When Lantana Road Baptist called me to be their pastor on October 13, 1996 I was engaged to be married on February 1, 1997.  For those four months, as I have stated in previous posts, I watched Tombstone repeatedly and ate mystery groceries in a fairly non de-script duplex.  We had collected a small cache of furniture as we prepared for marriage.  I bought a washer and dryer while living in Cartersville.  The day Sears delivered it in one of their big Sears box trucks felt like some sort of rite of passage for me.  I was now a man.  Sears had delivered to me.  The only thing left to do was to tie the knot, marry the girl, go get the bride and her suitcase or two of clothes.  I felt like the nest was ready.  I was wrong.

A few weekends before the wedding Shannon came to Crossville to “bring her stuff.”  I grossly underestimated what that meant.  Basically the arrangement was that she would come in on Friday.  I would be banished from the house to Uncle Roy’s.  She would be left alone to prepare the pad.  When she arrived it was clear she was on a mission.

On Friday evening me and Uncle Roy fished.  On Saturday morning, we fished.  On Saturday afternoon we watched college football as all good Southern men do.  After college football, you guessed it, we fished.  Though she was just a mile up the road, I heard nothing from Shannon.  What could she possibly be doing?  Was she becoming oriented with Tombstone?  Was she memorizing the lines as I had done?  Was she trying to figure out where the mystery groceries came from?  In my mind there was not that much to do.  I had the table set for her, all that was left for her was to unpack her clothes and enjoy.

We went to church on Sunday.  We went to lunch.  Shannon headed back to Charlotte.    I went back to the duplex.  There is an old song that says, “You don’t know what you’ve got, ‘til its gone.”  I think that line was probably taken from an ancient Chinese proverb.  When I opened the door of the duplex I established that the reciprocal is also true, you don’t know what you’ve got until your fiance brings it.  When I walked in the door I realized that for three months I had been living in a drab, plain world of white.  Now I would be living in a world of color, meticulously planned and thematically designed to accent the couch.  My world would now also be full of what I call “artifacts”, strange vases holding sacred grasses, picture frames of people I didn’t know, well placed blankets, pillows, and towels I was not allowed to touch.  Before Shannon all towels were legal.  After Shannon there were towels that appeared to be towels but they were not towels, they too like the vases and the sacred grasses, were artifacts, accent pieces that though they were in the bathroom had some special connection with the colors on the couch.  I noticed also that there were more videos.  Tombstone no longer stood alone, but now it was a part of a broader collection of musicals.  Wyatt Earp, meet the Sound of Music.  Hello, Dolly!    

There was one discovery that remained.  On Monday morning I entered the shower and there hanging before me was a loofah.  At the time I did not know it was called loofah, but now I know it was a loofah.  Behind me was a collection of specialty soaps, creams, shampoos, and conditioners. 

It was then that I realized marriage was only a breath a way.  The loofah confirmed to me, from now on, there would be a lady in the house.  The pastor’s wife was coming. 


Sheena said…
This had me cracking up! I don't think I heard this whole story about Shannon preparing the place before!

And yes, most of us women have to teach our husbands the difference between difference types and purposes of towels.

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