Shannon here: Jenny McLeod Carlisle shares a very special real life romance. Comment or answer the question at the end of the post to enter the drawing. Along with a copy of Jenny’s book – Turn, Turn, Turn, I’m cleaning out my bookshelves, so the winner will get a copy of my title, Reuniting with the Cowboy and The Dog Who Was There by Ron Marasco too. Deadline: Aug 25th, 11:59 pm central time. Here’s Jenny:
Eye Witness to my Mom’s Teenaged Romance:
When I was a teenager myself, I had a privilege that few can lay claim to. I saw my Mom fall in love, and witnessed the courtship of a lifetime. All this happened without the use of a time machine of any sort, and actually enabled my own future happily ever after to be set in motion. Sound like a fairy tale? Maybe so, but it really happened.
My younger sister and I lived a very happy life in a typical Mid-western small town. Our Daddy was a state policeman, and our Mom stayed at home with us. We lived within a couple of hours of our grandmothers, and had a wonderful neighborhood full of kids and other happy families.
When I was five, a huge change rocked my world when my Mama and Daddy separated and divorced. He went back to his hometown, but my mom stayed put, getting a job at a local bank, and a babysitter to take care of me and my little sister. I know, cue the sad music, right? Wrong. My mom was determined to make this work. So, she became more active in the church, which provided a new “village” to help her, and with my dad’s regular support checks, we survived, and thrived.
I never thought about Mama’s social life until I was older. Looking back, she was too busy to date. Her days were consumed with working her fulltime job, and keeping up with the household chores until we were old enough to help her. I do remember that she attended and hosted “get-togethers” with the neighbors, so our house became the “hang-out” and our big front porch was often full of happy chatter. These neighbors were always trying to fix her up with dates, and one, the uncle of our playmates across the street, seemed serious. But, for whatever reason, that didn’t work out.
Then, while she was hard at work at the drive-through window at the bank, the magic happened. She told it this
way: A very handsome, blue-eyed man with a southern accent came to her window to cash his weekly paychecks. He was a pipe-fitter, who was in town to help build the new hospital southwest of town. He said later that she complimented him on the color of the shirt he was wearing. She denied that part, but they agreed on his parting line: “Take a good look, I will be back.” I can imagine how red her face must have been, how her heart must have fluttered. I don’t remember that she told me and my sister why at the time, but we started doing strange, teen-aged type things, like driving around town checking the local motels for cars with Arkansas license plates. At the ages of 13 and 11, we were experiencing our first case of “puppy love” through our Mama.
Soon, we all started enjoying the visits of this charming man from the south. He was fun, and funny. My Mom said she had never really been complimented so much, never been told she was beautiful. Before long, they were alternating his trips up from Arkansas with her trips down from Kansas. We often joined in the fun, meeting at a lake, and with a special rack that carried our bicycles on the top of the car, we explored the rolling hills and swimming areas of some beautiful new territory. Such an adventure!
I must pause for a moment to say that this new love of our mother’s did not replace our love for our own Daddy. He did maintain a relationship with us, and we knew we were loved. But now, we had the added bonus of witnessing the budding of a romance, and appreciating how happy and rejuvenated our precious Mama was feeling.
Their wedding was in the same church we had grown up in, with me and my sister, and one of our new step-brothers as the only witnesses. I know the pastor who officiated could feel the excitement, as this new blended family was being born. Though not the first love for either, this was definitely they love they had been waiting for, and it lasted until my step-dad passed away almost thirty years later.
The new family grew and multiplied, and a couple of generations later, you can still feel the love. What a blessing it was that that construction company from 300 miles away was chosen for our hometown hospital project. What others might call a happy accident, was definitely God’s plan for our family’s lives. God is good. All the time.
About Jenny: Jenny McLeod Carlisle has been writing stories since she learned to hold a pencil. She is a member and former president of the American Christian Fiction Writers- Arkansas Chapter, and has attended and won contests at the Ozark Writer’s Conference, Called to Write Conference and Central Arkansas Writer’s Conference. She is a popular columnist for Ouachita Life magazine. A career state of Arkansas employee, she is has been married for 41 years, and is the happy mom to three and Granny to six in three different states.
About the book – Turn, Turn, Turn: First published as monthly columns in Ouachita Life magazine, these short, easy to read stories are intended to entertain and encourage. Part biography, part social commentary, all from the perspective of a happy Baby Boomer from Arkansas. If you are old enough to remember the Byrds song by the same title, you will identify. If not, gain some insight into the viewpoint of your elders!
Question for Readers: Have you gotten to witness the romance of a relative or friend? Tell us about it.
Come back Aug 17th for Jenny’s Real Life Romance!