I met my wife in church. I suppose that is not a surprise to anyone. But the manner in which it happened needs to be noted. Wouldn’t it be romantic to say that across an auditorium of a thousand faces our eyes met, and we knew we were soul mates? Romantic, yes, but pure fiction. It would be so spiritual if I could say we bumped each other in the foyer following the worship service and began talking about the insights into the meaning of the text of Scripture we each gained from the pastor’s message. Spiritual, perhaps, but a complete prevarication.
In the first place it was not a thousand-seat sanctuary (more properly “auditorium”) where we were worshipping. It was an Orthodox Presbyterian Church, after all. If there were 50 people there it was a better day than most. The Rev. James Erskine Moore was the preacher, and he was effective at leading the worshipper into the text of scripture. Later in our relationship we would agree that once we got over staring at his teeth, we thought Mr. Moore was a better preacher than any others we knew about. He had a unique way of setting his jaw and pronouncing some of his words literally through his teeth, such as the word “chuch” (which we all knew meant “church”). But the day we met at Westminster Orthodox Presbyterian Church in Eagle Rock, it was not to discuss the sermon or Mr. Moore’s teeth.
Rumors had preceded our meeting, and I had heard that the teen-age daughter of the first pastor was going to be visiting that Sunday, and I was always up for meeting a new girl! Apparently Barbara had heard that there was a young man in the congregation who was beginning his studies that were intended to lead to the gospel ministry, and that he was engaged. The rumor was not exactly accurate (which is the fatal flaw in most gossip). Although it was true that I was almost engaged, what could not possibly have been known by those wagging tongues is that Nance and I were beginning to stall out on our relationship. We had recently moved across town from where Nance (sic) lived, and since I sensed a call to the ministry I was feeling a great reluctance to pursue that relationship with any stronger vigor.
So let’s go back to the church. Following the worship service the pastor’s wife found opportunity to introduce the two of us. It happened like this in my memory. Barbara was busily chatting with someone in the aisle of the church, and I was standing behind her. Maglona Moore came along beside the two of us and made the introduction. Barbara turned swiftly to pay her respects with a, “O, hello” and just as swiftly turn her back to me again. It was as close to rude as she could get without actually being rude. As I say, this was how it now registers in my memory bank. She left me standing there without an opening to flirt or be clever in any way. Consequently I am sure that she was left with a negative--or at least a bland and neutral impression of this new guy in church. Not a very auspicious beginning for our relationship, but there it is.