Out on Bittersweet it has been quiet the last couple weeks. Lois and Hope went out to the Oregon coast to visit Holly and I was here on the quiet farm. There are parts of that I like, but I like it better with company. Last night I drove to the airport and picked up Lois and brought her home. The first two weeks of July I spoke at camps. The last two weeks Lois was gone. Now we are back together. The absence gave me a little time to think. Yesterday I visited a nursing home and it reminded me of something that happened over forty years ago…
She Promised A Banana
During my second year of college I preached in a nursing home once a week. I had met a girl that year. She was a freshman we were dating some. She had long dark hair and dark eyes. She was slender and very pretty. She wore pretty dresses every day and if you got near her she smelled really nice. I didn’t know much about her, but I assumed she was a believer because she was at Bible college and she was a little shy and seemed like a really nice girl.
She came with when I preached at the nursing home. We visited from room to room invited people to the meeting. One week we met a lady whose name was Edith. They struck up a conversation. I thought it was sweet that even though she was quiet she made conversation easily with the elderly woman. Edith asked her for a banana. She said, “I don’t have one tonight, but next time I come back I will bring you one.”
It make my heart happy that she was planning to return with me again. The next week on the way to the nursing home she said, “We need to get a banana for Edith.”
We stopped and we got Edith a banana.
There were a lot of things about the girl I didn’t know but I liked the things I knew. The girl was not just pretty and cute and sweet but that is what I noticed most. There were other qualities that I would discover later.
Later I discovered that she was the kind of person that would not leave an apartment with a dirty fridge or shower. I discovered that she was the kind of person who didn’t talk in a flowery way but would never think of letting you go hungry. I loved the way the sunlight played off her long, brown hair. I loved the moments when I could capture her gaze, though she would always look away quickly. Later I would discover that Intimacy was not something that came easy to her, but she would do what she promised she would do.
She has listened to me preach for over 40 years now, but she does not brag on my messages, ever. Not in forty years of messages, but she will tell me if my pants are wrinkly or your if my shoes were ratty. I would discover later that she would be fiercely loyal. That pretty little girl with the winning southern accent would end up being pretty hard on me but she would not let others mistreat me, ever. She would bear eight children and nurse them and see to it that the girls had curls on Sunday morning and the boys would have creases in their slacks and their hair parted strait and their little tummies were nice and full.
What I noticed when I met her is that she was pretty and she had a slender waist and that she lived in Ypsilanti, Michgian and that she was born in Kentucky and she had a cute southern way of talking. I would discover later that she had two “Mamaws” in the little mountain town in Kentucky where she was born. I would discover later that little mountain village and those people and their music and talk and ways were embedded deep in her soul. Later I would discover that no matte how long we live din the north nothing would ever take those things out of her soul.
I didn’t know that pretty girl could make a home warm and welcoming. I didn’t know she could make flowers grow. I didn’t know she was a good cook. I didn’t know she was creative or “crafty” or enterprising. I just thought she was really pretty and sweet and cute and had a nice tan.
I knew she had pretty legs, an adorable face, and other winning physical attributes, but I did not really know she would rather see the new piglets than be on time for church—that she would almost never be on time for church even though I would be a pastor for over forty years.
I didn’t know it at the time but she was the kind of girl that would take time to talk to old ladies and if she promised to bring you a banana, she would bring you a banana.
August 6, 2020