I remember the first time I saw him...
I was sitting on the second row in my Sunday School class when in he walked.
He wore a uniform, but that was not the thing that got my attention.
It was his red hair.
My dad had red hair. A deep rich auburn.
And my mother said she always hoped that God would give her a red haired son.
A little red haired boy with freckles.
She had four girls. Sorry mom.
She moved on to Plan B ... and let us know that she hoped one of us would marry someone with red hair so maybe she could have some red haired grandchildren!
And I, always eager to please...
I went home and told her that I had found the person that I was going to marry.
I didn't give it another thought.
Until the day his family joined our church.
They were moving their letter for membership, and at that time, when you joined the church, you were introduced to the church by the pastor.
We were sitting in the balcony that morning, and my dad leaned over and said, "Surely one of you girls can get one of those boys..."
I still didn't think a lot more about it.
I was much too shy, and he didn't seem to know a stranger.
All that changed one Sunday morning. His father and brothers sang a quartet and I was smitten.
His voice ... sigh.
Not sure if it was the Holy Spirit that moved me, or the goose bumps.
Our Pastor had said to be careful who you date because when the love bug bites...
Well, I had been bitten.
For the next three years that we dated, it was on again and off again. More off than on.
I'm not really even sure you would call it dating.
Most of the time he was giving me rides to meet with our friends for pizza or fellowships in someone's home on Sunday nights.
Until that one day when I got the letter.
He was asking me for a real bonafide date!
Actually, he asked "to reserve a time of fellowship" with me.
I agreed ... hesitantly (yeah, right) and we made plans to have a picnic at Ft. Clinch.
(my dad teased, "You're going to the Fort and what???")
The day we had our date, I was terrified!
If I said three words together in a sentence, I don't remember.
But I was on cloud nine!! And everything he did impressed me.
Even when he ran ahead of me and I couldn't find him anywhere.
Suddenly he jumped out from behind a building and scared me silly!!
(Do you know, he still likes to do that? Only now he does it with our grandson! Twice the scare!)
And, oh, his smile? His eyes?
I melted (sigh).
I still melt.
Then one day, there was another letter.
This one where he proposed!
,,,Yes he did.
I was at work, and called home to see if I'd gotten a letter.
When my mom told me there was one there, I asked her to open the letter and read it to me!!!
,,,Yes I did!
Then I left work, drove home and got the letter so that I could read it for myself!!
"We will get married if it's all right with you" he said.
And he signed it, "love you next to Jesus"
We are coming up on 41 years. Nine years from the goal of 50 that I told my oncologist when she asked if I had goals.
Twenty nine from the one Bud said he'd set.
I am so thankful that my mom wanted a red haired son,
that I didn't miss Sunday School that Sunday
and that my dad pointed him out to me with the teasing request to "get him".
I am so glad that he was such a talker because I would have never had a conversation with him otherwise.
I am thankful for that smile and for his eyes!
I love his voice and the way it soothes my anxious heart.
For the way I woke up the other morning to find a blanket spread across my feet and legs.
For his whistle.
For the way he says, "You know you're loved, don't you?"
And Oh! I am so thankful for the sound of his laughter ...
There has been so much in my life that has been made richer because he was in it.
There has been so much in my life that would never have been had he not been.
This has been a good life for us.
It has not always been an easy one.
But there has been more than a lifetime of beauty and wonder and joy.
Just thinking about this man today and how God has blessed me by him.