I'm standing over there with them. ~Captain Jack Sparrow
Stand by your man.~Tammy Wynette
The weekend of October 4th, before I came down with a horrible cold (which is 98 percent better now, thank you), TG and I headed for North Carolina to spend 24 hours with Stephanie and her family. We arrived at our daughter's lovely home on Saturday afternoon and settled in to visit and play with our darling granddaughters. We had a tasty dinner and enjoyed one another's company.
On Sunday morning we went to church. Since our son-in-law became pastor of the Temple Baptist Church of Lenoir, North Carolina, in July of 2007, I have attended services there at least half a dozen times. I know many of the folks by name.
Only this time, my presence caused several faithful members to become a trifle confused.
Allow me to explain.
My son-in-law's parents had also been to Lenoir for a short visit ... in fact, we arrived on their departing heels. It's a wonder Stephanie had time to change the linens in the guest room.
"I am actually the mother of the pastor's wife," I told her gently.
David and Debbie, our dear friends, live in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, where he is also a pastor. Unfortunately, due to distance and his pastoral responsibilities, they have been guests in their son's church only a few times since last summer.
One of those times was the last fifteen minutes of the Wednesday evening service on October 1st. David and Debbie drove much of the day in order to attend the meeting, but they were hindered by traffic and missed most of it. The congregation is relatively small and all guests are warmly welcomed, but the pastor's parents naturally capture extra attention.
Here's where the confusion comes in.
Apparently to those who know us only casually, Jenny could be a stunt double for Debbie. Or vice versa. Same difference. See, we are both females of medium height with longish dark hair. Agewise we have both seen our 50th birthdays come and -- *sob* -- go. We are grandmothers but we both dress stylishly and try to maintain a youthful appearance.
(Why, just the other day someone told me they couldn't believe I was a day over 22. I think they wanted to sell me something -- and I know they needed glasses -- but I will accept compliments from any source, no matter how outlandish or profit-motivated.)
But, my friends, there is where the similarities end. Debbie and I actually look nothing alike. I am ... shall we say, curvier than she, and her hair is longer than mine. While we do both smile a lot, personality-wise she is as positively angelic as I am decidedly not angelic.
Tell that to the elderly lady who grasped my hand on Sunday morning and declared that she still couldn't believe I was old enough to be the pastor's mother.
Uhm ... for the record I am old enough to be the pastor's mother but I am not the pastor's mother. "I am actually the mother of the pastor's wife," I told her gently.
This statement was met with a blank stare of disbelief. She thought I had lied in church! I attributed her bafflement to advanced age and poor vision.
(Further complicating matters is the fact that my son-in-law is the spitting image of his mother.)
But over the next 90 minutes the scenario repeated itself so many times -- and not all those who misidentified me were of the optically-challenged geriatric variety -- that I finally told Stephanie:
"I hate to say this but you and Joel now officially have a unimother."
Oddly enough, no one thought I was Debbie when I was standing next to TG.
In fact, no one ever thought TG was anyone but TG. One kind lady bounded up to him and said: "You're Stephanie's Daddy!"
Yes. Yes, he is.
See, while (at least to some) Debbie's and my individual selves may blur into a single person, I cannot imagine anyone thinking that TG and David are one and the same. First there is the disparity in their height (TG is 6'4" and David is around 6'0"). They are both fine handsome men, but each in a completely different way. Although apparently when it comes to women they shop in the same neighborhood, having encountered one of these gentlemen you would never wonder if you'd actually met the other.
[EDIT: This seems to be the post I cannot leave alone. I remembered today that last summer while we were in San Antonio for Andrew's graduation from Basic Military Training, during lunch on the Riverwalk a man approached TG and said with due reverence: "Excuse me sir, but are you Tom Brokaw?" Ehhhh .... NO.]
It seems we are identified not only by who we are, but also by that one beside whom we choose to stand. The one whose hand we hold. The one who brings us and the one who takes us home.
I like it ... simple, easy to remember. Sweet.