(Dear Readers, a year ago I did a guest post on my wife's blog and my dear wife returned the favor and posted this on my old blog. Since my old blog has now gone away, I thought I would repost it here. Yes, I know just how blessed I am to share life with her. After two decades together, I am still absolutely crazy about her.)
Do you like stories? I do, when I have time for one. If this is a tightly scheduled day for you, and you have already cursed out the old lady in the Buick in front of you for making you late to your dentist appointment, then you might resent this post, because it might take longer than just a minute, but if you’ve got your coffee in hand, and have settled down for a quiet moment away from the fray, then why not sit a spell and go on a journey with me.
I was sixteen and had just gotten my first car about the time I first met this skinny, lanky boy with a huge smile. My mother, grandmother, and I did this singing gig back then where we went around to various churches and belted out gospel tunes in three part harmony. (It’s a southern thing.)
On this particular night, we were back at our home church for what was probably a revival of some sort (our brand of gospel belting was especially in demand at those sorts of things), and he and his father happened to be in attendance. My mom, who had already met the young man in question, could hardly wait to introduce us. Normally, her enthusiasm for any guy would’ve been the death knell to any future interest on my part, but I had to admit, the guy’s smile was genuinely infectious.
We struck up a friendship not long thereafter. The friendship mostly consisted of short talks on the phone and bumping into each other at various gospel-singing/revival/make-sure-you-haven’t-lost-your-salvation type of events. Once or twice, the lanky kid tried to take things to the next level with me. He bought me little presents occasionally, and even asked me out on an official date once, where I unintentionally stood him up (this is hotly contested, but I am eternally sticking to my story).
The guy with the great smile eventually went off to college, and our friendship dwindled to a few sporadic letters. That is, until I was at the end of my senior year in high school and was dateless for a formal event that was coming up. Fearing that I had probably already burned my bridges, I was very doubtful as I sent off that letter asking my smiling friend to be my date for the event. And yet, miraculously - - smiling, lanky young men being what they were back then - - he magnanimously consented.
Your coffee is probably getting cold about now, so I’ll cut the story shorter here by just telling you that whatever was in that corsage he brought me that night was pure gold. From that night on, I was hooked, and I’ve been privy to the depths of that beautiful smile for twenty years now.In fact, that smile has superpowers that not many people beside myself are aware of. In the last twenty years, that smile has gotten me to:
*endure thousands of hours of potty humor
*traipse through briar-infested woods and across cliff ledges in search of undiscovered trails
*play second fiddle to any new theological theory in book form
*watch more than my share of cars and planes being blown up on screen
*prepare hundreds and hundreds of manwiches
*administer hundreds and hundreds of rolaids
*birth two beautiful boys sporting genetically dominant smiles
*watch helplessly as those boys become infected with dad’s potty humor
*patiently handle the interruption of every family outing within a twenty-five mile radius because we are spotted by a former shelter resident who either wants to share their latest victories or beg for another chance at redemption
*look on as my husband’s heart breaks for the umpteenth time when he offered that chance for redemption only to see the person crumple it in their fist and toss it to the curb
*share in my hubby’s elation each time a shelter resident makes the momentous discovery that they are worth the effort it takes to pull themselves out of the pit they are in
*even stick it out despite the daunting future possibility of having to iron all those clerical collars
Being the lifelong companion of this man has been an adventure fraught with laughter, head-shaking, eye-rolling, snuggles, love, exasperation, consternation, giggles, and even the occasional indigestion. It has meant coping with basically the equivalent of doctor’s hours - - my hubby is on call 24/7, 365 days a year. But it has also meant being privileged to spend my life with my best friend. The one whose smile still makes my heart melt. What better ending to any story can there be than that?