September 8, 1978 was a Friday. It was an interesting day for me. Jeff Tokar asked me if I wanted to golf at a lighted par-three golf course. I didn’t have a date. I didn’t have anything better to do. At that point in my life I had only golfed once or twice. I golfed poorly.
Across from the campus where I lived was a little pizza shop. We stopped in. It was empty. While we were waiting for your little dollar squares of pizza a young woman walked in. She had long dark hair and dark eyes. She looked a lot like the girl I always imagined I would marry, but this girl didn’t even look up at me.
Saturday I saw her again in the college cafeteria. Her friends were gathered around her singing happy birthday to her. That night my roommate Dave Messer and I went to a church picnic. Still no date. Nothing better to do. She was there. I tried to meet her, but didn’t exactly drop her handkerchief. She didn’t avoid me but she didn’t do anything to meet me either. She played volleyball on the next court over from me. I couldn’t get her attention. At dusk they called us all to the fire for a devotional time.
I noticed she lost her headband. She had beautiful, flowing, dark hair and dark eyes. I got a flashlight from the car and helped her find it. I sat near her during the fireside devotional time, brought her a piece of watermelon, and worked desperately to keep conversation alive long enough to ask her out. She had an adorable southern accent but she said she was from Ypsilanti, Michigan. I said, Yipsilanti pronounced like yippee – and she corrected me.
She told me her mom would not want her to go out with someone she didn’t know. I told her that was the purpose of going out – to get to know someone. She turned me down. I asked her if she would meet me for dinner on campus. She was non-committal. She looked at me with her big, dark eyes. She didn’t say yes, but she didn’t say no. I waited for her on Monday evening in front of the cafeteria. She showed up with her roommates. When she saw me I caught just a hint of a smile. I hoped it was more than amusement at my interest in her.
Within a few weeks I talked her into going to Wendys’ and putt-putt golf. She trashed me in the golf. I was completely distracted, plus I was not that great at golf. She wore a beautiful light purple dress with three-quarter-length sleeves. She still had a dark tan left over from summer. She had a beautiful round face and dark brown eyes. Her hair blew in the wind and I could smell her perfume.
I determined to monopolize her time and keep her busy as much as possible. She was the pick of the incoming freshman crop of young women and competition was stiff. I would not be the only one to notice her. As quickly as I could I bound her to promises. She gave me the smallest hints that she might be interested in me and kept me guessing the entire school year and into the early summer.
We went home from college and I wondered if we would ever see each other again. One afternoon I quit work, walked off the job, and went to see her unannounced. She was more beautiful than I remembered. She was darker than I remembered. Her eyes were more beautiful than I remembered and they held mine now. She didn’t want me to go away. I could tell.
By July I bought a modest ring and drove to Ypsilanti after work one Friday night. Lois and her mother were standing in the yard when I arrived. Without ceremony or pomp I got out of the car, walked up and gave her the ring. It was a very modest ring. (Though I would be making payments on it for a year). She said, sincerely; “Is it real?”
Exactly one year almost to the hour of our meeting at the church picnic, we met at the altar of her home church in Ypsilanti and we were married. We drove to our little up-stairs farmhouse apartment in Ohio for our honeymoon. She changed from her wedding dress to a pretty pale green dress in the car. I was thrilled at the intimacy of it. We were a married couple. She was mine. We stopped for dinner that night in Lima and ate our first married meal at Bob Evans. She had ham. I had a bowl of their chicken noodles. That was twenty-nine years ago today.
That night cool air moved the curtains of our neat apartment. It was fall. We were a married couple. We lived together in our own home. Lois made us meals in our little kitchen. She grew plants in our south-facing window. We took long naps on Sunday afternoons. We decorated for fall and for Christmas. Be bought our first little pitiful Christmas tree. We struggled. We laughed. We cried. We loved. We argued. We stayed with it. That was eight children and a grandson ago.
Tomorrow we’ll drive off together to celebrate our thirtieth fall as a married couple – our thirty-first autumn together. God has been good and generous to me in so many ways. The Bible says that a good wife – a faithful, loyal wife – is a gift from the Lord. My Lois is a gift from God. I plan to love her and enjoy her as long as we both are alive.
Psalms 128:1-4 Blessed is every one who fears the LORD, Who walks in His ways.  When you eat the labor of your hands, You shall be happy, and it shall be well with you.  Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine In the very heart of your house, Your children like olive plants All around your table.  Behold, thus shall the man be blessed Who fears the LORD.
Proverbs 5:18-19 Let your fountain be blessed, And rejoice with the wife of your youth.  As a loving deer and a graceful doe, Let her breasts satisfy you at all times; And always be enraptured with her love.
Proverbs 12:4 An excellent wife is the crown of her husband, But she who causes shame is like rottenness in his bones.
Proverbs 18:22 He who finds a wife finds a good thing, And obtains favor from the LORD.
Proverbs 19:14 Houses and riches are an inheritance from fathers, But a prudent wife is from the LORD.
Proverbs 31:10-12 Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies.  The heart of her husband safely trusts her; So he will have no lack of gain.  She does him good and not evil All the days of her life.
Ecclesiastes 9:9 Live joyfully with the wife whom you love all the days of your vain life which He has given you under the sun, all your days of vanity; for that is your portion in life, and in the labor which you perform under the sun.
September 8, 2008