Setting up our first home was full of exciting new experiences. We had lots of boxes to unpack, with many new household items from the wedding gifts. Our first home was a one-bedroom, furnished house and I loved it. The only drawback was its location. Our new nest was far from both the hospital and the university campus. Having transferred to the university on the other side of the State, Curt was, finally, able to major in Radio/Television. I arranged to work at the hospital full-time that first quarter, while Curt studied.
In the darkness of each early morning, my new husband dragged himself out of a warm bed, dressed, and, weathered the bitter cold to brush new snow off the car and scrape the ice off the windshield. Neither of us wanted any breakfast; it was just too early to think about eating. After about a twenty minute-drive, Curt dropped me off at the hospital. It was 6:45 a.m. While I was in the obstetrics locker room changing into scrubs, Curt returned home for his breakfast. His classes didn’t begin until 9:00. By the time of morning coffee break, my stomach was ready to receive that Granola bar breakfast. Curt would pick me up after work around 4:00 p.m.
“Guess what I found at the UC today?” The UC was the University Center and Curt’s question could have a myriad of answers. The building housed the bookstore, eating places, lounge area for students and a lot of other student-related shops and stops.
“Not a clue but looks like it made you happy to have found it.” Hanging up my uniform and donning my grubbies, I glanced up at a smiling Curt coming into the bedroom.
“Yup, and it’ll make you happy, too. Check this out.” Curt handed me a one-sheet photocopied flyer, as he sat on the bed. “Ever heard of IVCF?” Seeing my slightly narrowed brow and tilted head, he answered his own question. “It stands for Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship. They meet every Friday night and I thought we might want to go check it out. What do you think? Up for it?”
“Oh yes, that’s great!” I dropped the flyer on the bed and threw my arms around his neck. “I can hardly wait! I hope it’s like the group in Colorado! (A New Door Opens, Conclusion) Oh, it’ll be so fun to meet other Christians our age!”
“Yeah, they had a table with all kinds of information and tracts in the UC. I stopped to talk with one of the guys sitting there and he invited us to join them on Friday night. Sounds like a fun group.” Curt and I had begun our life together reading the Bible and going to church but I longed to have us be a part of a young adults group. I had told Curt about the one in Colorado where I had been introduced to personal examples of God answering prayer. He, too, found that intriguing.
While I was sitting-out this quarter of study, I did enjoy getting together with the other Christian students each week at IVCF. It was a super group of kids and the organization just what we needed. We now had a place to share prayer requests, study the Bible with others and just enjoy fellowship with young people our own age who wanted to grow in the Lord, too.
As a newly-wed, I wanted to make my husband proud of his wife. Since men everywhere like to show off the cooking skills of “the little lady,” I asked Curt if he would like to invite Glen, a long-time friend, for Sunday dinner on Super Bowl Sunday. Okay, now Super Bowl Sunday in America is more about eating tons of salty snacks and drinks with all kinds of sugar treats for dessert. Way back then, however, we were anticipating only the fourth Super Bowl football game and most invited guests were served a lovely dinner, not chips and beer or Coke.
I prepared the menu and eagerly looked forward to the special Sunday meal. I figured, if I had something that baked in the oven, I could watch the game, too. I am not a serious football fan but the one game of the year I do love to watch is the Super Bowl, played the last weekend in January.
When Glen arrived, I had the table all set and was putting the finishing touches on the ham I planned to bake, using the recipe my mother always did—pineapple slices toothpicked to the ham and a brown-sugar/pineapple juice glaze poured over the top. The scalloped potatoes would only take an hour to bake so I needed to be sure to slide them into the oven for that last hour of the ham. The green beans wouldn’t take long to heat up; I just needed to not get caught up in the game and forget them. I had the salads all prepared. I’d bake the apple pie while we ate the dinner so, yup, I should be able to watch the game. Suzie Homemaker, that’s me!
In truth, I should have been able to watch the game with Curt and Glen. I was so worried that the food wouldn’t cook properly and I’d embarrass Curt; I was a nervous wreck. I had prepared this particular meal a few times while living at home so it wasn’t the first time at all. But, it was the first time as Curt’s wife and, somehow, that made a huge difference to me.
Whenever one of the guys made a comment on how good the smells coming from the kitchen were, I jumped up to “check” on things, just to be sure. Maybe it was a hint that things were not smelling quite right or something? Finally, Curt put his hand on my leg to keep me from jumping up yet another time and said, “It’s fine. Just enjoy the game.”
“Actually, it’s time to put the scalloped potatoes in the oven.” He lifted his hand and smiled up at me as I stood. That’s when I just pulled out the dining chair closest to the kitchen and sat there until the timer went off. I had the green beans in the pan but forgot to put them on the burner until the timer ding-ed to let me know the meat and potatoes were done. A little spark of panic, until I realized I could put them on right away and they’d be ready to serve by the time Curt finished slicing the ham.
Well, if you know anything about baking ham, you know that it’s really not a great idea to keep checking on how it’s baking. All that opening of the oven door tends to dry it out a bit. Such behavior also tends to make the scalloped potatoes watery so, let’s just say, it wasn’t the best meal I’d ever prepared. Half-way through the meal, I realized that the oven was heating up only air, since the apple pie was still on the countertop! This was probably the only time in history that I was super-happy that the sports commentators just had to keep the chatter going long past the end of the game. Gave the guys something football to keep focusing on while the pie finished baking.
Fortunately, Glen was a bachelor, cooking boil-in-the-pan kinds of dinners for himself, so he loved the meal just as it was. Knowing that my husband was aware I had done better with other meals, made his praises and encouraging words mean all the more. Additionally, Curt expressed his appreciation that I had tried so hard to make a great meal for Glen… and on Super Bowl Sunday, when I should have just relaxed and watched the game. Curt’s joy as Glen patted his full tummy, made me feel terrific. Yessirree, guys, there’s just nothing like a gal feeling appreciated to soothe over her cooking mistakes.
****Campus Life Changes… Next Post