Sunday, October 11, 2015

Country Hospitality

Okay.  It's time for a confession.  My family has a dirty little secret--something I try to keep hidden.  My husband owns a sports car.  There.  I've said it.  My name is Kathy and my husband owns a sports car.

My husband's first car was a 1970 Dodge Challenger.  In 1977 we were expecting our first child and he sold that car so we could buy a "family car."  And he's never recovered.

So a few years ago I came home from work and he, bubbling with excitement, announced he'd impulsively purchased a 2010 black Dodge Challenger with subtle green metallic sparkles in the paint.  I was pretty livid.  I told him I'd never ride in it because it was against everything I stood for (you know, that vow of poverty and simplicity I took.)  It was not one of the finest moments of our marriage.

But the years passed and I eventually did ride in the car.  Reluctantly.  It's housed in the garage and I think it's been washed more than it's been driven.  Still, oh how he loves...

Today I was scheduled to speak about Operation Christmas Child at Midway Alliance Church in a rural area about an hour away.  The pastor warned me not to depend on a GPS because they often don't have reception there, so I dutifully printed out the directions via Google Maps.  

This morning my husband announced he wanted to drive 'his' car--one last hurrah of the fall.  Inwardly, I groaned.  I didn't want to show up to speak at a church in that show piece.  Still, he was nice enough to drive so the least I could do was ride in THE car.

We were doing okay until we got stalled in the thriving metropolis of Spartansburg right around the Family Dollar--the only thing I saw that could be called a store.  How was I to know the streets  (um, roads) weren't properly identified by the names used by Google?  After trying all three possible roads--two very narrow and one even narrower than that--we admitted defeat and I tried calling the church phone number.  Yes, I tried.  Then I realized that no GPS reception might mean no cell phone reception.

I got out of the car and tried to walk to a place where the call would go through.   After at least a dozen tries--dropped calls with me calling back again and again--sweet Chuck told me they'd send someone to the Family Dollar for us.

Did I ever tell you I hate the country?

We waited about 15 minutes and a car drove in with our rescuer, Bob, to lead us out.  He later said, "I pulled into the Family Dollar and immediately saw a car that didn't belong in Spartanburg."  As we drove off we went by a group of guys who I thought were all staring at me...then I realized they were ogling the car!

Next we went by a trio of Amish kids on scooters and as we passed they all yelled, "Wow!" (again, not referring to me.)

Blessedly, my husband had shooed us out of the house that morning 15 minutes earlier than I'd planned.  Good thing, because we arrived at the church at 10:51--nine minutes before the service began.

I'd planned a talk based on the feeding of the 5,000+ in Mark 6 and prayed about what stories to share, and I think things went well.  I sure enjoyed talking with the folks afterwards and hearing about their heart for Operation Christmas Child.  They packed 28 boxes last year and I challenged them to double that this year.

Then, something unprecedented in my Operation Christmas Child speaking career happened--a family invited us home for dinner.  Not just a nuclear family, mind you, but a large extended family that gets together every other Sunday for dinner.  So, we went...following them in a caravan for miles over dirt roads.  I could see my husband inwardly cringe as the dust flew around 'his' car.

We pulled up to the house opposite the barn pictured above.  Marjorie, the matriarch, had 11 children, and nine are still living.  She lives in this house with two of her daughters while another daughter and her family live in one house across the road and a son and his family live in another.

We were immediately met by FIVE dogs of varying sizes and bark decibels.  I am not a dog lover.  At. All.  But I managed to get by them into the house.  Marjorie invited us to "sit anywhere" except on the chairs that were unabashedly piled high with her quilts-in-progress.  What fun it was to see them all and hear of how she's made 100 or more in her lifetime and continues to plan them for each family member.

No one seemed to worry that the furniture was old and stained or the house was cluttered.  They shared their lives with gladness.  We feasted on pork and sauerkraut at two plastic tables on the front porch and heard stories about ribbons won at the fair and about their two cows that escaped to the neighbor's farm last June and were still there!

All the family loved my husband's car and the kids wanted to get their pictures taken by it.  This made my husband proud and me embarrassed.

Before long the kids had to leave for their 4H club meeting, and Jim and I got detailed written directions before we headed for home--back down the dirt road again.

Despite the rough start God blessed us with wonderful church fellowship,  a beautiful afternoon drive, and amazing country hospitality.

It could almost make me love the country.  Note I said ALMOST.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Kathy! I loved this post. You're a great story teller. And I can just picture you driving in that car through the country. I, too, have a car like that. But I love my car and it was an inheritance from my father--it is a 1964 Austin Healey. Maybe we can all go for a ride someday. So thankful you are serving with OCC! Blessings...