One Who Did


The shrieks of delight told me the party had started. Needing a break from studying my Gospel Doctrine lesson for the next day, I went to the living room and looked in. There they were, most of my daughter’s track team, eager to celebrate “taking state.” They had just come from the meet, and some were still dressed in their uniforms.

The ten o’clock news announced the sports, and every eye was turned toward the TV. Yes, there was the announcement that they were now number one. What a pleasure to see our school’s name flash across the screen!

After the news, the coach brought out his part of the evening’s entertainment, a video of the track meet. I watched for a few minutes and then went back to my studies. I could hear the enthusiasm of the team members as they watched the video of the meet. “Look at her go! Run! Run!” “Why did you drop the baton?” “She catches it! Go. go!” “Turn it back, and let’s see that again.” “Wow! You really do know how to pour it on.” “She wins!” “Boy, that looks terrific on color TV.”

I closed my bedroom door, so I’d be able to concentrate. Some time later I suddenly noticed how quiet the house had become. Again I went to the living room and looked in. The track meet video was over, and two of my daughter’s teammates were adjusting another video, this time a movie.

I had picked up my studies once again when Kate burst into my room and closed the door behind her. Her quick, agitated movements told me that something was not right.

“Hello, Kate. How’s the party going? It sounds like fun.”

“Okay, I guess. I’m not at the party anymore.” An apologetic sadness came over her face as she looked away.

“So tell me why you’re not at the party anymore. It is rather late and quiet. Have they gone home?”

“They’re still here. The party’s no good anymore. I’m going to my room to study.” Tears welled up in her eyes.

“What happened? You’re the hostess. This is your party. Why are you going to study now?”

“Mother, I can’t stay in there. They’re showing a video movie rated R. How can I stay there? I have never seen an R-rated movie and never want to. How can I stay there?” she demanded.

Whatever answer I gave I would be responsible for. While her father was out of town I was the head of the family, and I needed help. Should I ask them all to leave? Or should I tolerate this movie in our home? Either way, what would be the implications for my Kate? What should I do?

Stalling for time, I began to question her. “Are you sure that it’s R rated?”

“They told me it is.”

“Do they know that you left? Did you tell them you would not stay and watch?

“Yes, I told them. They didn’t seem to care. No one even asked me to stay or tried to talk me into staying.” More tears welled up. “What shall we do? What do you think Dad would do?”

I agreed that it was a good and heavy question. I said a silent prayer.

“They already know I’m not staying to watch. I’ll just study, and when they’re through they can take their old movie and go home.” Kate seemed decisive.

Voices came from the living room. “‘Bye, Julie. See you Monday.” Kate went to tell her best friend good-bye. I followed her, thinking I should tell them to leave and wishing her father were home.

Then someone began playing the piano. A few voices took up the melody, and then more voices joined in. From the door Julie saw the coach disconnecting the video machine, and she and Kate walked back into the living room.

We sang and told stories and laughed. The track party was a success.

I later asked why Julie had started for home. Kate replied, “Julie said that when I wouldn’t watch the R-rated movie, she decided that she wouldn’t watch it either. She said that when I had the courage to leave, she also found the courage to leave. That’s what made them change their minds about watching the R-rated video. I guess that this was a time when just one person could influence the crowd for good. And, Mother,” Kate cried jubilantly, “I was the one—and I did!”

[illustration] Illustrated by Scott M. Snow