Shannon here: Aspiring Author, Sherry Shindelar shares insight into her real-life romance. All comments will go in Friday’s drawing. Deadline: Dec 17th, 11:59 pm central time. Here’s Sherry:
Tennessee River Romance
Hand in hand, John and I climbed down the leaf-strewn bank. Short sprouts of grass peaked through layers of crumbled brown, and tiny buds of green sprinkled the overhead limbs. Mid-March, and spring was in the air in Tennessee. My first spring of love.
It’d been a turbulent week. On Tuesday, John and I had gone on our first dinner date, a romantic Mexican dinner for two. A perfect evening until on the way home on the bus (he’d wrecked his car, and I, at age 19, didn’t own one), he wrote his phone number down on a piece of paper and told me to call him. We’d been on four dates, and he wanted me to choose what we did next and when. He said he’d wait for my call.
Me call him? I gaped at the paper. Just an ordinary scrap of paper for most people, but not for me. There was no way I could call him. Shy, reserved, and significantly afraid of rejection, I’d never called a guy before.
As I walked home from the bus stop, a horrible thought struck me. If I didn’t call him, I might never get to go out with him again. What if I couldn’t do it?
By Wednesday night, I was a wreck. I stared at the phone, I thought about the phone, and maybe I even picked up the receiver, but I couldn’t make the call. What if he didn’t want to talk to me? What if…?
Looking back now, I shake my head in disbelief over what then, seemed as insurmountable as scaling a mountain.
The fear was stomach deep. In the middle of a panic attack, I prayed for help, and I promised myself I would not allow fear to destroy my hope of love. After a night of little sleep and much pacing, I picked up the phone the next morning and called John at work.
We went out that night and ran into a friend of his, a girl. I was so bothered by the easy manner he had with her, that the next day, I threw away the sandwich he’d made me at the deli where he worked. And I decided to get my hair cut, my ultimate way of saying I was done with this man. The next day I accepted a date from a guy I had no interest in, just for spite. A horrible date made all the more miserable by the fact that my heart belonged to John.
When John called Saturday evening to say he missed me and wanted to invite me to a picnic the next day, I was more than ready to say yes.
Sunday afternoon found us on a leaf-strewn bank of the Tennessee River. John’s dark hair dipped over his forehead as he talked, his brown eyes returning to mine time and time again. I thought he looked cool in his leather jacket and boots, a bit of a rebel.
His arm around my shoulders, we sat side by side watching the current of mirrored blue slowly work its way past the brush-trimmed shore. He talked of Australia and his future plans of adventure. Maybe he’d go to school in Colorado or hire on as a cook aboard a freighter bound for Australia. The news shocked me. How could he even consider moving or leaving?
As he talked of his dreams, a riverboat drifted past our perch. Goose bumps spread over my limbs. The boat’s speakers blared “The Rose” by Bette Midler, my favorite song. Its story about someone missing out on love because they were afraid to take a chance resonated deep within me.
My heart song playing there in the middle of the river, serenading us. I didn’t believe it was a coincidence. I was certain that it was God’s way of speaking to me, showing me that John was the man for me. It was time for me to take a chance on love.
In that moment, I decided I was going to marry John. If he went to Australia, I would go with him, or
wherever he decided to travel. Four days before this, I was afraid I wouldn’t be brave enough to call him on the phone. Now I was ready to follow him across the country or around the world.
I’ve held firm to the decision I made that day. We married eighteen months later. Last year we celebrated our thirty-eight wedding anniversary, and John is still the love of my life. I have never doubted that God spoke to me through that song on the river.
Question for Readers: Has God ever used a song or a clear sign to direct your path? Tell us about it.
About Sherry: Sherry Shindelar is an avid student of the American Civil War and the Old West. Her current WIP Texas Forsaken is set in 1860 Texas. Her novel, Shenandoah’s Daughter, transpires in the Shenandoah Valley during 1863. When she is not busy writing, Sherry is a college English professor. In addition, to being a 2020 1st Impressions winner, she was a 2021 Genesis Semi-Finalist, a 2021 Maggie Finalist, and a 2022 Crown Finalist. Learn more & connect: Sherry’s Website
Come back Dec 9th for Alyssa Schwarz!