“I like the name Lloyd.”
There was a pregnant pause (apt, considering the topic), then Cory, Dad, and I looked at each other and erupted in laughter.
“Lloyd? Wait, really?”
“Lloyd—as in, if it were said in Spanish, it’d be pronounced ‘Yoyd’?”
“Hey Yoyd! Yoyd! Come over here, Yoyd!”
The name got funnier the more we said it. We were all in a lighthearted mood as we discussed names for Cory’s firstborn, and Travis’ suggestion shot the conversation to a climax, cementing it as one of those happy memories of days gone by. Good thing, too.
A week later I found myself paying sixty-seven dollars a night for a run-down room at a Days Inn, a couple thousand miles away from the happy basement apartment in Provo. Virginia was beautiful, but I was homeless. I thought of Jesus Christ, when he said in a moment of disclosure, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.” I was on a strict hotel budget, and had to find a “where” to lay my head—fast.
This “where” needed to be a special “where”, too. It needed to be free of pests. It needed to be within the limits of our worst-case-scenario-live-off-one-salary budget. It needed to be in a decent area of town. It needed to be close to my job (which didn’t actually have an address) and close to Rachel’s job (which didn’t actually exist yet). To complicate things, there are hundreds of apartment complexes in Northern Virginia.
Still, armed with mighty prayer and my best Han Solo never-tell-me-the-odds attitude, I picked a dozen potential apartments and started my search.
I turned off the highway onto a road called Glebe*. Say it with me, out loud. Glebe. Say it again, three times, sped up. Glebe Glebe Glebe. Now turn the corners of your mouth down in a tight frown, and say it again. glebe glebe glebe glebe glebe. I get a chuckle out of that every time!
Anyway, Glebe led to Valley Dr., which split off to Tennessee Ave., and there, rising above the treeline, was the first option. The complex consisted of a series of three-story, boxed, red brick, postwar structures. I pulled into the parking lot and stepped into the office. A nice, younger lady with a hijab and a pleasant face greeted me and took me on a tour of the basic one-bedroom apartment. It had a simple layout. Nothing fancy. Within our budget. The apartment had no washer/dryer. No dishwasher. Tiny closets. Tiny kitchen. No tiny garbage disposal in the tiny kitchen. Window unit A/C. Radiators that looked as if they were forged in the same era as P-51 Mustangs. Gas stove. Wood floors. Beautiful wood floors. New cabinets in the tiny kitchen. Fast Internet. An elementary school next door. Graduate students and police officers as neighbors. Well-kept flowers throughout the grounds. A gurgling, bike-pathed stream just down the road. A charming, expensive neighborhood just up the road. A chapel ten minutes away.
I sat on a bench just outside and looked around, taking in the early summer sun and my surroundings. Could I live here? Could I bring Rachel here? Could we make a home here? As if in answer, a cardinal swooped down from a gently breezing tree and lighted on the rough wood fence in front of me.
I pulled out my phone. “Rachel, I think I found it. Yeah, on the first try—I know, I know—but it’s perfect. I really feel that this is it. The name? Oh, right—it’s called…
*In case you were wondering (as I was), from Wikipedia:
In the American colonies of Great Britain where the Church of England was the established church, glebe land was distributed by the colonial government and was often farmed or rented out by the church rector to cover living expenses. The Reformed Church also provided glebes for the benefit of the pastor. The Reformed Church continued this practice through at least the 1850s. In some cases, like Glebe Road in Arlington County, Virginia, the roads that bear this name once ran past a church glebe property.