I’m loving being with the Pippin church in Cookeville, Tennessee this week. They are friendly and that building is jam-packed for every single service. The singing is out of this world and the acoustics are amazing. It’s been a long while since I have seen a building packed that full for any event and this event is all about the gospel. It has done this weary heart a lot of good!
After services last night, I got to greet my friend Mel Draper, with whom I traveled to Israel, and a dear old friend, Floyd Farris, whom Glenn and I had not seen for thirty-five years. I got to see some Moriah campers, who are excited about this year’s reunion and some dear Blackwell friends. Every crevice has been pretty full and it feels pretty good to be at an event like this after so many times in recent months when I’ve needed to stay home and Glenn has traveled alone. This time they asked me to speak, too, to the ladies, and I’m glad I had this incentive to follow a day or two behind Glenn, even though I could not come with him. I’ve met many new people and other people whom I loved already from Facebook friendships.
Then, after the meeting, we went, just at closing time, to the Lazy Cow Creamery in Cookeville, Tennessee to get some of what Kendra Harless said was “the best ice cream in the world.” Being the ice cream connoisseur that I am, I could not wait! This Kingdom Hall for Jehovah’s Witnesses that had been renovated and repurposed as an ice cream parlor appeared to still be using the classroom tables from the JW’s in the old classrooms for the parlor tables. It appeared the “sanctuary” was the place where they made 50 gallons of ice cream daily to serve in various flavors that extended beyond the 31 regulars, both in ingredients and in goodness. I was so stoked about this little outing, even though I really didn’t know our hosts, Kendra and Parker Harless, very well at all. (I have a way, though, of becoming pretty tight with people, pretty fast. Wait for it.)
I like Kendra and Parker. Who cannot like the girl who brings you to ice cream (the best in the world) at a picnic table at the Lazy Cow and proceeds to somehow organically get on the topic of new shoes…and tells a story about the new shoes she got when she was a teenager (canvas sneakers with rhinestones) and she wore them outside to get her mama’s tiller in, right before time to go to Bible Bowl, and their mean ole’ rooster came out from under the house and attacked her, talons out, and got blood on her new shoes? You have to love her! “That ole rooster thought I was my brother. Now, my brother was mean to that rooster. He’d let him have it with the baseball bat. That rooster heard me comin’ and out he came for blood. I was so mad at that rooster for gettin’ that blood on my brand new shoes! By the time he got fried up that night, he had 47 BBs in him, that my best friend, Becca, picked out of him.” (You have just got to love that girl!)
Glenn said “Oh, you shot him with a shotgun?”
“Oh no! We shot him 47 times with a BB gun. That’s all we had to shoot him with!”
I could not stop laughing. But what really got her on the subject of bloody dress shoes was what happened right before we sat down at the picnic table. I had picked, after long deliberation, one scoop of caramel toffee crunch on a waffle cone. And she was right. It was the best ice cream in the world. I almost never get a waffle cone and I was, as Colleyanna says, “in love with this ice cream” in my hand. I stepped out onto the porch of this old church building and then off the little step that puts one onto an old gravel path that leads over to the picnic table. The trouble was, I splattered down on that gravel path face-first! I was trying to lead the fall with the ice cream. I was trying to save that big scoop. But I sprawled all over that path and my waffle cone crunched to cold, sad, caramel covered pieces between my leopard-print shirt and those sharp gravel stones. I saw my husband’s saddle shoes run by me and then back as he shouted, “Oh Cindy, Are you okay??!!” (“Why did he run by me and then back?” you ask. ) Of course, he had to safely deposit his bowl of ice cream on the picnic table, before he could get back over there to help me up. Of course he did. He’s amazing like that.
“I’m okay.” I said as I looked up with my chin still in the gravelly dirt. Just please go get me some more ice cream. It’s 8:58 and this place cannot close before I get my ice cream!”
“What flavor was it?” Parker yelled, halfway back in the foyer of that creamery.
“Caramel toffee crunch!” I yelled as I was getting up, slowly, with heavy huffing …like senior citizens do, wiping scraped knees and examining those three big spots of quartz-white, now mangled fabric on my black skirt and picking up big blobs of cone and cream and taking them to the milk-pail trash can on the porch. (Then, in case the place has closed and this is all you’re getting, you just have to lick your fingers.)
I laugh when people fall down. I cannot help myself. I probably laugh most when I fall down. Our new friends were, later, explaining a sad story about someone’s bad circumstance, and I thought about the fall, while they were describing this sadness, and I could not keep from laughing even at that inopportune moment. I had to say “I am so sorry. I cannot stop thinking about that epic face-plant! I always laugh when people fall. It’s disgraceful, I know. But I cannot help it.” Then I had to think about funerals or surgeries or lost puppies, so that I would not think about falling again. I shook in the bed at our hotel later that night just thinking about that sprawl. It was one for the books. I had to call my daughter and tell her about the magnificence of it. She is the only one who laughed harder than I did.
For the record, it had been a pretty long day. Following a weekend in which I had traveled back and forth from Alabama to middle and east Tennessee more times than I care to think about; after I had delivered three lessons to ladies and attended eight sessions on topics from internet safety to hospitality to Acts 2, hosted five extra people in our home through that weekend, and talked, pretty extensively with four different women, who needed help or encouragement, I needed some levity. God always gives us what we need. I only wish my levitation off that porch had ended in a gentler landing!
Sometimes, I think about how I might pass from this life to the next. Will it be a disease? Will I have dementia? (Sometimes I really am starting to suspect that.) Will I be in an auto-accident? Will I just die in my sleep? Then I think “Nah, I’m pretty sure I’ll just fall at the wrong time from the wrong place, and have a fatal landing.” Pretty sure my track record points to that end. But I guess, then, I’ll die laughing.
I do recommend the Lazy Cow in Cookeville, Tennessee. But I recommend watching that first step off the porch.