So I'm at work and go to my vehicle parked outside the empty property I'm working at and an elderly man comes out of next door and we recognise each other from when we were elders in the same circuit. He is early 80's in age, a JW since the 1960's and so the next generation in age up from me.
He's an outwardly jolly sort and asks how I am etc. (knows I'm not an elder but thinks I'm PIMI) and asks if I want a cup of tea so I go in and sit in his kitchen for my lunchbreak and have a chat.
I have a little fish around and ask about how JW's in his hall are. Here's the cut down version ...
Me: Whatever happened to Tim H? (MS aged 40 - son of P.O. as was - with young family that I knew had gone inactive a few years ago)
Him: Well they just stopped coming - they told the school they were no longer practicing jw's apparently. And his father-in-law's gone too. Almost seemed deliberate to me. (Sounds like a clever fade to Freddo!)
Me: Really? Did they Disassociate?
Him: No just went inactive. And Pete McK and his family have gone too?
Me: Don't recognise the name.
Him: Yes you do - bricklayer - moved away to XXX - celebrate Xmas the lot. New congregation elders not interested in catching up with them.
Me: Oh yes. How long ago did they stop coming?
Him: Two years. DON'T THEY KNOW ARMAGEDDON'S RIGHT IN FRONT OF US? The world's never been so bad!
Me: (Laughing) I dunno - when you were a kid you had to be evacuated from (CITY) because of the German bombing. My Aunt lost her job when her department store got flattened!
Him: That's true! You do make me smile Freddo!
Me: We've been saying the end is coming for a long time mind!
Him: (Laughs) Yes! And we'll carry on telling them eh? - (He reflects) Actually, my kids (early to mid 50's) weren't going to leave school!
Me: How they doing?
Him: He tells me how it's going - the son - walking stick heavily overweight - depressed not holding down a job. Daughter - Depressed - her husband not working has M.E.
Me: Wow! They're younger than me and not doing so well then?
Him: No! (Sadly) What we need is the new system to put it all right; that's what we're all hanging on for aren't we?
Me: Chin up - you and (wife) seem ok. How's your brother?
Him: Almost inactive, I can't understand it.
Me: (Cheerfully) Well thanks for the update on Jehovah's happy people! Keep smiling!
Him: (Smiling ruefully) You've got to Freddo ... otherwise you'd cry.