Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Stories of Jeff Excell - Cherry Pie

(That picture is post wedding, and also not a cherry pie, but I still found it applicable seeing as these posts rarely get pictures and this picture was close enough.)

When I met Jeff's Dad on our first date, there was mention of Jeff being an excellent cherry pie baker. A 9 out of 10 on the delicious scale cherry pie maker to be exact. I had to get my hands on some of that pie. I don't particularly like pie, especially the ones filled with cherries, but I do enjoy seeing a man try to navigate a kitchen.

My request for the notorious Jeff Excell cherry pie was what got us on our date the day after feelings day.

We started in the aisles of Wal-Mart in hot pursuit of some cherries and shortening. I had my first glimpse of marriage as I dazed in and out of feeling like an old couple doing our weekly grocery shopping.

I might be alone in feeling that grocery shopping is a revealing activity. I'll admit that I often glance in people's carts and take a guess at what they're like.  Your trusted brands, your weekly necessities, your guilty pleasure treats -- it's all there for the world to see. This is why grocery shopping was one of my biggest fears of getting married. I didn't want my husband to see the inner depths of my shopping cart I guess. Lucky for Jeff, he presented my first experience with my biggest marriage fear to me minus the shopping cart and ending in the "10 items and under" lane. It was a good ease into my future with that cherry pie maker.

And believe me, I had been thinking about our future. It hit me as I was getting ready for this date that I would probably kiss Jeff Excell. I also knew Jeff Excell was the only boy I cared about dating, and I was pretty certain I was the only girl he was pursuing. I felt like we were acting like boyfriend and girlfriend without the title or kisses of the status. And I felt like that was all about to change so I made myself look extra cute for the evening.

We survived the grocery store and made our way to Jeff's parents' house to take full advantage of their pie making supplies.

Jeff's mom was doing a puzzle. I thought that was absolutely adorable and tried to impress her by helping her with a few matches. Jeff got busy on the pie.

I tried to help, but my help was similar to the aid of a toddler in the kitchen. I had to ask where everything was and I wasn't familiar with the art of cherry pie making. I quickly realized I was better suited as a benchwarmer and/or cheerleader.

It was quiet as the pie was gently molded. I watched Jeff with intrigue as I learned he insists on scientifically measuring every ingredient and obediently followed every recipe direction. He sliced the excess crust with a knife just as his grandfather had taught him. I learned his grandfather was near celebrity status down in Springdale, Utah and owned a restaurant where he was also known to make a mean cherry pie.

I'm glad Jeff got that gene. The gene of cherry pies and methodical cooking and crust slicing. It's very endearing.

Before long the pie was in the oven and we found ourselves in need of something to do for 45 minutes.

Jeff had tried to get me to watch the TV show "Lost" for ages. It didn't seem my type, so I politely rejected his recommendation. Time after time. He had me trapped on cherry pie night as he pleaded, "Sarah, we should watch 'Lost.' I bet I can get you hooked in 3 episodes or less."

I wasn't convinced I'd be hooked, but I did like the sounds of sitting next to Jeff on the couch for 3 episodes worth of a TV show, especially since we hadn't watched a movie or TV show together yet, and we were on the verge of finally holding hands. I couldn't turn down that setting.

I sat down on the couch first with my hand strategically reachable and open.

Jeff fidgeted with the CDs, wires, blankets, remotes, and got everything in perfect order. He sat down and his hand slid perfectly into mine.

It felt like we had held hands a million times before. It was heavenly and natural and comfortable and just absolutely perfect. I mean, my hands didn't even sweat. That's how good it was.

I had never been so angry to hear a buzzer notifying that a baked good was ready to come out of the oven. We made our way upstairs to inspect our (Jeff's) creation.

I pretended I loved cherry pie as he scooped me up a big piece. I drowned it in ice-cream to make it more appealing.

Jeff's dad meandered downstairs after hearing the timer. I asked him to tell me some stories he had from his work as a police officer. He kept me thoroughly entertained as I scarfed down my ice-cream and cherry pie, realizing I might just like cherry pie more than I ever knew. Or maybe Jeff is just that good at making a cherry pie.

Jeff's dad went back upstairs leaving me and Jeff to relish in our new relationship development. Jeff said, "So...do you want to play a game, watch a movie or play Sudoku or something?"
"Yeah, sure, we could play a game." I said.
"Let's watch a movie." He overruled.

Because you can't really hold hands playing a game. And holding hands was still way too much fun to stop just yet. We settled on Legally Blonde. He's a sucker for Reese Witherspoon. Lucky for him, so am I.

We slid back into perfect hand-holding position once we were back on the couch. About halfway through the movie I fell asleep on his shoulder. He woke me up as the credits were rolling.

We talked for a bit. I was groggy. Yeah, I'll go ahead and blame this on the grogginess. Because I am sure I wouldn't have said, "Knock, knock." If my whole brain was functioning.
"Who's there?" Asked Jeff, seeming to enjoy my sudden playfulness.
"Kiss." I said.
"Kiss who?" said Jeff as he laughed a little bit.
"Me." I said. And so we did.

The kiss was also perfect. Not too long. Not too short. I'm going to spare you any more details. It was worth the wait.

We talked for a little bit longer and then Jeff walked me to my car where I must have still been groggy as these words escaped my mouth, "So...am I your girlfriend?"

What on earth? Who was this girl? I am not that girl. I swear I'm not. The boy chases me. The boy does the work. That was the Sarah Thomas motto. And there I was throwing myself at Jeff Excell like he's the Bachelor at the first cocktail party and I was fighting with 24 other girls to win him over. 

As those words escaped my mouth, I suddenly snapped out of my 'grogginess.' I was expecting a kiss from the night, but I really wasn't expecting to find myself pressuring him into becoming my boyfriend. And then it suddenly hit me that he probably thought I used that knock-knock joke on every guy I kissed. He was the first! I would never convince him of that though. This is why girls don't make the moves. Or at least why I don't make the moves. My relationship with Jeff Excell was doomed for sure.

"Yeah, I guess you are." He answered without even having to think about it.

He kissed me goodnight. I let out a sigh of relief. He followed me in his car as we both left to our apartments. I accidentally took a very obviously wrong turn into a church parking lot on the way home which I thought I disguised well enough to look like I did it on purpose.

Jeff called me a few minutes after we left. He could do that now. Call me in the wee hours of the morning just to tell me he was thinking of me or he missed me.

Or to make fun of me for making a wrong turn -- it's all in the contract.


Katie Perkes said...

Ah. Stories of Jeff Excell bring me the same excitement as getting snail mail. I love it! I feel like I'm reading a really good book and can't wait to flip the page to the next chapter... but wait, I can't. I have to wait! Yep... they are that good.

Rebecca said...

Loved the knock knock joke. Loved the story of Jeff Excell. Wish I could say I love Jeff's cherry pies but he's never made me one. Jeff, please remedy that asap. Speaking of asap...

jlthomas said...

I totally agree with katie's comment, I love Jeff Excell stories like I love twilight!

MelissaJoy said...

THIS IS HISTARICAL! I LOVE this! I had never ever EVER thought of doing that...I love love love it. Please keep them coming.

David and Mary said...

Another cute story about you and Jeff! I am glad that David and I made the pages in this story! I liked my minor role as "Mother doing puzzle" :)

Kenzman said...

I might love jeff excell..... okay. I really love jeff excell. Because of how much he loves you. And your adorable knock knock jokes.

So..... pretty much, way better than the cheesy romance novels I would hide in the couch. Waaayyyy better. :)

jlthomas said...

Looks like all of our work making up knock knock jokes worked out well for you. I was hoping your response to "Who's there" was going to be "Hans".

Kim said...

Sarah, this was sweet and funny and endearing and silly and wonderful all rolled up into one great chapter of the Jeff Excell/Sarah Thomas love story.

Your story telling just keeps getting better and better. Keep writing!! You have many fans who love your stories and just in case you didn't know--I'm your #1 fan!!!