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8:38 a.m. - 2002-09-09

...AND THEN THE PREACHER QUOTED PRINCE

Well ... my buddy, the Reverend Brian ... is gone.

Yesterday, he delivered his final sermon at our church.

When he first told us back in June that he, his wife Carrie and son Ethan were moving to Louisville, Kentucky to take new jobs, I wasn't that upset about it. We were in the middle of selling our house and I was too "high" that we had sold our house to be upset that Brian and his family were leaving. He had three months left in town and we made a promise to do as much stuff as possible together over the summer.

Then again, they're a much loved family. As it turns out, they had to pencil us in for our rare visits with each other.

We got together about 5-6 times this summer and had dinner, went to concerts, went to the pool (thankfully, the Pool Goddess didn't rear her Goddessy head during those swims...I shudder to think what would have happened then).

Brian became more open and honest with each visit. He told me the names of the people in the church that hated him. The people that thought he was evil.

And we both laughed over it.

He used phrases like "I shit a brick when that happened" and got tipsy after we had some mixed drinks at the Zydeco concert that we all attended and announced it to us all.

"Hey. I'm drunk," was all he had to say to make me realize that being a Christian didn't mean you couldn't be cool any more. He was a man of the cloth and he was cool.

His sermon yesterday was one of the greatest that he has ever preached. He just talked about the ups and downs he's had, coming from Conneticut and graduating from Yale...to preaching in a church in Alabama.

He talked about his first experience with grits.

He talked having to master the word "y'all" and admitting that he occasionally slips up and still says "You all". How his wife sometimes slips and refers to his son as "Her BAYYYYbay."

He told a hilarious story about when he first came down to interview for the job and had spent the night at a couple's house from the church. The house was older and his bedroom was upstairs. He somehow locked himself in his bedroom and had to call his wife in Conneticut to call back to the house and tell the couple who were eating breakfast at the other end of the house that he was locked in his room and couldn't get out.

He said that he would have stomped around his room so they could hear him but didn't think that would reflect too well on his trying to get hired by the church.

He had the whole church laughing hysterically because he's such a great story teller. Much better than I am.

Then he started talking about the trials and tribulations of working in our church and going up against the headstrong people of the church. The older, more stubborn members of the church.

Then he mentioned the love that we had poured on his family when they adopted a triracial baby boy.

...And that's when he lost it at the pulpit.

And everyone lost it in the congregation.

He had to take several deep breaths to regain his composure. There wasn't a dry eye in the house. Except for the heathens of the church. Of which, amazingly, I was not one of.

It was perhaps one of his greatest sermons. He stressed that God IS love. If you've ever wondered what God is all about, or if you say you don't believe in God, yet you're capable of loving ... then you have already experienced God.

Afterwards, there were several presentations made to Brian and his family. We gave him money and a huge scrapbook that had every family in the congregation designing a page for him.

Our page had a picture of the three of us in the pool. Kinda tacky, yeah. But Brian had taken the pic on my digital camera a few weeks ago and hadn't actually seen the picture, so it had at least a LITTLE meaning.

And we wrote him a handwritten note, telling them how much their family had meant to our family.

Andrew did his own page which he scribbled all over. We then put a poem that Andrew had "written" for his buddy Ethan and several photos of the two of them as they had grown up.

Afterwards, as their family was hugging everyone goodbye, Andrew let us know that he was several hours past his naptime so we had to leave early.

I passed Brian as he was talking to someone else and said "See ya. Have a nice life."

He said "Same to ya."

And we walked out.

We're getting together with them tonight on their final night in town, which I'm honored to be a part of.

We're going out to the house, going to dinner and then saying our formal goodbyes. Each of us got them some going away gifts.

I got Brian two DVDs..."Pulp Fiction" which is the first movie that we bonded over. And "Saving Private Ryan" which he actually did a sermon on a few weeks ago.

Susie got Carrie some "Dirty Girl" bubble bath, some "Wash Away Your Sins" shower gel and some other "Dirty Girl" paraphanelia. If you've never seen this stuff, it's really pretty cool. It's packaging is right out of the 1960s ... really cheesy like.

Andrew got Ethan some Barney videos for the nine hour trip to Louisville. They just bought a VCR and TV for the van which should prove to be a godsend for their son. Then again, they've got to listen to Barney for nine hours straight, which could turn out to be like "The Shining" in a mini-van.

It's going to be hard to say goodbye to them.


In other news...we didn't really do a lot this weekend.

Friday, we met the landscaping guy out at the house so that Susie could explain to him what she wanted as far as landscaping and shrubs.

I told him I wanted a waterfall in the backyard with several 21 year-old babes in bikinis splashing each other in a grotto underneath the waterfall and hitting each other with pillows that were staying amazingly dry in the somewhat shallow pond.

He couldn't do that. So I got two maple trees instead. "October Glory" they're called. Because in October, their leaves turn a magnificent orangey-red color and people gather for miles to stare at the trees and go "Ooooo! Ahhhhh!!".

...You know...if we actually had more than one tree. Unfortunately, we've got one tree in the front yard and one in the back. That's hardly worth people coming from miles around to gawk at. We would have bought more trees, but quite frankly ... we're broke. We've tapped out all of our monetary resources and can only afford two trees.

The shrubs are being put in today, as is the carpeting. This excites us ever so much.

Tomorrow...we'll have grass. At that point, the house is finished. They just need to go in and clean all the crap out and make everything look nice.

Can I get a "Wheee!" from the people?

(You know...meaning you...the one sitting at their monitor and staring blankly, waiting for something humorous to pop up and doing so impatiently.)


Friday night we drove out to the house because we lead such pitiful existences right now, we cannot WAIT to just get in the house and finally have a home that we're proud of.

First, Mattie Gee's wife Cate came over with a friend of hers from college. They walked around the house checking everything out.

Susie has fallen in love with Cate, which isn't too awfully hard to do. Cate's a great gal ... very outgoing and personable and always in a great mood. Even though Mattie Gee and Cate have been together for a few years now, Susie has only seen and talked to Cate a handful of times before the last few weeks. But in the last week or so, they've talked every night for a little while and Susie's just gushing over how much she likes her, which is cool, since I've harbored a secret heterosexual crush on Mattie Gee for ten years now.

Which means we're buddies but we don't have any interest in sleeping with each other.

At least ... not on my end anyway. There's no telling what goes on in his warped brain sometimes.

Anyway, Cate and Susie and Kristen, Cate's friend gabbed for an eternity while I snapped photos which aren't interesting enough to be posted here. They're basically photos of the neighborhood while houses are being built and stuff so someday we can show Andrew "Here's what the neighborhood USED to look like when we first moved in."

You know. It's kinda a history of the neighborhood that I'm preserving via pixellated photos. And it's boring. Something you people would have no interest in unless you get all kinky for photos of piles of dirt. In which case ... eww.

Saturday, Susie went to get a massage while I took Andrew to get her van all cleaned out and washed and everything.

We went to pick her up and she was grinning as if she had been sexually serviced for the last hour by Samuel L. Jackson (don't ask).

The rest of the weekend was a blur. Some football. Some boxing up of stuff. Some Walmart shopping.

This was the first weekend that I can ever recall that I WANTED to hurry up and pass. I couldn't wait for Monday morning so I could tackle this week.

Next week's my first vacation of the year and it's the week we move into the house. Both Susie and I are having trouble sleeping because we're so jazzed about moving in.

The carpet gets laid today (That LUCKY carpet). And the shrubs are planted as well.

I just hope this week goes by fast.

But I don't think it can go by fast enough.


I wrote this entry over two days ... yesterday and today. Which is why I mentioned the carpeting and shrubs twice. I didn't bother to go back and reread my stuff because I never do until later. So that's why it's repetitive.

I feel just horrible about this.

Just wanted you to know that.

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