Paula’s Picnic

Tingles ran up and down Paula’s spine as she thought of meeting Derrick at the Sunday School picnic. A rosy glow spread across her face as she recalled his remark at the singles’ Bible Study last week – and the way he smiled at her as he said it. She neatly divided the onion, then chuckled. Here I am slicing onions and not even crying. This must be love!

He might not even show, she chided herself. Perhaps he’ll have ‘another engagement’. She could almost hear him saying, “So sorry, just can’t make it.” And the day would be completely ruined.

Derrick was the life of the party. When he was there she had a whale of a time. When he wasn’t, the whole occasion was like oatmeal without salt. Like a gray sky, threatening to rain any minute on a half-hearted parade.

Somewhere in the back of her mind a caution light flashed about ‘life of the party” types. She’d met a few that were pretty unstable when the party was over and real life began. But when you’re 28, your eyes are wide open – at least mine are, she told herself. If he isn’t for real I’ll just drop it. Anyway he seems to have a serious side; look how faithfully he attends church and participates in our Bible Study discussions.

She forced her mind back to the onions that hadn’t made her cry. By now they were all neatly sliced; she slid them into the ‘pack-&-go’ container. This was an ‘everybody-brings-food’ picnic: some families were bringing burgers; some hot dogs & buns; some the condiments. She was bringing tomatoes and onions; the single guys, the pop; other ladies were bringing pies. And the older couples would bring all their advice and life experiences to share. (And this time she was going to listen carefully to what they said about making a marriage work.)

They’d all have a great time together. If Derrick was there.

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This is Part One of a story I started one day. Look for Part Two on Monday, Aug 25th and Part Three on Wednesday.

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