A Prayer Hug for Jennie
The Colts kick-off event is happening downtown where I work. My boss let us go at 2:00 p.m. so we could avoid the heinous traffic that is now at a standstill outside Henry’s Coffee Bistro where I’m taking advantage of the free day by sitting in one of their awesome leather club chairs with my laptop while catching up on some church projects.
At least that’s what I planned to do, but instead I’ve been obsessing over my Rate My Space pages and shopping online for the bathroom accessories suggested by helpful folks I don’t even know who are giving me free design advice.
In between purchases I tug on the tops of my socks which are about an inch too short for the pants I’m wearing—the unfortunate result of a plan John had to buy 20 pairs of black, Gold Toe Fluffies.
Part two of that scheme was to throw away any sock that wasn’t a black Gold Toe Fluffy so that finding a match in the morning would be as simple as shoving a fumbling hand into the sock drawer. Every grab wins!
Most guys I know would agree the plan has merit, but this afternoon, right after the sixth yank I decided I need greater shank coverage than Gold Toe Fluffies can provide. Nothing shocks with such subtle power as dark socks caressing an exposed man shin, like two illicit and unattractive lovers having a searchlight suddenly turned on them. I’m far too judgemental of shin skin perps to live with the problem myself.
At yank number eight I changed my church-work-avoidance strategy from online shopping to catching up on my favorite blogs.
Lately I’ve been enjoying Catch’s and Citizen Dave’s meditations on people who pray in public places like restaurants and hospitals. Their wide-eyed discomfort always makes me smile, and even somewhat grateful that public prayers, or PPs as I call them, are never in short supply in the South or here the Midwest.
Jennie is equally annoyed by PPs, but I fear I may be partially to blame for that.
One Friday night several years ago I was at her house for dinner. Not unusal since I was at the McClains so often growing up that Charles and Pat probably considered putting me on their medical insurance. That particular weekend I was in from the University of Arkansas and Jennie’s older sister Lori was home from OBU with a group of friends with whom she’d become really close. I had heard a lot about the Pack: Daphne, Jen, and Laura, and was excited to meet them. The McClain’s had invited several of the Batesville kids who were home from college to their house that night for a cookout to celebrate their arrival.
Julie and Jennie, who we treated like our little sisters, were probably 10 at the time. I’m pretty huggy by nature, and Jennie was just at the right height and distance for me to playfully wrap my arm around her neck as the group circled up for Dr. McClain to say grace. I gave her a jokey, fake strangle hold as Charles said ‘amen.’
About the time I opened my eyes and let her go, I noticed that Jennie was facing me from across the circle. When I looked down to see whom I’d been fake-strangling during grace I was horrified to see that it was actually Lori’s friend Laura, whom I’d met for the first time five minutes earlier. She looked remarkably like Jennie from the back. From the front she looked a little freaked out. Poor thing, someone asked her what she was thinking when I grabbed her for a prayer hug. She said she was surprised, but she’d heard I was really friendly.
Knowing that Jennie gets profoundly embarrassed for people, I feel certain that the spectacle of me molesting a complete stranger right in front of her scarred her mealtime prayer life forever. Sorry Jennie. I’d like to think that her pain, at least that night, was in part alleviated by the joy of seeing just how extremely embarrassed I can get.