System Alert

Having grown up in a church where some people made a Wednesday evening sport of scoring the most “pious points” during testimony time, I developed a built-in sanctimonious detector. This detector automatically activates at appropriate (or sometimes not so appropriate) times.

When the detector activates, I sometimes have difficulty smiling and pretending I’m clueless. Failure to self-monitor is usually not a good thing. One such instance comes to mind.

Hubby and I had started attending a new church and we were looking to become involved in a Sunday School class. After having decided on a class and being there for a few Sundays, the teacher decided to conduct a get acquainted question/answer session so the regular class members could learn something about the new people. Hubby and I, along with two other couples, were chosen for interviews. Although the questions varied somewhat for each couple, most presented opportunities to highlight the “good self,” and most answers followed down the expected path.

When our turn on the hot seat arrived, the first question was, “How long have you been married?” The follow-up question was directed to me, “To what do you attribute a marriage that has lasted for so many years?”

I knew the expected “good Christian” answers, but a little voice inside whispered, These people really need to lighten up. I smiled and said, “Many of our friends have conflicts over dust on top of their refrigerators and who should be responsible for making sure it’s not there. My husband is too short to see the top of the refrigerator. This may account for our long, happy marriage.”

This picture approximates the look on the teacher’s face.

The painful interview continued – most questions answered by Hubby.

On inauguration day, 2017, I was again reminded of the importance of not responding when I receive a detector alert. All primed and ready with my day planned around watching inaugural activities, I made the mistake of logging into Facebook to see what my family and friends were up to. As I scrolled, I came upon a post written by a young minister, “I WILL PARTICIPATE IN THE INAUGURATION BY PRAYING FOR PEACE!”

My better self prevailed. I logged out of Facebook and participated in the inauguration by watching a unique happening in our nation, the peaceful transfer of power. I enjoyed the pomp and circumstance, got chills when I heard our National Anthem, had tears when I saw the Marines on duty and was reminded of our grandson (who was attending the inauguration with fellow Midshipmen from the U.S. Naval Academy), enjoyed a people-watching opportunity without even having to go to the mall, and laughed when the new president’s 10-year-old son played peek-a-boo with his nephew in the Oval office.

There must be a prayer I should be praying or a scripture that should come to mind about now, but I have to go start dinner preparations. After these many years, Hubby also does not see (as in comprehend) the uses for the uncooked ingredients inside of the refrigerator, and he expects the things that reside there to be prepared and set before him.


  1. I love the answer that he is short. My wife is a bit hard of hearing, and I sincerely believe it has contributed to the longevity (55 yrs) of our marriage.

    1. Secondary Roads, those of us who are in it for the long-haul do figure out how to make things run smoothly.

  2. Either we are cut from the same pattern or we were pressed into the same mold. (¶1) Your response to the teacher is classic You and I love it. (¶5) I am totally with Hubby. (Final paragraph.

    1. Good or bad, I think you may be right about this, Vanilla. I remember a statement you made when required to stand and say something (at a certain Bible School) about your spiritual standing. Still laugh about that one!