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.