I'm repeating a Friday Fiction today - and hope you enjoy this true story. (Yeah, I know, it's supposed to be Friday FICTION, so sue me. But hey, my husband's name isn't really Ralph; does that make it fiction? :) )
My Ralph, God bless him.
I was so proud that first Sunday worship service he served as usher at our new church. And I haven't grown any less proud of him as the Sundays have passed.
His southern charm and natural charisma, coupled with that killer smile, draws everyone in. I love to watch him stride up the left-hand aisle to the front of the church, his head forward but his eyes cutting to the usher in the right-hand aisle to make sure they are in unison.
My Ralph prefers comfort over class, but he also has the proper respect for the Lord to dress it up for worship on Sunday morning. Come Sunday morning, you'll usually see him sporting a sharp Polo shirt or a lightweight button down instead of his customary baggy t-shirt, shorts and flip-flops, but on his usher Sundays, he pulls out the big guns - a suit and tie.
Mmmm, how handsome my Ralph looks all decked out in his midnight blue suit with a just hint of a pinstripe. Your eyes are drawn to his face by his boisterous laugh, and held captive by his warm eyes. Oh, but I digress.
This past Sunday was one of Ralph's usher Sundays, and it also happened to be the first real day of winter - the first snowfall of the season. It rarely even gets cold enough to snow here in our neck of the south, let alone actually bring forth flakes, so you can imagine the ruckus snow makes.
Ah, yes, snow in south Georgia! Simply the forecast of flurries is enough to jam the grocery aisles with panicked shoppers who deplete the stores of the requisite bread and milk. After the panic is over, those of us who didn't rush out to stock our shelves now find ourselves in need of bread and milk, and alas, none can be found.
I'm still searching for the moral of that particular story.
But again, I digress.
So back to Ralph.
And the first "real" day of winter.
That day, the midnight blue suit was left on the hangar, and Ralph reached instead for his brand new, never before worn, silk lined wool tweed suit. That particular shade of charcoal gray was as becoming on him as was midnight blue. Twenty-one years of marriage and my Ralph still throbs my heart. Mmmm.
I wouldn't have been surprised if the people around me were blinded the shine in my eyes. I watched Ralph stride up the left-hand aisle and stand shoulder to shoulder with the less handsome ushers as a prayer was said. Then he picked up a gold offering plate and made his way back down the aisle, pew by pew, walking tall and proud in his new clothes.
What is it about new clothes that lifts you up and makes you stand straighter, smile more, and have more confidence? What a grand feeling.
I could see by Ralph's face that he was riding that new-clothes high. The smiles he gave the little old ladies were more confident; his back was just a tad straighter. He walked like a man worthy of respect.
His return trip to the altar to deposit the filled collection plates and his final walk to the back of the sanctuary were just as confident. Ah, my Ralph. How can I help but be proud of him?
I made sure to tell him that too, after we got home and were ditching our fancy clothes for sweats and heavy socks.
"No," I said, "I'm serious. You were so handsome in your new suit, and I couldn't quit smiling at you. You made me all warm inside despite the cold."
"That's not why I'm laughing."
"What then? Tell me. I want to laugh too."
Ralph laughed again. "So there I was, greeting people, walking up and down the aisle, standing beside the seated little old ladies and teenagers, handing them the plate..."
I butted in to reassure him. "I know! You were awesome."
"No, wait! Listen...so I go back to my seat, look down to adjust my jacket..." laughter interrupts and he can't go on.
"Honey, my fly was open the whole time."
Don't forget to visit Karlene's blog and read more fiction! You can play along, too if you'd like. Simply post your fiction story, and add your link to the Linky tool on her Friday Fiction post.
"God rewrote the text of my life when I opened the book of my heart to his eyes."
Psalm 18:24 (Msg)