"You know that's not what I'm talking about," said Rex's dad. "Just the other day Jared was telling us that now he doesn't want to serve a mission."
"Dad," said Jared, "That has nothing to do with Rex." Joe and Sam looked silently at their plates as if they wished they weren't there, but it appeared that the conversation had passed the point of no return.
"What do you mean it has nothing to do with Rex?" his father asked him. "Your exact words were 'Rex didn't go on a mission.'"
Jared looked down as if he were ashamed to have gotten his beloved older brother into trouble.
"I can't believe it," Rex's mom said. "Five kids raised in the church and no missionaries."
"Maybe Jill or Joy will serve a mission," I offered. They both glared at me as if they weren't at all happy to have been brought into this.
"I'm sure these two will have no trouble finding husbands right away like my Kathy did," she said huffily, as if I had insulted her by suggesting that her daughters would remain spinsters long enough to end up going on missions. Then as she got up to slice the next pan of corn-bread that was cooling on the top of the stove, she said to Rex "And now because of your bad example, this past year Jared's started skipping seminary!"
"Mom, how can that be because of my bad example?" asked Rex. "I graduated from seminary. With flying colors, as I recall."
But his mom ignored his response. She was on a roll. "He doesn't listen anymore. He's disobedient!" From her vantage point in the kitchen she spied Jared's jacket on the table in the next room. "He doesn't put his things away!" she said, walking towards it.
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Jared suddenly got an alarmed look on his face and made as if to get up just as his mother was snatching the jacket off the table.
Then something hit the ground with a loud thud and rolled. Rex's mother gasped. Rex closed his eyes for a second as if bracing himself for the shit that was about to hit the fan.
"What is this?!" she cried. "What is the meaning of bringing this into our home?! Where did this come from?" She dropped the jacket and picked up the beer off the floor and took it straight to the sink where she opened it and emptied it. "Jared, answer me right this minute!" she yelled. "Where did you get this?"
Jared looked as if he didn't know what to do. He looked at his mother and then at Rex.
"Where do you think he got it?" Rex asked calmly, without looking up.
With that, Rex's mother became furious. "Rex!" she exclaimed, "I am at my wits' end with you! I don't know what to do with you anymore! This is not the way you were raised. I tried so hard to be a good mother. I don't understand where I went wrong with you." She looked like she was about to cry.
"Mom, is it such a big deal?" asked Rex.
"It is a big deal, Rex," she said. "Don't you understand? These things are important. The Word of Wisdom isn't just some rubbish."
Then Rex said something he shouldn't have said. "Beer isn't against the Word of Wisdom."
That drove her into a rage. "You think you're so smart! You think you're so smart! Well one of these days you're going to think yourself right into outer darkness! You say that beer isn't against the Word of Wisdom, but the prophet says that it is! And I'm going to listen to the prophet before I listen to you!"
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