Monday, October 3, 2011

"Naked and Unashamed"

You're gonna want a cup of tea and a couple of extra minutes to read this one. And I can almost assure you that before it's over you'll be smiling that embarrassed kind of smile and saying, "Oh, no! Oh, Sheri, noooooo!"

I mopped my kitchen last night.

Not such an earth shattering announcement; except that I don't like working on Sundays if I can avoid it. It's been my quiet nod to "Sabbath" expression through the years. We've always tried to do laundry and housework other days unless we hit emergency status.

But having the Shark steam mop in operation last night was a necessity, I assure you!

We were scheduled to hold a recap luncheon after church yesterday. But several key families weren't available so we postponed. Since we had the time blocked out anyway, I got the bright idea that we should go ahead and invite someone to our house for lunch.

I threw a chicken in the crock pot (no time for the potatoes); seasoned it and dashed out the door at 7:30. We got to church and I ran my little idea by Frank, then Kristin. Both agreed - good idea.

But my "someone" invitation quickly escalated to a lunch for thirteen people! Apparently I'm a real woman of faith to think that one scrawny chicken was going to feed thirteen!


Church ended. Everyone I invited agreed to come and bring a couple of side dishes. Kristin and Ashley dashed to the house to start setting up.

By the time Frank and I arrived, Kristin had things well underway. I only had to jump in, finish my side dishes and direct getting things served. Thirteen people. A table to seat eight. Six women scurrying around. Controlled chaos.

We were hit by one mini crisis - our salt shaker had broken during family dinner Monday night and I hadn't replaced it yet. But Kristin quickly grabbed a tiny bowl; filled it with salt and a sugar spoon; positioned it next to the pepper shaker. Voila - problem solved.

"All right," I called in my cheeriest pastor's wife voice. "Let's eat!"

Everyone started gathering around the table. Four on each side. Frank and me at one end; Kristin, Ashley, Amanda at the other.

Just as we starting taking our places, a loud CRASH! came from the pantry. Shattered glass shot out from under the pantry door!

Everything stopped.

My mind was rushing. "Oh, no! The olive oil has fallen from the top shelf. Oh what a mess this is gonna........... No, wait. The olive oil is in a plastic bottle. This was something in a glass container. What did we have at the top of the pantry in a glass........"

That's when I spotted a dark liquid beginning to seep out. I yanked open the door and was hit square in the face with a powerful odor! A smell very much like................

"Oh, My Lord!!" Understanding hit me like a Mac truck!

The bottle that had broken wasn't mild mannered olive oil. It wasn't even a decorative bottle of balsamic vinegar.

No. It was a bottle of whiskey!

Yep! Whiskey! Right there in front of our guests, a bottle of whiskey lay shattered all over the floor of their tea-totaling pastor's pantry!

[Now, I have the privilege of freezing time here and explaining to all of you, my shocked readers, that Frank and I have not taken up alcoholic pursuits. Nor were we trying to hide anything.

Kristin's cough from a few days ago hadn't responded to the codeine the doctor had prescribed. So a friend in the church brought over a small bottle of whiskey along with the recipe from her grandmother for a honey, lemon, whiskey concoction guaranteed to cure a cough and help you sleep for a week! It worked perfectly! Now back to the story......]

I took a deep breath and in my cheeriest, most embarrassed, pastor's wife voice announced, "Well, the smell coming from my pantry is indeed alcohol! It was given to us to help with Kristin's cough.............." (No one had heard anyone coughing since arriving at our house. Where's a good cough when you need one?!)

My attempted explanation sounded weak at best!

"It's okay, Pastor Sheri." "Oh, don't worry. We understand!" Everyone started talking at once. "We cook with wine at our house." (You may. But not many people use hard liquor in anything other than Christmas fruitcake! And that's weeks away.)

Best comment? "I loved it! You should have seen your face!!"


We cleaned up the pungent mess. Sat down to pray over our meal (and over the newly revealed struggle of the pastor's wife) and enjoyed several more rounds of laughter! Which is even better medicine than honey, lemon and whiskey concoctions.

Oh, and the salt in the small bowl? Yep, you guessed it. That got mistaken for sugar and added to someone's coffee after dinner!

Now you know why I chose to title this post, "Naked and Unashamed".

Friends came to our house yesterday and found me very vulnerable. Nothing hidden. No embarrassment left unexplored.

But thankfully, we already had a good relationship with everyone crowded around that table. So even though yesterday wasn't a Martha Stewart Moment for me. I didn't have to be ashamed!

Besides, it'll make a great story when I speak at the pastor's wives conference this week! They'll laugh and cover their faces in empathy; then laugh some more. And that's a win!!