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Sister Betty barely has a minute to sit and fan herself before she's off on another "Mission from God." Her friend Mother Eternal Ann Everlastin' has dropped dead on her seventy-first birthday from an overdose of York Peppermint Pattie, and it's up to Sister Betty to see to her final wishes, namely, traveling to a...
Sister Betty barely has a minute to sit and fan herself before she's off on another "Mission from God." Her friend Mother Eternal Ann Everlastin' has dropped dead on her seventy-first birthday from an overdose of York Peppermint Pattie, and it's up to Sister Betty to see to her final wishes, namely, traveling to a Baltimore religious conference to deliver three one-million dollar checks to three different mega-church pastors.
When the Reverend Knott Enuff Money hears that Sister Betty is about to give away a substantial amount of Mother's riches, he wants in. But finagling the money out of Sister Betty right under the noses of three genuine men of God is going to be the biggest challenge the Reverend has ever faced … one that just might set him on the path to reclaiming the true spirit of faith.
"Christian comedy fiction at its best."
"This novel is the best of its kind, and it's easy to see how G'Orge-Walker has carved out a comfortable niche for herself as the queen of gospel comedy literature."
Sunday afternoons in the small, gossip-driven town of Pelzer, South Carolina, were always an event within the numerous church circles. Folks got all dressed up in everything from pleats to cleats and made it to service. It had nothing to do with their religion. They just couldn't waste precious time on proper attire. They didn't want to wait to see who got dissed, or who had backslid since the past Sunday. Instead of greeting one another with "Praise the Lord," it was usually, "Chile, did you hear about so and so?" It didn't matter whether a racing fire truck was on its way to a raging fire or an exhausted mother in backbreaking pain was about to give birth. The response would always be, "Hold on. Let me stop what I'm doing so I can hear everything you got to say."
What was about to occur happened at the beginning of the fall season, and this Sunday afternoon shouldn't have been any different from others. The weather was still warm yet comfortable with many of the assorted petunias, jasmines and rosebushes on the corner of Shameless Avenue boasting brilliant colors despite their time for blooming being way past due. They, like most things in Pelzer, held on to their bright hues just to be stubborn and to see what would happen next.
Above a street that crossed Shameless Avenue named Last Exit Avenue, several white, rhythm-challenged pigeons fluttered their wings to the pulsating musical beats carried through the air from the radio-pumped music of Kirk Franklin, Mary Mary, Al Green and the Isley Brothers as the birds gathered on the telephone wires above the No Hope Now-Mercy Neva Church. In this neighborhood, the white birds were called pigeons. If they'd been fluttering and cooing, on the other side of town where the rich folks lived, they'd have been called doves.
The church played its music loud with a heavy emphasis on earsplitting bass levels in desperation to attract more young people to Sunday services. Their only organist, thirty-year-old Brother Juan Derr, was barely five feet tall, cocky, with freckles that made him resemble a speckled barnyard rooster or the Howdy Doody puppet. He had short legs and flat feet. His flat feet looked like a pair of CDs dangling from his ankle. Juan Derr even pecked at the keys, with his head bobbing and no thought to musical rhythm. He was just like a rooster pecking at wiggly worms. He just kept stabbing at the keys hoping that he'd hit the right ones.
But the church kept him anyway even though he only knew how to play two songs, which he musically butchered every Sunday. Those songs were, "Stretch Out" and "Kumbaya," which were apparently two of the pigeons' favorites since they cooed and pranced on the telephone wires like they had mad cow disease whenever he played them.
That day, the pigeons flapped their wings and cooed loudly as if they were mocking the human that entered the small storefront church building below.
The building was once an open-all-night bodega owned by the late Mr. Pepe DuYuNo De Way to San Jose, and it still had the twice-shot-up, bulletproof, Plexiglas protection panel, which was streaked with patches of gray duct tape, covering the front.
The No Hope Now-Mercy Neva Church was pastored by the Righteous (in his own mind) Reverend Bling Moe Bling. The small church had a congregation of about seventy-five members. They were mostly related to one another through marriage with the exception of about five or six. Those five or six were the praying pillars. They were the ones who tried to keep the church spiritually afloat with their buoys of morality. They kept their tongues coated with praises and their lives a living testimony to their belief in God. They also happened to be the ones who were out of town at a missionary conference, that day, in nearby Williamston, South Carolina. With the church's spiritual parachutes absent, there was certain to be a free-for-all and a free fall on the horizon.
When Reverend Bling Moe Bling first founded his church, it had chipped wood-paneled walls and a worn-out yellow linoleum floor. He was doing so bad, he had to beg for and then borrow a couple of members from a nearby mission to use until he got on his feet and could convince others to join. Now, three years later, he'd made some progress. The church's chipped wood-paneled walls had been replaced with new matching brown-paneled walls and floor. It stood just five blocks away from the Ain't Nobody Else Right But Us-All Others Goin' to Hell Church. The five-block distance and the fact that they were both located in Pelzer was the only thing that the two churches thought they had in common. They actually had a lot more. Just like in the biblical cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, there were not ten people combined from both churches living a righteous life.
This particular morning two short but burly, thirty-five-year-old twin deacons named Luke and Warm Waters arrived at the No Hope Now-Mercy Neva Church in matching yellow Volkswagens with custom-made sunroof tops. Originally, the cars didn't have sunroofs. The holes were made from the angry swings of axes wielded by the twin sisters they dated, named Shay Nay Nay and Alize, who still had a lot of vicious "home girl" traits. Those ruthless sisters had caught those shifty deacons laying unsupervised hands on a couple of female members. It appeared to be done in a nonspiritual manner and besides that, it was done in the parking lot after church service. No amount of praying, crying or threats of exorcisms from Luke and Warm could've stopped those women from remodeling the deacons' cars.
Deacons Luke and Warm were also the single, wanna-be playboy stepsons of Reverend Bling Moe Bling and the sons of his wife, First Lady Beulah Bling.
They drove up to the church that Sunday morning, and Deacon Luke was the first one to step from his car. "Ah. It's just another day that the Lord hath made, and I'm glad I made it to the church still looking as fine as I wanna be." He chuckled at his own testimony and walked with a proud gait. He favored wearing a gray Fedora and when he wore it, he'd move his head, slowly from side to side. He thought it made him look like a killer-diller ladies' man. What it made him look like was one of those bobble-head toys that folks love to place in their back car window. He also wore his Fedora to cover his ever-widening bald spot, which from a distance, without the hat, looked like a muddy desert pool.
Deacon Luke was older than his twin brother, Deacon Warm, by almost five minutes. He would've been older by only two minutes but someone started gossiping in the delivery room. In order to listen, his mama, Sister Beulah, clamped her knees together tightly and blanked out an on-coming hard, stomach-crunching contraction; one that would've killed any other woman or at the very least made having any more babies out of the question. "Hold on," she said, grimacing. "What did you say?" She was so determined to hear any little bit of gossip, she even stopped her own anesthesia drip to hear, clearly, what was going on. Instead of pushing, she started screaming, "You have got to be kidding. Please repeat that again-" And then, she screamed for real. Wasn't no woman that pain tolerant. It could also be the reason why her boys had all sorts of issues from the incubator on.
Showing off, Deacon Warm parked his car that Sunday with just one stubby pinky turning the steering wheel. He exited his car and followed a few feet behind his brother, Luke. Unlike Luke's egotistical walk, Warm's gait and control were a bit unsteady when he wasn't driving. He looked like a drunk trying to play a game of hopscotch as he fought gravity to remain upright. Deacon Warm also liked to wear red baseball caps. He wore a red cap regardless of what the rest of his outfit looked like or the occasion. He always said, "When the roll is called up yonder, the Lord will know me by my red baseball cap."
"Not by your works?" Deacon Luke would always ask while laughing.
"Nope. He'll know me by my red cap!" Deacon Warm didn't like his twin teasing him about something that meant so much to him.
"Well you'd better hope that ole Saint Peter ain't on fashion police duty," Deacon Luke teased, "'cause you won't get in."
Actually, if Heaven did a background check, neither stood a chance of entering.
Deacon Warm ignored his brother because he couldn't think fast enough to say something witty or insulting back at him. Sometimes his brain was slower than a crippled tree sloth who had one paw tied behind his back.
On some Sundays, the twin deacons also served as both security guards and ushers. This day they would act as church security. They approached the church and stood inside the doorway. They were fitted, snuggly, side by side. Every time they moved to let someone enter, they looked like swinging doors. Armed with wide metal, paddled-shaped sensor wands, they scanned each person before permitting them to enter the church. Sometimes, if they were bored, they'd challenge someone.
"You can't wear that see-through halter top inside this church," Deacon Luke snapped with mock indignation while ogling a very well-built young lady whom he'd never seen before at the church but had definitely seen at the after-hours Beddy Bye club on a few Saturday nights. That's when he did his bimonthly backsliding. He continued salivating. "Unlike some other places that you may service,"-he paused to let his insinuation sink in before he continued-"at this service, we have a dress code."
Evidently, she wasn't smart enough to know that he'd called her a whore because he remained alive.
"That's right," Deacon Warm chimed in. He winked at his brother as he set his sensor scanner to sensitive. "Today is a church anniversary. The Mothers Board Anniversary to be exact. Everyone is supposed to wear white." The fact that neither he nor his brother was wearing white never entered his mind, or he just didn't care about hypocrisy. He moved in and started to scan the young lady from top to bottom, starting at her mousse-layered deep-brown French rolled hair, which contrasted perfectly against her taupe-colored complexion. He tried to outstare her but could not, so he taunted her instead, "Next time you make sure that it's a white halter top."
They weren't doing anything slick. The young lady really liked the attention. "Well, I didn't know that." She smirked, pretending indignation as she looked Deacon Luke straight in the eye, trying to remember where she'd seen the short, box-shaped man before. "I guess I'll have to miss this Sunday service," she said as she slowly turned around, giving them a peek at what they'd be missing.
The deacons weren't expecting her to leave. "Hold up! No need to be hasty. We all God's children," Deacon Luke whispered as he watched his brother slowly proceed with his wanton scanning. "We gonna let you slide this time." He was about to ask for her name and phone number so they could further discuss the church's dress code but the sound of a honking horn playing a slow version of "We're in the Money" caught his attention.
The honking horn was coming from a 2003 Rolls Royce limousine that had just turned the corner. It came around the corner, onto Last Exit Avenue, popping a wheelie with hydraulics that made it go up and down. Its horn was now blasting a hip-hop version of the melody to "We're in the Money."
The limo was beyond the stretch type; it was closer to the size of a small yacht. A blinding glare caused by the black-on-black waxed finish sent several pedestrians reaching for sunglasses as it came to a screeching halt. It took up the entire space reserved for buses. There was no mistaking its ownership. The silver-trimmed, double-braided-edged license plate read DISBME. It belonged to the one and only black widow queen herself, Mother Eternal Ann Everlastin'.
Mother Eternal Ann Everlastin' was the very rich widow of three wealthy church deacons. She was childless, and the only living relative known to her was a drunken nephew named Buddy; it was short for his late mother's favorite beer, Budweiser. She drank it every day, on the hour like she had stock in the company. He, on the other hand, favored Jack Daniel's. He drank the liquor constantly and would caress the bottle like it was his only friend.
Deacon Myzer was Mother Eternal Ann Everlastin's first husband; a tall handsome man who kept a constant smile on his cleans-haven face. Deacon Myzer was a James Earl Jones look-alike who'd inherited his considerable wealth from his father, Senator Dan Myzer.
Deacon Myzer, while in his youth, had once climbed the snowcapped mountains of Kilimanjaro. A year after he'd married Eternal Ann, he died suddenly at the age of forty after they went on a weeklong camping trip in the Rocky Mountains. She told the authorities that he had slipped on a slippery chocolate mint patty wrapper.
Her second husband, Deacon Phil T. Luker, whose body had been discovered in a bear's cave, half eaten and surrounded by several empty chocolate mint patty wrappers had also mysteriously disappeared after they went on a hiking trip for a week in the Rockies. It happened almost three years to the day after he'd purchased a ten million dollar insurance policy.
Her last husband, multimillionaire, Deacon Shood B. Everlastin', heir to the Everlastin' Battery conglomerate, had his suspicions and wouldn't go hiking in the Rockies; so instead, he died from food poisoning. No one knew that he had a ravenous appetite for chocolate mint patties until they found a pocketful of empty wrappers, especially since both he and Mother Eternal Ann Everlastin' were known diabetics.
Rumors swirled around her fortune and her three husbands' misfortunes for years. Some called her the Curse of the Rocky Mountains, but Mother's bottomless pit of wealthy donations to every foundation ranging from Save the Aardvarks to the Police Athletic League finally squelched the chatter and all the federal investigations. Although, she never knew that behind her back, people still hummed the melody to "Killing Him Softly With Her Song."
Mother Eternal Ann Everlastin' wasn't always a member of the No Hope Now-Mercy Neva Church. She was once a longtime member of the Ain't Nobody Else Right But Us-All Others Goin' to Hell Church, which was currently pastored by the Reverend Knott Enuff Money. She had left that church because she couldn't get along with the then seventy-year-old Mother Pray Onn, who at that time was the chairperson of the Mothers Board and always thought that nobody knew God like she knew Him.
However, the real reason why the two old, feisty women didn't get along was a stupid one that usually caused a lot of tension between most women, in and out of the church. It was because they were both interested in a very virile sixty-five-year-old.
Excerpted from Mother Eternal Ann Everlastin's Dead by Pat G'Orge-Walker Copyright © 2004 by Pat G'Orge-Walker. Excerpted by permission.
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Posted October 12, 2005
Posted September 22, 2004
Mother Eternal Ann Everlasting is realism at it¿s best. Pat G¿orge Walker exposes the good the bad and the ugly of the inner workings of the church. With characters who are true to life she teaches us two valuable lessons. The first being that God can truly change anyone¿s heart and secondly that it¿s not good to eat candy in church.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 29, 2004
MOTHER ETERNAL ANN EVERLASTING'S DEAD is a light hearted parody of a centuries-old institution; the African-American Church. It proves to be a satiric yet uncannily believable portrayal of the various faces of church folks and their oft times melodramatic way of life. Overflowing with bizarre and often scathing humor Pat G'Orge-Walker does a tremendous job in poking fun at the greed, hypocrisy and pretentiousness that goes on in the name of religion. This incredibly humorous story takes on a life of its own when megalomaniacal Mother Eternal Ann, the congregations chief benefactor, drops dead slumped over the church's cash register, apparently from a heart attack. The rumor mill immediately starts churning and soon word gets out that she had actually died of an overindulgence of York Peppermint Patties, which coincidentally were linked to the demise of her two husbands. When it becomes known that Mother Eternal Ann's last wishes was for her friend Sister Betty to distribute million dollar checks to three 'mega-pastors' at a conference in Baltimore, the resident pastor, Reverend Knott Enuff Money is chagrined. He forms his own Baltimore bound crew, all the time scheming to abscond with the checks. The boisterous hilarity reaches fever pitch, with the farcical antics of the entourage, led by Sister Betty, with Reverend Knott Enuff Money and his scheming cortege in tow. MOTHER ETERNAL ANN EVERLASTIN'S DEAD has a depth that transcends simple satire. The characters are well developed, though outrageous, which lends to the deeply entertaining quality of the book. Pat G'Orge-Walker's apparent ability to keep readers captivated with the ludicrous antics of her characters makes for a rip-roaringly comical read. She has scored a definite coup with this one. Reviewed by Autumn of The RAWSISTAZ Reviewers http://www.rawsistaz.comWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 31, 2004
I simply loved this novel. I had an opportunity to read the Advance Copy and I was completely blown away. The first collection of short stories from the previous book were hilarious but only gave a small glimpse into these quirky yet familiar characters. This time around the author takes on a journey of not only laughter but manages to thread a wonderful lesson of just what it means to be a true child of God. The premise is that Mother Eternal Ann Everlastin' is a member of Rev. Bling Moe Bling's NO HOPE NOW-MERCY NEVA church. Mother is the oldest and richest member of the congregation. Upon Mother Eternal's passing, her best friend, Sister Betty,is left with the arduous task of taking a huge donation to three Mega Churches in Baltimore. Sister Betty's pastor, the Rev. Knott Enuff Money hears about it and the story builds from there. I don't want to give away too much but this is a must have from the collection. Just the road trip alone is worth the price of the book. It involves Sister Betty and her sidekick, the half-blind, snuff-dipping Ma Cile (I love this character). In the end, the Rev. Knott Enuff Money and several others learn about the true meaning of giving and we find that Mother Eternal Ann Everlastin' is just as well-meaning and manipulative in the grave and she was alive.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 17, 2004
The humor of Mother Eternal Ann Everlastin¿s Dead (Kensington) follows the same acerbic wit and intelligence of previous works by the author: Sister Connie Fuse Makes a Grave Mistake; Sister Betty! God is Calling!; and Sister Betty! God is Calling You, Again! Just when you think she has potentially exhausted characters and storylines; she surprises you. (Obviously, the supply of material from our churches is far more vast and inexhaustible than one would care to think.) You will never view the spiritually challenged the same after reading Mother Eternal Ann Everlastin¿s Dead. You will recognize these people: an inept church organist who can only play two songs to death; white-gloved ushers with the tact and skill of sumo wrestlers; and folks who can get you told with the same ol¿ recycled bible verses. Ye shall know them by they fruits¿all of them! Essentially, these are the people you either love or love to hate. It ain¿t always pretty, but it sure is funny. Mother Eternal Ann Everlastin¿s Dead will cause you to name that member in three notes; increase your prayer life; and/or inspire you to seek membership elsewhere. Mother Eternal Ann is dead but her maneuvers from beyond the grave will leave you in stitches. The storyline conveys that even the most unlovable and insufferable people in our churches can be redeemed. Readers familiar with Sister Betty will be delighted to see her presence in Mother Eternal Ann Everlastin¿s Dead. Once again, Sister Betty and her pig feet lovin¿ pal, Ma Cile, can be counted on to serve up some Jesus in the most unspiritual of conditions. And, you do not have to wait until the end of Mother Eternal Ann Everlastin¿s Dead to get the Lesson. G¿Orge-Walker masterfully infuses the Lesson throughout one crazy scene after another. Mother Eternal Ann Everlastin¿s Dead is best enjoyed alone lest ye disturb your family, neighbors, and strangers with your howls. This book should have a neon orange advisory sticker affixed to it that states, ¿NOT for the religious or humorless!¿Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 11, 2004
Pat G'Orge - Walker's novel Mother Eternal Ann Everlastin's Dead is another example of her creative imagination and wit. This novel is not only hilarious beyond belief but the author's imagination keeps you wondering what the characters will do next. If you haven't read Sister Betty God's Callin' You Again, I suggest that you read that first. It is a great introduction to the characters of this book and is also a good read. Walker has a way of showing that Christians have a sense of humor and in the sanctuary not all are people of God, but that the church is a place for sinners to find God and for Christians to remain grounded. She continually shows the readers her magnificent works of art through creative characters, but the amazing storyline will engulf you until the story has come to an end. There is definitely a lesson to be learned within her intriguing plot. I strongly recommend this book not only to Christians, but to anyone who enjoys a good book.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.