Rhoda’s House

If You Know You Know.

Sometimes I think to myself, “Later on this is gonna be hammered out into a story.” That kind of prognostication doesn’t always happen in the moment as something is happening, but it does happen. 

The thought began with an advertisement of sorts a month or so prior to the actual event, but the beginning of the story goes back a ways and began with an advertisement as well.

The Story

I was younger and it was still the era of the radio. I would listen to the radio as I prepared for my day. Many times a commercial would air, it was for a fine jewelry store. The proprietor was named Rhoda and she owned and operated Levy’s Fine Jewelry. I had never stepped foot in Levy’s, but I knew Rhoda. Well, I didn’t actually know Rhoda, but I knew her voice. I would recognize it the moment she started giving out free advice to hopeless romantics seeking her help to win another’s love. “Desperate in Dora” might write in to Rhoda, and Rhoda would reply with something along the lives of,  “Come on down to Levy’s Fine Jewelry, and we’ll help you pick out the right big diamond for your gal and before you know it she’ll be covering your face with kisses.”  Rhoda was always more than generous during her Christmas time advice sessions.

I read last summer that Rhoda had passed away, I didn’t know her personally, obviously, but I knew I wouldn’t be hearing her on the radio any more. I honestly hadn’t thought much more of Rhoda until I ran across that add for an Estate Sale. It was Rhoda’s house and her collections of fine art and furnishings were up for sale. I am voyeuristic in nature so I clicked through those pictures with intrigue and curiosity. Rhoda had some very fine art and furnishings up for grabs but I knew just by looking at them they were way out of my league. I’d watched enough Antiques Roadshow to know that Hudson River School Art painting she had was worth more than what I had budgeted for just such an occasion. I also knew that apart from a museum I’d likely never see that much art in one place in my lifetime again. I also knew Rhoda was Jewish and she may potentially have something I’d been wanting, something that was within my budget. So I made a plan. I invited my sister and mama, who both declined the invitation to accompany me, but my husband agreed to go and we set out with a plan. 

We, along with what seemed like a thousand of our closest friends with a common goal in mind piled into Rhoda’s home. My mouth hung open most of the time and I distinctly remember three things that stood out to me.

1. Rhoda’s boudoir. She had a wall of closets. he first one I entered had drawers upon drawers and shelves on top of shelves. A large number of ten drawers had locks on them and I pointed them out to my husband. Locked drawers in a bedroom closet, I was puzzled only briefly, and then I conjectured they must’ve been for securing all that Levy’s fine jewelry she had.

2. A woman who stood at the foot of  Rhoda’s bed trying on Rhoda’s clothes. Modesty and meekness did not seem to fit this lady’s M.O. I was still processing the dressing lady when Number Three crossed my path, or I it rather.

3. Rhoda’s bathtub. About the time I said “Whoa!” and had not yet even begun to calculate what a tub like that might do to a monthly water bill. My husband who does not share my same line of sight said, “Hey you want Rhoda’s sunglasses?”

For a mere $5 I purchased Rhoda’s former UV eye protection. A quick internet search after I got home revealed to me I’d purchased Designer Sunglasses. I should’ve expected nothing less from Rhoda whose head was a wee bit smaller than my own. 

I don’t rightly know what my expectations were for that Estate Sale, nor the story it would yield but I know this: in my wildest dreams I couldn’t have bargained for what I got.

I left Rhoda’s with what I had come for, a Seder plate (and not just one but three), a pair of sunglasses, fodder for storytelling, and memories that won’t soon fade.

It wasn’t until a few weeks later the Rhoda’s House adventure came full circle and taught me a spiritual application as well.

I was working and a coworker was looking at a house for sale. She has looked at dozens of houses, she too has learned about my curious and voyeuristic tendencies and gets my attention when something is particularly interesting, tacky, or just plain weird.

I heard her make a comment about the closet of a particular house. I  looked and recognized immediately what I was looking at, the MLS listing was a place all too familiar to me,

“That’s Rhoda’s house,” I said to my coworker. She knew about my trip to Rhoda’s. I pointed at the drawers with the locks.

“Really? How do you know?”

“And you’re about to see a bathroom with a big giant blue tub that all five of us could fit in,” was my reply.

I motioned to those of us working together and sure enough a couple of mouse clicks later and there it was. The tub.

Because my time at Rhoda’s had been the adventure it had been, I was able to recognize it weeks later, completely empty, on a computer screen. I’ve since termed that sort of recognition as “A Rhoda’s House Experience.”

The Lesson

As I study the Word I want to be able to recognize Jesus anywhere and everywhere in scripture. I want to know Him so well. I want to know the distinct character of God so solidly that I am able to discern him immediately as I study. I am not a biblical scholar by any means, but I can know Him well enough that by the Holy Spirit’s revelation I can recognize Him immediately from Genesis to Revelation. I can seem Him in the Jewish Passover, the Israelite Exodus, I can see Jesus in the Manna in the Wilderness. I can know undoubtedly that Jesus is the Messiah from Isaiah’s depiction of Him. I can understand His character in the dry bones made to live again in Ezekiel, and I can be reminded again that He is trustworthy and true all the way through Scripture.

Jesus said to him, “Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me?” John 14:9

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