TOPEKA, Kan. --- For 39 years Sister Helda Emerson hasn't missed a single Sabbath at her local church. Even more impressively, she has occupied the same seat every week: the left-hand center aisle seat, third row from the front.
"The first 35 years were such a blessing," reminisced a nostalgic Sister Helda. "People knew their place. Whenever visitors came everyone was so good about telling them where they could not sit. Luckily the church never grew past our regulars so everything stayed the same.”
Sister Helda says that despite her years of soul searching she does not know what she did to deserve what happened next:
"When our wonderful Pastor Jones retired, the Conference sent us this young whippersnapper of a pastor. That's when everything started going downhill."
Within months of 35-year-old Pastor Brad Quincy and his wife Nancy arriving, there wasn't a seat empty at church as people caught wind of Pastor Brad's animated preaching and the Pathfinder club Nancy had started.
Sister Helda says that since the invasion, guarding her traditional seat has turned into the greatest trial of her life. "I've tried everything!" she said, completely exasperated that despite her attempts to ask nicely, smile and even use an ornate "RESERVED" seat cover from a funeral home, young families and clueless college kids always manage to steal her rightful place.
Sister Helda is not giving up though: "I'm petitioning the Church Board to include a seating chart as a bulletin insert." The shockingly accurate, hand-drawn plan of the sanctuary features only one label: "Helda".
"If we don't take a stand people will just plop down wherever they want!" she said.
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