It’s a good friendship. An E4 and an O6. That’s a Petty Officer third class and a Captain. They were also neighbors. Jack and Mark. Neighbors that met riding bicycles on passable blacktop roads. Mark lived about a mile and a half away from Jack and once in a while, they would go for a ‘spin’. There was another huge difference between them as Mark was a category 2 racer and Jack just liked to ride.
One unremarkable day, Mark was riding alone and met a very pretty and friendly bicycle rider. She was riding nearby and as Mark was married to Debra and a pastor, he was safe to ride with for a bit. Not long afterwards, Mark mentioned to Jack about this gal. “She runs a lakeside camp nearby, I think it’s called Talking Oaks. Pretty good cyclist too!” Jack, as a bachelor, was interested. He knew where the camp was and began thinking about Mark’s discovery. Just by ‘chance’ A real woman with a job! Obviously fit too! Mark said she was ‘pretty’ too. He strongly considered calling the camp. Why not?
Meanwhile, the bicycle riding gal, Greta, was out in Washington state at a conference. She was at a local bar near the Canadian border and the bartender was gregarious and asked Greta where she was from. Greta told her where the she was from and the bartender, casually wiping down the bar said, “where in Cannon Lake do you live?” “What! No one knows that dinky little township!” The bartender replied, “My grandparents lived in Cannon Lake” They had a few things to talk about then. The bartender, incredibly enough, was an old friend of Jack’s and gave Greta Jack’s phone number. Greta put it in her wallet and when she returned to Talking Oaks, tossed that piece of paper into a drawer in her office; a wooden holding device to eventually have it’s contents put into a round holding device standing on the floor nearby–the trash.
On a particularly perfect day for cycling, Jack decided to call the Talking Oaks camp and asked for the director. Jack gave his name and mentioned his friend Mark. He also stated that he and Mark rode a lot together and asked if Greta would like to ride sometime. “It’s that Guy! The friend of the bartender way out west!” Greta consulted the head cook who was her entrusted friend. “why not? Sounds safe, a pastor’s friend after all”
So Greta told Jack OK and Jack, being mostly clueless but aware that neutral territory was the place to meet, not his or hers. Jack suggested they ride their bicycles towards one another on a local county road and they could meet that way. Jack saw Greta coming towards him, uphill and riding strong. He waited for her, watching her technique. pretty good climber. They did a short 50 mile ride and Jack asked her out to eat afterwards. Greta’s cook said: “ why not?” and so it went. When Jack dropped Greta off at the camp, the dear cook had some chocolate cake for their dessert. Many ‘mostly’ enjoyable rides later, they were married; a few years rides actually. She really was pretty too. Still is.
The excitement was that this whole thing was a put-up job. Later, when Jack’s old friend, the bartender got in touch. After telling her the delightful story, she related one more fact. The exact place on the road where Jack and Greta met was right at the driveway where the bartender’s Grandparent’s lived. Wow, what a story of coincidences!
After a few years went by and children were home-schooled and the farmhouse rebuilt to double it’s original size Jack and Greta suddenly realized who set this whole wonderful and very challenging life before the two of them. It was a hard life at times and the whole family had many challenges from both Jack and Greta’s past. They are still together and praising their Lord and his way of loving them. Our Lord does not have a plan. He is plan. So now they listen and they follow His words. They sing and play songs about Him, even writing a few of them. It’s pretty good. Jack