Archive for College Life

Background: How We Met

Posted in Background with tags , , , on July 19, 2013 by timtrue
Adam et Eve

Adam et Eve (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One of the byproducts of giving in and embracing my faith in the simplistic camp setting discussed last time is that I likewise gave in to my childhood temptation of seeing things too clearly.  Not that it’s all bad to see the world this way.  Yes or no, right or wrong, black or white, good or evil: it makes for robust principles and idealism.  The difficult part comes in the eventual impracticacabillity of trying to live out such robust principles and ideals.

On the one hand, then, it was really unfortunate that my wife met me during these years.  For I had everything worked out in my mind ahead of time, gleaned from the first of all marriages, Adam and Eve’s.  From the Scriptures, I told myself, it was all so clear.  Adam and Eve had been given specific roles by God himself.  Adam’s were to provide and protect.  He would provide for his family through his own toil, eking out whatever living he could for his multiplying family by the sweat of his own brow, not Eve’s.  Of course I wasn’t a gardener or shepherd but instead one who’d decided (rather foolishly according to some) to study music in college, to earn a degree in theory and composition.  My toil then would be less of sweat than of mental efforts of creativity, or so I told myself.  I had not yet experienced how difficult it would be to get a publisher’s attention, the means by which a composer makes money–a different kind of toil altogether.  Besides, I assured myself, I sense the call to the Gospel ministry anyway, meaning I will more than likely go to seminary after graduating from UC Davis, meaning too that I should just study whatever I like, since seminary requires only a bachelor’s degree and no specific field of study like engineering, physics, or math (“practical,” money-making degrees those fool-deemers would have preferred).  Somehow, I just knew, I’d find a way to keep my family’s finances afloat.

Holly, my dear bride-to-be, had a pre-determined role as well.  Clearly, I saw, Eve’s labor was to bear and raise children.  Holly would do the same, surely.  Bearing children was a difficult prospect.  But there was no way around this difficulty–other than not having kids, which made no sense.  Besides, the joys of spending days raising children would make it all worth it, right?

“How many kids do you want?” I asked one day over dinner.  We were both music students, meaning free concerts most nights of the week, meaning lots of good dates for low prices during our engagement.

Masaccio, Brancacci Chapel, Adam and Eve, detail.

Masaccio, Brancacci Chapel, Adam and Eve, detail. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Um, er,” Holly began, then quietly chewed her pizza and took a sip of her soda probably to think it through.  At last she said, “two maybe, or three?”

“Two or three?  I was thinking six.”

“Six!” she coughed and then took another sip.  Perhaps some pizza was lingering.  At any rate, a moment later, recovered more or less, she said, “I can’t imagine any more than four.”

My idealism was based on Adam and Eve before the fall–you know, that time in the Garden when they walked around naked, which certainly must have meant a tropical climate, meaning too that there were lush and abundant fruits for their picking and eating, warm waters for delightful swims whenever the fancy struck, sleeping out under the stars, frolicking with beasts, and so on, and there was no shame.  But of course this pre-fall bliss, this honeymoon if you will, was before they had actually had any kids, before the Cain and Abel incident in other words.  Talk about sibling rivalry!  No matter, I told myself, our marriage would be based on Edenic principles.  We’d be different.  Our kids–if God blesses us thusly–won’t argue or fight.  You’ll see.  Just watch!  Incidentally, in my experience since, most people whom I have encoutered with similar ideals aren’t basing them on post-fall humanity.  But this is the period of humanity in which we live.  Just an observation.

But on the other hand, Iwas a superhero.  How could she resist?

For video-archive detail, watch  BTW, I don’t show up for the first 8 minutes.

Captain Uriah was the brainchild of a certain few of us on the College Life Leadership Team in the fall of 1990.  College Life was a ministry of First Baptist Church, Davis.  Its stated purpose was to offer spiritual direction to the student body.  In actual practice, we met weekly in a classroom on Sunday evenings for songs, a talk, and fellowship.  Once a month the meeting took on a different feel, a skit-oriented talk show modeled after Late Nite with David Letterman.  We called it outreach, but I think it was more an opportunity for those so inclined to exercise some creativity.  It was fun.  It was an outlet.  And people called it ministry.  Certainly, I thought, I could do this kind of work for the rest of my life.

Captain Uriah began as a skit.  I wore a blue turtleneck with a “U” duct-taped across my chest, a safety-pinned Mexican serape as a cape, blue running tights, and a pair of boxers with panda bears on the outside.  Goofy, I know.  But the first appearance was an absolute hit.  He became a regular guest, whose deeds of do-gooding and soul-saving quickly became the stuff of legend.

Then the videos began.  This was the early 90s, remember; there was no digital recording available, or at least there wasn’t for poor college students.  We did everything with a camcorder, sometimes shooting a particular scene seven or eight times before we had compiled enough material to splice it all together into something presentable.  There was always a story to tell, for sure, but I think the chief goal (unsaid of course) was humor.  The cameraman would sit in the passenger seat of a pickup truck, for instance, filming and interviewing the driver in some formulaic fashion.  Suddenly I’d appear outside the driver window as if flying, hands outstretched, and thereby learn some crucial point necessary in saving some soul.  And off I’d be to do some good.  Of course, someone was in the bed of the truck holding my legs down so I wouldn’t fall out.  But we were going thirty, fast enough to give the effect of speed, but also fast enough to really hurt if I did fall out.

Fortunately I never did hurt myself in my Captain Uriah escapades.  But this was because I was doing right, not wrong; doing good, not evil.  Right?  It was all so clear to me.

Meanwhile I’d made the shift in my academics from math to music.  I was singing in choirs, practicing lots of piano, and absorbing every fact of music history and theory.  What between this and my alter-ego, life was good!

That’s when I first noticed Holly.  I’d see her almost daily in choir, a petite soprano walking across the front of the rehearsal hall to her place, and it occurred to me that I’d seen her before, elsewhere, no small coincidence in a school of 30,000.  Was it church?  Was it College Life?  Yeah, that was it.  In any event, I figured we had similar interests and I determined to introduce myself to her as soon as I got the chance.

The chance came a week or so later.  I was leaving the listening lab at an off time, meaning a time when most students were tucked away behind classroom doors.  The halls were relatively empty.  Then, there, ahead, the double-glass doors of the music building opened and in she walked.  And it seemed to me as if the Rachmaninov I’d just been listening to was still playing in my ears, the third movement of his second symphony, a quintessential romantic movement.  A gentle breeze caught her hair.  Warm sunlight highlighted her defined cheekbones.  Scents of spring blossoms caught my olfactories, wafting on the zephyr.  Our eyes met.  She smiled at me.

Now is the time, I told myself.  I suppressed whatever nerves sought to rise up against my purpose and set my face like flint.  I had to introduce myself.  When would I have a better opportunity?  I just had to say hi.

Approaching now, nearing, I began to move my right arm determined to offer a handshake.  Hey, at least it was something.  But, anyway, before my arm had noticeably moved, she–yes, she–said, “You’re Captain Uriah, aren’t you?”

I was speechless.