Pride Goes Before a Fall!
April 16, 2004
I don’t remember much about the pride part, but I certainly remember the fall! Travel back in time with me.
The year: Mid eighties just before Christmas
Place: Fortaleza, northeastern Brazil
“Donna, come here. Vincent wants to talk to you!”
My brother’s voice called as if from another world. From some distant ski chalet to which Grace Livingston Hill had sequestered me in a romantic glow, I jolted back to reality with a bang. Vincent? What did he want? Vincent was my younger brother’s friend. As I walked to the door I suddenly had a sneaking suspicion what was happening. The Christmas banquet was just over a week away and I still did not have a date! The small American Missionary Kid School we attended did not have a huge assortment of date possibilities. All the “desirable eligibles” were already taken - but my brother’s friend??
Sure enough, five minutes later I had a date for the banquet. I wasn’t exactly proud of the fact but at least I had someone with whom I could sit. It could have been worse.
A week later, dressed to a ‘T’, Vincent and I sat at a table on a crowded balcony with Christmas music in the air and happy chatter all around. A warm tropical breeze ruffled the leaves of the trees and bushes just behind me. We were having a good time. Vincent was a bit of a clown but tried to act every inch a gentleman. We had already laughed through a delicious meal and were just waiting for dessert to be served.
During this lull I came up with one of the brightest ideas in my young dating career. I would just sneak quietly out to the lady’s room while everyone was chatting. Unfortunately, I didn’t count on the foot and a half drop off behind my chair down to the garden!
You already know what’s coming don’t you! Well, you have an advantage that I didn’t have!
“Excuse me, Vincent. I’ll be right back.”
In the most lady-like fashion I could muster, I scooted my chair backwards. Seconds later a chair, a beautiful dress, and a very red faced girl were tangled in a heap on the ground.
Dear old Vincent tried valiantly to find that elusive “Knight in Shining Armor” hiding deep inside himself, but he was slightly overpowered by the laughter that welled up instead.
“Are you …. Ha, ha, ha … are you …. Ho, ho, hoo! … are you ok? Ha, ha, ha!”
He came down off the balcony to help me but I had already untangled myself from the mess and hidden in the bushes. Thankfully, I must have hit my funny bone on the way down because I was completely uninjured (other than my pride) and was laughing hysterically along with the entire balcony crowd.
Most of the teachers were seated at tables inside the house. But it wasn’t long before curiosity overcame a few of them.
“What is going on out here?”
It was Mr. Rainwater! Now I was going to die! Mr. Rainwater was a single young short-termer who was teaching at our school and he was … cool! Vincent wasted no time retelling the story of my mishap and soon the tale had spread into the teacher’s room. I guess you could say I was the life of the party … well, the laugh of the party anyway.
Need I remind you where I was headed when I began my flight into the unknown? Uncontrolled laughter is known to be dangerous to someone in this condition. I hurried away, still shaking my head at my own foolishness, while Vincent tried very hard to control himself.
The moral of the story is: “Pride goes before a fall, ‘cause after the fall you sure won’t have any!”