Wednesday, July 28, 2010


I don’t like surprises. Unless they’re the good kind. Last week, as I was packing for our trip to Houston, I rinsed out a last-minute item and put it in the dryer. Shutting the dryer door and setting the timer, I pulled the knob to turn it on. No response. What’s this? It worked fine the last time I’d used it. My husband checked the breaker and double-checked to make sure it was plugged in, then said he’d take care of it when we got back. It was in the back of our minds the whole time we were gone, and since our washer had developed a problem with the hose, I figured we’d make a trip to the laundry mat on our return and didn’t worry about it.

Early Monday morning after we’d arrived home, I opened the kitchen curtain and glanced out the window. For a moment I couldn't make sense of the incongruous sight that met my eyes. Our twelve-foot stepladder was erected in the back yard and decorated with clumps of laundry! I recognized whites, towels and pastel unmentionables dotting and hanging from the steps like colorful flowers! “Howard! How did that get out there!” I yelled to my husband.

“I washed last night after you went to bed,” he explained, “I fixed the washer hose.”

“You what?” I demanded, “You never do laundry!” He said he washed the bag of our vacation clothes that was sitting by the machine. I dashed out the back door, frantically collecting the damp garments, hopefully before our neighbors saw them. I actually wouldn’t mind a clothesline, providing it was a discreet, collapsible kind with multiple lines arranged in a square. After I did the rest of our clothes, we took them all to be dried and went to Lowe’s. They had just the clothes line I wanted, but Howard said he wanted to check into fixing our dryer first. It’s only 20 years old, so I can only hope for the best.

I’d been meaning to get a sympathy card for a friend who lost a loved one, and yesterday I actually remembered to buy one. I thought about it just before mail time, and went to retrieve it from it’s plastic bag. Guess what? No card! Howard was about to leave for work, so I ran to check if I had left it on the seat. It wasn’t there. Later, I reflected that our son had called while we were in the car, and I remembered absently looking at the envelope as we talked, thinking that the corner was getting bent. Maybe I unconsciously slipped it into the door’s side pocket. I’ll look as soon as my husband gets home with the car. Maybe it’ll be a good surprise and actually be there.

Life is full of surprises. Our friend’s sister was killed accidentally. Not everyone dies as the result of a lingering illness with plenty of time for reflection and preparation. Death may surprise us, but our destination shouldn’t. Only the wonderful surprises He has in store for those who have trusted in Him await the redeemed, for the Bible says, "Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him." I Corinthians 2:9.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

No Laughing Matter

Our son, Jamie, was trying to relate an amusing incident to me as I sat behind him in their minivan while in Houston traffic the other day. He told me his wife, Tammy, had been attending a Spanish class at work, and he went on to say, “Tammy texted her mother (who had been sick) and said in Spanish, ‘Are you okay?’ to which her mother replied, ‘Si.’” Then he waited for me to laugh. I said her mother answered in kind. He patiently repeated the story, and I still didn’t laugh.

Finally, Jamie painstakingly told me what he had been trying to say, “Tammy called her mother and said, ‘In Spanish. Are you okay?’ She answered, ‘Si.’” Then we had a good laugh over it, since her mother had thought she was supposed to answer in Spanish, and I thought Tammy had spoken in Spanish, when she really meant she was in Spanish class!

Jamie had a lot of laughs at my expense, mostly due to my hearing or comprehending wrongly. For instance, I thought I heard him say of his 16-month old daughter, “Maddie has my legs.” I had him repeat it (he was in the other room), while I rationalized that when I had commented on 3-year-old Anne-Marie’s long legs, he had said she had the Shaw (her mother’s family) height, so maybe he meant that Maddie’s short, chubby legs were like his as a baby.

“Oh, you think she has your legs?” I responded, to which he gave an emphatic, “No!” After several laughing, impatient repetitions of his statement, he came close to me and carefully elucidated, “I said, ‘Maddie has hold of my legs!’” Whatever!

Later that day, we were sitting at a fast-food table watching him and the children enjoying pizza while their Pa Pa and I shared a cup of ice cream. “Would Maddie like a bite?” I asked Jamie. He said, sure, so I gave her a spoonful. Then, since the ice cream had come with a clear, domed lid that now sat upside down on the white table, I put a large dollop into it and passed it to him to feed her.

Seconds later, I glanced down and saw the blob of ice cream was on the table surface where the lid had been. “How did that get there!” I exclaimed, and then I saw that the domed cover had a very large opening in it, invisible on the white table. I thought Jamie would laugh himself sick over that one.