Everybody just has to know that God has a sense of humor. Why else would he have made us humans? However, I have a particular reason to be certain that his sense of humor slips down, from above, all over me. Let me explain.
When young, I had a problem with being anemic. Going up a set of stairs I’d have to stop half way up because I would have trouble seeing, becoming almost blind. Then, while in my junior year I began dating my first husband, Don. He took me to his home to introduce me to his mother, Adeline. Some time during one of those first meetings, it became apparent that I had a problem.
Adeline told Don that he should stop seeing me. She said one day he’d want to get married and have children, something my frail body wouldn’t be able to physically do. Don shouldn’t have told me. When he did I replied, “That since his mother had four boys I’d have five.” Don married me anyway, and over the years along came Don Jr., Doug, David, Dean and Dan. God really showed his sense of humor.
That “I’ll fix her” routine began while carrying my first baby. His due date was, believe it or not, Labor Day, 1944. Nobody ever has their baby on the due date, do they? Waking up just before dawn with a pain in my lower back, I needing a bathroom visit. Back to bed only to wake up a half hour later with another pain in my back, then again in twenty minutes; you get the idea.
It was Labor Day, 1944. I was staying with my in-laws who lived nearer the hospital than my folks. I decided, just after the sun came up, I had to awaken my mother-in-law. Adeline wasn’t happy, the baby couldn’t be coming; but she got up and made coffee and set out rolls. She ate while I walked around the living room checking the time between pains that were getting closer and closer.
I could see that Adeline was angry and frustrated, thinking I was crazy. My father-in-law, Clayton, came downstairs just then. I told him to go get a taxi at the local stand. His eyes lit up, Adeline sighed, but Clayton rushed out of the door and in a few minutes the much-needed taxi arrived. The two of us ladies went out the front door, suitcase in hand, and headed to Germantown Hospital.
My mother-in-law was fuming, certain I would just be turned around and sent home. But I knew better. A nurse took me in to be examined, and as she pushed me — in a wheelchair – through the waiting room my mother-in-law asked the nurse what she thought she was doing. The nurse answered “I’m taking her to the labor room, this child is in labor.” I will always remember the look on Adeline’s face.
So now, all these years later, I smile. I’ve not only done those two things — the five sons and the exact due date – I’ve lived a good many years longer than anyone else in the whole family. I guess I just came from unexpectedly “good stock” as they used to say back in the day. Two days after this column is printed I will be 90 years old.
If that’s a surprise to you, imagine how I feel! This morning I sat deciding what to write in my column. It isn’t always easy after doing this for so long, but I plan on doing a series of memories starting with one about strawberries. This morning I made my son Doug strawberry crepes when I remembered something, a long ago memory when I had returned to my home in Lowman, Idaho.
It was a tiny log cabin in the middle of nowhere. My second husband, Van, and I moved there one November. Van passed away the following March. Heartbroken, when I finally returned to stay it was spring six years later. I’d had never seen anything growing in our front yard. There, along the side of a small, shaggy lawn, were a half dozen strawberry plants with berries poking their tiny red faces toward the sun.
Six years of neglect and these precious plants were blooming. That simple act gave me a glimmer of hope at a time I so needed it. God was once again showing his sense of humor. He made me realize that life would go on, and it has.
Edna Van Leuven is a Churchill County writer.