We didn’t really date, officially, until I came home from college for the summer. But we were certainly aware of each other, and when I was home on a weekend, there was often an activity of some sort for the youth group that Terry had been recruited to help with as a driver. And I was clearly expected by the kids to ride shotgun. Fine with me!
I remember one Sunday morning in particular. Home for the weekend, I’d been downstairs teaching a class of little ones. By the time I gathered up my stuff, the service was under way. The auditorium was full. Well, except for one chair, which just happened to be next to Terry. There was absolutely nowhere else for me to go, so I gathered up my courage and went down the center aisle to the empty chair. He glanced at me and went deep, dark red when he realized I was going to sit there. I was probably blushing, too, but his blush was spectacular.
After the service, he didn’t have a lot to say, but he managed, “You have a really good voice.” We said our goodbyes and went our separate ways.
Several of the women, young and old, gathered around me and were making all sorts of comments and assumptions, and it embarrassed me to death. At that point, I wasn’t ready for such talk and I got out of there as quickly as I could.
I will admit, though, that I was just a bit pleased that people thought what they did. Maybe, if others were noticing, perhaps Terry was noticing, as well.
One of my favorite stories centers on the weekend my dad baptized Terry. We believe in full immersion, and he was ready and willing. I was home, but for some reason I didn’t attend his baptismal service. Maybe I wasn’t feeling good. I just don’t remember. We didn’t have a baptismal tank in our small church, so we made arrangements with another church nearby to use their baptistry in the afternoon. Terry had dinner with us, and then they left for the service,
While they were gone, I decided to make some doughnuts. I enjoyed the process, and had done it many times before. I thought it would be nice to have fresh, warm doughnuts when they all came back.
I was in the process of frying the doughnuts when they returned. I’d already done over a dozen, and they were beautiful little golden brown treats.
Then, the door burst open and let in a gust of cold winter wind, and it was perfectly timed for my hot oil to be set aflame by that wind. “Fire! Close the door! Fire in the kitchen!”
Terry came running, took in the situation at a glance, grabbed a metal lid from another pan and slammed it over my skillet, turning off the heat under the burner as he did so.
It didn’t burn long enough to do any damage. I asked him if I should throw out the oil and start fresh, but he though it would be fine to use it. While everyone enjoyed the pre-fire doughnuts, I finished up the rest. When they cooled, I put some in a bag for Terry, another bag for my roommates and me, and left a plateful for my family.
Those post-fire doughnuts were the absolute nastiest, worst-tasting things I’d ever had. It was embarrassing. The next weekend, I asked him if he’d eaten them, and he had. Every single one. I apologized all over the place and promised him a do-over, which he enjoyed more than once down through the years.
My roommates, by the way, tried to be kind. After I offered them a doughnut, I left to go get a shower. When I came back, they were both gone. I glanced into the waste basket and noticed a tissue, looking like something was under it. And there was a doughnut with one bite take out of it. I tried one for myself, and it joined the one that was already in the basket. They were kind, but we all had a good laugh over the saga of the burnt-by-fire doughnuts.