Our Story–50 years #3

We didn’t really date, officially, until I came home from college for the summer. But we were certainly aware of each other, and when I was home on a weekend, there was often an activity of some sort for the youth group that Terry had been recruited to help with as a driver. And I was clearly expected by the kids to ride shotgun. Fine with me!

I remember one Sunday morning in particular. Home for the weekend, I’d been downstairs teaching a class of little ones. By the time I gathered up my stuff, the service was under way. The auditorium was full. Well, except for one chair, which just happened to be next to Terry. There was absolutely nowhere else for me to go, so I gathered up my courage and went down the center aisle to the empty chair. He glanced at me and went deep, dark red when he realized I was going to sit there. I was probably blushing, too, but his blush was spectacular.

After the service, he didn’t have a lot to say, but he managed, “You have a really good voice.” We said our goodbyes and went our separate ways.

Several of the women, young and old, gathered around me and were making all sorts of comments and assumptions, and it embarrassed me to death. At that point, I wasn’t ready for such talk and I got out of there as quickly as I could.

I will admit, though, that I was just a bit pleased that people thought what they did. Maybe, if others were noticing, perhaps Terry was noticing, as well.

One of my favorite stories centers on the weekend my dad baptized Terry. We believe in full immersion, and he was ready and willing. I was home, but for some reason I didn’t attend his baptismal service. Maybe I wasn’t feeling good. I just don’t remember. We didn’t have a baptismal tank in our small church, so we made arrangements with another church nearby to use their baptistry in the afternoon. Terry had dinner with us, and then they left for the service,

While they were gone, I decided to make some doughnuts. I enjoyed the process, and had done it many times before. I thought it would be nice to have fresh, warm doughnuts when they all came back.

I was in the process of frying the doughnuts when they returned. I’d already done over a dozen, and they were beautiful little golden brown treats.

Then, the door burst open and let in a gust of cold winter wind, and it was perfectly timed for my hot oil to be set aflame by that wind. “Fire! Close the door! Fire in the kitchen!”

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Terry came running, took in the situation at a glance, grabbed a metal lid from another pan and slammed it over my skillet, turning off the heat under the burner as he did so.

My hero!

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It didn’t burn long enough to do any damage. I asked him if I should throw out the oil and start fresh, but he though it would be fine to use it. While everyone enjoyed the pre-fire doughnuts, I finished up the rest. When they cooled, I put some in a bag for Terry, another bag for my roommates and me, and left a plateful for my family.

Those post-fire doughnuts were the absolute nastiest, worst-tasting things I’d ever had. It was embarrassing. The next weekend, I asked him if he’d eaten them, and he had. Every single one. I apologized all over the place and promised him a do-over, which he enjoyed more than once down through the years.

My roommates, by the way, tried to be kind. After I offered them a doughnut, I left to go get a shower. When I came back, they were both gone. I glanced into the waste basket and noticed a tissue, looking like something was under it. And there was a doughnut with one bite take out of it. I tried one for myself, and it joined the one that was already in the basket. They were kind, but we all had a good laugh over the saga of the burnt-by-fire doughnuts.

Image result for Norton Motorcycle, 1969's, red (Snortin' Norton) 750 PT SCRAMBLER
Next time, I’ll tell you about this beautiful bike and how it helped bring us together.

Then and Now

PHOTO PROMPT© Sandra Crook

Two ghostly women watched in awe as the machinery did in minutes what they had done in hours and days when they lived.

“We tended the sheep. We helped them birth their lambs. We helped with the shearing, and the carding, and the cleaning. “

“Yes. And all winter we spun, and then we wove or knitted. Cloaks, gloves, stockings, hats—blankets, shirts, leggings.”

“All while birthing our own babes; gardening, preserving food, tending children, cleaning, sewing, doing laundry in tubs we filled with buckets from the river.”

“Is this better?”

“No. Different is not always better.”

Our Story, #2

If you want to see the first piece, you can find it under Categories on the right side of the page. Look for “Our Story-50 Years.” As I continue, you’ll need to read from the bottom up.

I spent some time in my oldest photo album this morning. Remember those? Paper photos taken with old-fashioned cameras, placed in a big album and held in place by a saran-wrap-type of overlay. Boy, are they OLD! There are a few college pics in there, but that’s not really where the story starts, so I didn’t use those. Thanks to today’s technology, I took pictures of my pictures with my phone, dowloaded them to my Facebook (only I can see them there) and will post them here as I continue the story. Amazing, right?

The first thing I need to do today is back up a little bit. I actually met Terry early in my junior year, but there wasn’t a lot of contact until later. Time has a way of playing tricks with our memories, and mine is getting a little wobbly anyway!

It was during Christmas break in late 1967 that things began to become more interesting. Terry had become a Christian by then, and was attending church regularly. Oddly, I seemed to be finding reasons to make the trek from Owatonna, MN to White Beat Lake a little more frequently. My dad pastored there, and he’d asked me to be available whenever possible to fill in as a Sunday school teacher, play piano, or whatever else needed doing. I was glad to oblige. It wasn’t until well into January of 1968 that I began to realize he had an ulterior motive.

Dad had suggested I go to the youth group Christmas party. Uhhhhhh, well, I guess. . . . .didn’t really want to, but he was a hard guy to argue with. So I went.

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That’s me at the bottom of the stairs. I don’t look too thrilled to be there, do I? But then Terry showed up, delivering more kids, and that’s when the light began to dawn that my dad had a plan. Terry offered to take me home, and the kids he had brought all piled into the back seat. The first real conversation we had was that night, accompanied by the noise of a lot of kids high on sugar.

During that same vacation, I was comfy at home in my ugly plaid pants and a sweatshirt. My hair was in big fat curlers, my head encased in the plastic hood of my portable hair dryer. You girls today have no clue how hard we worked for decent-looking hair 50+ years ago!

The doorbell rang. I didn’t hear it. My dad waved his hand at me. He was in his easy chair, reading the newspaper. I turned off my dryer, and he asked me to get the door. Okay.

I opened the door, in my plastichoodshabbypantscurlers, and there stood Terry. Yikes. “Linda, is that Terry? I told him to stop by in case there were any stragglers who needed a ride to the youth activity at the gym. Looks like you’e the only one.”

WHAT? I’d had no intention of going! I’m not a youthgrouper any more!

“Come on in, Terry. Linda will be just a couple minutes getting ready.”

I was so astonished I could hardly think what to do. My dad had NEVER, EVER set me up with any guy. And I realized that this was exactly what was happening. Unbelievable. I was mad, embarrassed, shocked—and he just sat there reading his paper without giving me a second glance.

I had no choice, without making Terry extremely uncomfortable, so I yanked the curlers out, brushed out my hair, changed into a nicer pair of pants, and threw on a jacket.

“Okay, I’m ready.” Terry’s car was warm, a beautiful 1964 GTO. Nicest car I’d ever ridden in. He seemed to know where to go, and we had a pleasant–if a little stiff–conversation. He pulled into the parking lot at the local high school, which was built in big circular sections around a central core. The first door we tried was locked. We jogged around that circle to the next door. Locked. And again, locked. Once more, and we finally found the door where the party was. In the process, we got the giggles and were laughing like loons.

Once we got inside, it seemed as if every single person in the gym stopped what they were doing and stared at us. I wanted to disappear. But the moment passed, and before long we were playing volleyball with the kids.

I was pretty good at volleyball, and Terry made his first joke about my lack of height. Something about walking under the net instead of hitting the ball over the net. He’s never stopped.

We had a good time. Lots of fun, and I was sorry to see the evening come to an end. My dad, still involved in his newspaper when we got home, lowered it long enough to thank Terry for picking me up and bringing me home.

After Terry left, I said, “You did that on purpose!” The paper shook just for a second, and he said, “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

Right. Actually, I think Terry was the only guy I ever dated who had my dad’s 100% approval 🙂

This is what Terry looked like the next morning in church. His dad took this photo sometime during that year. Terry wore contacts then, and he had very intense blue/grey eyes, sometimes green, depending on what he was wearing. My handsome guy.

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Stay tuned. Lots more coming.

Our Story: 50years, #1

Terry and I are coming up on our 50th anniversary in June.

Here we are about four years ago, Christmas, with all nine of our grands:

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Anyway, I find that I’m spending a surprising amount of time remembering our lives together. We have been so blessed, including the hard times as well as the wonderful.

We met when I was winding up my junior year in college. He was working as a project engineer at 3M, and had a coworker who invited him to visit the small church my dad pastored. Curious because of his coworker’s complete trust in God, he visited for the first time during that same semester of my college year. He was nearly 24,

At some point soon after his first visit, I came home for a weekend. I don’t remember if there was a particular reason, but it doesn’t matter. I believe that God’s hand was guiding the entire process 🙂

What I remember first is that this guy had excellent posture and a steady, serious demeanor. I watched him covertly ( yeah, right–every woman in the small church was watching us watch each other) and wondered what his story was. I realized early on that he was almost painfully shy, especially with the female gender, and that tickled my funny bone. I loved making him blush. He was a redhead, with the give-away complexion that goes with it.

I had come off a very disappointing relationship with a college boy, and hadn’t dated for some time. Wasn’t interested in college boys—I wanted a man who had his life in order and was past his teen angst. I don’t know if Terry ever bothered with teen angst 🙂

I remember going back to school and telling my roommates about Terry. I think I said something like, “This guy is a keeper!” Somewhere deep inside, I knew. Really. I did.

I think I’m going to serialize this. Never thought about writing our story before, but I think 50 years deserves that kind of recognition.

To be continued. . . .

Thrills and Chills

The aliens in the dome behind the wheel were first shocked, then hysterical with laughter. Earth people could NOT resist colored lights, music, and a brief thrill.

Time after time, they loaded up the Ferris wheel, laughing and screaming, never noticing when they were sucked out of their buckets into another dimension.

And those waiting in line for their own thrills never suspected that the people alighting from the wheel were only shadows of themselves, melting into air and water.

What was really sad, though, was that no one seemed to miss them.

The Gift

PHOTO PROMPT © Anshu Bhojnagarwala

Every night for over a week, Anika woke in the small hours to the tinkling tunes from the old clavier. One night, too curious to be fearful, Anika crept from her curtained bed and tiptoed to the porch where the instrument sat.

Shocked, she saw the shadow of a lovely young girl playing the old relic, but it wasn’t old any more. Every key intact, it was lovely and whole.

When Anika told her Amma and Appa, they said, “Anika, you have been chosen. You have the gift. We will purchase a piano for you.”

Have You Noticed?

This is a rant. I admit it. It’s been building for a long time.

Our political scene is so ugly. The attacks just go on and on. And the longer they go on, the more vitriolic they become.

I do not worship at Trump’s feet, but I have to admit that he’s tried very hard to keep his promises. I also don’t know if anyone else could be still standing after the beating he’s taken for over two years now, with every effort being made to remove him.

But that’s not my beef today.

My beef is the lamentable illiteracy of the general public, the ones who are always mouthing off. Whenever they get the chance, they like to yell into a camera. They have a vocabulary of about 25 words. They’re angry without having any deep understanding of why they are so angry. And they express their anger with every other word being some form of the F-Bomb.

Let me show you what I mean. Take that previous paragraph and rewrite it:

My ****beef is the******lamentable ******illiteracy of the *****general *****public!

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See what I mean? The F-bomb and all its varieties are so thick that you need an interpreter to figure out what this angry, yelling, cursing person is actually saying.

What are the varieties? Well, two come to mind: Friggin’ and fricken’. I don’t even like to print them. They are not- so -polite substitutes for the F-bomb, used by people who ought to know better. People who would never dream of saying the F-bomb, but who think it’s okay to use the euphemisms, in much the same way that jeeze, golly, gosh, darn, and heck are used instead of God’s name . Somehow we think that if we don’t use the actual word, but a sound-alike substitute, then we’re okay.

The best thing I can say for those who don’t bother with the substitutes is that they are more honest about it.

I rarely watch videos on Facebook because sooner or later someone is going to let filth dribble out of his mouth. And the comments following a news article? Nope, not going there. Aside from the afore-mentioned words, those comments tend to be full of every other epithet that exists out there for expressing anger and contempt.

Every now and then I hear “what the H**l” coming out of President Trump’s mouth, and it makes me sick. He loses dignity and respect when he reverts to street language.

And by the way, I believe that Christians ought to avoid name-calling. I’ve been guilty, but I’m doing my best to avoid it even though there are plenty of people out there who stir up that kind of speech.

Colossians 4:6: Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.

The Getaway


His plan was foolproof. He knew exactly when Signora Romano would leave for the bank. He had even spotted a scooter and made sure it would start.

Leaning against her building, he saw when the tottery old girl stepped outside. Once her back was turned, he ran up behind her, grabbed her purse, and shoved her hard. He ran to the scooter, touched the wires together, and waited for the motor to roar.

By the time the the polizia arrived, he had realized he was on a mobility scooter. No power, no speed.

No hope.