victory rolls in fine stile and liked everyone so much he was not inclined to dive bomb anyone, as he had done in previous stories.
"Look, Mickey, there's grandma as a young lady. Fly over and have a chat with her and ask her the time, and look there's my grandfather, Walter. Tell him I'll see him later with Cyril for a chat! I was not alive for long before he died so I didn't get to know him at all but I knew grandma really well, she lived until she was 92.
The vicar of Congleton remarked, Well, we have two correct James Pendletons and two correct Elizabeths, one for my Congleton church and one for your St Benedicts in Liverpool. Problem is how to get them there, with the ushers and you of course Rev Harding. As for the others I say go the lot of you for you are nothing to do with either service, you all are superfluous! Registrar, be sure this time to enter the correct details on the wedding certificate for Elizabeth's father - make no mistakes or that awful woman will buzz us again - I never wish to see her again!"
All the other Elizabeths were sobbing and weeping by now at their disappointment in love. “We shall have to find ourselves a new James to court from elsewhere”, they cried, blowing their noses in unison.
The records officer, who had remained quiet at the ceremony to ensure that no further mistakes were made, although he had a minuscule frame he had a stout and warm heart for he took pity and comforted the Elizabeths by saying, “Now, we all realise there are a lot of very disappointed Elizabeths here and as a consolation prize to you all I have used my influence and brought with me, and they await outside, the entire remaining stock of Lancashire and Cheshire James Pendletons, aged 30 – 45 from whom you may choose a partner for your life if you wish, and we invite them to enter to meet you all. By a remarkable coincidence there are also 767 of them, one for each lady! Organist, please play them in and will the ushers please introduce every James to every Elizabeth, every Elizabeth to every James.
Mingle and be seated – it should take only 3 or 4 hours for the entire exercise."The vicars both glared at this new delay.
(To be continued - concluding Episode 5)