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Monday, March 30, 2009

35 Years and Still Makin' Music!

Tomorrow I will have been married to My Sweet Baboo for 35 years.

That seems like it ought to be a long time and there are time it feels like we've always been together. I have, after all, been with the Missus for more years than I was with anyone else.

It has been a ride. I met her in the ladies room. I was working as a janitor in a nursing home and she was an aide and taking my great great aunt to the potty at the time. I was scrubbing the toilet at the time. I remember being struck by this leggy Louisiana girl and as she walked back down the hall to get Aunt Ethel, I stuck my head out the door and watched her walk away. It was an inspiring sight.

Then I asked around and found out she was engaged. I remember telling my best friend it looked like all the best ones were taken. I did, however, discover that she liked to play gospel music for the residents on Saturday afternoons after she got off work. I started showing up with my guitar and playing with her and Mrs. Nix, an LVN who joined us on the piano - she had a powerful left handed Southern gospel style. The seniors loved it.

Then Sheila's fiancee found out she was playing music with some long-haired local boy and he showed up with his guitar. I remember him standing across the room looking at me like I was a rattlesnake. We had some intense music that afternoon, but the future Mrs. King seemed blissfully unaware of the tension between us. She was all about the music.

We went off for the summer - me to camp, she to some youth ministry deal in Oklahoma. When I got back to college, I'd been dumped by yet another girl. It was my 7th time being dumped. I was tired of it, so I got down on my knees and prayed. I told God I was through looking and if he meant me to find someone, He'd have to take care of it.

Two weeks later, Sheila asked me to sit with her on the bus to a Bible Conference and play some music. She'd just broken up with her fiancee and I'd just been dumped so neither of us were looking for a new romance. We circled round each other all weekend. Both our exes were there, but we kept bumping into each other. Finally, on the bus ride back, we'd just finished a song and were trying to think up another one to do. Suddenly it was as if someone smacked me on the back of the head. I literally saw a flash of light and it was like God said, "Hey, stupid. This is the one!" She had the same exact experience (except God didn't call her "stupid") at the same instant. We fumbled for each others hands and in that moment we knew this was it.

Everybody told us it was a mistake. Our exes even tried another run at us to no avail. Her ex even tried to beat me up in a student association haunted house where he poured fake blood over my head and pushed me around. My best friend warned her against me and almost succeeded in breaking us up, but God would have his way. We were perfectly pitiful lost lambs and our marriage should have been doomed, but God apparently knows his stuff.

We soon had 3 wonderful kids - all with sweet dispositions and tender hearts and we love them dearly. We struggled, worked in one nonprofit or mission type project after another, We've done well. We've been flat broke. We've had every bit of the "in sickness, in health, for richer, for poorer" the world can throw at us.

But God knows his business. I needed her gift for creating peace and orderliness because on my own, my life is chaos. She needed my mule-headedness, patience and gift for handling crisis. Together we complete each other. We fit like two pieces of a puzzle.

So, tomorrow, we're 35 years together going on billions more. We plan to share digs in heaven and the new Earth since neither of us can imagine doing anything remotely fun without the other. She'll have her music back and I hope to be able to carry a tune without needing the bucket. Ya'll come by the house and sit a spell. Bring your banjos and your fiddles or whatever else you play. We'll raise the rafters together......


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