Another entry in the Life's Strange department... You recognize them -- they happen all the time, BUT if as fiction writers, we used them in one of our plots, readers would scream deux ex machina. (This happened yesterday, but since that was the deadline for the three college papers, I actually DID postpone some of the goofing around I would have done normally, (and still managed to email off the last one at 3 am...)
I just had a phone call from one of our former minister's wives (well, that is poorly worded. He only has had ONE wife, and she's the one who called.... But, we've had MANY ministers.) Anyway, she has a daughter who stayed in town when they left (Married one of the sons of one of the teachers, and now has three children. She's living just down the road from me.)
Her mother was "separated" from the minister, and still has the three or four year old youngster she had when she was here living at home, (She's now 28... Weird, huh?) but is now evidently using the former minister's plot of land as home base. I'm glad they seem to have it back together now.
He left the ministry nine years ago now, and is running a 3 1/2 acre garden patch, making a substantial income with it through judicious use of his God-given talents, and is the happiest she's ever seen him... The gross she quoted would be my salary three times over and then some. Good for him! Bad for organized religion!
I still have some fencing he put up around some trees when he was in residence. And a LOT of fond memories.
She's still working as a traveling sales person for a feed company. She's good at it, too. (I think a few years back, she must be the one who sent me a very endangered species, a single, age-appropriate, straight, MALE Arabian horse breeder... Whoever did it, motivated him enough to drive several hours and actually show up here. All I can say is that it's the THOUGHT that counts... I really, really TRY not to be a snob, but in my personal life, I am NOT going to take on the care and feeding of someone who never graduated from high school OR remedied that lack anywhere along the way in any fashion. I value talking over ideas too much. I KNOW I'd eventually grow to resent it. I suspect he'd develop a chip on his shoulder or some other defense mechanism... not a happy scenario for either side.)
She called from a cell phone, and, since I've been reading the Catholic priest Andrew M. Greeley pretty heavily recently, we got into a serious discussion about where the churches are headed in rural areas before she began breaking up so badly that I was only getting part of an occasional word.
She said, in part, that if the church could find a way to pay their pastors (and teachers, she was kind enough to add) that kind of money (which, really is NOT ridiculous when you consider they are basically on call 24-7 for the duties NOBODY ELSE really wants to tackle...) that the churches would not be shedding pastors at as rapid a clip as they are doing in all denominations in rural areas.
The Seymour United Methodist church, the one they formerly pastored, has voted to go to a half-time ministry. (They already are a combined parish, preaching in both Promise City and Seymour, and have been for the 30 years that I've been in the area. We both feel that a half time position will be insufficient to do the job, even though it probably IS all the financial obligation the congregation can handle. The town has dropped into the 700's now. That's just the town itself. I think the rural areas have declined far more. We were having an excellent discussion and exchanging far different views, finding consensus and enjoying it immensely when she began breaking up... I HATE cell phones sometimes, I really do. I was INTERESTED in her points and her viewpoint. (and relishing conversing with someone who would/could hold their ground without being threatened or turing abusive or getting their feelings hurt.
When she got into Cedar Rapids, she called back. The REASON she called was to feel me out about getting a horse!
Just then, I got beeped, and she said to take it; she'd call back.
I thought with regret of the five unbroken young horses who would make great family horses, ONCE BROKE, including those geldings I really need to market.
When she called back, that's not what she was after at all. It was cool. She called back because she KNEW I would not try to pawn a horse off on them and WOULD fault them accurately. What she wanted was one of those OLD MARES that she remembered riding safely, if pedestrianly, around the farm. Not a dead head, but surely a SENSIBLE HEAD.
When her husband was pastor here, he held youth fellowship services in my horse pasture by the creek. Kids and horses loved the attention. (Someone lifted a sack of hot dog buns out of an unguarded box, which the kids LOVED trying to retrieve... He'd come out and collect huge cut up chunks of oak trees, positioning them as seats around the area we'd stoned up for a campfire, mow the inner circle area a bit, remove some noxious weeds -- he just loved putzing around out there.)
One Thanksgiving the whole family reunion came out. The high driveway had just been dug, and we mounted up everyone, sometimes on braided pieces of baling twine, as I have NEVER had sufficient equipment to handle everyone at once. We got great shots against the setting sun as they descended on the drive, some riding double, bareback...obviously finding it quite romantic. There's a closeness there that is absent in other pair activities, like, for instance, a bicycle built for two. You learn to pedal in unison and can chat (if your breath allows it; i.e. the hill isn't too steep), but the cuddling aspect is not present... They were ALL SORE for church on Sunday!
On the third phone call, we narrowed it down PROBABLY to Canta or Cariñosa, the way it looks now. Sometime this fall, possibly. But don't hold them or count on it.
Should I mention how great of escape artists some members of this herd is? How fond others of these lines have been of garden veggies? But, she said his specialty was an unbelievable number of really HOT peppers. That ought to cure nibblers in quick fashion, no?