Monday, February 27, 2006


We were worried our traveling troubles would influence how smoothly activities would happen over the weekend. Fortunately, they did not.

1. I visited my old school, saw my peeps, and caught up that latest in the public education.

2. The Rev. and I met his sister and her family at the Bass Pro Shop. The store was having a
huge sale, so I caught up on the latest camouflage styles. I saw more camo in 10 minutes
than I have seen in the past 18 months. If I ever had to put money on a fight between
a country boy from Fentress County and a surfer dude from San Diego, I'd go country boy
every time.

3. The only food I did not get to shove in my face was Prince's Hot Chicken, but the breakfast
at Cracker Barrel made up for my disappointment.

4. My parents drove over from Memphis. Mom bought me Goo-Goo Clusters. I gave her a
bottle of wine.

5. The Rev. bought me Moon-Pies. I love the banana flavored ones. I ate one for breakfast.

Most importantly, The Rev. and I got to spend time with all of our friends and our adorable godchild, Caitlyn. She set the gold standard for infant behavior in church, and kept us all entertained with her facial expressions and her cute baby grunts. Her father and I celebrated her arrival with a few shots of tequila, imported especially for the occasion.

We also took our cats, Butch and Smokey, back with us to San Diego. Fortunately, our return trip back was relatively boring, and we departed and arrived on time, cats meowing all the way. Unfortunately, I cannot entertain you all with a description of our trip, because it would put your to sleep.

How are the cats adjusting? That will be a later post.

Getting There

So we left for Nashville on Thursday morning. Our flight was supposed to leave at 6:30 a.m. and we were supposed to get to Nashville at 2:30 p.m. That would get us plenty of time to get hot chicken from Prince's and scope out the old neighborhood.

God decided it would be a good day to test my patience instead.

Our plane left on time, but we sat on the runway for nearly an hour waiting to take off. Then the pilot announced that there was a problem with the navigational equipment and that we would have to taxi back to the gate for a technician. They made the promise that there would be NO PROBLEM in catching connecting flights. That was one of the boldest lies I had ever heard, and I loudly announced my thoughts on their honesty. Everyone was clucking open their cell phones and calling Boston, New York, Dallas, St. Louis, and a myriad of other destinations to reiterate the aforementioned lie to their unsuspecting friends and family.

Long story short: They cancelled our flight. AFTER TWO HOURS OF SITTING ON THE PLANE. Do you see the bold faced letters? Can you sense my indignation? I know, English teachers, that I just wrote a fragment in bold letters. Forgive me. Anger is clouding my judgment even as I type. Frustration is creeping into my fingers as I write this tale of woe.
What really made me, ahem, upset (I am trying to refrain from using a word that starts with a "p" and rhymes with hiss.), is that they wouldn't let us off to make alternate arrangements. I don't like to be at the mercy of an unknown entity, namely a faceless bureaucrat who couldn't decide whether to cancel the flight or not. Instead, they trooped us off the plane and MADE US GO BACK TO THE TICKET COUNTER AND REBOOK OUR FLIGHT. Which meant we would have to go back through security, AGAIN. Which meant I would have to stand in line while strangers around me removed articles of clothing and fumbled with their laptops, AGAIN.

I was not happy.

I could write buckets about what the airline should have done or what I would have done, or how patiently The Rev. waited while I tried not to throttle someone, but instead, gentle reader, I will tell you how hard I tried to remain calm. I know that problems happen on airlines. I know that it is better to have navigational problems on the ground rather than in midair. I know that the gate agent didn't mean to be rude. And I know that it is far better to be rational than to be emotional, but I was...upset.

I tried to channel patience by thinking about the mission videos I had once seen about African women who walk 20 miles one way with their sick child strapped to their back only to wait another 6 hours to see a mission nurse before having to walk 20 miles back home. THAT takes patience.

It didn't work.

Instead my jaw nearly locked because I was clenching my teeth so hard. We finally got rebooked for a later flight, but we wouldn't arrive in Nashville until 11 o'clock that night. We could have taken an earlier flight, but it was be highly unlikely that our luggage would have made the connection with us. The thought of running around in dirty clothes with no make-up and unwashed hair did not appeal to me. I wanted my luggage. We took the later flight, and we were rewarded with a voucher to get something to eat. By this time The Rev. was holding my hand and rubbing my shoulders and neck as I ranted. I work in customer service, so I spared the gate agent my indignation. It wasn't her fault that they cancelled the flight, nor was it her fault that our only real food choice was McDonald's.

As we made our way over to the restaurant, The Rev. asked me what I wanted to eat. I could not tell you the last time I had McDonald's, so I had to look at the menu to decide what I wanted to order. I said, Maybe I should get a Happy Meal." He replied, "I don't think that will work for you."

There was much truth to that remark.

To make a longer story much shorter, we eventually got to Nashville. The trip was punctuated by relatively smooth flight to Dallas, several trips around the airport on the SkyTram to kill time, and a beer at an Irish pub in Terminal D at the Dallas airport. If you are ever stuck at DFW airport, go to Terminal D. They have the best choices for food and drink. Trust me. The Rev. and I had plenty of time to scour every terminal during our layover.

On the flight to Nashville, we made peace with the possibility that our luggage would probably not be there. As we made our way to the baggage claim, I told The Rev. to make the rental car arrangements and I would check on the bags. And there, standing in a halo of celestial light, sat our bags. They had come on the earlier flight. The one the gate agent told us not to take because they wouldn't make the connection with us.

That was the cherry on top.

Home Again

We arrived back home about 2 hours ago. The washing machine is churning and the cats are sniffing out their new abode. Instead of writing one long post, I will write several posts so that you, dear reader, can get the full experience of my weekend in Nashvegas. That's right, Nashvegas. Pass the sequins and the Aquanet.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Jose and Jack

The Rev. and I are leaving at the crack of dawn tomorrow to go to Nashville. That means that instead of writing this post, I should be doing laundry, packing, and writing down emergency phone numbers for my husband's secretary. She didn't know we snuck "cat sitting" into her job description before she got hired. (Thanks, pastorsecretary!).

I don't know when I will have a chance to post again, so I will leave you with some random thoughts and snippets of when I realized this pastorschick was no longer in Tennessee:

1. Upon meeting us when we first arrived, the congregational chairman greeted The Rev.
with a hearty, "Dude, how's it going?" I almost fell over in the parking lot.

2. Members of the congregation call The Rev. padre instead of Herr Pastor and bring him
tequila instead of Jack Daniels. I don't care what they call him, just pass the lime.

3. People blink when we tell them our dog's name is Dixie. At least we don't tie a rebel flag
around her neck.

4. It's okay to skip church to go surfing. I take it that it is a reminder of your baptism?

5. Tamales are a good thing. And they are an all day affair, pass the lime.

My father-in-law once gave The Rev. a valuable piece of advice. He told The Rev. that once he took a call and moved to a new congregation, that was home. You rooted for that town's football team; you learned about the local places of interest; you showed appreciation for the people and their culture. In Nashville we rooted for the Titans and ate hot chicken. We listened to country music and followed NASCAR (at one point I memorized every driver and number). We drove to Lynchburg and paid homage to Mr. Jack Daniel. When we moved to California, I really missed those things, but here I am, and though it is hard to admit, this is home. We root for the Chargers and we are still trying to define the cuisine (which is a good problem to have). We know the points of interest in San Diego, and we have enjoyed getting to know the people. It's not really a matter of tequila versus whiskey, because they are experiencing a peaceful conexistence next to the gin and vermouth. Much life happens in 18 months.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Fruit of vine, or why my feet are thankful that I am married

One of the unusual traits about me, besides the fact that I secretly like Hooters hot wings, is that I sometimes have to work on Sunday. Believe me, it is not my favorite thing to do, but it is a sacrifice I have to make to afford our mortgage in California. For those of your worried about the condition of my soul, I usually attend The Rev.'s church, and then leave right after the sermon. Which I am sure confuses some people who might be thinking, "Wow, I wonder what he said to tick her off." Other Sundays I attend another church in close proximity to where I work. If you are still worried that I am neglecting my spiritual growth, I live with a pastor, remember? I grow everyday, believe me.

Last Sunday was my day off, so after services, Sunday School, meet and greet, locking up, and lunch, we drove up to wine country to pick up an order of wine. We felt like it was Christmas as we drove into one of our favorites wineries to pick up a few bottles of newly released wine that were being held for us. Yes, we are special, and we keep a standing order with a local winery. For all you teetotalers out there, Jesus drank wine. There were no Frigidaires in the first century, so don't give me the line about grape juice. If the dear Lord didn't want us to have the fermented fruit of the vine, he would have turned water into Welch's.

We planned to stop at more than one winery (shocking, isn't it?), and I was immediately reminded why I hate going to the wineries on the weekend. The crowds at the tasting bars were about 3-5 people deep, and everyone was enjoying their Cabernet shooters. It's called a tasting room for reason, people. Taste the wine, do not gulp like you are getting up enough courage to enter the wet t-shirt contest. For some reason I was suddenly thankful that I was married. It was a Sunday afternoon and I was dressed like it was a Sunday afternoon: sweater, boots, and jeans that allowed me to breathe. I was relaxed and happy to be spending time with my husband. There were other married couples there, and you could tell that they were married, also. How? They were all wearing comfortable clothes and sensible shoes. The single women were wearing one hour shoes. Meaning you could wear them for one hour, because if you wore them any longer, a visit to the podiatrist would be needed. Pointy toed with a high heel, they may elongate your leg, but they are hard to wear. I know, because I own a few pairs. And I wear them for one hour on Sunday morning, or when I know a lot of sitting will be in the forecast. I don't know if they come equipped with their own pheronomes, but it was obvious that they were shod on the feet of women who were in the market for the sensitive type who could talk about art and how the '96 merlot should be drinkable now.

I don't miss those days.


I talk fast. I could kid myself and say that I speak economically, but I am sure there is a pencil pusher out there who could figure out an algorithm clearly showing how my rapid fire speech is affecting the economy of a small third world country, or at least affecting the comprehension of some of the people with whom I associate. Some say that my brain is working faster than my tongue; others are kind and blame themselves by saying they were caught off guard by my cute accent. Chahhhming, isn't it? I know that I am a fast talker. At some point in my life, someone has told me, "I didn't understand a word you just said." I GET THE PICTURE AND I AM WORKING ON IT. Unfortunately, I am trying to break a 30 year old habit. It hasn't been easy.

The problem is when I slow down my speech, I begin to hear my southern accent. Now, I know I have a drawl, and many people have complimented me or asked me if I am from Texas. (No, I am from Tennessee, and this proves that people in California know their geography as well as people from Tennessee). As of late, when I have made a conscientious effort to slow down my speech, my accent screams that I just fell off a turnip truck. I am sure the people who drive turnip trucks are fine people, but they probably sound country with a capital "K." For example, I may say, "I like that eyelet shirt." The people with whom I am speaking will more than likely get a confused look on their face and I will apologize for talking too fast. So then I repeat myself, after first apologizing for talking too fast. But it comes out sounding like, "Ahm so sahry, Ah sehd Ah lahked that ahlet shirt." If I heard it, I am sure the person next to me heard it.

I know that part of the issue is that I am in California. Southern accents are hard to come by around these parts, and I am usually pretty good at distinguishing the accents that I do hear. It borders on the idiot savant. More than one visitor to the Golden State has been surprised by me when I have asked them what part of Alabama or Georgia they hail from. This prompts the person next to us ask, "Did she just ask them if they were from hell?" Nice.

I'll try not to regress this weekend, but I can't make any promises. Ah may come back with an accent thickrn syrp. You figure it out.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Mother's Wisdom

My mother's response to my last post:

"Baby Girl, after nearly 35 years of marriage, you call Lenny's sub shop and have them make the tuna sandwiches for you. BELIEVE ME, it's worth the extra money."

By the way, she had 6 cans of tuna in her cupboard, too.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

In case of emergency, bake cake

We had a potluck at work on Friday. I found out about it late Thursday night, so I got up an hour early on Friday morning and baked an apple cake. I pulled the cake out of the oven right before I had to leave for work, so it was still warm when I arrived.

What surprised me was that people couldn't believe I had made the cake that morning, with ingredients I had on hand. What they don't understand is that I am my mother's daughter. You cook from scratch. Brownies from a box are evil, and nothing says love like homemade fried chicken. I come from stock that requires you to keep 27 cans of tuna fish in the house, just in case you need to make a vat of tuna salad for a church dinner. Ingredients for chocolate chip cookies should be on hand at all times, just in case there is a birth, death, natural disaster, full moon, high tide, or a good movie on t.v. Mom, if you are reading this, go count your cans of tuna. If you have less than 10 in the cupboard, I AM SO DISAPPOINTED IN YOU. I have 6 cans right now, plus 6 cans of salmon. Lent starts in less than two weeks; I am so ready for the pre-service meals. You feel like turkey? I have three in the freezer, along with enough tamales to last us into the next new year. Bread? I have three loaves at my fingertips. I have enough butter, sugar, and flour to bake cakes for every special occasion for the next six months. If you want an ethnic meal, I could probably reach into the cupboard and make cajun, Italian, Asian, or Mexican, from scratch. There never has, nor will there ever be a Hamburger Helper in my cupboard.

What I need to start doing NOW, is what I discovered about my mother three years ago. I was home visiting and I opened her freezer. She had pre-packaged dinners in there. Frozen. Meals. Prepared. Food. Food that was cooked by a machine and then flash frozen and shipped to a grocery store. My brain could not comprehend. Before I could even start to screech, she looked over my shoulder and calmly said, "Baby girl, I have been married for 33 years. I'm tired."

If it means I get an extra hour of sleep, I'm bringing brownies from the box to the next potluck. I won't tell if you won't.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006


One week from today The Rev. and I will be on our way to Nashville. It has been decided a bottle of gin will be joining the bottle of tequila. While seeing old friends and meeting our godchild, visiting my old school, and playing an all night game of dominoes are important, I am looking forward to cramming the following items into my face:

1. A cherry limeade and onion rings from Sonic
2. A plate of macaroni and cheese from Chef's Market
3. Spicy fried chicken from Prince's Hot Chicken Shack
4. Breakfast from Cracker Barrel

Of the four restaurants listed above, two are open all night long. That means I can drag The Rev. out of bed at 3 a.m. and we can have spicy fried chicken for breakfast. And drown the flames shooting out of our mouth with the cherry limeade from Sonic.

I am also looking forward to experiencing the season of winter. When people ask what the weather is like in San Diego, I always respond, "Think 75 degrees and sunny, punctuated briefly (and I do mean briefly) with short bursts of rain." It does get cold here in the overnight hours, but by mid-morning, the sun is out and I am running around in flip-flops. I used to think flip-flop sandals were seasonal accessories, worn only in months without an "r". Here, they are a year 'round must have for the one season we have, summer. For the past few days, we have been trying to have winter. That means it is sunny but cool, with clouds coming in from the north, occasionally spitting out a few drops of rain. I actually had to wear closed toe shoes AND SOCKS yesterday, but I did manage to get by without a jacket. I just know that next week I will be shivering uncontrollably (but it will be a thankful shivering) and wondering why I got a pedicure before I left, and the anticipation will be to get back to February summer.

Caitlin, Katelyn, Caytlin?

Dear Godchild,

Welcome to the world! Right now you are about 8 hours old in the central time zone. That means whenever you come to visit me in California, you will be 2 hours younger. As you get older, that will become more important to you. For now, I will be calling you "Baby Girl," as your parents have decided to give you a name that could spelled a variety of ways, just like mine. When your dad called The Rev. this morning, we were so busy being excited we forgot to ask how your name was going to be spelled. As I don't want to get started off with you on the wrong foot, nor do I want to set bad precedent, I will be sticking to "Baby Girl" until I can make that clarification. Hopefully, you received a standard spelling. If not, you will never be able to buy a personalized keychain. Believe me, I know that kind of trauma. Once, my brother got his name carved in wood, and I couldn't because they charged per letter and I had too many letters in my name for my parents to shell out that kind of dough. If that happens, call me and I will buy it for you.

I must first congratulate you. You have been blessed to have been born to two of the best people I know. When I miss Tennessee, a big chunk of my heart is missing them. Your mom will keep you active and in great shape. Your dad will teach you all there is to know about art, painting, construction, theater, and when you are 21, scotch. We can also throw in cooking, fishing, and target practice. I have no doubt you will grow up to be a well rounded individual. And I am sure you will be a heartbreaker, causing your father to keep a loaded weapon in plain sight of any of your potential boyfriends. Just do us all a favor and avoid dating anyone totally inappropriate. If you need clarification on totally inappropriate, discuss it with me, as I had plenty of experience in that area before I married The Rev.

Now I must warn you. The Rev. and I are godparents to many children. Many to the point of we aren't really sure how many. We can't promise that we will remember your birthday, but we do plan on being around for your baptism, confirmation, graduation (hopefully more than one), and wedding (hopefully just one). We will also make sure your parents have you in church every Sunday. We aren't too worried about that one, because when we lived in Nashville we saw them every Sunday, at church. I can also promise that when you come and visit us in California we will spoil you rotten and take you to the beach, the Wild Animal Park, the zoo, Disneyland, and when you are 21, to wine country.

Next week you will be baptized and become a part of God's family. Don't go thinking that this is your license to be naughty. Hopefully, after your baptism, your dad (since he's so handy with tools) will hang your baptismal certificate in your bedroom, so you can look at it every day and remember who you are. If a godparent should teach their godchild anything, Baby Girl, it should be to remember who you are and what makes you special.

We love you and we can't wait to meet you.


The Godmother

Monday, February 13, 2006

It takes a big man to carry a cat through an airport

Next week The Rev. and I are flying to Nashville for what I call a "drive-by baptism." Our dearest friends in the world are having a baby and they asked us to be the godparents. That topic is another post entirely. Anyway, it will be a quick trip where we pop-in and pop-out and witness a sacrament on the way. That is also another post. The Rev. and I can't wait to see them and the little one, along with my parents and Rev.'s sister and her family. We are importing tequila in our carry-ons for the occasion.

I will never doubt the validity, sincerity, or love of this couple for us because they agreed to keep our two cats, Butch and Smokey, until we got settled in California. Do you want to test the sincerity of a friendship? Ask them to keep two cats for over a year. And drive them to the vet while Smokey hyper-ventilated after attaching himself to the driver's seat head rest. And fix Butch's paw, butt, and other body parts when he tried to overcompensate for his missing manhood with another neighborhood cat. Nate and Steph, if you are ever stuck anywhere in the world at 4 a.m. and need someone to COME AND GET YOU, call me. I owe you.

I will also never doubt the validity, sincerity, or love of my dear Rev. He is the type of guy who likes to smoke the occasional cigar, drink scotch, watch football, and participate in household projects. His household projects usually involve all the aforementioned, but he saves the imbibing for after the project is done. Safety first, you know. With such an appreciation for the masculine (and for those of you squealing that I am sexist, there are pictures of me puffing on a stogey with a beverage in front of me--I'm all for equal opportunity), comes an appreciation for dogs. The Rev. is not a cat kind of guy. He usually refers to the cats as the possessions of his beloved wife. However, he loves his wife and has made a concession to allow felines into his domain. He gets a dog and I get multiple kitties. It works. In case you are wondering, I clean the litterbox.

After our visit next week, Butch and Smokey are returning with us as our carry-on luggage and one will go under Rev's seat and one will go under mine. All for an extra $160 on top of our ticket price, plus the hassle of going back to our old vet to get health certificates swearing they don't have rabies. Mom and Dad, save your lecture. I know what you are thinking. I asked if you wanted a cat and you said "No."

So, on this day where we recognize the love we have in our life, I want to tell you all how much my husband loves me. Any man willing to carry a cat through an airport for his beloved deserves a happy Valentine's Day. Thank you, Rev. Now you can get a puppy.

Do you got good English?

I was an English teacher. My husband taught English. My mother taught 5th and 7th grade language arts. I have MANY friends who teach English. My brother is a writer and wrote the first comment on my blog critcizing my grammar. I admitted my error. He absolved me, and then I proceeded to go out and commit numerous egregious sins against syntax and diction.

I admit, I am a bit rusty. See! I just committed comma splice! If you don't use it, you lose it. See! I did it again. Another comma splice, frosted with a cliche.

Shortly after I talked with him about how the part of my brain that keeps track of the rules concerning possessives, demonstratives, objectives, verbals, commas, semi-colons, conjunctions, and the proper use of farther/further is turning into cottage cheese, I took a quick trip to our local bookstore and picked up The Grammar Bible. (I just realized the coincidence, just now, at this moment!). The reason whyI had to purchase the book is because all of my teaching stuff is packed away in several boxes and I haven't had the heart to pull it out from storage and go through it. So, dear reader, if I commit a grammatical felony against your soft heart, please let me know. I will make the correction as quickly as possible, and I may give you extra credit on your next test. Of the grammatical felons, I am one of the worstest. I did that on purpose, you know.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

The Downward Spiral

"Marry a Pastor" was never on my top ten list of things to do before I die. (Sorry, honey!). I come from a family that breeds pastors. My father contemplated the pulpit, but never attended seminary, and I don't foresee any one of my nearest relatives contemplating a life change into the ministry. As for the women in my family, many of them bear the title of pastor's wife. On the short list are my paternal grandmother, a great grandmother, a couple of great aunts, an aunt, and various cousins. Even my mother-in-law is married to a reverend. She is THE reason why I always tell people to call me by my first name. To call me "Mrs.," followed by my married name is HER TERRITORY. And those are some BIG piano playing, choir singing and choir directing shoes to fill. I am most certainly not worthy. Perhaps it was the familiarity, maybe it was perception clouding the reality, but I never planned on living in that kind of glass house.

The reason why I am making these observations is because of the following conversation I had with my father concerning my blog:

Dad: You put fart on your blog!

Me: Yeah? What's wrong with that? It's not a bad word.

Dad: Do you think your grandmother ever said fart? Do you think your mother-in-law
every said fart? I don't recall ever saying fart in front of my parents.

Me: You had to have said fart. (At this point I turn to the husband). Honey, did your
mom ever say fart?

Husband: No, not that I can recall. In fact, I am pretty sure she never said fart.

Me: Well someone has to start the downward spiral.

People, let me tell you a little secret, I am my own worst censor. This is only my fifth blog and I already could have said MUCH WORSE. Believe me. I am capable. My goal is not to shock, but to give you a peek into my life. I grew up thinking that pastor's and their families were the special minions of the Lord God Himself, and the more I got to know the families (especially the wives), I learned that for the most part, they were pretty normal, and even had some idiosyncrasies that impressed me, like smoking cigarettes and drinking bourbon.

Once, a woman asked, "I've always wondered, what do you call Pastor at home?" I replied, "The Reverend Sir. And I must kneel and kiss his ring before I can approach him directly. He has his own special throne at home, you know. They're standard issue for new seminary graduates." Thankfully, she knew I was joking, but I've had to respond to that question on more than one occasion. Yesterday the Rev. and I went to the grocery store. As we were wandering the aisles he asked, "Do you want some pirate's booty?" It turned out this grocery store sells a snack called pirate's booty. Think Cheetos, but all natural, and slightly more healthy for you than their flourescent orange cousins. I admit, my mind went elsewhere. Where was yours?

Welcome to my glass house, people. I'm pouring the bourbon and passing the pirate's booty.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Pajama Day

Today is my day off. That means I usually stay in my pajamas unless it is absolutely necessary for me to appear in public. I even drive the husband to work in my pajamas. I usually pray to and from my destination that I don't get hit by a MACK truck. I'm not worried about meeting Jesus without any make-up, but I would rather not make the acquaintance of the local EMT sans foundations, of any kind. My mother would know what I am talking about. Ask her if you are curious.

Due to some sort of planetary alignment, a sun spot, and a ripple in the fabric of the universe, the husband also stayed home today. We ate pancakes and worked on our taxes. We are both still in our pajamas. It's bedtime some where in the world.

We will have to make a public appearance today to drop off our tax statement to our CPA. "Wow," you might be thinking. "They must be doing pretty well to afford a CPA." Um, no. It's just that between clergy pay, housing allowances, student loan interest, a mortgage, and other sundry miscellany, we would rather have a licensed professional do it. He's a pastor; I'm a teacher. It's been the best money we have ever spent, besides our sleep number bed. We really love our bed. And I love the fact that he isn't staring at a computer screen for three days in a row muttering under his breath how much he hates to do the taxes.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

How the Chick was Hatched

I am not the original pastor's chick. It was a name that I had dubbed another pastor's wife when my husband and I were at a Labor Day Retreat in Nowhere, North Carolina. Hubby and I shared a cabin with his sister, her husband, and another couple from Texas. I will call them Pastor and Mrs. Cowboy. They were fabulous and we all got along tremendously.

Anyway, there were cabins sprinkled all over this campsite, and if you wanted everyone to know your every belch, fart, giggle, and sigh, all you had to do was tune out the sound of crickets, mosquitoes, and the mouse in the bathroom eating all of the toilet paper, and you usually got a pretty good chuckle. Hey, it was like summer camp. I never went to summer camp. I'm allowed a little regression.

One morning I had to run to our car to get something and I happened to overhear a conversation in the cabin next door. Most of the pastor's in our area had very young children with varying degrees of experience in the bathroom.

Pastor's Wife: Jacob, I reallllly need you to cooperate with me. You have
to go potty for mommy.

Jacob: No. I don't have to.

Pastor's Wife: Jacob, last time you said that you had an accident. You don't want
to have an accident do you? Come on...

By this time Jacob's voice had turned into a whine and the poor mother was getting more and more exasperated. Finally, I heard Jacob kicking the floorboards of the cabin and saying, "No, I don't have to potty and YOU REALLY ARE UPSETTING ME RIGHT NOW." For a two year old to sound so adult struck me as hilarious and I laughed all the way into our cabin. Mrs. Cowboy asked me, "What's so funny?" I replied, "Oh, some pastor's chick is having problems getting her kid to go the bathroom."

"Did you just call a pastor's wife a chick?"

"Yes. She's a chick. She's young. I'm a chick; I'm young. So?"

"Don't you know her name?"

"I did once, but I've forgotten it."

"Well, what am I?"

"As far as I'm concerned, you're a chick too."

Once everyone realized that me calling a pastor's wife, the beloved of a reverend, a chick was due to my forgetfulness and terrible ability to recall names, and not because I wanted to dabble in pseudo-blasphemy, we all kissed and hugged and sang Kum-bye-yah.

I never figured out who the anonymous pastor's wife was in that cabin, but she won my respect for her abilities in the area of potty wrangling. I don't know if I won any respect from my roommates, because by the end of the weekend they had me dubbed pastor's chick. I know one of my friends, (Hi, Mel!), hates the word chick. She thinks it is anti-woman. She knows me though, and part of our great friendship is her ability to see past my moniker and my ability to forgive her for once going to speed-dating.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

On Being a Pastor's Wife

I never tell people I am a pastor's wife. I figure they need to get to know me first, before they have to worry about saying something off color, off key, or just plain off. People are usually surprised at first, but when they realize that a celestial choir doesn't start to hum when I enter the room, they go back to their usual business. I always tell people to call me by my first name, and I have disappointed more than one confused soul who doesn't understand why I can't sing, play the piano, or direct the choir.

When I was teaching public school in Tennessee, a student discovered that I was a "preacher's wife.":

"Miz. G.," he said, "I hear you a preacher's wife."

"Yes, Vincent, my husband is a minister."

"That makes you the first lady!"

"The first lady of what?"

For those of you ignorant of southern mores and social norms, many African-American churches refer to the minister's wife as "the first lady." I did not know that until that day, but it was an idea that I liked immensely.

By the way, I like to get to know people well, and then I am usually the one to make the off remark. It breaks the ice, and it makes my husband so proud.
I'm laying down the ground rules. As an English teacher, I'll use a quote to make my point:

"Only God knows how to love, the rest of us are only good actors. Forget love, try good manners."
--Rebecca Wells, The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood

I apply that quotation to many situations in my life. Regardless of who I am and what my husband does for a living, I would hope everyone would remember that quotation. It might make earth a nicer place to live.
That said, if you want to be negative, ornery, or just plain mean and nasty, please check whatever issues or neuroses you may have at the door. I may be a preacher's wife, but I am also a Southerner who inherited her mother's sassy tongue. You've been warned.