June was a righteous woman.
She and her husband attended both the morning and evening church services on Sunday, as well as the service on Wednesday.
She was the kind of congregant who was always happy to bake cupcakes for the children’s Sunday school, to host the women’s Bible study group in her home, to sing a solo in the choir and to volunteer when the nursery was short-handed.
But though Jesus was alive and well in her heart, her heart was not alive and well.
“I’m afraid your numbers are far from where they should be. You’re going to have to make some changes to your lifestyle if you want to decrease your risk for a cardiac event,” Dr. Pochard told her one afternoon.
“What can I do?”
“I’m going to write you a prescription for a statin medication to get your cholesterol down. There’s a lot to be said for diet and exercise. Some studies suggest a glass of red wine each night can have some benefit.”
June’s heart almost stopped before she had an opportunity to try to fix it.
Her pastor frequently preached the sins of alcohol. A sip of red wine would damn her straight to Hell. She didn’t want to spend eternity with the murderers and thieves.
“I … I will have to talk to my husband,” June said.
So June and her husband prayed for an answer. In the end, they decided God would be more forgiving of a little imbibing because it was a matter of life and death.
So June went to Kroger and bought a few bottles of Riverboat Red. Every evening she poured a few swallow’s worth into a juice glass and, grimacing, gulped it down.
“It’s for my heart,” she always explained to anyone who would listen. “I can’t stand the stuff, really.”
Her two grown daughters understood June’s misgivings about her new heart-healthy regimen, but they didn’t understand why she had to make it so unpleasant for herself.
“You know, not all wine tastes like that,” the younger one said.
“We could find some for you that you might like a little better,” the older one added.
June was appalled.
“You will do nothing of the kind! This is not about pleasure, it is about my health. And anyway, how would the two of you know anything about good wine or bad wine?”
Her daughters fell silent.
“Well, that’s not the here nor there. I’m not angry with anyone. Dinner will be ready in a few minutes. We are having chicken-fried steak with gravy, scalloped potatoes, green bean casserole and, for dessert, a pecan pie. I hope the two of you have saved your appetites.”