Like Those Who Dream: Chapter 11, First Date
-Roy Lessin, Meeting in the Meadow
Since God has given us a mind, there must be thought of love;
Since God has given us a will, there must be the choice of love;
Since God has given us emotions, there must be the touch of love;
Since God has given us a voice, there must be the sound of love;
Since God has given us a heart, there must be the gift of love.
Don came out to visit me on campus the following day. As the day progressed a girl caught his attention. Before leaving campus Don had gathered enough information to find out her name, that she was not married or engaged, and that she was a senior. He filed these things away in his thoughts and kept his interest in her to himself. I wasn’t to learn of his interest until his next visit to Minneapolis many months later.
After Don left the Minneapolis area to continue his travels with Toby, I turned my focus back to getting to know Charlene better. I knew it would be a challenge because she was a year ahead of me in school.
“I don’t know how interested she is in me, if at all,” I wondered, “but I should at least make an effort to find out.”
I knew it was risky, but I sought out one of the girls in her trio to see if she might be able to give me a little encouragement in pursuing a date with Charlene. Not wanting to say too much, I fished around for any kind of clue. To my delight, I discovered that Charlene had talked about me to her friend after our trip to the evangelistic meeting in Minneapolis. That was enough for me!
I headed back to the boys dorm to put my dating plan into action.
My plan included getting together with two other guys on campus. One was my classmate, and the other was a friend from work.
“Guys, I’ve gotten us together to see if you would be willing to plan a triple date.”
“Tell us more,” was their reply.
“Well, recently I met Charlene Solum and I would like to ask her out, but I thought it would be a lot more fun if we all got dates and went on a picnic together.”
They were both agreeable.
I was thrilled when Charlene said she would go. The other guys also had success. The triple date was on!
We planned our picnic for Saturday afternoon. We decided we would all ride bikes out to the countryside for our picnic. It took some extra work to find everyone a bike, gather together all the food that was needed, and pack the all the accessories such as blankets, coolers and eating utensils. Rather than bring pre-made sandwiches, I planned on cooking our food at the picnic site. The Lefse Department on campus had just developed a new portable cooking grill. It had not yet gone into production but a prototype was available. I approached Al Linder, the department head and my former boss, and asked if I could borrow the cooking grill for our picnic.
“Yes, I would be happy to have you use it. It will be a good way for us to give it a test run.” Al replied.
“However,” Al continued. “I need you to take special care of the tiny brass control valve that turns the flow of gas on and off. It is the only one we have on hand and I don’t want to lose it.”
“Thanks, Al,” I replied, “I will be extra careful with it. I will return the grill to the shop sometime late Saturday afternoon.”
It was a beautiful fall day when the six of us headed down the country road on our bikes to seek out a picnic spot. I had the cooking grill secured in the metal basket that was attached to the front handlebars of my bike. Baskets on the other bikes carried the rest of our picnic gear. We were a good distance from the campus when we spotted a nice clearing in the nearby woods. The woods were covered with leaves. We pulled off the road, got off our bikes, walked them through the woods to the clearing, and set up our picnic site. All of us had a great time together as we talked, prepared our food, and cooked on the grill (which worked to perfection) while enjoying the beauty of the crisp fall weather.
After a few hours it was time to pack everything up and head back to campus. We retraced our path through the woods and got back on the country road we had taken. When we arrived on campus I immediately peddled my bike to the Lefse Department to return the cooking grill. When I got there, the Lefse Department was shut down for the weekend. I took the cooking grill out of the basket, walked inside the building and turned on a light. I walked over to the sample table and carefully placed the grill down. It was at that moment I realized that the tiny brass control valve was missing. A sick feeling came over me.
“I can’t believe it! How can this be? What could have happened to it?” I had no answers and I didn’t know what to do. Horrified, I left the grill on the table and hunted down the others who were with me on the picnic. No one knew what to do.
“I have got to go back,” I told them, “I gave Al my word that I would bring the grill back in one piece, and that I would be extra careful with the control valve.”
I got back on my bike and tried to retrace my steps. As I rode I prayed, “Lord, I don’t have any idea where to look. Please help me and direct my steps.”
I eventually found the place where we had left the road and walked through the woods. I got off my bike, put it on the ground, and started walking through the leaves toward the clearing. The fall leaves were thick and covered the ground, crunching beneath my feet as I slowly moved forward. Suddenly, I felt impressed to stop. I froze. I looked beneath my feet and bent down. Pushing aside the leaves, I spotted a tiny brass object on the ground. I reached out and picked it up. There in my hand, to my amazement, was the control valve from the portable cooking grill. My heart rejoiced!
I “flew” back to campus, returned to the Lefse Department, and put the control valve back in its proper place on the grill. This, I was to discover, would be the first of many miracles Charlene and I were to discover together as we followed God’s plan for our lives.
(The following is Charlene’s recount of our first date)…
One day the phone at the end of the hall rang again, for me. Roy was on the other end calling from the hall phone at the boys’ dorm. Would I go on a triple date with him? WHAT? I couldn’t believe it! YES! Something came up and the day that was set didn’t work out. I remember we stood at the entrance to my dorm talking about the change and he quickly said, “We would need to take a rain check.” I asked him, “What’s a rain check?” I had never heard the expression. It was the first of many things I would be learning from him!
Our rain check turned out to be a week later. Our triple date consisted of a bike ride in the countryside on a beautiful Minnesota fall day, for a picnic. That was our first date and I was very impressed with how Roy had planned and organized the details to perfection. At one point we even briefly held hands with our gloves on (Minnesota fall days are cold).
(Join us next week as we continue this journey of Roy's memoir, Like Those Who Dream. The book is available through DaySpring and Christian retailers everywhere.)
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