Jeanie and I examined the situation from every angle we could imagine. Youngsters.
We decided we would move to the area in any event, and that in all likelihood I would take the job. We wrapped up our business in Seattle, packed our possessions into the Kaiser and a two-wheel utility trailer we bought from our landlord. The three-hundred mile journey across the Cascades and into the Okanogan was without incident. It was a lovely trip with scenic marvels all along the way.
We sailed into town just at sundown on a Friday evening in late July. It was a bit hot, and the motel did not have air conditioning. The baby was fussy, we were tired, and above all we wondered what we were doing in this place where we knew not a soul and had only the letter we had received a week earlier.
Saturday, we contacted the board secretary. We were taken to the parsonage. We visited the church. We met half-dozen "leading citizens." Services, we were told, were at ten in the morning. Clearly it was assumed we were the new pastors.
How do I finish this story of my life in the remaining half-page? Did I mention that I was not a preacher? I was, though, raised in a parsonage and thought I had some idea of how a church worked. I had not the slightest clue. However, I did believe that the people and their needs, spiritual, physical, and intellectual were the first concern of a minister. I made it a point to tend to those needs first. The rest of the job flowed from that.
At the end of our eighth year, the board offered me a sabbatical year at half-salary if I wished to pursue further training at seminary. Though we now had three children and a fourth on the way, we believed that by careful management and a bit of part-time work we could make it. So to the Midwest for a year in seminary! Coincidentally, it was a year in which we could spend some limited amount of time with our parents before returning to the Northwest.
The following June, we returned to the little parsonage on the river and to the duties and responsibilities of guiding the flock. The congregation grew. We established a new congregation in a village a few miles distant with a core group of missionary-minded young couples. A young man from my alma mater was selected to lead this budding work.
The completion of our fiftieth year in this pastorate coincided with the celebration of my seventy-fifth birthday. This was the Sunday on which I announced our retirement.
We still live in this beautiful valley, beside the sparkling river. We enjoy very much watching our grandchildren grow and establish their own homes. And we have some great grandchildren, too!
This is the second of the fantasy lives I have reported in this "Forks" series. I like to think, rightly or not, that I could have been successful in this endeavor. Notice, too, that I was not a widower at any point in this fantasy life. Other than the possibility that that might have been reality, I do not regret having chosen the other branch of the road.