“My Only Love”

It was 1985. I was pregnant with my second child. It was our 3rd anniversary which is on February 20th. It was a gray, cold, rainy day. We got a good teenager to watch our only son for $1.00 an hour and clean the house, too. We went to our favorite Chinese restaurant to celebrate it.
I always will remember how things went. There was a juke box on the table – remember those? That was the first time I heard the song by the Statler Brothers. It was beautiful and I loved it. I really felt like that was us.
But it didn’t turn out that way at first.
Back in 1977, my life was a mess. I had started the year teaching in a private school which was hard because I was teaching high school and I was barely 20 years old myself… The school went out of business. I officially graduated from college that June, too.
At this next job, that summer, tutoring needy children, I met a wonderful lady who soon became by best friend. Her name was Gail Steelman. She told me about a Singles group that met on Friday nights. The next thing I knew, I was attending it. We would start with a quiet time of prayer. And, we would sit, not in rows, as a church service would be, but on chairs, couches and anywhere in a person’s living room. Then, we would sing from frayed booklets, familiar songs and hymns before we would get into a serious discussion of singlehood with all its problems and blessings.
I enjoyed it immensely, but as the year passed, I still mourned the fact that I hadn’t met my true love yet. Finally, about a year later, in 1978, I met a guy that I liked before he left for basic training in the Air Force. Of course, at that time, I didn’t know that. He was shy and so was I, so we didn’t get very far and that seemed to be the end of it. To make a long story short, he returned the next June in 1979 and I saw him at church. Still, we chatted with each other and sat together a few times, but I still wasn’t sure if he liked me or not after he had been gone for so long.
So, one day, I was at home with my mom, contemplating my misery. By now, it was 1980. “Mom, I said as I was transferring a flower from a small pot into a bigger one, “I really need to meet someone. I am so tired of being single! I’m 24 now, will be 25 in a few days and feel like such an old maid!”
“You’re young, dear! You’re not an old maid! You have plenty of time yet.” My mom exclaimed.
“You always say that!” I retorted. “All old people say that!” I plopped the plant into the other pot.
“Well, why don’t we pray about it?” Mom suggested.
“You mean, right now?”
“Yeah, right now.”
I was pretty desperate by now. I put down my trowel and patted down the soil around the plant, and took off my gloves. Then, I bowed my head.
“Lord,” she said with her head bowed, “show Laura the guy she is supposed to marry. We are trusting you to guide her to the right one.”
Suddenly, the phone rang. I picked it up. The voice on the other end was a lady from church I didn’t know very well. “You know, Laura, there is a guy who likes you but is too shy to ask you out. You should ask him out.”
I was totally puzzled. “Who are you?”
“My name is Sherry Smith. I’m a friend of Bob Bentz who really likes you. His mom and I have gotten together to try to hook you two up.”
“Really, he likes me?” I thought of him sitting next to me a few times at church. “Oh, but I don’t ask out guys! That’s not a good idea.”
“Well, most of the girls now do ask out guys. It’s no big deal any more.”
“Yeah, but I just can’t…wait a minute, I’ve got an idea! I’ll ask him back to the singles meeting.”
“Yeah, why don’t you do that?” She gave me his phone number.
“Thanks, Sherry, for your tip.”
“You’re welcome!” I hung up.
My mom smiled. “What was that all about?”
“I think I just found out who likes me and I’m going to call him right now. It may be the answer to our prayer.”
“Good! Go for it! It’s about time!” Mom just shook her head and left the room without any further comment.
I called Bob. He came and picked me up and we both went to the meeting together. Then, we planned our first date which was putt-putt golf…That was 1980 and we were married in 1982.
Last year, 2017, we celebrated our 35th anniversary.
And I so thank the Lord above…for my only love.

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