McKye was excited to go to Utah. He was excited about the post-baptism party, complete with pizza, Doritos and a pi?É¬±ata. He put on his white shirt, his Sunday pants, his new tie. We drove to the church.
Then dislodged him from his seat with the aid of a crow bar.
McKye is 90 pounds worth of boy, so I was the only one strong enough to throw him over my shoulder like a sack of overdue library books and carry him in. Once inside he calmed down a little bit, having found a convenient coat nook to wedge himself into. We got his whites from the nice people in the multi-purpose room and Noelle set off to get the meeting put together.
I got a work out.
1. Steer unwilling 90-pound boy into changing area.
2. Wrestle his clothes off (I'm his dad, I can do that without getting sued, right?)
3. Pop off a button or two on his shirt in the process.
4. Use toilet plunger to jam him into his jumpsuit.
It reminded me a lot of my mission. Hah, just kidding. The handkerchief and bottle of ether made it a lot easier back then.
It turned out that though McKye was completely unwilling to get changed, wild elephants on Dr. Pepper could not drag him out of that bathroom where people could see him in that silly white jumpsuit.
I could see his point.
But that didn't matter. What mattered was that it was his baptism. What mattered was that all his aunts and uncles and cousins and grandmas and grandpas had driven from other states to be at this event. They had prepared talks and harp solos and programs and McKye wasn't going to mess it up.
But McKye has an amazing will balanced by a teddy bear sensitivity. When one turns on, the other does too ?¢Ç¨Äú full blast. I could tell by looking at his eyes that the event looming over us would have to pull up a chair and wait. My boy needed something.
Noelle and I sat with him as 20 people waited. The poor kid was nervous. He'd never done this before. He didn't want to be seen in these spaceship pajamas. He just wanted to go home. Maybe he'd get baptized in five months. Yeah, five months sounded good.
'What if,' we suggested, layering on an air of conspiracy, 'you stood outside the door where nobody could see you? What if you just listened to the program?'
Footsteps came down the hall.
'Quick, McKye!' I ducked into the gym. He darted after me. We did a quick, professional reconnaissance and tip toed in our white jumpsuits to the other end. Using maneuvers we had learned from Scooby-Doo we slipped silently out of the gym and up to the baptism room door.
And the program started. A baptism without the baptizee.
That reminded me of my mission too.
As the program progressed, McKye and I started to practice the baptism hold. And then, how to bend your knees right. McKye got into it. We practiced at least 20 times, even though I had pulled a muscle in my leg by the tenth. Then, before anyone could catch us, we snuck off to the font.
McKye tested the water and deemed it acceptable. The curtain opened, and the slickest baptism of all time took place in front of a gaggle of aghast onlookers. Yes, sir. What a hold, what knee bending. All the way under the first time!
McKye thought he looked slick in his new duds. And he did. The uncles and grandfathers all gathered around, and we welcomed him into a gang of folks who were trying to do a little good in the world.
It was a good baptism. Because it wasn't just a baptism. It was twenty minutes of solidarity with my boy. It was a McKye brand baptism. Shaken, not stirred.
'You know what I liked best about my baptism dad?
'The bubbles in my jumpsuit.'