The following story came from, Candace Cooper, one of the Scottsboro Writers. It’s a short memoir, enjoy!
By Candace Cooper
It all started with the grasshoppers…or that lizard. Anything that crawled, jumped, or slithered that he could catch became an instrument of torment. My only hope was to leave for school extra early in the morning. In the evening, I’d hide around the corner of the school building until I saw him headed down the road ahead of me. Then I’d scan the landscape constantly for any sight of him. He seemed to pop up out of nowhere and start chasing me. I’d run home, screaming my lungs out! My grandmother told me to ignore him and he’d go away. How do you ignore someone who is throwing bugs in your hair or putting a lizard down the back of your dress?
“Granny, why does Jackie hate me so much?”
I was twelve years old and he was eleven. Our houses were back-to-back, with an alley between. He came from a large, extended family and mostly hung out with them. He was a little taller than I was and skinny. He had thick, dark curls and his front teeth were separated. He didn’t say much, just grinned from dimple-to-dimple. I was at the age when all boys my age struck me as silly and immature.
The kids in our neighborhood often got together to play ball. Jackie never came to play with us. But there was that one day that he sauntered up the hill, reached for the bat and motioned for a pitch. Our pitcher obliged. He clobbered that little rubber ball. It went flying through the air into the waist-high weeds and vines on the next block. He dropped the bat and walked back down the hill toward his house. We just stood there, staring at the weeds that swallowed up our only ball. Game over!
Time passed and eventually Jackie stopped chasing me with the reptiles. He was growing tall and lanky. I had begun to wear lipstick and shave my skinny legs. One of the churches in our community started a bus ministry and I rode to that church with my friends. Jackie was a regular on the bus, even though his family drove their own car. They were one of the very few families who owned a vehicle. We became casual friends and would even walk home from church together sometimes.
I met the boy of my dreams at church and we married after two years. A cute little girl on Jackie’s street caught his eye and he was hooked. They married and he joined the Marines. Jackie eventually moved to Washington State and I moved to Illinois.
Thirteen years, 4 sons, and one divorce later, Jackie moved back to our small town. At the same time, this thirty-year-old divorcee and mother of two sons moved back too. Jackie called me and asked me out. I refused. I hadn’t seen him in all those years. One evening he just pulled up into my driveway. I didn’t recognize him, but one glimpse of this tall, dark, handsome stranger and I melted. He immediately won the hearts of my young boys. After just three weeks we were married. That was forty years ago. We have a son of our own.
Those first marriages were not mistakes but we all had left our first love—our Lord and Savior, Jesus the Christ. Life had taken us down paths of shame and regret but God’s Hand of Mercy reached us. His Grace has restored us. We are eternally grateful and we worship together at our Savior’s feet.
My Man is Jesus. I am totally dependent on Him. I know that Jackie cannot be my god. No man on earth qualifies for that position. No man can stand up under that kind of pressure. I love my husband out of the abundance of my Savior’s sacrificial love for me.