"You're not going to wear those shoes, are you?" I look down at my flat, taupe granny shoes. I know what my college age sister is thinking of me. I'm thirty years old about to meet my boyfriend's family, and I stay sensible.
"If there is one evening I want to be comfortable, this is it." Tracy puts her hands on her hips and makes a sweeping disapproval of my look. It's what I wear at the library: black dress pants, stockings, granny shoes, solid red shell accessorized with my gold necklace adorned with little book charms. Greg loves me for who I am. A quiet librarian with sensible shoes. What family wouldn't embrace a reader into her son's life?
Tracy at least gets me to bring a floral arrangement out of mom and dad's garden. Although we can't pick a dandelion from an azalea, mom and dad are local senior center garden winners.
Greg Worthington is the one. Neither of us was looking for love when we separately went to a friend's barbeque. I watched him play basketball and liked his fun attitude. He strolled up to me with the basketball and a goofy grin.
"John said you work at the library. I think you can make a lot of noise on the basketball court. " I take the ball and look him straight in the eye. When I'm nervous, I can get sarcastic. It's a habit, and God's working on me. That night, I couldn't help it. I made noise on the court all right, I played like a librarian. I slowly dribbled and shouted out every basketball fact I knew. I had the ball four full minutes. Greg was laughing so hard I knew he was interested.
He gave sparse info on the family but the library is again my resource. The Worthingtons' are wealthy. Greg's grandfather founded one of the first cable companies. Greg has an older brother Geoff and a younger sister Ginger. Greg's mom and dad are active in church, charity and anything competitive. That's what I got out of Greg.
Their summer abode is lakefront with all the outdoor fun: pontoon boat, jet skis, tubing, fishing boat, gazebo, and beautiful deck. The yard area is spacious. I see croquet in the side yard and the family is tossing the football as I drive in. Greg smiles and jogs up. I realize my palms are wet. I'm afraid if I touch the flowers they will wilt from a chemical reaction.
"Lauren you're here, good!" He opens my door and I swing out. He notices my shoes.
"The library shoes? Honey we're at the lake. I guess I thought you knew that meant" Greg is cut off by a booming voice of authority shouting a warning,
"Heads up Gregory, I want to see how this girl can catch!" Brown pig skin comes flying right at me. I scream and of course miss the football. It lands with a thud on my flowers. Greg quickly looks at the horror on my face and grabs the ball.
"Hey dad, give us a longer warning next time. Say Geoff, catch!" The ball goes sailing over my head to a guy built just like Greg. I feel my knees trembling. I belong in this family like a mouse belongs with a herd of elephants!
Greg gives me a hug and picks up the tousled flowers. By now the family is at our side. I'm hugged, kissed, tapped, high fived, and verbally welcomed. Ginger holds out a tennis racket.
"You play? Oh waitI guess you can't in those shoes." Disappointment fills her voice. Mrs. Worthington puts her arm around me and leads me to the deck.
"Now you all scoot. I want to get to know Lauren better. I'll let you know when dinner is ready." Greg looks for permission to get back to the ball. I nervously nod. His mom seems harmless. She sits across from me and just sighs.
"Lauren it's a pleasure to meet you. You're the first girl Greg has ever brought home. Did you know that? Now, you've seen us with the football and that we like swimming and boating and tennis and croquet, what dear, is it that you do?" Sweet as the bees going for the flowers, Mrs. Worthington is sizing me up. My answer is immediate but confident.
"I read." Her cackle echoes over the waters.
"You're going to do just fine Lauren. Welcome to the family."
Julie Arduini, http://thesurrenderedscribe.blogspot.com/, is devoted to writing for Christ in ways that encourage and inspire. A graduate of the Christian Writer's Guild, her writing resume is on her blog's sidebar. Happily married to Tom, they have two children.