In the late Knoxville autumn, Eunice and Marian lunch well into the afternoon. The last of the leaves fall, and the leaf blowers blow. Eunice's wrinkled hands squeak the opener into another bottle of chardonnay.
Eunice: I've tried more expensive chardonnays before, but I always say that there's no better wine than Kendall-Jackson. It just goes down so smooth. There is no bite. It's just the best.
Marian: You are so so right, Eunice. How is Ronald?
E: Oh, Ronald is Ronald. He's at the club right now, playing golf with Tanner and Phelps and Phelps's boy Bobby. You know, we went to Nashville for the holiday weekend. Stayed at the most beautiful hotel. But that city...
M: And how was Nashville?
E: Oh, it was beautiful. We had dinner at the hotel, and it was delicious. Even Ronald loved every bite, and you know him. But that city...
E: ...I think we may have found a lost soul.
E: Well, this waiter we had- Paul I think- he was the sommonier too, so we talked a lot about wine. He even brought me ice for my chardonnay. They didn't have Kendall-Jackson, so I had to have Cakebread. And he made us laugh, and he was such a delight. He had just gotten married last year, and he just made us laugh and we were just having such a hoot...
... and he was tall and he had these bright blue eyes- definitely not a moslem, and he didn't have a big hook nose or wiry hair or beady eyes, so I didn't think he was a Jew. And so I ask him,"Paul, are you a Believer?"
E: And you know what he said?
M: Ma'am, I am tonight?
E: No, but I just love that song. Do you know what he said?
M: What did he say?
E: He just looked right in my eyes-
M: - and what did he say?
E: He just looked right in my eyes and said... no.
E: No. Just looked right in my eyes and said it.
M: Heavens. No?
E: No. And I almost spit out my butternut squash soup. And he must've seen the look on my face and he told me that he came from a very non-religious household growing up.
M: Heavens. Some people...
E: I know, and I just couldn't believe it- this boy, this nice young man with the bright blue eyes- and I just couldn't stand to think of him in the eternity, just burning for all time...
... it just didn't make any sense. And he had to go do something because they were very busy, and Ronald and I talked about it and it started to make sense to us why this boy, this nice young man, would reject Jesus and choose to burn for all eternity. Ronald and I talked about it when he was gone and I thought we had it figured out and so I asked him...
E: ... when he came back I asked him, "Paul, did you marry a girl?..."
M: He's a goatfucker...
E: ... because I couldn't for the life of me figure out why else this nice young man would choose- choose- to burn for all eternity. And you know what he said?
M: What did he say?
E: He said yes- and he said he got married in Tennessee and that's all he could marry legally here, and I think he was making a joke but I just didn't think it was funny.
E: And so I paid him a compliment, and I said "But you are just so... alive..." You know, because his sense of humor and his bright blue eyes just had the light of Jesus in them. Or that's what I thought, but I don't know what that light was if it wasn't Jesus. Scares me just to think about it. And you know what he said?
M: What did he say?
E: He said, "See- we're alright. I'm alright."
E: I don't know who "we" is, but I'm alright! Alright! As if burning in a lake of burning fire and having Satan sodomize you with a lava pitchfork for all eternity was "alright." Well, that was just the last straw and I grabbed his hand and I looked right into his eyes and I told him "You are NOT alright!"
M: Good for you!
E: And I held onto his hand and I stared into his eyes and I said it again and I wouldn't let go even when he said "Ma'am!" I wouldn't let go. And I stared the love of Jesus into him through his eyeballs, and I told him that's what I did. And he pulled his hand away and made up some excuse about having to open a bottle of wine for somebody else, but some things are just much more important than wine!
M: So much more important. This is excellent, by the way.
E: Of course some things are much more important that wine!- Like, oh I dunno, the final resting place of your eternal soul!
M: You are so right.
E: And Ronald had said something about three years, and when Paul came back he asked Ronald what he meant when he'd said "You've got three years..." And Ronald told him that was how long he had to get right, since 2017 is when Jesus Christ is going to come back to earth. And you know what he said?
E: He asked how Ronald knew that! Hello!? How do you not know that? It's right there in the bible, when you use the lexicon! The one that Jewish rabbi used. You know the one.
M: I do, I sure do.
E: But I think Ronald got him thinking, because this young man had told us he likes to write songs and essays, and Ronald asked him if he knew what was the first essay. And you know what he said?
E: Right- he said what. And Ronald told him that it was the Bible.
M: That's true. The first and best.
E: And we told him that we know a pastor up in Cookeville who could come down to Nashville and absolutely blow his mind.
M: I'm sure he would blow his mind.
E: And I just couldn't think for the life of me why this young man would reject Jesus, if he's not a sodomite. But then it really hit me, and I asked him "Did you notice what we're drinking tonight?" And you know what he said?
M: What did he say?
E: He said "Cakebread Chardonnay-" You know they didn't have Kendall-Jackson.
M: I know they didn't, so you had to drink Cakebread.
E: And I said "wine." I told him that Jesus's first miracle was turning water into wine, and that it was ok do drink wine if you're a Christian. Because I thought that maybe he thought you couldn't drink wine if you're a Christian- you know, since he was the somalian at the hotel...
M: Did you see that Captain Phillips?
E: I did. And he told me that he wished he could sit down with us to talk about all these things we were talking about. And he gave me his card, and I told him that when he sees a text message from a Knoxville number, that's me, and I can introduce him to that pastor and give him everything he needs.
M: That is so good of you. And did you get in touch with him?
E: I haven't tried yet. Can you just believe the way some people are?
M: I can't. I can't believe it.
E: I mean, walking around, thinking everything's just fine, denying Jesus, pretending everything is just hunky-dory when your soul is bound for hell and just about giving me a heart attack!
M: I know. I know I know I know.
E: I mean, some people!
M: Some people.
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