Chapter Seventy Two
Perhaps it was the mounting problems, as each person grappled with their own complexities. Whatever the cause, events at the little white church on the bluff became increasingly poignant. Ratings leading up to, during, and long after each service already matched some sporting events.
Carrie explained it to Stephen, who’d already learned it from his father. Her enthusiasm, told through her pretty lips, was hard to ignore. “You see, the networks know how to work an angle, and this…” She gestured across the parking lot toward the church. “…is the hottest thing in the news right now. You offer a quant country setting, controversial subject matter, terrorist bombings for good measure, a striking national disaster just below that bluff…,” and you’re staring at me with those eyes.
Stephen couldn’t help it. She rolled her script out as fast as her pretty red lips could mouth each word and left him staggering. How do you do it to me, babe? For years I hated the rhetoric, imposed on the family during those long boring sessions, but now? Stephen settled back and relaxed, turned away from her return look. But now? I could listen to you go on for hours.
Carrie hesitated, wondering. What was that look about? Why does he stare at me so… She plunged on with a recitation near and dear to her heart. “You people. You don’t know what you have here. You offer Peace and Hope, and Gentleness of Spirit, when the rest of the world’s gone flippin’ crazy! Now this…, this, what do you call it? A praise and worship time for the people of Ravenna. Why it’s…, it’s a gold mine for the networks. That’s what it is.”
She paused to catch her breath and to narrowly look at Stephen who sat spellbound before her. “And you offer it for two full hours on a Saturday night with only a short break. You kiddin’ me? Pre service commercial time is, well, I can’t tell you what it is, but they’ll make a bundle off you. And get this. The ratings are through the roof on this one. People from all over the nation stop whatever they’re doing and that’s it, just stop…, and watch, an’ listen.” She stopped her rant and looked sharply at Stephen. Oh no, he’s getting’ up…, did I just talk him away to death? Can’t help it…
Stephen grinned and pulled her into his arms for a crunching tight embrace. “You…, are the most amazing woman I’ve ever met.” He planted a kiss on welcome lips, then whirled away before she could respond.
When she did catch her breath, she couldn’t say a word. She backed up to the step of her booth and sat down, quickly, as her legs gave out.