By Ada Brownell
When my sister Joan married Junior Brownell I didn’t notice he had a brother. The brother was L.C. He was 15. I was 10.
Later at 13, I discovered an older family friend, Crystal, had a crush on L.C., who now was a senior in high school. But at church he stayed around the edges of the youth group, acting shy. So with a giggle I teased Crystal about her “bashful boyfriend.” Too bashful to ask her for a date.
Soon Crystal moved to California, but in her wake she left a group of girls in the Fruita, Colorado church who set their pin curls on catching L.C. I teased several who were involved in the chase.
Although I’d been cleaning houses and taking care of children since I was in the sixth grade, often doing the work of an adult, I was a scrawny kid who didn’t grow and mature until I was 14. At that age during summers I did most of the work at my Aunt Dot’s small motel, and some of her work as well.
L.C. disappeared when he went to telegraph school in Minneapolis and I didn’t even notice. The next thing I knew about him he was in the hospital with a ruptured ulcer and in serious condition. I stayed in the car and took care of Joan’s toddler while Joan and her husband visited L.C in the hospital in Glenwood Springs.
L.C. recovered and I grew up more. At barely 15, although the age went to 35, I was voted in as youth president in our Fruita church and I also sang solos occasionally at church services. That must have been when he noticed me. I never figured it out.
My sister he was related to was a gorgeous blue-eyed redhead and not a freckle on her. My red hair was curly and often frizzy, my eyes hazel, and my skin looked as if I’d been tanned through a screen.
He started watching me, and I wondered about the guy. I was about the only female in the church not chasing him. Then he asked if he could take me to a special church service in Grand Junction.
I accepted, but when we got home that night and he parked in my parents’ drive, he pointed at the window on my side, and started to scoot over. “There’s a falling star!”
I didn’t even look. I lifted my open hands like a cop directing someone to a stop. He stopped. I went inside and didn’t expect to go out with him again.
Then we had a church youth ice skating party on a local canal. I loved to skate, and I was pretty good at it, skating backward, and whirling around. I didn’t care that the other kids wobbled on their blades, staying around the fire barrel. I zoomed on the ice around the canal’s curves by myself, the moon lighting my way. Then L.C. followed. He’d taken skating lessons in Minneapolis. He knew all my tricks and more.
I was impressed, and we visited a while, although I mostly ignored him.
Then he asked me if he could take me home. I accepted, and that night after he dropped off other kids he took home, we talked more. In front of my house, he pulled me to him and lightly touched his lips to mine.
Now, I was a born germ-a-phobe. When the only other fellow who kissed me on the mouth (probably when I was 14), held me tight and puckered, I sucked my lips in to keep away the germs. Then I rolled down the window, hung my head out and spit.
When L.C. kissed me that one time, stars fell around me, and a whole orchestra played.
I was in love, and I didn’t want to be in love. He worked for the railroad, and I soon discovered he wanted a wife. At 15, I had just become an adult. I had things I wanted to learn and do.
Then I found he wasn’t an “all-in” Christian. He asked if I would go steady with him. I said, “When are you going to get saved?”
Eventually he did and he wouldn’t give up on me. I tried to get him to date others and even named them. I couldn’t understand it. Some were cute, great gals.
Off and on for a year we dated. I accepted his engagement ring in the summer, but I still wasn’t sure, so our courtship was off and on. I knew I was in love. I thought I’d get over it, but I didn’t. After all, the sister just older than I was engaged five times!
On October 26, 2017, we will celebrate our 64th anniversary. God has been good to us. I finished high school and later earned my bachelor’s degree in mass communications. I started writing for Christian publications at 15, and spent a good chunk of my life as a newspaper reporter. We have five wonderful amazing children and nine grandchildren. We lost our daughter, Carolyn, to cancer when she was 31. We look forward to seeing her in heaven.
Question: What things can you see in your past that God put there?
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:5, 6).