Echoes From the Campfire

This was as it should be…a man and a woman working toward something, for something.  Not apart, but a team.”
               –Louis L’Amour

     “Let your fountain be blessed, And rejoice with the wife of your youth…  He who finds a wife finds a good thing, And obtains favor from the Lord.”
               –Proverbs 5:18; 18:22 (NKJV)
Today is the day folks–the 49th.  Yep, that’s right, 49 years ago we stood at the altar saying our vows to each other.  I know that some folk remember all about their wedding day, but to tell the truth, I don’t know a word the preacher said.  He said, “repeat after me,” and I did all the time looking into the face of a wonderful, beautiful gal from Pennsylvania.  Funny, how I had to traipse across the country to find a wife who would put up with me.  Ah, not really, I only had to go to Missouri.
     I remember the first time I met her.  We were in the old cafeteria at Evangel College (it’s gotten more enlightened as it is now University).  I looked across the room and there, staring at me was this girl.  A fleeting thought went through my mind–“you’re going to marry her.”  It had to be the Holy Spirit, but I didn’t think anything of it at the time.  But there she was; she cocked an eye at me and I cocked an eye at her, and there we sat–cockeyed–at least for a moment or two.  That was the first time I took notice of her, and come to find out later that I had her in my U.S. History class.
     It was several month later that I asked her out and we didn’t part much after that.  She went to summer school, and I went home to make some money so I could go back in the fall.  We met at Gary Hines’ wedding outside of Akron and I drove her home in the rain.  The rain can be romantic, and perhaps this one was, but in the midst of a rainstorm I pulled over on the Pennsylvania Turnpike and asked her to marry me.  Talk about romantic!  It wasn’t one of these all planned-out things, and I didn’t get down on my knees, and I didn’t have a ring.  It was just time to ask–it must have been the rain.
     We got in late on Saturday night to her house so we didn’t get up for church.  I was sitting on the back porch, she was on my lap when her parents came home.  The first words I can remember hearing from her Dad was, as he came up to shake my hand, “I think you’ll make a good couple.”  Nope, I didn’t ask him.  Perhaps I should have, but I wasn’t cultured enough back then.
     Speaking of the deep things of love comes hard for me, but there never was a more important person in my life.  We were engaged for almost a year before we married.  She had a rinky-dink teaching assignment in Chadwick, the copperhead capital, while I had one more year of classes.  I enlisted in the Air Force, nary a quarrel, she was with me.  In fact, I don’t think we’ve ever quarreled over the larger issues, it has usually been over petty things, and I would call them more of a disagree-ment.
     So, it has been 49 years she has been at my side.  We have had some lean times, and some times of plenty.  I will say that through it all the Lord has been by our side as well.  When I look at pictures from the past up to the present, I think, “WOW!  Amazing, how did I get so fortunate?!!”  The Lord surely blessed me beyond measure when we tied that knot.  Brother Jon you did a good job; it must not have been a piece of string.
     Since my heart attack, I have not taken things for granted.  But it would be nice to be able to celebrate number 50, but that’s the Lord’s call.  Yes, 49 years ago, I married the love of my life–Annie Baker of Leechburg, PA–she was all I wanted and more.  I have surely found favor with the Lord as I have found a good wife.  Thank you Lord for allowing me to spend my life with her.