A while back Tabetha told the story of how we met from her perspective, then suggested that I tell the story from my perspective. It is taken a bit but, here goes…
It all started the day I was born…well, let’s skip a few years. In 1989, my dad was enjoying a very successful career as an insurance salesman. I was twelve years old, and for the first time in my life, I had several friends. There was even a girl that I had just met and wanted to get to know better. But God had other plans. Late that year, my Dad decided to look for a full-time pastorate. He had gone to college and been licensed to preach many years ago, but had never pastored full-time.
So in late January or early February of 1990, on a Wednesday night, Dad and Mom prayed that wherever God sent them, they would go. They got a call that night from a church in Mississippi. At the time we lived near Nashville, less than 200 miles from Mississippi, so after getting off the phone Dad pulled out a map to see where Mississippi was. We had a vague idea that it was a state, but who knew that it was so close?!
The next Sunday they drove down to Mississippi to meet the church and my Dad preached what they called a “trial sermon”. I stayed in Tennessee with a friend because of a church activity that week. When they got back, my parents started packing. The church had not approved us yet, but Dad was sure we were going. I was not happy. Somehow the thought of living in a swamp miles from any people that knew how to talk real English did not sound appealing to me. Listen to The Misterslippi River Race, to find out what I knew about “The River”. Also leaving new found friends and an AWANA program I had almost completed was quite disappointing.
We were approved and moved in mid-February. I was surprised and a bit relieved when I discovered we were nowhere near the swamp. Unfortunately this also meant that we were 100 miles from the river. I had been to quite a few states by that time but had never crossed or seen the Mississippi. It was another 7 years before I got to do that. And even now I have been to every state east of the Mississippi and only five on the other side.
So all-in-all this move was a major disappointment. There very few kids at the new church, and only two other houses in the “neighborhood”. The weather was too hot for my liking in Tennessee, and we moved further south! The roads were made of dirt, and the whole state stunk. But, the next Sunday I saw the reason we had moved. She was a beautiful young lady about my age. And what a captivating smile! She was a bit bashful, and I was not quite sure how to introduce myself to a girl so I just stared at her, and occasionally I think I caught her looking back. Maybe Mississippi was not that bad after all! Well… yes Mississippi was that bad, but at least there was a diamond out there in the rough.
My sister Ruth, two years younger than me, set out in the new wilderness making as many friends as she could. I set out to explore the woods. Ruth and her friends were not nearly as interested in the woods as I was, so for the most part I was not interested in them. I spent most of my time with my younger siblings and friends building a tree fort and mapping the paths through the woods. This was also the year we got a computer, and that is a whole other story.
I was interested in one of Ruth’s new friend’s though. She actually liked to play with the younger kids, whenever Ruth let her. That was really neat because being the first born of 6, soon to be 7, I had spent most of my life with younger kids and felt more comfortable with them than people my own age. She was also a bit of a tom-boy and a had a real sense of humor, had a beautiful voice and could play the flute and a little bit on the piano. Did I ever mention that I really like classical music – especially flute and piano? She did not play classical but she played flute. Oh and the best part… that smile! I love that smile! I have never seen another smile like it. Yep, among Ruth’s quickly expanding circle of friends was the girl that had caught my eye the first week!
So we got to see each other occasionally, but I still could not get up the courage to actually talk to her. It was funny. We would sit in the same room talking to the same people. We would finish each other’s sentence – usually with a sarcastic remark. We would joke and have a good time together even though we did not talk to each other. She was the one friend of Ruth’s that I wanted to be around, but Ruth had a bunch of friends and wanted to spread her time fairly among them. Fortunately, Mom was on my side. I do not think she meant to be, but every time Ruth ask if one of her friends could come over, Mom would remind Ruth about her chores and tell her the house needed to clean before she had friends over. So whenever Ruth would ask Mom about Tabetha, I would help get the house clean, if it was another friend I would head for the woods. And the funny thing is that it worked! Tabetha got to come over just about every day. Of course, Ruth got to go to Tabetha’s house too, but that was fine. I needed time to map the woods, program the computer, and study heraldry. I was happy that Ruth and Tabetha were becoming good friends and that I got see Tabetha a lot.
That’s all for now. I will have to finish the story another day. In the mean time, take a few minutes (ok maybe hours) to tell your love story. Your grandchildren will thank you, and the rest of will enjoy the read.
Update: Here is part 2 – /our-story-part-2.html