Monday, March 27, 2006

I remember Jeannie

Saying for the day:There is no greater test of love than the pig's head test.

The next artifact should be the pig’s head my grandmother had her hands in when she met Jeannie. But that is long gone so instead there is a cigarette butt.

It was my first year in seminary, napkin girl had dumped me. I was alone and miserable. Then suddenly there was Jeannie. I met her at a seminary party. She and her twin sister Joannie were Pastor’s daughters. The kind of pastor’s daughters Lutheran parishioners hate and are embarrassed by. She was definitely not wife material.

Lutheran parishes want seven things in the pastor’s wife.
1. She needs to be a good cook. She needs to provide something for every parish event and coffee is not good enough.
2. She must not drink.
3. She must not smoke.
4. She must fill the parsonage with cute little kids.
5. She should play the organ and sing like an angel.
6. She must be willing to lead the women’s group.
7. She must always be thankful for what the parish provides and never ever complain.

Jeannie, smoked like a chimney, drank like a fish, hated children, couldn’t cook if her life depended on, swore she would never have anything to do with a church women’s group and whined all the time.

But could she play the organ. I used to go with her to the Chapel at the Methodist seminary. She played and sang like an angel. I figured one out of seven isn’t bad. Any Lutheran parish would be so glad to get such a great organist they would forgive her other little failings. I of course was wrong. Lutherans are big on being forgiven. They are not too big on forgiving.

So why did I go with her? She introduced me to a side of life this sheltered backwoods boy had never seen. Wild parties where everybody was drunk or high. You can not imagine how much fun it is to be the only sober person at a party where people are doing really dumb things, getting sick, throwing up and in general having a great time.
I come from a long line of reformed alcoholics and there was no way I wanted to climb on that part of the family tree so I suffered through the parties sober.

The day came when I took Jeannie home to meet my grandmother. The matriarch of our family. If you didn’t get gram’s blessing you might as well quit right there.

When we entered the matriarchs main hall, it was 2 in the afternoon because Jeannie didn’t get up till noon. Gram, had given up and was making head cheese (gram was a great cook). Now making head cheese seems to require putting your hands into the opened head of a pig at least as gram made it.
Jeannie took one look and started to heave . I don’t think she could handle the sight ( though the hamburger and two beers she had for lunch may have contributed a little). Gram didn’t bother me as this was the women who taught me how to chop the head off of a chicken. I got Jeannie cleaned up and back to the car and went to say goodbye to Gram. A blessing was , of course, out of the question. The only thing Gram said to me was, Whatever happened to that nice girl ( napkin girl). I said “ She went to France”.

One day she told me she didn’t want to go with me any more. I think my being sober was beginning to get to her. Or maybe she didn’t drop me. It might have been her sister. They were after all identical twins. I never knew which one I went out with so how am I expected to know which one dumped me.
Of course I never would have gone with her if it wasn’t for napkin girl. I don’t know what happened to Jeannie. I suppose she is the church organist someplace and the congregation loves her. They forgive her all her failings because after all she’s not the pastor’s wife. She’s just the organist!

I kept the cigarette from the car ashtray so I could remember my wild period and Jeannie or Joannie.

My wife wants me to get rid of it but I never will.

7600 spins without a prize. Old hapless was disappointed in last night's "Deal or No Deal". The contestant held her greed in check and walked off with a sizable peace of cash. One more try and she would have gone home with almost nothing. What ever happened to the kind of greed that overrides reason? Old hapless picked the wrong case of six in the home contest.
Well Uncle Wiggly lovers if old hapless suddenly lets greed cause him to spend money on his gambling causing the angel to leave him and thus making him to depressed to blog. We will be back tomorrow with "AS the World Spins".

Yesterday was a wonderful blog day ( 16 comments) .I thank every single one of you.Betty went to Iron Mountain to the doctor. I took another bath. Betty went to Bible study. I need a breathing treatment.


Blogger Lori's Minute said...

From my experience, not getting the family blessing works out well. When I first met my future father-in-law, he asked if I playd canasta and when I said bo, I never saw him the rest of the day. The daughter-in-law he did play canasta with is no longer around...hmmmmm.

8:20 AM  
Blogger Philip Del Ricci said...

Ah, Pastor's daughters.... I bet we could fill the entire internet with these stories and only scratch the surface.

I remember that I was dating the daughter of a Baptist pastor from one small town, who just so happened to have the same name (first and last) as the wife of my pastor in a different small town. A very wild rumour started up after I told a buddy that I was dating Debbie Henson and that she was quite wild despite the church connection.....

Thanks for sharing.

P. Del Ricci - Dark Glass

8:57 AM  
Blogger Mimi said...

I love how you save so many little odd things no one else would think of!
I always enjoy staying sober and watching everyone else act like fools too. My family is a bunch of alcoholics. I don't know how the trait missed me but I am glad it did. I hope it misses my son too.

9:08 AM  
Blogger Chana said...

Another beautiful memory. Thank you for sharing parts of your past. Hope you feel well. Hi to the wife. Read you tomorrow.

2:14 PM  
Blogger Ethel said...

Thanks so much for stopping by my blog. You are an excellent story teller.

6:02 PM  
Blogger Pennie said...

Hello Dad,

I love that story. I only brought a friend who was a male home from college and my brothers refer to him as a "log and lump".

7:53 PM  
Anonymous loisontheweb said...

"YOU HAVE TO KISS A LOT OF FROGS before you find your Prince(ss)!"


8:26 PM  
Blogger Laurie said...

I would have been 0/7 back in my 20s, and you didn't have tattoos on your list.


5:58 AM  
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