Meet "Terry." Terry is a special needs kinda guy who lives next door to us. He has a heart of gold, patience akin to Jo's, and ideas that exhaust me. Once a month when I head to Winco (dread) I take him with me so he can do his grocery shopping. Terry+cars do not mix, so he bums a ride. Here are some of my favorite stories about Terry...

1. Terry's bday is in June. Which means he starts scheming b-day plans in July. It isn't about him or gifts- it is all about the party, the number of guests, food, and entertainment. He likes to host it in his driveway, he likes there to be a big fat cake, he likes everyone in his world to attend, and he really worries about the prep. He sometimes tries to buy party food in May. He usually has some makeshift tarping/tents erected (in case of rain) about 4 days in advance. Two days ago he asked if I could help him rent a power washer so he can wash the mud off the driveway, 3 months prior to the party. While en route to the store I decided it was time to let him know I was pregnant. Here's how it went down:

Me: "Guess what Terry? We're having another baby!"
Terry: "Oh good."
Me: "It's due on August 3rd."
Terry, after a pause: "Oh! Then you'll still be able to come to my party!"

He then proceeded to inform me that this year's entertainment will be bingo. So naturally, I'm in.

2. Terry's got an awesome network of friends & support through his church. Terry doesn't mind asking for help and he doesn't mind offering it either. One of his friends gave him an answering machine, but perhaps didn't fully explain the concept. Here was Terry's message for a good 2 months: "Uh, HELLO? Uh...This is Terry. If you'd like to leave a message, give me a call."

3. Recently Terry's portable phone & answering machine died. I shopped for a new one for him, and a different neighbor helped him hook it up. Terry was thrilled to discover the concept of speaker phone. For 3 or 4 days when I called he'd say, "YEAH???" instead of "Hello" upon answering the phone. I finally asked him why he was answering his phone like that, and he explained that the new phone has this button you push- you don't even gotta pick up the phone! Which didn't quite explain the new phone answering etiquette...but whatever.

4. Terry is big big BIG on decorating for the holidays. Last fall in October I noticed he had Christmas lights strung. I asked him about it & he told me he didn't believe in Halloween so he was going straight to Christmas. He's worse than American retail.

5. Now this one is really unfortunate. But I can't complete this post without it. A few years ago Terry had a run of bad luck in the domestic pet department. His neighbor on the other side told Luke this:"I ran over Terry's cat. I feel terrible. I gave him my cat, to make him feel better. But my cat doesn't understand and she just keeps coming back in my house. (I know. A rather unorthodox response to killing someone's pet, and obviously not the smartest solution.) And worst of all, I really miss her and I feel like I want her back!" Luke suggested maybe she should just help Terry get a NEW cat.

So she did.

Now if I were a better story teller I'd have woven this little fact in somewhere in the text above. But I'm not, so take a mental time out and digest this: Terry doesn't have any teeth. He's got dentures that he refuses to wear, and for the most part, he speaks pretty well in spite of the missing teeth. But he can't say "V" - it comes out "B". Ok, resume reading.

Terry was really excited about his new cat. I asked him what he named it, and he said,
"CHUBBY?" I asked (feeling a little defensive for the cat).
"No, CHEBBY!" he said.
"CHEBBY?" I clarified.
"NO!!! CHE-BBBEEEEYYYY. You know, like the CAR?"

Oh, right. CHEVY. To replace the previous cat who was hit by a car. The irony was not lost on me.


Nina said...

Thank you for posting this story of this wonderful man with a big heart. God has placed each with a purpose to love and to be loved. It touches my heart the way your family is loving your neighbor like the Bible teaches us to do. This story is very close to my heart. I understand because I have someone like a Terry in my life.Time given makes a great difference . God bless you !!

Anonymous said...

I love this post, love this story, and love your heart! Plus you made me laugh. Again.


Aunt Nancy said...

Ah Michelle, what a great post. You are a good Christian. Now, I want to meet Terry too!

The Ropp Family said...

Oh, I actually cried with laughter. I've only met "Terry" once, but God bless him.

I may have snorted while reading this too. Twice.

Anonymous said...

you do not have a boring life!!!! i laughrd so much love you charlie xxoo mom