Friday, March 28, 2014

In the Middle of the Night

There's something to be said for having a place that you call home. I don't mean your house, I mean the town that holds your memories, whether they make you laugh or cry. The place where you can drive down a street and say, "Uncle Eddie got drunk one day at Crest Tavern and had to stop on his way home and pee right in that front yard."

I don't really have that for my childhood since I moved around so much, but I do have that here on the Island. Hubby and I had a rare occurrence today, we both had the afternoon off but E still had school, so we decided to head off the Island and go Downtown for lunch. As we were driving back, we passed the street from our old church. I had to laugh as we passed a small sign on the corner.

Hubby may be a pastor, but he has a huge rebellious streak. He believes rules were meant to be broken, not followed. Although if you ask him, he claims he only bends the rules. Me? I am the world's biggest rule follower and this attitude drives me crazy. I always worry that one day his refusal to go through normal channels will end up with me getting him out of jail.

Back when Hubby was the pastor for the Downtown church, he noticed that all of the other churches downtown had directional street signs. Somewhere on the main roads, there would be a sign saying, "Church of the Almost There" two blocks ahead for every other church. But the Downtown church had no sign. It really bugged him. The church was on the main grid of the city, but it was 5 or 6 streets back from the main road and Hubby wanted a sign.

At this time Hubby could have said, "Well, let's go talk to the City Manager and request a sign." However, a church member who worked with the City Manager talked Hubby out of it. He told Hubby that the request would be denied after months of back and forth bickering. Why go through all that hassle just to be told no? He thought, though, that if they went ahead and put the sign up, it would probably be left alone. So Hubby and this man ordered two street signs and hatched a plan.

The Downtown church was in a borderline location. Two streets closer to the main street and you have million dollar houses. Two streets above the church and you are in the land of drug dealers and pimps. Hubby and his accomplice decided they would get bright orange city worker vests and post diggers and sneak about the city streets at 2AM to put up these signs.

The first sign went right in the middle of the median on the most coveted scenic road in our downtown. It is the road that holds the statue in memory of the Confederate soldiers who died. It is the road that all the parades go down. It it the jewel of downtown. And there was Hubby, lurking in the street lights breaking all sorts of city codes. Amazingly enough, putting the sign up on the median went unobserved. For some reason no one questioned the fact that two city workers were out in the middle of the night putting up a sign.

Having such good luck with the first sign, Hubby and friend decided to head up to the more shady side of the city to place the second sign. This road had a little more traffic at 3AM and there were actually people on the corner looking for customers, if you know what I mean. Hubby, with his little bald head and not so pastoral attitude, dutifully started digging the hole for the sign while his friend kept an eye out for the po po. It wasn't long before a lady in red (literally) walked up the street and struck up a conversation.

The woman leaned against the light post nearby and asked Hubby for a cigarette. I am not sure if she really wanted a cigarette or was just trying to arrange her next date, but either way, neither Hubby nor the other man smoked and neither were going to make her an offer. BUT.. that didn't stop the other man from starting in on telling the woman exactly how he had smoked for 20 years, how unhealthy smoking was and how he finally managed to break the habit, yadda yadda yadda. The woman started switching from one foot to the other, becoming aggravated at the fact that all she had asked for was a freaking cigarette and she was obviously wasting her time. Finally she got fed up and started walking away, calling the men all sorts of name. Within a few steps a car pulled up and she was off on her next real date. Hubby finished the sign and returned home about 4 AM.

Sadly, the sign on the main road met an untimely demise a few short weeks after being put up. A large truck came down the narrow road, veered onto the median and took it out in an inglorious bending of steel. The sign disappeared and was never replaced. But the streetwalker sign still stands to this day. The city workers even mow the grass around it. It is a lovely homage to the anti-pastor that lives inside my hubby, because after all, even pastors are only human.

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