Wednesday, August 22, 2007


Not to obsess about this or anything, but for some reason I come across to people who don't know me well as innocent and naive and defenseless.

People look at me and rush to open doors, apologize for their language, and explain the obvious. They assume I have never heard any cussing or heard of any vice, much less seen any, and that I still think babies show up under the cabbage leaves in the garden. They are certain I will be taken wild advantage of in business deals. And if there's anything unpleasant around, I need to be shielded from it.

I cannot count the number of times people have talked in my presence about child abuse or alcoholism or crime, then turned to me and said patronizingly, "Oh, but you wouldn't know anything about that."

Ok, so I lead a sheltered life. But give me a teeny bit of credit here. My childhood had enough abuse to still give me issues at age 45, I went to a public high school in a town awash in alcohol, I lived on an Indian reserve for three years, and my babies came by a route other than the cabbage patch. Etc and etc, not that any of this makes any difference to the folks who take one look at my wide-eyed innocence and go all protective and condescending.

Like at the authors' table at the fair last week. One night the organizer told me Frog is coming at 8:00. Had I heard of him? Not really. He proceeded to explain how eccentric Frog is, how hairy, how smelly, trying to prepare me. I thought, fine, no problem. Frog arrived, hairy and smelly and quite nice, really, and took the space beside me. The organizer guy looked worried and murmured, "Are you ok with that?" I murmured back, "I'm a pastor's wife; I'm used to this." If I had asked, he would have somehow leaped to my rescue, I'm sure.

The truth is that Frog had nothing on a long list of people that I've had to spend a lot more time with and get a lot closer to. People who smelled a lot worse and talked a lot louder. And who tried to kiss me or worse, bristly old men in particular.

Frog reminded me just a bit of our old friend Don McGarry, who came to church for many years and who I attempted to describe in Upstairs the Peasants are Revolting. Don would thrust his unwashed face right up to mine and talk mercilessly. The absolute worst was when I was pregnant and so sensitive that even the smell of aftershave or dish soap could make me heave, and Don would get right in my face and rattle relentlessly about prophecy and his cats, and I would gasp for air and back up, and Don would move forward, and my stomach would heave, and I would pray for mercy and back up some more, and Don would move in closer, and I would rub my nose and try to artfully shield myself from the overpowering waves, until I was flat against the wall, defenseless and desperate.
(But I loved Don, really I did, and I am so glad that he is now with Jesus in clean washed robes.)

Anyway. There really was no need to get all protective with me regarding Frog. Or with any number of other things at other times. But still, like I said, people take one look and rush to get out the umbrellas and shields on my behalf.

I keep thinking there has to be some way I can use this to my advantage, but I can't figure out what it is.

Here's Emily posing with Frog.

Quote of the Day:

"What did Cinderella say to the photographer? 'Someday my prints will come.'"

--Frog's Second Joke Book for Kids


  1. Dorcas, I can understand that you have been conditioned to accept people that others find a little disgusting. That is great. My question is more about how you feel toward your children. My concern comes from the title of your recent book: "Upstairs the Peasants are Revolting". Do you feel revulsion regarding your children? It is rather a sad statement if you find people like Don and Frog interesting and then find your own children revolting. :)

  2. When I read your post all I could think of was what a testimony it is of your love for the Lord.

    When His light is shining in us, we attract all the "bugs" of life. The unattractive, those the world considers unlovable, they see the love in us that is Jesus and they hover around us, looking for the source of that light. And those who try to shield us I think are really being convicted in their own hearts, but can't identify the feeling. All they know is that there is something in us that is precious and must be protected and it makes them uncomfortable.

    I've had similar things happen in my life, but it wasn't until reading your post that it all made sense. I've always wondered why I attract so many "losers" as friends.

  3. Aargghh, Merle, did you really have to point that out? That was one of Paul's objections to the title--that people would take "revolting" to mean "disgusting."
    And Fiorinda--I enjoyed your take on things because I just always assumed I had an invisible sign on my forehead: "TALK TO ME."

  4. I can definitely see how you would have that sort of an effect on people. :) Like you said, you should really put your thinking cap on and figure out a way to use that to your advantage!

  5. I know what you mean. Once, I was in a public bathroom, and the lady in the next stall started telling me about her father who had recently died, and their different issues and how she wished she had done things differently, and all she could see was my feet.

  6. Dana, are you SURE she was talking to you? She could have been talking on her cell-phone and you were answering!!:)

  7. As a preacher's kid, I can relate to some of what you've experienced. At least as a younger person I was often treated as if with gloves (now folks know I'm not so innocent, I guess!). But people don't understand that pastor's families come into contact with many "interesting" people. I also had an uncle who resembled Frog.

  8. Rolling my eyes at Merle for that comment. I LOVE the title!

  9. I love the title too, but who can resist poking a little fun at Dorcas? After all, she is so innocent and fun to tease.