Drafted! Only those who have lived with a mandatory draft can realized the despair that can accompany that word. We carried our concerns with us to Kansas, where Steve was working on his Master’s degree.
Then just as we settled into our little apartment two blocks from the school where I was teaching, he was drafted. After passing his initial physical exam—the only exam he had ever wanted to fail—he returned to campus to talk with the local army recruiter.
The officer looked over his paperwork. “You were married on August 24, 1965!” the officer exclaimed. “Sorry to tell you, but you aren’t going to the army! President Kennedy signed an exemption for men married before August 25, 1965. Let me just fill out these forms and get your signature and you’re on your way!”
We were awed by the change. What great thing did God have in mind for us? The next summer, master’s degree in hand, we moved to North Carolina to teach. The first Sunday in the little mountain church brought the rest of the story.
“Well, we’re having a going away party for our preacher!” said Claude Garland, the eldest member. “Do you preach?”
When Steve answered in the affirmative, the deal was sealed. “Then you’re our next preacher,” Mr. Garland said. “The Lord always sends us one just as the other leaves, so that’s why you’re here, son!”
And he was right. What a ministry! What inspiration to us were the people there! God plans ahead much farther than we can imagine.
And when it was time for us to move to another state—you guessed it!—the next surprised preacher showed up two weeks before we left, drafted right on schedule.
After North Carolina, we moved to Illinois for four years while Steve got his Ph.D. Then we were delighted to move to Northern Kentucky, where he taught at NKU for 39 years.
So we’ve lived in our present house for 32 years. Today is our anniversary, which is what prompted the draft story. And here’s a recent story about our marriage.
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For about 30 years, we had Betty, a faithful and efficient cleaning lady, but after she retired we have tried various arrangements to clean our house biweekly. The service we have now is the best we’ve had since Betty, but we still have some issues at times.
“Our cleaning ladies seem to be storing their products in our bathroom,” Steve casually remarked one evening.
“Really?” I was surprised. “Are they leaving stuff in your bathroom?”
“No—our shower,” he said, puzzled. “Haven’t you noticed their cleaning supplies in our shower?”
And then I started to laugh. And laugh. And when I finally gained control, I said, “If you’re talking about the brushes and tile cleaner, I put them in there. They don’t clean it as well as I’d like, so I’ve been working on it some myself when I take a shower.”
It was his turn to say, “Reeaallly?” He drew it out as though in shock.
That’s why I’d gotten hysterical over it. I understood that it never occurred to him that I would actually be cleaning a shower! Once I told him why I thought it was so funny, he started laughing, too. We laughed until we could hardly breathe.
Finally, he said, “Just as I think you can’t surprise me, you do!” He shook his head in amazement.
Today we’ve been married 52 years, and we can still not only surprise each other, but laugh until we’re breathless!
I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine… Song of Solomon 6:3