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In Our Own Backyard...'Repent, that your sins might be wiped out'

Last weekend my husband came home with lipstick on his collar. Oh, it wasn't what you're thinking. Really.

In fact, it actually happened in church. Following the call to worship and the opening hymn, the minister asked us to take a moment to turn to those sitting around us, shake their hands and greet them.

"In fact," she added in a burst of enthusiasm, "if you feel like it, why not give someone a hug!"

Ken and I dutifully shook hands with the folks in front of us, the folks behind us and a few who were sitting across the aisle. And just before the minister called us back into worship, I stuck my hand out to Ken in a mock gesture to greet him. Instead, he grabbed me and squeezed me into a big hug.

I knew what happened as soon as he did it <\_> my freshly applied lipstick brushed the collar of his freshly laundered white dress shirt! As I pulled back, I looked on in disbelief as I spotted the distinct outline of my lips right smack in the middle of his collar. Any other day in summer, he probably would have worn a colored polo shirt, or a patterned casual shirt, and the damage would have been far less obvious. But because it was so chilly that particular morning, he'd chosen to wear a light pullover sweater with the white dress shirt beneath it.

I battled back and forth between feelings of horror and a nearly irrepressible urge to giggle.

We were halfway through the announcements when I gathered the strength to lean over and whisper to him that I'd gotten lipstick on his collar.

"Where?" he uttered in a stage whisper loud enough for those around us to hear. He strained to look down at his collar, and when I pointed out the offensive spot, he hastily tried to rub it out. It wouldn't budge. He kind of gave me "the look" as he shifted uneasily around in the pew <\_> as though a scarlet letter A had been emblazoned across his chest.

And as so often happens, the ludicrousness of the situation caught up with me at the worst possible moment <\_> in the middle of the Lord's Prayer. My normally booming voice faded into nothingness right around "Forgive us our trespasses" as I choked back a giggle. It lapsed into horror once again when we got to the "Deliver us from evil" part. How in the world would he be able to walk back down the aisle with a bright pink lipstick mark on the collar of his white shirt and think that no one would notice <\_> or suspect the worst?

I'm guessing much the same thing was going through his mind right about then.

It wasn't until during the offering that I leaned over and suggested hopefully, "The guys at the men's table during coffee after church are gonna get a real kick out of this!"

He looked skeptical and rubbed at his collar again, but the mark persisted.

I don't think I heard a single word we sang during the final hymn, because I was searching my brain for all of the old wives' tales about how to get lipstick stains out of shirt. Rubbing alcohol? Hair spray? White vinegar? Toothpaste?

Following the benediction, we worked our way back down the aisle to where the minister stood greeting folks on their way out. At that moment I decided that honesty would the best policy to ward off any undue rumors or suspicions.

I had barely grasped the pastor's hand before I blurted out, "Ken and I took your advice a little too literally <\_> we gave each other a hug and I got lipstick on his collar!"

Right about then, everyone turned to look.