I, Natalie Taylor: If I’m the Most Important Person in the Church…

April 22
9:30 a.m

Question to self: So if I’m the most important person in the church…how is it that I make so little money?

“Happy Secretary’s Day!”

“Happy Admin Professional’s Day!”

“Happy Whatever You Want to Call It Day!”

Mark and Tav came in today bursting with pride that they had remembered Secretary’s Day. Mark handed Kate her bouquet of flowers, and Tav handed me mine.

“You’re a treasure.”

I’m very awkward at receiving compliments. Oh well, it’s Sec Day and they have to say something nice.

“And…” Mark made a grand “And” gesture…and then stopped.

“And?” Kate hates this particular trait of her boss. Mark just has so many surprises and will always say, “And…”

So I’m sitting there watching Kate and wondering how it is that her boss doesn’t know he’s getting on her nerves. Don’t do it, Kate. I’m thinking punching your boss is not a good idea…

“And… We’re kidnapping you girls and taking you out for lunch!”

Okay, that was a good “And…”

“Who’s going for lunch?”

Oh no.

“Hi, Faith!”

“The pastors are treating their staff to lunch,” says Kate.

“Oh good. I’m sooo glad I happened to stop by today.” She winks.

Faith is in the office today.

And yesterday. And the day before. Oh yes, and before that day…in fact, almost every day since Tav started working at the church. She might as well PITCH A TENT OUTSIDE HIS OFFICE and burn incense at his door!

“I’d love to join you…”

“Faith, that would be wonderful,” Mark began, “unfortunately, it’s only for those who work in admin.”

One pouty woman shut down.

Count to ten.

Yes. One door slammed shut.


11:45 a.m.

Our pastors insisted that we get to sit facing the view. It’s “our special day.”

I was sitting across from Tav, and behind him was the beautiful San Francisco Bay. Tav. Bay. Tav. Bay.
Not a problem for me at all.

“We have another gift for you,” Mark started saying with the biggest smile on his face and I couldn’t have imagined what was coming next.

I set down my fork and look at him expectantly. I’m thinking chocolates, because when you say “gift,” I say “chocolates.” It’s one of those psycho word-association tests that are supposed to reveal something of a person’s subconscious mind. Which, if you just ask me, I’d tell you. Why play these dumb mind games?

“You have us intrigued…” Kate sounded a little nervous, but I couldn’t figure out why. But I found out.

“Let’s wait until after we finish dessert.” Mark was trying, in his characteristic way, to stretch the suspense out as long as possible. He loves drama.

Now I was seriously afraid Kate is going to stab him with the dessert fork. Just something about the way she was looking at him. Mark. Run.

“Please tell us!” I had pretty much had it by now. So I tried to give the pleading look that always made my dad give in. It must have worked because Mark relented. Or maybe because he was so excited he couldn’t wait.

“We’re sending you both to…”

A trip somewhere? I couldn’t believe my ears. Paris? Do I hear Paris? I’ve always wanted to go to Paris!

I was actually holding my breath.

Maybe tickets to an NFL game?!? A Foo Fighters concert? Disneyland???

“We’re sending you to…a Church Administrative Professionals’ Conference!!!”

“Shut your mouth!” I gasped, totally horrified at this prospect. “You’re joking!”

“No, we’re serious. I’m so glad you’re delighted.” Mark apparently confuses horror with joy. “I thought you’d love it. I nearly spilled the beans the other day at staff meeting.”

I wish he had. What kind of cruel, sick, twisted trick was this?

Mark was so pleased with his gift—he looked like a little boy who just unwrapped his brand new electric train from Santa.

“That’s great!” Kate said, graciously making up for my hopefully not too obvious disgust. “Thank you for thinking about us.”

“Took a little persuading—” dramatic pause “—but the Personnel Committee agreed to send you both off to the conference.”

Why didn’t anybody ask US?!

“Yes, fab!” I was overdoing it now, so the waiter clearing our lunch dishes received my utmost attention and biggest smile. He might have misinterpreted it as I saw him pause at the mirror on his way back to the kitchen.

While Kate and Mark were discussing the details of the conference, Tav leaned toward me and whispered, “Sorry. No Paris.”

I opened my mouth to protest and decided to sip on my water instead. Really, sometimes I think I must have thought bubbles over my head. Wait. Yes. I do.

But I’m already way ahead of the game. I’m going to come up with a very plausible excuse to get out of going for the conference. Typhoid? Malaria? Whooping Cough?

Maybe we’d have a freak hurricane!

Or I will fake my own death.


1:15 p.m.

Walt stopped by with chocolates for Kate and me. He heard about our special day?? I’m feeling guilty because he makes me uncomfortable and I don’t want to feel grateful when he does all these nice things.

I don’t like feeling guilty either.

But I do like chocolate.

I guess Walt saved the day.

Sort of.

Natalie Taylor
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