Email from David, mostly on faith

I heard about David long before I met him. He was famous, among the TJ crowd for having an uncanny resemblance to Groucho Marx–quite a feat for an 18-year-old geek.

That’s him, I thought, the next time I was at TJ–the science-tech school that my daughter attended.  His was the only full, dark mustache in the room.

He was a frequent visitor at our home that spring. It was a tad confusing since my daughter, Sarah, was dating someone else but her crowd does not have the narrow categories for friends that I had as a teen. He was a great friend–it did not matter that she had a boyfriend.

Graduation came and went. And soon it was time for her to leave for Sydney.
The night before she left scores of friends dropped by to say good-bye. She was off to spend a gap year at Hillsong International Leadership College. We were on the front porch saying goodbye to the last of the guests when a new group arrived and those leaving and those arriving merged onto the porch to sing praises to God in the cool July evening. It seems magical. We were crammed tighter than sardines. I had managed to snag one of the few seats on the porch. Chris was playing his guitar, and we sang out into the night and right into the heart of God. You could almost hear the Almighty smiling and humming along.

David was at my feet and at one point between songs, our eyes met and I heard him say, “I just love your family!” I honestly wondered why, but did not stop to ponder. It was a sweet moment.

The day after Sarah left, I received the following email:

July 13
Mrs. Stalcup,

I’d like to take you up on your offer to teach my to drive stick shift. I recall you telling me that Tuesday evenings were good times for you. Would this Tuesday work for you?

If not, what date and time would? My calendar is mostly clear right now, so you have great flexibility in picking a time.

Best wishes,

David M.

It took me almost a week to reply.
July 21
Hey David,

It will be fun. I think Wednesday would be better if you are free during the day. We are going to Charleston this weekend and won’t be home until Monday and I have to work on Tuesday.

I usually walk with a friend in the morning and we could do it right after that, around ten if that works for you.

How are you doing? I miss Sarah but am so happy she made it to Sydney without too much wear and tear and seems to be settling in.

Bless you,



July 22: Davit to me

Wednesday at 10 is great!

I’m doing pretty well. I’m thrilled Sarah’s doing Hillsong, but I wish she was still around. Or that I was in Sydney!



Me to David:

That is a good way to put it. I wish I could be there for a just a few hours to see everything.
See you Wednesday!

That Wednesday we went driving. I tried using the method perfected by my dad: let the clutch out until the engine revved slightly and then give it a little gas, but the hills around our home did not make instruction easy. I remembered fondly the flat terrain of Los Angeles where I learned to drive stick. David progressed but this was clearly going to take more than one lesson.


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