SHADES OF THINGS TO COME
Since my mom worked at Kraft Foods in Garland, in the summer of 1972, I was able get a job on the night crew, cleaning the production lines.
Sounds pretty great, huh? You haven’t lived until you have scraped cardboard dust and Miracle Whip off of a conveyor belt.
It wasn’t so bad, though, especially when I got promoted to drive a sweeper over the entire warehouse. That was kind of fun.
But, this Friday night in August, my mind was looking forward to the end of this shift.
My hours were 10:00pm to 8:00am, and on Saturday, my new girlfriend and I were spending the day together.
We had already had a couple of dates: a movie followed by a dinner at Kip’s Big Boy the first week (traditional), and a bicycle ride ending with a picnic at Flagpole Hill the second (non-traditional).
But, we had talked. And hung out together. For hours.
I was captured by this young, exciting beauty.
So, when I got off work, I went home, cleaned up, and drove to Wendy’s house to pick her up for our day together.
Do you remember being able to stay up all night, then being able to go all the next day?
But I did.
I needed a chest of drawers for my new apartment in Houston that I was sharing for the coming year with two of my college friends.
She had a plan. “We can go to some used furniture stores and find one for you. I know some good ones.”
How does an eighteen year old girl know stuff like this?
But she did. We went to the Knox-McKinney area of Highland Park. My grandparents had lived nearby before they sold their house and moved to the country just north of Allen, Texas a couple of years earlier. So, I was familiar with the area.
But, I had never, ever been inside a used furniture store.
Actually, it was more of a junk shop that had old furniture.
Wendy’s eyes were bright with excitement. All these “treasures” everywhere she looked.
“Look at this…and this. I haven’t seen one of these in a long time…Oh, remember these? …” She looked at me with shimmering joy.
I was just happy being with her. I didn’t yet share her excitement with all this old stuff. (That came later…years later.)
“Randy! Here it is!” She was standing in front of a lot of stuff, piled around a baby blue chest of drawers, barely visible. “We can strip this old paint off…it will be perfect!”
She fell in love with the image in her mind of a beautifully transformed antique classic piece, restored to its original shining wood look.
I fell in love with the price…$15.00.
Somehow, we were able to get it into the back of my ’64 Nova, and we carried it to my parent’s house, after a stop at a hardware store for necessary supplies for stripping furniture.
I didn’t have a clue…how did she know these things?
That afternoon, she began to teach me the first in a long line of new skills that she had tucked away in that beautiful old soul that I was starting to discover…apply the stripper, wait, start scraping it off with a putty knife. It was amazing how easily the first couple of layers of paint came off…light blue, green, tan, brown…layer after layer after layer…each layer a little bit harder to remove.
The image in her mind began to change. “You know? We could antique it. We wouldn’t have to take off any more paint. It would look so good. Let’s do that!”
I knew about antiquing. My dad and mom had made my brother and I a long desk for our bedroom years earlier out of a door, resting on two bedside tables…green paint, antiqued with streaks of brown.
“I like that idea,” I said. I was in love.
By the end of the day, we stood in front of an antiqued brown, five drawer chest, that went with me to Houston, and stayed with us through the early years of our life together. (I think we still have it in storage. Somewhere.)
But the treasure that I found was this beautiful young woman, filled with gifts and skills I knew nothing about, that I would marry by the end of the year.
And, looking over this young, unknowing couple, was the One Who made us, Who knew this day in advance, Who knew what lay ahead…
Who had a divine plan.
And, today, 46 years later, as she is getting ready for church in the other room, I know that I love her more now than ever.
And the Plan.
We started to learn the Plan.
Almost six years later.