The night before my husband and I were to be married, I was packing my things so we could move them when we came back from our honeymoon. My soon to be husband was always the gentleman. He opened doors, let me enter a room first, never cursed, nor did he tell me jokes. As I was packing, I come across the notebook and made the decision to throw it away since my soon to be husband had never told me a joke in all the time I had known him.
Working as a waitress, at a truck stop, jokes were just part of the job. Everybody that I waited on was always telling me some kind of joke whether it be fit for a lady or not. Some even brought copies of them for me to read after work. Most of them found their way to a loose leaf notebook that I kept.
We married and he changed. This man, that had never told me a joke the entire time I had known him, became a joke machine. I heard every joke known to man, I'm sure.
Being a police officer meant shift work. The shifts changed each month and this particular month he was working 7 a.m. - 3 p.m. Whenever he would come home from work and share a new joke that he had heard at work or tease me in some way. We were always trying to top each other. Sometimes I would be able to but most of the time, I would lose.
He arrived home for his lunch and we sat down to eat. Halfway through, he announces to me, that the preacher that married us was not really a preacher, but the janitor of the church. He continued, "We really didn't have a lot of money, so I paid the janitor $25, to do the ceremony."
We finished lunch and he left for work thinking his attempt at a joke had failed. He didn't realize that I was in a near panic. I was trying to figure out how I was going to tell my mother that her daughter was living in sin.
After he left, I called the Reverend that married us. After the pleasantries, I asked, "Reverend Brown, you are a preacher, aren't you?" To this he replied, "Yes! Why do you ask?" I responded with, "My husband was home for lunch and he told me that you weren't a preacher. He said that you were the janitor of the church and that he paid you $25 to marry us. I'm calling to find out if you are a janitor or a preacher. I don't know what to do if our marriage isn't valid." Reverend Brown laughed and said, "I assure you that I am a preacher. You have nothing to worry about."
Late that afternoon, my husband came home from work. I met him at the door and said, "You son of a bitch! You lied to me! He is too a preacher!" Standing there stunned, mainly because he'd never heard me curse and wondering what had me upset, he said, "What?" Telling him what I did after he went back to work, he was in shock that I would actually call the Reverend and ask him if he was a janitor.
At the police department, where my husband worked, they had a program where preachers rode along on Friday nights. When my husband went back to evening shift, that Friday night, he was the officer that the preacher rode with. He was embarrassed to learn that the preacher that would be riding along with him was none other than, Reverend Brown. Reverend Brown said, "I've been called a lot of things in my profession but never a janitor."
Reverend Brown moved away and 5 years later we ran into him at the shopping mall. Much to our surprise, Reverend Brown still remembered my calling him and asking him if he was a janitor. I guess I topped my husband with that one.
©Karen A J Rinehart
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