She was a woman of faith. Except for illness or other good reason, every Sunday for as long as she could remember, she had gone to church. She had been a member of one particular congregation for over five months, that September, eleven years ago. Her regular Sunday School teacher wasn't there that day and had asked a friend of his to substitute the class. She had seen this friend before, but had never really paid attention to him. She certainly didn't know his name.
As the class progressed, she was more and more impressed with the substitute teacher. His knowledge of the gospel and familiarity with the scriptures was remarkable. He was comfortable in front of the class, even though his assignment was last-minute. Combine all of these things with the way he looked in his starched black suit and she found him awfully attractive. Though both were single, she didn't consider dating him. He was too short.
Yes. That was the only reason. She came from a family of very tall people. At 5'8", she was the shortest among her immediate family. She had a sister who was 6' tall and brothers 6 inches taller than that. Her extended family showed even more genetic mutations; one uncle was, as he used to say, 5 feet 23 3/4 inches. So to her, a man who was only 5' 10" tall, was simply not in her selection pool.
After church that day, she told several of her shorter friends,
You should check out that guy. He seems really neat.
That evening, there was a dessert social at the church. She went because, not only was she religious, she was also social. She'd always liked people. The Substitute came up to her and started visiting. Nice guy, she thought, He is cute, too. And he was. Despite his not being tall, he had a few things going for him.
He had a good nose. It was masculine and staight; not so large that you'd notice it, but not small enough to feminize his whole face. His stong brow was a thing Jane Austen would have written about, had she known him, and he was generous with his striking smile. If you have ever seen Michelangelo's sculpture of David, you know what his physique resembled. He had strong, broad shoulders that tapered down to his waist in the pattern of a triangle. Above all, however, was the brilliant blue of his eyes. They were deep-set and shaded a bit by his eyebrows so that when he looked at you, the color came on suddenly. Eyes were never the first thing she noticed in a man, but with the Substitute Teacher, she couldn't not notice. I've got to set him up with somebody! she thought.
He kept hanging around her for most of the evening, which she didn't mind because he was fun to talk with. At one point, he asked how old she was.
Really? I thought you were like twenty-eight!
Wait. What, exactly, did that mean? Did that mean she was mature and seemed stable or did she just look old for her age? Hmm. She chose to take it as a compliment, because it's easier to go on with life if you're not offended by every strange comment that comes your way. They said goodnight. It was September 7, 1997.
Thursday of that week, she got phone call. It was from an old camp friend. After catching up for a few minutes, she asked if she would be willing to go on a wuss date.
What is a wuss date?
It's where I ask you out for my brother who is scared to ask you himself and then my brother will ask someone for me whom I am too scared to ask.
Well, she had been on a lot of bad dates. For some reason, she attracted the odd ducks and she never had the heart to say "no."
A wuss date? Fine. Who is your brother?
. . . to be continued. . .