My First Answered Prayer
The delicious smell of potatoes frying drew me straight to the tiny kitchen on Allston Ave. My stomach growled as I stood in the doorway and watched my mother take the meatloaf out of the oven. A whiff of the boiling peas made me pinch my nose closed.
My eyes rolled up to the Pig cookie jar on top of the Philpot refrigerator. The smiling piggy with happy eyes gave me a great idea to solve a problem.
After supper, Dad told Tim and me that we couldn’t leave the table until we finished our peas. We both knew we would be sitting there for a long time. We stuck our tongues out at each other and made our usual ugly faces. I shoved my plate aside and laid my head down on my folded arms.
I felt something hit the top of my head. I raised my head and gave my brother another look that could kill. He shook his head and grinned as he launched another rocket pea with his butter knife. It flew straight up and stuck on the ceiling. Our hands covered our snickers so we wouldn’t alert Dad. We finished our peas just like Dad said but in a more creative way. We cleaned up the squished peas and hid the evidence under the potato peelings in the garbage can.
The next day after school I found Mom setting up the ironing board in the kitchen. I opened the fridge for a slice of American cheese.
“Get the plastic bag with shirts while you’re in there?” my mother asked.
I got the bag and placed it on the board. “Mom, is there anything in that Pig cookie jar?” I looked up at the ceramic pig.
“No, why?” she answered as she plugged in the iron.
“What’s it for, then?” I asked.
“I guess you could hide important things in it,” she said taking out a shirt.
“Could we save money in the cookie jar toward a house?” I asked with pleading eyes and my hands clasped.
My mother fit the shirt over the board to get it ready to iron before she answered. “I guess it wouldn’t hurt to try.”
“Really?” I said, shocked she agreed. “When can we start saving money?”
She waited in her usual way before she spoke. “As soon as we get some extra money. Where did the house idea come from, anyway?”
“Remember when Brother Pinson and his wife asked and agreed together for God to give them a miracle because they didn’t have enough money for food and gas? And that stranger came up to him at the gas station and said the Lord told him to give him fifty dollars! Remember Brother Pinson quoted Matthew 18:19 that says if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.
“Okay then, I will agree with you for a house,” my mother said as she finished ironing the shirt sleeves.
I was so excited! My hopes sky-rocketed to heaven and back! Later, I asked God if He didn’t mind I wanted a big back yard to play in and my own bedroom. All summer long in 1959 I checked the happy Pig cookie jar but it was always empty.
I knew God was going to have to do something really big like one of those miracles in the Bible!
One Sunday in the fall after we got home from church and ate lunch my dad said we were going for a drive. I heard him tell Mom a friend at work told him about a new housing development that helped vets get a government loan that waved the down payment whatever that meant. My ears perked up when I heard the word, “housing”. I hoped that meant a house.
We drove for a long time north on Highway 747. Dad said he evidently missed the sign. When Mom saw a sign pointing west to Hamilton she told my father to take it. She said they could get Route 4 there and drive home easier. He drove five or six miles west on Princeton Road or Highway 129 when we saw colorful balloons in front of several brand new model homes! A sign said, “The future subdivision of Normandy Heights.”
I was excited but I kept as quiet as a miracle-believing, church mouse.
Dad parked the car at the sales office and we checked out the brand new model homes. It was like looking at mansions in Heaven. We liked the cheaper brick ranch with a garage but no basement. Dad figured it wouldn't hurt to talk to somebody and see if they qualified for a loan? My dad had a new job at Ford Motor Company in Sharonville. Within three hours our world changed for the better when my parents signed the papers for our brand new house!
I danced in my head on the way back to our apartment!
Mom and Dad were at the right place at the right time by the grace of God. The order for the three bedroom ranch they picked out was already in process to be built because the couple that previously ordered it did not qualify for the loan. (I felt sorry for the couple and said a prayer for them.) My mom and dad did not change any features on the house because the former couple had chosen the colors for the brick, shutters, flooring, paneling, walls, brick, and roof that my parents liked, too.
Guess what? Our house lot had the biggest, humongous, back yard!
And, we qualified for the Veteran loan that required no down payment!
Until our house was finished in July of 1960 we checked on its progress every Sunday after church. From the day Mom agreed with me for a house to the day we moved into our house was exactly one year. Mom was expecting her fourth and last baby, Kimberly Mae. We always ate in our car at the McDonalds in Hamilton on Route 4 or Dixie Hwy. (It’s the one where my son would work in2011.)
The day we packed to move my mother looked carefully through every piece of furniture, every box of food, toys, ornaments, books, clothes, shoes, toiletries, etc. for roaches and eggs. As soon as she checked the item she immediately sent it down to the moving truck. We found one or two roaches at our new house and somebody stomped them to death before they before they disappeared.
Living in a new place, I woke up several times in the night. My mind would race in fear that everything had been a dream and I was back in our old apartment. In the dard with a shaky hand I reached over and felt the wall. The texture of the decorative spatters beneath my fingers made my heart stop racing.
I was really in my own bedroom in my new house . . .
Thank you, LORD!