Tuesday, March 22, 2011
We had some friends in our lives, whom I believed loved us very dearly. Every year at tax time, they would give us a gift. It wouldn't be a family gift; it would be a gift for me and a gift for Kevin. It was such a remarkale show of love and appreciation to their Pastor, it always left me feeling so humbled.
These weren't wealthy people, neither were they poor. However, they could have spent their money on their own children. And let me say, their children didn't go without so they could buy us a gift. I'm merely saying they could have spent ALL their money on their children. They also bought us gifts at Christmas on the same fashion. It humbled us greatly, but it also pleasured our hearts to unspeakable ends to see people so kind, so willing to give, especially when it wasn't required.
Even though we haven't seen these friends in a very long time, I think of them every year at tax time. It's a strange thing, I know. I'm not looking for a gift. I'm just remember a blessing from long ago. I'm so glad I could experience other peoples kindness to me. Now I look for the opportunity to do the same.
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
I know I don't.
Now, I like to think I do. And I really think I do. Most of the time I really do.
But this time...I didn't.
You know, that time in your life, when your world is very small and extremely self inclusive?? Well, that's where I've been lately. Or at least that's where I was a couple of days before Thanksgiving.
It's one of those 'It all started it when...." kind of stories. The car has been giving us trouble...the stove isn't working. The radiator heaters keep tripping the breakers. I promise, every light bulb in this place blew out in one day. (OK...not every one...but it seemed like every one!) If it can go wrong-it HAS gone wrong.
Please don't get me wrong. We currently live at our Church in a converted apartment. We had lived here before in the basement, but it was sooo dreary we couldn't stand the thought of living downstairs again. I am most grateful for the living arrangements, and the last thing I want to come across as is unthankful for what the Lord and the Church have provided.
However, it seems that Murphy's Law has arrested us and has had us in custody for quite some time. So, when Thanksgiving week rolled around and the baking element in my oven wasn't working, I really thought I would come unhinged. After all, how could I have a turkey if I couldn't bake it? And what about the dressing and the sweet potato casserole?
I located an appliance parts store in Athens that carried the element I needed, but in my usual fashion, I shopped around for a better price. A local competitor in Winder was going to have the part for me the next day, but I told him I needed it that day (Tuesday) and that I would be going to Athens to buy it at another store. The sales clerk said "OK" in a very snide tone and hung up.
Oh...if I had only known what that meant.
I drove all the way to Athens (I was pushed for time) and when I got there, the competitor in Winder had called the store in Athens and cleaned him out of all the parts that I needed.
I almost cried.
"No Thanksgiving dinner..." I thought to myself.
I thought the owner was joking when he said he was sold out of the heating elements I needed. After all, he had three of them just an hour earlier. When I told him about my attempt to deal with the Winder store, he knew right away they had done it out of spite. Apparently, as soon as I told the Winder associate that I was going to purchase my heating element from Athens, they hung up and called the Athens store, purchased all three that he had in stock, and then sent someone by to pick them up.
The Athens store owner was kind enough to help me locate the part in Commerce. As I waited for him to located it, I noticed the rain falling outside; it was getting dark fast. He found my part and sent me on my way. Or so I thought.
I went outside to crank my '88 Blazer and the battery was dead. Again, I fought back tears. At this point, I'm wondering what I've done wrong. I knew I had to hold it together in order to get someone to jump off my battery. After about 15-25 minutes I was back on the road to get my baking element.
When I arrived at the hardware store in Commerce, I was delighted to find that the heating element was less expensive than I had anticipated. It was strangely shaped though.
"Hmmmm.... I wonder if this is the right element? Well, the appliance man in Athens called and gave them the part number and they said it was the right one."
After I got my receipt, I expressed my concern, and the clerk said I could not bring back an electrical part if it was not the right one. Oh well...the only way to know is to take it home and try. I didn't have the old one with me to compare it to.
You know those sinking feelings?? Well, I had one the whole way home. That discounted element not only ended up being the wrong one, but it also ended up shorting out the thermostat. Now the problem with the stove was no longer a $50 problem; it was a $170 problem.
I cried. I cried hard.
No Thanksgiving dinner. On top of that, my food budget was cut short by the purchase of a battery for my vehicle. Talk about adding insult to injury. I couldn't figure out what was going on in my life, why things were so difficult.
It didn't take long for me to realize how petty I was being, especially when God reminded me of how much I could cook without an oven. I have cooked many turkeys and hams in a crockpot, and I did still have full use of the stove top. I would have to sacrifice the casseroles, dressing, and homemade pumpkin pie, but I didn't have to sacrifice Thanksgiving Day!
I was beginning to feel better about Thanksgiving Day. Wednesday night came and I was "encouraged" because MY FAMILY was going to have Thanksgiving. We have had an exceptionally trying year, and Thanksgiving is one of my favorite times of the year. It's a very intimate time for our family. We spend it with just our immediate family, so it's very important to us. And we like it to be everything we envision it to be.
During the prayer requests, I remembered to ask for special prayer for dear friends of ours. They are evangelists who travel around the country. They live in a travel trailer pulled by a Ford F-350. They live in this 365 days a year. They own no other house. When I talked to my dear sister in Christ, she asked me to please pray for them about their trailer. It's having some MAJOR problems that need repair. She reminded me that this was her home and that she felt like it was falling apart. She told me that something would have to be done about it soon.
I relayed all this in my prayer request. As we all knelt to pray, I bowed down on my knees....this family was heavy on my heart. As I started to pray for them, I thought of how "discouraged" I had been the past couple of days.
I thought of how petty I had been about an oven, yet the needs of others were so much greater than mine. If she could have seen how ridiculously depressed I had been over an oven and a battery....yet her house is in desperate need of repair. That travel trailer is all her family has and it needs major attention. If her house isn't suitable for travel, they can't evangelize. It's so much more serious than a broken oven.
I felt somewhat ashamed, but I also felt grateful for what I have. I wasn't even thinking of Tamatha and her family. Come to think of it, I wasn't thinking of Ruby and the fact that she needed her roof repaired. Her husband died 6 weeks ago before he could get their house reroofed.
I didn't even think of Annette. Her roof is in the same shape as Ruby's, except there's actually some water damage at her house.
I wasn't thinking of anyone, except me. That's so easy to do. But while saying a prayer for someone else and their needs, God helped me see just how small my needs really were.
Fortunately, Thanksgiving isn't just a season. It's an attitude of the heart. I don't have to wait until next November to adjust the attitude of my heart. That's something I should do every day, perhaps even minute by minute if required.
And the more I have my heart in a spirit of Thanksgiving, you can be sure I'm not thinking of myself. I'm thinking of others.
Monday, November 1, 2010
When you've been gone as long as I have, sometimes you think it's best to just stay gone for good...but I decided to emerge from my inactivity and give blogging another shot.
It's not like that hasn't been anything to tell. Maybe there has been TOO much to tell. Really, no one wants to hear my endless numerations of doctor appointments and the such like. That stuff gets so old after a while (at least for the one that pays the bill).
If nothing else I want to come back and finish a story that I started. I want to finish the last few chapters of my "Seasons" series. I hope I still have some readers left to enjoy it! Thanks to those who have followed so far. As sure as there are seasons for every thing else, there is a season for me to pen my experience....I really, really need to bleed it out.
With the holidays coming up, there will be more to tell! It's fall y'all...enjoy the weather!
Saturday, May 1, 2010
She works the breakfast shift at the Commerce Hardees. I didn't notice her much when she had two arms. I'm not even sure when she lost her left arm. All I know is that one day it dawned on me that this woman had incredible will!
Mary works the drive thru, and you can see it in her face; grit, determination, and an undeniable sense of pride. She is easily in her early fifties. And as an African American, Mary has seen her part of injustice and the reparations thereof. Without even knowing her, she emanates a history...it's all etched in her countenance.
She's never been one for a bunch of chit-chat at the window, well at least not with me. She just does her work and does it quiet well. Polite and efficient, she does her job: gets her customers through without a dreadfully long wait.
About a month ago, I pulled up to the window to pay for my order,and I noticed Mary's dangling left sleeve. It was one of those rare times I had to wait longer than a minute for my order. I sat there watching Mary work. She not only ran the register at the window, she filled the orders for fries, cokes, etc. She even bagged the orders. She did EVERYTHING everyone else did, except she did it with one arm. I tried to think back to when she possibly lost her arm. Then I remembered....
One day will sitting in the drive thru, I noticed a paper taped to the serving window that was basically a thank you from Mary. I could gather that she had been either sick or had surgery and a collection had been taken up for her. Not only had her co-workers given, but the customers had given as well.
Hmmmm...I didn't recall ever seeing a collection basket or a note posted asking for donations, but perhaps I was stuck in my own self consumed world to the point that such a thing as that was just so petty that my eyes overlooked it.
So, Mary had lost her arm either through injury or illness, but here she was at work. I literally marveled.
I watched as she took an order from the drive thru, and as she pressed the button on the receiver attached to her belt, it pulled the headset slightly back off her head. She continued with the order over the intercom, then took my debit card, and tried to reposition her headset.
I so desperately wanted someone in there to push Mary's headset back up on her head the way it was supposed to be! I had an urge to point to one of the co-workers and then point to Mary's sliding headset. I felt a great sense of pity for her, but I saw no pity for herself on her own face. The faces of her co-workers were just like her's; resolute. They weren't going to step in and help. I knew right away, she had established her independence on the job, and she could handle every aspect of her duties.
What left me truly amazed was that Mary was working. Afterall, she could get disability. She didn't have to get up at 4 AM and open up the doors at 5 AM for the mad rush of Hardees biscuit lovers. There are times the line is all the way out to the highway, yet Mary keeps up. Pffft....most people would say no to that shift anyway. But here was a clearly disabled, yet not disadvantaged, woman who was willing to work instead of stay at home.
Folks, there are alot of applications here. You could talk political, moral, or spiritual. I just sat there that day thinking about the work ethic that had to be at the core of a woman that would continue to work after losing an arm. Perhaps she had to work...she may not have had a choice. Maybe she didn't believe in drawing a check if she wasn't completely disabled. There are folks like that, you know.
All I know is Mary inspired me. Keep going. Keep going. Keep going. Even if the easier way looks better, keep going.
She finally got her headset back on her head straight, then she handed me my order. I just looked at her, blinked a few times, said thank you, and drove off. I've had her on my mind ever since.
If Mary can bag biscuits, ring up money and count it back with one arm, what am I capable of? It's no contest, it's just that someone with such a hinderance performs as if there is no hinderance at all.
Thursday, February 18, 2010
I have to take you way back for this one, I mean waaaay back. Like almost 4 years ago. Were you thinking farther back? Sorry, this has been a long journey for me. It seems like 40 years, much like the children of Israel wandering around it the wilderness.
So, around 4 years ago the happy Whitman family, complete with a West Highland Terrier, decide they need another pet. Amendment: The Whitman family minus one-me! It wasn't that I was completely opposed, it was just that I was very much afraid that I would end up with all the training duties. We had new carpet and new furniture. Why ruin it?? We had one perfectly contented pet, Shiloh. Did he really want a contender?
But, alas, I was vetoed. My husband has always wanted a Siberian Husky, so there was no way to stop this plan for a new pet. Much to his and the children's delight, some dear friends of ours had some Husky puppies. It was love at first sight, even for me. I still remained cautiously guarded. I was not blinded by this blue eyed beauty. However, she became the newest member of the Whitman crew. Little did we know that Nikita would become Shiloh's arch rival and my nemisis.
Nikita was well loved by the children and Kevin, but I saw her for what she was...trouble! She was aggressive, especially towards Shiloh. She chewed on everything in sight. As she grew, she began to resemble a cockroach on stilts. Her body seemed too slender and wobbly for her long, splindly legs. Those darling blue eyes became mischevious.
Her biggest problem was chewing. Even though we supplied her with chew toys, she loved to chew on my things. Not the children's things. Not Kevin's things. MY things. She would descriminately over look the children's shoes on the living room floor in order to seek out my shoes that were put away neatly. Boy was she smart! She shredded my clothing, not Kevin's or the children's. Funny how that worked out.
Nikki was barricaded from my bedroom. She was not allowed in my bedroom for any reason at all! I had to be particularly careful when I was putting away laundry because she would sneak in, slither under the bed, and hid without me ever knowing. Sneaky little fox. She was as fast as lighening! I can't even begin to enumerate the times I would go back in my bedroom and find her little sleepy head laying on a pile of clothes that she had pulled from the dirty clothes basket in the master bath and shredded to pieces. When I would scream at her, she would look at me with sadistic glee, then run for her life!
But one day it got serious. Very serious. My Bible was missing, and no matter where we looked we couldn't find it. We checked the SUV, the truck, the music basket by the piano...it was nowhere to be found. I never leave my Bible at church, but I concluded, that must have been what had happened. I had used another Bible at home during our search, but it was driving me crazy trying to figure out where my Bible was.
Then on a Sunday morning, I remembered Nikita's great propensity to hide under my bed. I looked under the foot of my bed but didn't see anything. I remembered that the last place I had it was in a basket beside my bed, so I looked on my side. Since my bed is only 18 inches from the wall, I had to squeeze in this small spot. There I was, bowing like a Muslim, one eye squished closed, nose pinned to the carpet, looking under my bed for a Bible still at large.
Then I spotted it. It was halfway under my king size bed. I got on my stomach and started stretching and wiggling and grunting...but I finally got it! My Bible was finally back in my possession. I was thrilled. But only for a moment. I saw huge gnaw marks on the spine and corners of my Bible. I was ready to exact revenge on an animal I never wanted and on the person that brought her here. I thought to myself, "Someone is soooo going to pay" I immediately let out a banshee scream in Fred Flintstone fashion, "KE-VIN!!!!!!!!!" From that point on, Nikita had a bulls eye on her back. I began to look for new owners right away.
Since it was Sunday morning, I had to carry my newly mangled Bible to church as soon as I found it. I was so upset. I couldn't even cry. Now, in my book, that's pretty upset. I decided to carry that Bible as a medal of Honor. Sick isn't it? I was out to prove I had been done wrong by a dog I didn't want. And guess who was going to have to buy me a new Bible?
In a way, it served as an experiment. I wanted to see how long I would have to carry a mangled Textus Receptus before I would be offered an new one. I thought it should be replaced immediately. After all, it wasn't my fault! If it had been up to me, 'ole cockroach Nikki would have never lodged at Whitsinn to begin with.
That following Christmas, I fully expected a new Bible under the tree. We had a wonderful Christmas, but I didn't get a Bible. Strange. I know I dropped at least 1000 hints. I dropped hints over the next several years, but I never got a Bible. It got to the point that I was like, "OK. I better not be getting a Bible. 'Cause I deserve that from like 4 years ago! I'm due on that issue from the Nikita episode, so I should be getting that regardless of a holiday!"
Valentines Day, Birthdays, Christmases....they have all passed. And I've wondered when Kevin would present me with a new Bible. ****crickets chirping***** I still have the same mangled Antiochan text.
Until recent events that is....Last week Kevin asked me what I wanted for Valentines Day, and I really didn't know what to tell him. I had not given it much thought at all.
We were coming home from a week long meeting at Lake Robinson Baptist Church in Hartsville SC, and we stopped at a Christian Bookstore. I asked Kevin about a Bible (I'm due, remember?). He showed me several, but I wasn't pleased with any that I saw. We both decided to wait and order one online after we got home.
When I got home, I found the one I wanted, I mean really wanted. Kevin was pleased with my choice and said he would buy it for me.
Sunday night while sitting in Church, I had my Bible on my lap. I ran my hand across the cover and ran my fingers around the chew marks that had hallmarked my Bible for almost 4 years now. I prayed in my heart, "Lord, I really want that new Bible. I want a new concordance, too. I want a Bible cover to protect this new one."
For the first time since the Nikita incident, I literally yearned for a new Bible. I sat and thought about studying for Sunday School out of a new Bible. I thougth about how precious the words are that are contained within the pages...my desire ony waxed stronger as I contemplated what I held in my lap.
Then the Lord gently reproved me and said, "You know that's why you haven't gotten a new one yet. You haven't had a desire. You've only had an expectation."
My heart dropped. In my silly crusade to show I was a victim of circumstance, I was being so selfish and selfcentered. I wanted my husband's desire for me to have a new Bible to be greater than my own. What was wrong with me??? I actually expected to get a Bible off of my husband's desire. Very twisted but oh so common in the victim mentality.
But then, in the midst of guilt and shame, the Lord spoke to me and said, "You get a new one now, though." My Father is like that, encouraging me and lifting my spirits, even when I am the source of my own trouble. Confession to the Lord does so much, doesn't it?
Somehow we feel like others become responsible for our reaction to pain, anguish, and suffering. I was the only one responsible for making the chewed Bible cover a way to make my husband look bad or a way to make me look good. The key is responsibility...and my, doesn't that scare most people! The truth is, Nikita, my unwelcomed guest, was the only one responsible for my damaged Bible, and she didn't have the money to buy one. So....I have to get it from someone, right?? The ridiculous extremes people will go to just because they want to prove a point or because they are angry.
So here I sit today, waiting for my Bible to arrive next week and telling the story of how good things come to those how have a right heart. Yes, sometimes you have to wait. But, the wait is worth it. And so is the lesson you learn.
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
I'm no Biblical expositor, nor have I ever claimed to be. But it doesn't take a rocket scientist to know that the word 'sacrifice' implies death. In this particular area of service, death has to come to our own selves. After all, don't we have to move out of the way in order to think of others first?
There is a current situation that comes to mind immediately. There's a dear lady in our Church that has been diagnosed with cancer. She is almost finished with her radiation treatments, but it has been a long, long journey for her. Fortunately, our congregation has done several things to try to be a blessing to their family. We've cooked meals (daily at first), some have cleaned her house, we've given money to help with the travel expenses to her radiation treatments. Our only regret is that we couldn't do more. Through all of our efforts to help this family, there was a sacrifice made. And even though it's a 'sacrifice', it brings most people joy just knowing they are helping someone in need. It's very simplistic, I know, but some people are missing the boat.
Why is it that people can't seem to sacrifice a little time, a little money, a little effort to help someone else? Over the past 12 years as a Pastor's wife, I've seen many situations where people were just flat out unwilling to serve others because it would call for some sacrifice on their part. What's even worse is those who serve and then complain about their sacrifice! Goodness....don't bother.
I've seen people sit on their hands while meals were being assigned for a special meeting. Perhaps it was a cost factor. Perhaps it was selfish heart that didn't want to serve. Some people just don't want to give of themselves because it will require them to give up something they have. Would it be so terrible to cook your pot roast for someone in need or a visiting preacher and perhaps your family feast on sandwiches instead? Or is that too much of a sacrifice?
I remember a situation about 6 years ago that perfectly illustrates this point. My house was on the market, and at that time, my health was less than stellar. My family and I were having to go out of town alot, and there was always the chance of a realtor having to show my house while I was away.
Our Church has always been blessed with a unique unity and with a group of ladies that will work. Of course, there has always been exceptions to the rule, but for the most part, we have always had very caring, productive ladies.
One particular weekend my family had to go out of town. My house was a disaster! I didn't really have time to clean it, but I wasn't able to physically. To my surprise, while I was away some of the ladies from the Church had come in my home and thoroughly cleaned my house. Top to bottom, it was clean as a whistle!
I have to admit, it was very hard to accept that others had come into my home and seen my mess. It hurt my pride. But at the same time, the Lord helped me to see what a tremendous blessing the ladies of my Church were to me! And even though I was embarrassed at the mess, I was humbled that my sisters in Christ thought enough of me to clean my house so that the realtor could show a clean home to a prospective buyer.
The Sunday after I returned, I thanked all the ladies involved. I thanked each of them individually for their sacrifice, for that's what it was in my opinion.
I thanked one lady in particular by saying, "Thank you for cleaning my house. I know you probably left your house a mess just to clean mine, and I appreciate what you ...."
I was cut off abruptly. She responded very sharply, "I wouldn't come clean your house if my house wasn't clean!"
I was stunned. I didn't really know what to say. As our British friends would say, I was gobsmacked. All I could hear was, "I wouldn't do something for you that I don't already have for myself."
I thanked her anyway, but it didn't seem like as much of a blessing from her as it did the other ladies. It wouldn't have mattered if her house was sparkling clean or as messy as mine, the attitude of her comment said it all; "I wouldn't have cleaned your house if my house wasn't clean."
Let's just think of where all of our sacrifices would be if that were the standard. I will do this for so and so if I have it myself.... I will serve in this capacity if I have this or that for myself....Doesn't seem like much of a sacrifice does it?
This notion of service without sacrifice is pure folly. You can't serve the Lord or others without a measure of sacrifice. Everyone can't sacrifice the same amount, but everyone can have a heart to serve. That is, if they want to have a heart of service.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
I still hadn't explained to my mother. I wasn't exactly sure she would warm up to the idea of her daughter riding off on the back of a pickup truck with a group of high school girls headed to a football game. But this is the way the sororities did it: if you were accepted into the sorority, they came to your house the Friday night after Rush week, picked you up in a truck along with all the other new girls, and you went to the high school football game together with your new "sisters."
Sounds so collegiate, doesn't it? I was but a high school sophomore in a city loaded with old money and abounding with history. Camden SC to be exact, one of the most beautiful cities I have ever set my eyes upon. Camden....
A city known as the Steeplechase capital of the World. It is the oldest inland city in the state of South Carolina, the site of the worst American defeat of the Revolution. I challenge any of the readers who have never visited this lovely little city to go there, drive through the down town area, and tell me where else you could go and see the plethora of colonial houses that line the streets. Those aren't run down shanties. They are occupied, lovingly restored, Charlestonian inspired mansion styled homes. Not just one street of them. Multiple streets. Christmas time is amazing in the downtown area. And I fell in LOVE with the place when I first moved there as a teenager. With all the history came the equally highbrowed culture, even in high school. I can remember the curriculum guide for the technical school classes (brick laying, drafting, etc) having a disclaimer at the bottom that read something like: If your parents are millionaires, the following classes probably will not interest you. Perhaps they were joking. After all, that was before the days of political correctness. However, I do remember as a student parking beside Jaguars, and there were students that were children of millionaires. So, in the broad scheme of things, sororities were not out of place in a high school like Camden High. To this very day, I have never heard of another high school that had them.
I had moved to Camden from a small town in North Carolina. We lived in a mill village, right across from the cotton mill. The village was made up of quaint little houses, but most of the people didn't take alot of pride in them, leaving the neighborhood looking run down. When my mother remarried and we moved to Camden, I was thrilled to be getting out of the mill village. I was "moving on up" in my opinion!
Now, I didn't particularly love the snobbery that was so evident in Camden, but I, like so many teenagers, wanted to be accepted. As a freshman in high school, the buzz words towards the end of second semester were, "are you going to rush for a sorority next year?"
I wasn't an incredibly popular person. I wanted to be. I craved friendship. Not just attention, but genuine friendship. And I wanted to reciprocate that friendship as well. So, my mind was made up. Even though I thought some of the sorority chics were snobs, I would go to the rush parties (IF I was invited) and HOPE that I could get in one of the three sister societies that would secure what I hoped would be long term friendships.
There were three sororities. Their breakdowns are as follows: Beta Gamma aka, "BG's" - open to the richer kids; Kappa Omega, aka "K O" - open to "good" girls, middle class, not too wild; Gamma Gamma Gamma, aka "Tri Gamma" - open to the WILD girls, some of the rich, even some of the not so rich, but mostly middle class. Of course, that is just my estimation. I'm sure all three were comprised of all sorts of girls!
I loved watching the sorority girls, they all had their shirts with the Greek letters on the front and the sorority name on the back. Girls were given names like "Spaz" or "Wilder." I yearned to be a part of a sisterhood that would accept me, give me a pet name. When my sophomore year rolled around, I received a rush invitation to "K O" and "Tri Gamma." I decided to go to the "K O" rush.
I was so thrilled. I put on my best face when I went to the rush party. I was chipper, even fake. The party was at a HUGE historical home, right up my alley. I left the party that night feeling 100% positive that I would be voted in with "K O." My sister Roni was good friends with one of the sorority sisters, so I felt like I had an inside line.
Friday could not come fast enough. I couldn't even concentrate on my school work. During Geometry, my mind would wander; how would I react when the truck load of "K O" girls pulled up at my door as a token of my acceptance into their sisterhood?? The game and sorority bids were all the talk that day at school. I was beside myself! The bus driver couldn't drive fast enough to get me home!
I hurried up with all my Friday chores. I did everything Mom expected me to do in record speed. I changed into something to wear to the game, and I waited very impatiently for 6 pm to roll around. You see, that was how you found out if you were accepted. There was no letter of acceptance or otherwise. If you were picked up you were in; if you weren't, you were not.
I kept looking out the window. I kept playing the scene in my mind. I knew a few of the "K O" girls, and I could picture us hugging and screaming and laughing. I had not quite worked out the situation with Mom, but I figured I would let my sister Roni tell her once I was gone.
Six o'clock was quickly approaching, and I couldn't keep my face out of the window. Roni kept doing the chores while I kept pulling the blinds apart waiting for my ride. Roni was trying to hide her disgust over my lack of willingness to pitch in with the chores. But there was a look on her face. It was a look of reserve, one that closely resembled pity. And I didn't like it.
She finally spoke up, and it shattered my dreams.
"Rita, do you honestly think that the "K O" girls are gonna come rolling through this trailer park to pick you up???"
I didn't say a word.
I didn't have to.
I didn't look out of the window anymore either.
I had somehow forgotten that socially, I was completely outclassed. I lived in a 12 x 60 tin cracker box, and many of those girls lived in colonial styled homes. Those that didn't live in historical homes lived in respectable homes. For the most part, their houses didn't have wheels.
In my zeal to make friends, I had forgotten that to most teenagers, especially to anyone with even a trace of snobbery, a trailer park was a thing of shame and embarrassment. I was so glad to get out of the mill village, I had forgotten that I lived in a dingy trailer park on the wrong side of town.
I had forgotten that most would fail to see who or what lives in the house. I felt I was as charming and friendly as any of the other girls. I just wanted a chance. But I knew I would never get it because of where I lived. I was even ashamed of it; as soon as my sister had made that comment, I decided that if the "K O" girls did come for me, I wouldn't go to the door. I would pretend I didn't live there.
But, I never had to lie because they never came. I knew Roni never meant to hurt me; she only meant to make me see the folly of my actions. I finally changed out of my super fabulous clothes that were meant to impress the sorority sisters and accepted the fact that I would be spending the evening at home.
I spent the rest of the weekend closed up in my cracker box, hoping and praying that none of my friends would call and tell me they got in a sorority. Sure enough, those that were my close friends spent Friday night at home as well.
I did find out on the following Monday (through Roni's "K O" friend) that I was only one vote short of not making it into the sorority. After three black balls, a candidate is "out." I had two black balls against me, and the last person to vote black balled me. My sister's friend asked her to reconsider, but for whatever reason, she wouldn't.
Admittedly, that news did make me feel a little better. But more than that, it set me on a new path that I continued on through out high school and college. It's a path that has taught me that the colossal historical home can house a vacant individual that offers only judgement and a small tin trailer can hold a person who can offer true friendship.
It's the path that has taught me that it's not the house, but the inhabitant who dwells inside.