First Comes Love . . .

photo by Ernie Kendrick

When I was twenty-one
I decided to go on a mission for my church. I didn't want to go (NOT AT ALL) but then I had a miraculous change of heart and, well, that is a story for another day.

Part of the process of being a Mormon missionary is submitting a photo of oneself with paperwork claiming that all your teeth are shiny white, your kidney stones are in place, and you are worthy to be a representative for the whole Mormon church. Or something like that.

So like a dutiful saint, I went to a studio to have my portrait taken. My mom came with me. I wore a purple dress which buttoned down the front and had sleeve-stopping cuffs. Then with a tint of blond in my hair, and a secretarial chin-length coif, did I embark upon modeling my missionary zeal surrounded in soft light and framed by translucent drapery.

(Sorry boys, no photos will be posted.)

After taking a few pictures of me affectionately fondling my scriptures (oh how my siblings made fun of me for those shots!) the photographer left the room to do . . . whatever was done back then in the days of film and dark rooms.

I noticed my mother was looking at me with a tilted face and dreamy eyes. It was weird.

"What?" I said straight.

"Who is your father?"

"You should know . . ."

"Say it. Who is your father?"

"Uh. Steve Clark."

I mean, that was what what I had been told my whole life, anyway. Was a personal history bomb about to drop?

"When I was in high school I dreamed of being Steve Clark's wife and having his babies," mother said, looking amused. And satisfied.

"And so you did. Nine of them--just to be sure."

I happened to inherit Steve Clark's cheeks. Big ones that take up a lot of my face. I've also been biologically tattooed with a confetti of freckles all over my skin. Just like my father's. When the photographer came back into the room with proofs, there was no question who my daddy was.

A couple months later I went on that mission. And I came home too. Eventually I met a man who I dreamed of marrying and having his children. Eventually my dream came true too.

Today my son discovered my freckles. He started tracing them with his fingers on my arm. His face changed from curiosity to concern when his two-year-old logic kicked in.


"Not owie," I tried to explain, but how do you explain freckles to a boy who inherited his father's freckle-free, olive complexion? Kisses from the sun?

But he insisted I kiss each one, because that was what we do with owies.

So while I obediently kissed my owies with the supervision of The Chief, Ever kicked on the blanket next to us. Her cheeks as puffy as Saturday morning at the donut shop. A veritable human pastry. Freckles and cheeks and kissing. Lots of all three.

And that is what happened when Cindy Jones daydreamed about marrying Steve Clark and having his babies.

Chup starts his What To Buy For Father's Day posts:

Just in case you are planning something:

I am c jane and freckles and cheeks are a lethal combination. I know.

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