Spicy Moments at the Pastor’s House

Being the pastor’s daughter has some very definite advantages. I highly recommend it. One of the perks, we found, is that we always had ringside seats when events took a funny turn.

There was the legendary, middle-of-the-night telephone death threat, which was very deluxe. Dad answered the phone in his sleep and listened to the man very cheerfully, occasionally expressing  amiable agreement. This took a lot of the wind out of the sails of the threatener at the other end. That was a good one. (He did that one other time actually . . . when some friends had a baby and called in the night to give Mom and Dad the news. Dad answered the phone, and without missing a beat, helpfully told the new father where the pro-life march was going to be held. Then he hung up.) Middle of the night phone calls are rather standard procedure for a pastor . . . and Dad frequently had to get up in the night and go deal with some pastoral catastrophe or other. Those were the only two phone calls which, though he answered, he did not wake up for. (As far as we know.)

An especially lovely moment happened when I was in high school. It was around 7:30 in the evening, and we were all hanging out doing the normal routine. As I recall, I was doing my homework lying flat out on the couch, with my face and one arm dangling off the edge, reading my textbook which was open on the floor. (Good form, yes.) Rachel was lying on the floor reading the newspaper comics, and I don’t remember what Nate was doing but he was sprawled out somewhere in the living room as well. Several of us had taken off our socks and they were strewn hither and thither. Mom was grading papers. Dad was out at a meeting.

Suddenly, the door opened. A college guy from church walked in. We all looked up, rather surprised. He gave us a casual hello and made his way into the living room. The interesting part was the route he chose. Mom had a large, potted, fig tree sitting between the sofa and the wall . . . and that was the way he decided to come.

As we all sat there very startled, rather unsure of how we were supposed to handle this, he commenced a campaign of working his way through the fig tree. There was really not enough room, and so it was quite a time-consuming production of stepping over the pot, getting snaggled up in the branches, and generally having to fight his way through it with great effort. He clearly was in need of a machete. Once he won through to the  other side, he came in and sat down on the loveseat. None of us quite knew where to go with that. He seemed completely unconcerned . . . which made it all the more confusing.

We chatted a little, with the Wilson team wildly running thought-experiments trying to explain his presence in our weeknight homework-fest. Were we missing something? Was he here for a counseling appointment that Dad had forgotten? Had we invited him over for dessert and then spaced it? Why? How? Wherefore? You hate to ask someone point blank what they’re doing in your home . . . especially if there’s the possibility that you’re to blame for the confusion. Mom was the one who finally noticed that he was clutching a Bible and a notebook to his chest, and she suddenly put two and two together. He had come for the Bible study. But unfortunately, he had gotten the wrong night. She very casually broke the news to him, and then of course he got very embarrassed.

I gave that whole event a solid five stars. Good, clean, family fun. Very entertaining.

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16 thoughts on “Spicy Moments at the Pastor’s House

  1. rotfl….That’s hilarious. I like that coming the wrong night was embarrassing, but not the entanglement with the fig tree. I mean, really…I always hack through entry fig trees. Mundane business.

  2. That poor college kid got the typology all wrong. Fig leaves are supposed to help conceal embarrassment, not exacerbate it!

    Here’s my question: If your dad never woke up when he answered those two calls, how did anyone know who had called?

  3. Valerie! I knew someone would wonder that! On both calls, Mom was wide awake and heard one half of the conversation.

    With the baby announcement call she wondered who would phone up in the middle of the night to ask when the pro-life march was . . . but Dad didn’t remember anything about it. She found out in the morning from her friends what had actually happened.

    With the death threat episode, Mom heard what Dad said . . . and then they found out later from other sources what had actually been the point of the call. (Weirdly, the caller was an irate carny who was taking issue with the church discipline that was underway against the girl he was running away with. Yes. Told you things could get spicy at the pastor’s house.)

  4. I’ve been trying in vain to find that fabulous post you did about being under the bed with toddler on the back and contact popping? I really would like to pass it on to a couple overwhelmed mothers I know who could use some hilarious-type encouragement, but can’t seem to find it anywhere! I must be blind? Your help would be much appreciated! Thank you!

  5. Thanks for the clarification. Sleep-talking is always more fun when there’s someone around to be bewildered by it. A friend of mine who is a math professor once woke up her husband to explain that “if you just redefine x in terms of y and yadda yadda yadda….” The poor man, himself a history prof, wouldn’t have had a clue what she’d meant even if she’d been wide awake to explain it. He got his revenge, though, the night he sat bolt upright in bed, shouted a single expletive, and went back to sleeping soundly. She, understanding his rather terser speech perfectly well, though not having a clue what prompted it, was robbed of half a good night’s sleep as a result.

  6. Thank you so much, Bekah – you really should post that officially. I’m so glad I didn’t miss it myself. The perspective is perfect – has the contact popped? Well then, we’re alright. Thanks again.

  7. Those late-night calls can go the other way too–I remember one story your mom told me about a young college man who called your Dad with a study question the night before finals. It was a pretty difficult question, and your dad spent an hour and a half answering it. When he hung up he told your mom that he thought the college student had no idea that it was 3:00 a.m.!

  8. This was funny!

    Plus I had missed the posts on the meatball cupcakes. I’m glad I got to read those. What a story!

  9. Okay, for just a moment I thought that the very discrete Bekah I knew had gone and had a hiccup in the brain and was about to reveal some story that would leave someone with their knickers around their ankles. I am glad to see it was just bunnies above the head. Feeewww, I started sweating for a second. I’m sorry I ever doubted you. That was indeed a five start memory, never a dull moment. : )

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