The wife and I are on vacation. We're in the warm, tropical sunshine of Spokane Washington, spending a week, spending time with the grandkids and their parents.
We are hoping to relax, but with two toddlers in the house I don't think we are expecting to relax.
We, that is, the wife and I, have a dream. It's not a big dream, but we are at the point of thinking about our retirement plans and our dreams are to move to a small town in Eastern Washington called Ritzville, population 1,736. About 45 miles west of Spokane. I know, what in the world does Ritzville have to offer us. There are no chain grocery stores, no big box stores, there are a couple of hotels, a Zip's Drive-In Restaurant, a McDonalds, and farmers. There is a movie theater, local pharmacy, a golf course, small airport, and farmers.
Contrary to popular rumor Ritzville has nothing to do with Ritz crackers even though they farm wheat. Other than farmer's, Ritzville owes its current small town status to the fact that the I-90 runs right past it on the south and anyone going from Seattle to Spokane, or other more interesting places will find that it is the fastest route east or west. No freeway and the town is probably dead.
And yet, we are even more interested in moving there after today.
We went to church in Ritzville.
You know, without revealing our true identities.
We didn't mean to misrepresent ourselves, or at least it didn't start out that way. In every marriage there are roles. My wife's role is the level headed, down to earth, hottie. Mine is the bizarre, warped, goofball. I come up with these bizarre roles and she brings me down to earth by revealing my true identity.
Here's the scenario. We leave Spokane at 8:45am hoping to make the first meeting, which, according to the internet starts at 10:00am. They have just added to the building, it's a branch, and our goal is to check out the local LDS church and make sure that we aren't moving into a congregation with, well, freaks and weirdo's, and rednecks.
Halfway to Ritzville I hatch a plan to conceal our identities. I suggest the fictional "Buck and Elma Shingledorfer". I don't know how I came up with the names, I just pulled them out of the air. And then we reconsidered. "Buck" is one of those names that can lead to a mistake and my wife didn't want to be called "Elma".
We were good with "Shingledorfer", that's a good name. And since my wife's grandmother had wanted her to be named Myrtle she became Myrtle and I became "Bud". Bud and Myrtle Shingledorfer.
The amazing thing is that she, Kim, agreed to be Myrtle and went along with the plan, as long as I did the introductions. She does admit that she was having trouble remembering how to say "Shingledorfer".
We arrived at the church a few minutes early, which means that we showed up just in time to hear the final speaker. Not only was it their first time in the newly remodeled building, but they had taken a vote of the congregation and moved the starting time to 9:00am. We were an hour late.
First part of the plan foiled.
We walked into the Assembly Room, I guess that is the name for a combination chapel, multi-purpose room. After sitting down I noticed that a number of people were staring at us. Pretty soon this older, gray-haired brother gets up and walks purposely towards us. He extends his hand to shake and then the lies begin. I stand and take the lead.
"Good morning, I'm Bud Shingledorfer and this is my wife Myrtle."
I can't believe that Myrtle, I mean Kim, didn't bust out laughing right then. We both played our roles with a straight face.
And the poor guy that we introduced ourselves to, his wife comes up and I did it again. "Hi, we're Bud and Myrtle Shingledorfer."
We're in deep now.
And the funny thing is that they don't even try to repeat our name. Brother G, I'm leaving his last name out, finds out that we are interested in moving to Ritzville in the future and when he finds out that we're thinking of building a house he takes me outside to show me some land that he's got available right near the church. Turns out that he is the founding member of the branch, and the senior High Councilor for the stake. We're in our early 50's, who names their kids Bud and Myrtle in the late 50's.
We walk back into the church and Myrtle is almost running toward me. Turns out Sunday School is starting and she doesn't want to have to introduce herself as she couldn't pronounce or remember "Shingledorfer" was our new last name. She was good on the "Myrtle" part.
We had a great time! No one was bizarre, rednecked, hick, dressed weird, and displaying multiple personalities, etc. About halfway through Sunday School Myrtle turns to me and feeling guilty announces that we are leaving right after Sunday School. She can't hold up the scam any longer. It turns out that we like these people. Big city meets small town and the small town kicks the big city tushy.
And so in Ritzville, Washington, the mysterious visitors, Bud & Myrtle Shingledorfer, have left the building. One of us is feeling guilty. One of us is proud of Myrtle for pulling off an Oscar winning performance.
And one day, the mysterious Bud and Myrtle Shingledorfer will return in our true identities to officially meet the faithful saints of the Ritzville Branch.
Until then, this is Bud signing off.
Bye ya all.