Jan 17, 2010

A man named Kate

Yesterday was a day of planning. I literally lied awake last night for hours, thinking of all the new experiences and adventures I wanted to get into after setting this lofty goal of trying something new each week.

Today was a day for action. And I already knew the first "new" thing I needed to do.

My grandma called me early last week to see how the move had gone. I tried really hard to paint a happy picture for her... I do like my new home. I love that I have three times as much space as my old place. I love the new bathroom decorations I bought (more on that later) and my new office is full of great people.

All those things being true, I was still a little down in the dumps, feeling lonely and sorry for myself (baby). Being the smartest person in the world and all, grandma knew that. First, she told me I needed more hobbies (I know). Second, she asked if I had found a church to go to yet. I said no.

"Well, you better do that," she says. "That's the best family you can have when you're this far from home -- a church family." She's so dang smart.

So this morning I googled a few local churches. I picked one that fit my leisurely morning pace (10:30 a.m. worship) and reminded me most of my rural church at home. I found this place:

Oak Chapel United Methodist Church.

It's just a couple miles outside of town. It's small and cozy and lists people's birthdays and anniversaries in the church bulletin. That pretty much sealed the deal for me.

Most importantly, it was filled with wonderful, kind, sweet people. I recognized two ladies from my office behind the organ and piano, playing beautiful music before the service started.

I had barely sat down before a very elegant-looking older woman came and squished into my pew next to me.

By the way -- I pretty much think all older ladies look elegant. There is something about perfectly pinned silver hair and age-worn hands with a traditional, gold wedding band that elicits perfect elegance in my mind. But this one was particularly elegant in my mind.

"I don't think I've ever seen you here before."

"Well, that's because I never have been here before..."

"Oh good! We just LOVE visitors!"

I knew I would love this place. Joanne introduced herself and got the run-down on my life in about two minutes. During the "joys and concerns" part of the service, she introduced me to the congregation. I blushed. Pastor Paul (who I would meet later) announced a pot luck lunch would be held after the service. From two rows behind me, Joanna managed to tap me on the shoulder.

"You'll come to lunch with us, won't you? Yes, you had better come to lunch."

How could I say no? Which leads me to the title of this blog -- a man named Kate. Kate is Joanne's husband. After the service (which I loved), a slow procession of sweet older couples took their turns introducing themselves and welcoming me to the church. Also much like my home congregation, my attendance brought the average age down by about 50 years. I love that.

Kate waited patiently in the pew behind me until I had said my hello's to all the kind people who wanted to meet the "new girl."

"Hi, I'm Kate. I know it doesn't sound like a manly name, but it's what I've got. I belong to that one over there," he points to Joanne. "She said you were from Wyoming."

"Yes, I am." He looks at my red high heels with bows on the heel.

"Well, why aren't you wearing boots, young lady? Those little shoes surely didn't get you very far in Wyoming, did they?"

"No, they didn't. but I'm not in Wyoming anymore, so I thought I should wear something more appropraite."

"Well if boots are what you like to wear, I think that's what you ought to wear next Sunday." He winks. An old man's wink is like an old lady's perfect hair to me -- an instant charm. "Now tell me about your horses. Surely you've got horses, right?"

I loved Kate. He’s a wonderful, kind, unassuming person – his wife, too.

So maybe life is different here than it is “back home.” But today re-assured me that people don’t have to be from where you grew up to make you feel like you’re at home.

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