Here is a little bit of insight from a veteran preacher: When a church member beckons the minister to “come over here” with a stern look on their face, it is not usually a good sign. And that is exactly what happened to me in 2004, when I moved to Granbury. An elderly lady caught my eye and called me over to talk to her after the worship service. I just assumed that it had only taken me a matter of weeks to offend someone. She proceeded to tell me that she called the former minister her “red headed son.” In fact, she told me in a matter of fact tone that he indeed was her adopted son. That is just great, I immediately thought. How can I possibly measure up to her “red headed son?” I was ready to end that conversation and make a quick exit. But the best was yet to come.
My new elderly friend at church informed in the same matter of fact tone that she was going to adopt me too. I do think she was a little disappointed that my hair was not red, but it appeared that such a shortcoming could possibly be overlooked. I could only hope. Of course I did not know if she was serious or not about the whole adoption process. I was still wondering if she might become the first one to say: I sure wish Stan (the red headed son) was back!
To my knowledge she never instigated a call for Stan’s imminent return. And that was no reflection at all on her love for her red headed son. Instead she would call the secretaries at the church and tell them that I was to report at her house at a certain time. The first time that happened I quizzed them about the “orders” I had received. They just smiled and urged me to be on time. In fact, I think they said: Just take your orders and don’t ask questions.
I reported to my adopted mother’s home when I was told. And I was prompt too. She shared her life with me. And of course I was fascinated. I was even given her autobiography to read. Not too long after moving to Granbury her husband passed away. I was honored to be one of the officiators at his funeral service.
After her husband’s death, I still received periodic orders to report for a visit. As she anticipated a move to an assisting living facility in Ft. Worth, she started giving me books that she had already read. And she gave my boys a television for their use. Randall of course was convinced that the television was intended to go to college with him. I treasure those books in a different way now.
Laura Cruce passed away earlier this week. I will be the sole officiator at her funeral service Saturday afternoon. I am so thankful that she called me over to visit with her after worship services that day in 2004. And I am equally grateful that she told me when and where and what time to report.
I don’t think I ever told her that my biological mother has been deceased for many years. Maybe she just sensed that I needed some maternal guidance. As I prepare for her service Saturday, I am convinced that I had better seek out young men in need of some paternal guidance. I am not sure that I can get away with ordering them around like Laura did with me, but I hope that I can show them the same level of love and interest that she did with me.
Now maybe…just maybe…when I turn 80…I can tell those I adopt to take their orders and don’t ask questions. Time will tell.