Relationships, and particularly those of the romantic variety, are built on small things. The feel of a familiar embrace. Conversations about any and everything that last deep into the night. And that slow entwining of family and friends that inevitably occurs as traditions are continually constructed. Already, we mark our second Mother’s Day together, as well as having celebrated Thanksgiving and New Year’s in the presence of each other and our loved ones.
While these of course breed connection, perhaps the most fundamental tie that binds is found through adversity. food poisoning, anyone? Not all adversity need be that serious, of course. Some, like this most recent incident, can actually provide a great source of amusement, as well as a story that will be told for years.
It should be mentioned that on Saturday, we had trucked to Fayetteville and a chain restaurant called Logan’s Roadhouse to have dinner with her parents. Three hours of chatter and good food, including a delicious cake from a place called Nothing Bundt Cakes in Morrisville that drew attention from most everyone in the place because of its distinct decorations. The server wanted a piece for herself as well. This gathering was convened not only to acknowledge Mother’s Day, but also to celebrate the birthdays of one of her sisters, and one of that sister’s children. Their birthdays all fall in an amusing pattern, much like those in my own family.
Anyway, given that neither of us are morning people, it shouldn’t have been too surprising that we weren’t exactly at our sharpest on Sunday as we prepared for another ride, this to Southern Pines to attend my mom’s church. At least,… well you’ll see.
With the McDonald’s sausage, egg, and cheese biscuit sloshing around in my belly, I fight valiantly to remain awake as we zip down the highway under the direction of her trusty GPS-enabled phone. Music blares, wind blows, and I try a couple of times, largely unsuccessfully, to pound through some of my text for this grad school class. I finally do give in though and rest my head luxuriously against that headrest as she attempts to hang on so we will arrive in one piece.
Finally, we swing onto the appropriate street, where she immediately states “ah ok, I see the church.” We thus discontinue the guidance and glide in, making sure to shut down (ah who am I kidding, mute,) our cell phones. Who shuts them all the way down anymore anyway?
We approach the building, and the first sign shows itself. “Hmmm,” she says: “I don’t remember all of these stairs.” So we head for a different entrance, this one strikes me as unusual because the door has to be shut manually.
The service is supposed to start at 10:30, only it is already that time and the sanctuary is mockingly empty. Finally, someone comes by with a program that states that the actual start time is 11. “ok? Pretty sure mom said 10:15/10:30 when I last called, but who knows. I guess a lot could have changed in a year.”
Eventually people start trickling in. “Hi there,” they greet cheerfully while pumping my hand. “Who are you here with?” I state my mom’s name, and they stare back blankly. Alrighty, this is definitely getting strange. But… maybe I’m just not all here or something.
Finally, the service commences. If you have attended any church regularly, you probably know its basic format. And this definitely doesn’t seem to be meshing with what I remember. At this point, I am inclined to lean into her and ask “Are we even in the right place?” “I don’t see how we couldn’t be,” she replies. No mom, hard instead of cushioned pews, and an unfolding service that I definitely don’t recognize make me not so sure./p>
Time for announcements. Now I will find out for certain. “Here at Trinity, (A.M.E. Zion)” she says. “uh-oh,” I whisper: “We’re supposed to be at First Missionary Baptist.” “Well this definitely ain’t that,” she says. “Too late to do anything about it now, we can’t just walk out of here midservice.”
I suppose this is largely my doing, or at the least it demonstrates how effectively one must communicate to avoid such silliness. I had told her the address without actually giving her the church’s name. She had attended last year, but so many elements about this building appeared similar to those of my mom’s church that neither of us picked up on the myriad differences until it was too late. And of course, it’s not like I as a blind person could actually see it anyway. So, we just sat through that service indeed. Fortunately for us, it was short enough to get out of there and over to First Missionary before its service had concluded.
We laughed about this while enjoying another dinner, this time at Golden Corral with my mom, dad, and one of my nieces and a nephew. Everything is alright when one dives into some meatloaf, mac and cheese, mashed potatoes, green beans, and delicious chocolate cake.
So that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. I assert that these sorts of things happen to me specifically so that I will have material to write about. Stick around for our next great adventure, whatever that happens to be.