A Recap

Well, hello!

I have gone down a side trail–you might say a vacation, of sorts, from the main trail–and haven’t been able to meet up with you today like I usually am.  So since it’s been so hot lately, here’s a recap of a story I told back in the winter…about Major:

When I was in kindergarten, Mom got me a small little White Pine, about a foot tall, from our local school that was giving them out to children. We took it home and planted it in our front yard. We moved when I was in 2nd grade and made sure to take the White Pine with us when we went.

Besides having this seedling of a tree, I also grew up with my parents having two big flat-coated retrievers, a male (named Major) and a female (named Babe). The male, Major, was almost my nemesis. In the winter, when my brother and I were outside playing in the snow, we’d be having a great time until one of my parents let Major out. When he saw us and we saw him, it was the hunter eyeing the hunted. Why, you may ask?

This dog loved the snow; but even more, he loved to “pick one from the herd” and chase him down. Once he was upon his prey, he would plow him into the snow, take his stocking hat (remember as a kid when they used to come with a ball on the top, usually the same color as the hat?) and gallop off to his secret lair, snickering to himself, an air of pompous victory emanating from some cruel gene, and chew the ball off the hat. The victim would later find his hat laying abandoned in the snowy yard, covered with drool. We sometimes found the balls–and when we did, they were sadly beyond resuscitation, drool dripping from them, snow-covered and maybe some grass and dirt thrown in the mix if Major was in a good mood that day.

When we would see him coming, we’d look at each other and know what the other one was thinking: Holy crap, it’s Major! Do I stay or do I run? Can I get out of his line of fire before my brother does? Should I take the hit for him? Will I ever see this hat again? You didn’t dare let the fear of something happening to your new stocking hat drive you to start running away from Major. That only sealed your fate. No, your chances of survival were far greater if you just stood there and waited for his sadistic game to play itself out. Sometimes my younger brother would start to cry–probably because he knew he was going to lose another hat. (He lost more hats and balls to Major than I did. I do recall a time or two of choosing to run from Major in the hopes of diverting his trajectory onto my brother’s path, who was by this time either running slower than I was or was already curled up in the fetal position in the snow, whimpering and probably praying for the rapture to happen NOW, just waiting for the inevitable.)

You know what? That dog even came after us when we didn’t have any balls on our stocking hats! If there was a ball on one hat but not on the other, that just meant that all three of us knew who he was going after. And then the next time this would happen, and we’re both wearing castrated head-gear, it was anybody’s guess. Ah, such wonderful childhood memories!

Bethism #2

So the other Bethism that my wife likes to periodically repeat occurs in the kitchen and usually involves the use of her KitchenAid mixer.

Long ago, we not only bought one of these fine machines but also purchased the “splash guards” that fit the top of its mixing bowl.  They’re apparently handy for preventing ingredients from flying up out of the bowl and attaching themselves to your face, hair, clothing and any objects in the immediate vicinity.  We wouldn’t know, though, because all they have done in our family is sit around and collect dust.  Whenever either one of us grabs the mixer, we always set the guards aside, figuring we really aren’t going to need them.  After all, what could possibly happen?

Enter my wife, stage right.

She is very good at what she does in the kitchen!  She had a great teacher in her mother as my wife grew up, and she has learned many tricks of the trade over the years that we’ve been married.  But whenever I know she is going to do something that involves the mixer, my antennae is up, alert to any peculiar sounds emanating from either her or her equipment as she works her mojo in her kitchen.

The most recent event occurred about a year and a half ago, probably involving Christmas cookies.  I was in the other room and heard a whoop from the kitchen.  I had a feeling that I knew what had just happened as I made my way to her domain with phone camera in hand.  Sure enough, I entered the kitchen to see her standing in front of the mixer with flour and miscellaneous ingredients all over her front.  I found out from her that she dropped one of the attachments in the bowl as it was running (I later realized that I never thought to find out why or how this happend).  I looked down on the floor and there’s dough and flour splayed out in a perfect “V”, an arm of it spread out on either side of where she was standing.  Then I looked up.  The same V-shaped splay of dough and flour was cast acrossed the ceiling, the dough hanging in suspended strings of floury goodness as it spread out from the location of the mixer.  It was a masterful display of Bethism finesse and prowess if ever I saw it!  So I promptly took pictures and video to record this, her most daring and artistic Bethism to date.

(I still have the pictures and videos of these events for promotional purposes.  They are not for public use as of this juncture, but for a fee, I could let you “borrow” them….)

“Bethisms”

My Dad and my wife always had a very special relationship.  He knew that I had prayed for the “right one” for a long time, and when he met her for the first time, he knew I had found her.  The two of them just clicked.  It was awesome to see!  What was also evident to me was the fact that he had a lot of respect for her (both for simply who she was and also for her profession–she does Daycare out of the home now, but back then she was a Social Worker and had seen and experienced a lot of things which produced insight and wisdom that I could tell he admired).

My wife has much more of a forthright personality than I do (probably another reason my Dad was fond of her).  But she can also be…well, no other way to say it….she can also be rather “blonde” (after all, it is her natural hair color).  She’s never been “ditzy blonde” like the stereo-type we’re all familiar with (you know, like the On Star call many have heard where a woman has apparently locked herself inside her car and has to be talked through how to pull “the shiny thing” [door handle], only to discover that the keys were in the ignition the whole time).  Nope.  Nothing like that.  Just “blonde” to the point that it has produced a few events we like to call “Bethisms”.

She has had quite a few over the years, and most of them seem to jump back and forth between doing her nails and baking in the kitchen.  It’s kind of like watching a tennis match.  I’ll be the first to tell you that she is great at both of these things.  But not only do these Bethisms occur mostly in these two areas of her life, they occur with the same incident happening–every time.

She has done her own nails for years and is very good at it (putting fake nails on and then painting them).  The first Bethism happened right here in our home one night as she was doing her nails in front of the T.V.  As we were watching a show, I and our boys suddenly hear, “Oh, crap!!”.  I look over at her and she’s leaning back on the couch, holding her fingers together above her head.  An odd sight, to be sure, but I thought I would wait for an explanation.   She’s laughing, but there’s something different about it–something uneasy.  She then proceeds to tell me that she has glued the thumb of one hand to the finger of the other–and in case you aren’t aware of it, fingernail glue sticks like superglue.  So she’s laughing–also because she’s leaned back so far into the couch that she can’t get herself back up with her fingers glued together like that–and repeating, in no particular order, “Dang it” and “This is really gonna hurt” and “Oh crapcrapcrapcrapcrap”.

Now I, sensitive husband that I am and knowing how much my Dad would love to know about this, promptly pulled my phone out and started recording video of this amazing and unusual event unfolding before me.  Ben, our younger son, started tearing up and wanted to help his Mommy in any way he could.  Which included volunteering to go get the scissors to cut her fingers apart (this was definitely not how she was going to fix this).  She eventually sucked it up, took the plunge and pulled her fingers apart.  We were all amazed at how little skin was actually missing compared to what we thought we would see.  If I remember right, it took a couple of weeks for that to heal up.  This has happened more than once–and just as funny every time!

I’ll tell you about the other Bethism next time….

How We Met

You ever feel like you’re so close to something BIG–something that you know God is leading you into and at the same time knowing it’s so much bigger than you currently realize–so close you can taste it, smell it, feel it?  Yet nothing has physically changed (but it could at any time.)  And there are things that have happened in the last few weeks that point to it, making it that much more obvious.  Yet nothing has physically changed (but it could at any time)….

That’s where I am right now on this Journey north with you.  The only other time I have been so sure of something involves my wife.  So let me share that amazing story with you….

No One tells our story like she does!  So I’ll just share my perspective on a few things.  We met when I was 30 and she was 32.  In an online chat room, when it was just beginning to happen (and even then we both had the common fear of only finding freaks, weirdos and perverts).  We met in a Christian Singles Chat Room on the MSN website (it was only my second time in the chat room and I haven’t been back to it since).  We “met” on Sunday night, May 27th 2001 at 10pm (and chatted until 4am the next morning); we  then met face-to-face on June 6th (her birthday); we were engaged July 2nd; and we married October 6th!  You might think that this moved pretty fast–and it did–but when you’ve been preparing for your soulmate since you were thirteen (which we both had been) and praying for him and her every day of your adult life, you’re pretty much ready for things to “move along”. (And because it’s part of our story–and almost unheard of nowadays–I also want you to know that we both remained virgins all those years of waiting and praying.  That is a priceless gift we gave each other that no one will ever be able to take away and that eternally remains with us.)

So, with that being the timeline, let’s focus in on the time leading up to and just passed the wedding.  My side of the family is from Michigan, my wife’s from Ohio.  So both of our Moms took care of mailing out invitations for their respective sides, with the wedding taking place in Michigan.  We had waited a long time for each other, and when you do that, there are a lot of people who you want to celebrate with!  So we had a LOT of people invited to our wedding.  But when the day came, the church sanctuary was maybe half-filled with all the people we had invited.  (Why?)  And then, for the next couple of months after the wedding day, we would encounter people we knew we had invited who would ask us, “Why didn’t you invite us to your wedding?”  (The plot thickens, Watson…)

It was then that we found out some rather crucial information from my Mom:  She mailed out the last batch of wedding invitations around September 10.  The day before 9/11.   So as a result, our wedding invitations were lost in the mail and, to the best of my knowledge, they have never been seen to this day!  A rather unique aspect of our story, to be sure….