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Friday, March 9, 2007

Mac Attack

Have you ever looked back on a painful chapter in your life and gazed into that chapter pain-free? If you have then you will most likely remember a lot of good things about that chapter as well as the really, really painful parts. Such is the case with the Deer Creek chapter of my life. It had intense pain, character challenging opposition, and heart wrenching betrayal--but it was also a wonderful and fantastic period in the same breath.
Deer Creek was a church began in an affluent, country suburb of Oklahoma City. It was very close to Edmond and Piedmont. People could build large homes on large lots, but had to drive to church. That was until Mac Layton, who was a developer in the Deer Creek area as well as a church planter, elder, minister, oh yes, and Jerk of all trades came along and started a church in his home. There were three or four "good" families who attended. To be considered a "good family" by Mac you either had to have a truck load of cash or tireless energy and dedication to work for the church free of charge. If you had both, well then you weren't just good you were a "sweet" family.
Deer Creek grew larger than the Layton home could accommodate so plans were made to move to the High School. Arrangements made Deer Creek met in the Cafeteria on Sunday mornings and in the Library on Sunday nights. Land was purchased and a building was in the works. The only thing they needed was a full-time Minister to work for this start up church. Darrel Rickard had agreed to come out of retirement and the the Pulpit Minister, and he came after the one person he knew who could "do the job." Me. I agreed to join my mentor in this endeavor and thus began the chapter of Deer Creek.
It was quaint working for this church because I had never worked for a church in this type of situation before. Until you have a Children's worship service in the A/V closet of an High school--you haven't lived! I officed for about six months out of Mac's home and didn't do much but reconnect with my old friend Donna. That's right, Mildred. She, her husband, and beautiful number on son had moved back to town and were building their home and new life. Part of that new life meant helping get the Deer Creek church off the ground.
As the building came along and final stages were being worked out I did things that most ministers would not consider in their job description. I did construction work. Nothing tedious, mind you, just construction work. Probably the kind of work assigned to people at construction sites that cannot be trusted with power tools or off the ground. I scraped the concrete floors until they were smooth as glass. Sweeping, scraping, sweeping, scraping. Painting, sweeping scraping, laying sod, sweeping, scraping.
Mac was there everyday overseeing the construction and making sure that it was done to his specifications and liking. He was a control freak and managed the construction of this church with an iron fist. He was also a tornado. He would blow in, destroy, and blow out. I can still hear the sound of his '82 Suburban shifting into park before it came to a complete stop and my heart will start beating fast and at times I break a sweat.
As much as I believe Mac personified evil in this world, there were some times that he had me flat rolling on the floor laughing hysterically at his bumbling deeds. Remember the tornado, blow in, blow out. First. When our cabinetry was installed in the kitchen it came without knobs. I was to be at work by 8 am sharp everyday, at 8:05 I was getting phones calls. I came to work one morning and walked in the door only find that Mac had been there all morning "working." As I walked in he whisked by power drill and knobs in hand, "Hey buddy, good morning." I'm sure that is what every lioness says to her prey right before devouring it. ZZZT...ZZZT...ZZZT...ZZZZT "Will come check this out." "What do you think? Nice knobs huh?" He had assembled all of the knobs on the cabinets in about 15 minutes-a record as far as I was concerned. "Looks great Mac, the Ladies will love it." As I tried to open the cabinet using this newly attached appendage it wouldn't budge. "Uh...Mack...the knobs aren't working." He had attached every single knob on the hinged side of the cabinet--every single one! When confronted with an embarrassing or confrontational moment Mac always cleared his throat. Not knowing how to exactly spell a throat clearing sound (I think I got the drill sound down, don't you?) you'll have to use your imagination. "[clear throat] Well what do you know about that. This is embarrassing." No, it's flat out hilarious! I nearly broke my neck making my way to the office to call Mildred. "You are not going to believe what happened..." To this day you can still see the poorly repaired cabinetry, just one of the many scars of Mac Layton.
The second occasion really personified the unbelievable tornadoishness of Mac. Every church of Christ must have a baptistery. We believe in immersion upon confession of ones sins. The baptistery at Deer Creek was replete with a bathroom and two changing rooms. It really was a nice space. The bathroom door did not have a locking door knob--Mack to the rescue. I was working in the church building by this time and was in my office. It was morbidly quiet in that church, you could hear a mouse flatulate from a 100 yards. There were times that eerie, creepy silence got the better of me. As I was working in the office I could hear this banging sound. Mack was in house and there was absolutely no telling what he was doing. Bang, Bang. Bang. I rose to see what he was up to when I could hear him yelling, "Will...Will..." "Mack? where are you?" "In the baptistery, come here." Mack had attached the door knob with a locking mechanism--backwards. He had locked himself into a bathroom whose knob he had installed! I wish you could see the tears running down my face--it is still that funny! Oh how I wanted to leave him in that bathroom--he's still be banging on that dang door!
There were many, many other tornado stories that really made living with this evil man worthwhile. Mildred and I can still tell Mac stories and laugh until our stomach's hurt. My time with the Deer Creek church was great and I miss many, many, many of the things about it. Everything that happened there was for a reason and helped me be the minister I am today. Were it not for Deer Creek the friendship that I have with Mildred would not have happened, so it is definitely worth all the tornadoes that blew through my life.

3 comments:

Donna said...

Interesting that you reverted to spelling his name wrong as you told the story. Wonder what the psychological explanation is for that?? I won't comment because it could turn into a book. Our friendship has stood up to the most rigorous of tests hasn't it? Love you William.

Tracy said...

well very interesting. sounds like he was quite a pip. knob issues... hmmm
mouse farting... rotflol

then said...

So where is Darrel now?