Andy and I got married on the same day he graduated from college. Our parents packed our U-haul while we were on our honeymoon. A week after our wedding, we moved to Texas so Andy could start his new job. It was a wonderful time in our marriage…and a terrifying time. We were completely alone, twenty-years-old, and half a country away from our families.
Aunt Merle and Uncle Ed own a farm in Oklahoma and they provided a safe place to fall. They were married during WW II and can still finish each other’s sentences. We spent almost every other weekend there our first year. They were the ones who showed us that making it on your own isn’t really life. To achieve true life, you must share it. They would tell us stories about their friends, about how they were all so poor that they would each bring parts of a meal to share. About how this group of families experienced every season of life together, supporting each other however they could. Fried chicken friends. No matter how messy things get, they’re still your favorite.
They have always provided the kind of home that makes your soul sigh in happiness when you walk through the door. Where food, conversation, and dominoes are the only currency needed to achieve true happiness.
In this age of cell phones, pagers, voicemail, texting, and e-mail, we hear every voice but the ones that matter.
Andy and I want our home to be a safe place. The home that soothes the weary hearted and reminds you to gaze at the stars. We have been blessed with great friends, people who will be there no matter the time or trouble. Families who, although they may not know why we’re running, cheer us on to the finish line.
Several weeks ago, some of those friends came in the sweltering heat to see the farm. We had a cookout with the truck bed serving as the buffet line. They came armed with bibles and the biggest sharpie pens I have ever laid eyes on. They prayed over the foundation of our home, the bones. They wrote verses on the door frames and the bare floors. The words of God are everywhere, just beneath the surface.
Others will come and their laughter will christen our walls. And we will find true life and real joy behind the screen door that will announce their arrival. Fried chicken can’t be made in a microwave, it must be given attention and care to be the best, and it takes time. Time must be wrestled away from the world that devours it, and given a place at the table. A table so surrounded by friends, so scratched by domino wars, and so worn that it’s a perfect testament to a fried chicken life.