The English Patience


Elizabeth King pulled into the driveway excited. She hadn’t seen her dad, James, for a few weeks and she had finally become a Christian and had started going to church since she had seen him last.

Her dad came running out the door to hug her as she got out of her white Geo Metro.  “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, it is a good thing to be nigh thee! I doth love thee much!” she gushed.  Her father didn’t know what to make of this, but he squeezed her tight.  And then, as usual at nice family moments, came the unmistakable song of the cell phone: “Da-da-dah-dah, da-da-dah-dah, da-da-dah-dah-daahhhhh!”

Elizabeth warned, “Behold, thy cell phone ringeth!” “It can wait until tomorrow!” said James as he kept on hugging.  “But on the morrow thou canst not call for naught”, protested Elizabeth.  “Thou must needs give answer to him that calleth while it is yet weekend.” “I don’t care if I go over my precious and very limited ‘anytime minutes’ on Monday,” said James, “I’m just glad to see you again! It’s probably just a telemarketer from the Portland Press-Herald or Rangely Lakes Estates again anyway.” “But great shall be thy cell phone bill,” she protested. “You’re worth it,” he assured her.

“It maketh my heart merry, thee to see, yea, more merry than when one eats a chocolate glazed doughnut,” Elizabeth continued. “What a great father thou art.”  James blushed at this strange- sounding expression of appreciation, but he knew her heart and wanted her to be able to express herself for now, no matter how awkwardly. She went on, “I have oft longed for thee.  Thrice this week as the even drew nigh, at the eleventh hour, did I contemplate cellular contact, but alas, I knew the woe that would betide thee should I use up thy ‘anytime minutes’ ere the second watch begin.”

“Yes, I do prefer calls after 9:00 PM when it doesn’t chew up my ‘anytime minutes’,” admitted James. “The last time I racked up a lot of overtime minutes, I had to take out a second mortgage to pay for them.  But you are worth more to me than overtime minutes, and that's really saying something. But I prefer seeing you in person anyway; I’m glad you got your Metro fixed so that you can ride it across town again.”

Elizabeth rambled on: “Lo, I bring you tidings of good cheer!  Believing as I do, it seemed good to me to depart from my job at the racino, and I shall presently labour for an increase in wages as she that selleth prefabricated dwellingplaces!”

James had been patient, but his daughter’s new way of talking was really starting to get on his nerves.  “May I ask you something?”  he said.  “Thou hast indeed just asked me something, and that without permission,” quipped Elizabeth. Ignoring her antiquated yet smart-mouthed reply, James continued, “Why are you speaking in a form of English that hasn’t been common since the 1600’s?”

“It showeth respect,” she answered.  “To speak in an archaic dialect giveth honour to the hearer.” “Where on earth did you get that idea?” asked her father.  “In the great congregation, whilst we assembled on the Lord’s Day.” she explained. “I wist not many matters relating to God ere they were demonstrated unto me hither. Now I perceive that it doth honour God to laud him with an outdated tongue.  Moreover, He preferreth outdated music that complementeth the outdated tongue. Since the speech of the ancients showeth admiration, and seeing as I admire thee greatly, I express myself so.”

“Elizabeth,” said James with what the patience he still had, “I’m really thrilled that you’ve been going to church again instead of spending Sunday mornings loafing with that boyfriend with the bong manufacturing business. But it doesn’t seem like I’m talking to you.  Could you please just be yourself like you always were? You don’t have to sound like Shakespeare when you’re around me.  Please just express yourself normally!  Don’t try to act like some religious version of yourself. I’d like it a lot better if you’d just be you!