Sweet Caroline





In Caroline’s baby blue Chevrolet it took less than ten minutes to cruise around the city of Somerset, Kentucky. She and I met at Cumberland College and became good friends. When I graduated she had invited me to share her tiny apartment in her home town. She taught biology at Pulaski High and I taught 4th grade at Burnside Elementary. 


Over and over we listened to Neil Diamond's 1969 eight track album: SWEET CAROLINE which was Caroline's favorite for the obvious reason. (I was more of an Elvis Presley fan myself.) Some of the lyrics in the songs like: reaching out, touching me, touching you made this city girl blush in the dark car. YOU DON'T BRING ME FLOWERS made us both cry. We were both waiting and earning for Mr. Right to come along and sweep us off our feet.


Since our apartment didn’t have a living room nor a TV, we usually drove over to her cousins’ house on the weekends. They made me feel so welcome and accepted me as part of their family. They usually played ROOK  but I never played nor let on that the card game was my specialty. The reason I didn't play was I couldn’t concentrate with Lee (Caroline’s cousin) flirting with me every five minutes. She didn't play cards. Her uncle's new, hired hand was on her mind most the time.



 No guy had paid this much attention to me in a very long time! The silly banter between Lee and me drove the rest of the family crazy so they sent us to the living room. Lee turned the TV on to Saturday Night Live then sat down on the end of the couch opposite me. Before I knew it he was stretched out on his back with his head in my lap! I was shocked he did that and worried he would laugh at my double chin and the hairs inside my nose! 


One night, Lee and I ran an errand for his mother before we got a milkshake. A half hour later as we drove up to his house I loudly slurped the last of my drink. Lee cut the ignition, looked over at me, and said, “If you do that one more time, young lady, I’m going to kiss you!”


Wow, if I wanted a kiss all I had to do was slurp again? I looked into his eyes and realized he wasn’t kidding, but . . . I didn't want to slurp for a kiss like a seal barks for a fish. I couldn't figure out why I had this stand-off effect on guys: they seemed interested but not enough to commit. I was seeing a pattern.

On the hour and a half drive to Lancaster, Kentucky, I couldn’t believe I was going to a professional wrestling match with Lee. Whoopee! Was this his idea of a first date? I didn’t complain, though, because I was glad to have some alone time with him. Maybe, I would see a another side of him I didn't know. 

I was repulsed by the sight and sounds of half, naked, hairy men in head locks not to mention the thick stench of body odor mixed with stale cigar smoke. Did Lee take me here as a test of my endurance or was he letting me know what my future with him would be like.The long silence on the ride home spoke two volumes of the Encyclopedia Britannica.


Two weeks later, Lee had the audacity to ask me to go out . . . with his best friend!! I had only met the guy briefly. I was furious with Lee. I said, “Why do you want me to go out with your best friend? Is this how you dump a girl when the wrestling match doesn't work?”


“No! Not at all! You were a real sport to go to the wrestling match with me. But, my friend is a much nicer guy than me and he deserves a pretty Christian lady like you! I don’t. Believe me! You don’t know some things about me, Kathy!"


I ran out of the house so he wouldn't see me cry. I drove home as the tears fell. Caroline wasn't home so I threw myself across the bed and sobbed. Finally, I calmed down and I realized something. Lee's rejection had only hurt my pride more than my feelings. Then, I remembered the Bible verse Jeremiah 29:11: Please know the thoughts that I think toward you, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.


I sighed a great sigh of relief because my dumb brain had caught up with my smart, saved spirit! God is looking out for me to have a peaceful relationship with my future husband and not an unhappy one. There's enough evil to handle in this everyday life without adding more trouble by marrying the wrong person! God is so merciful and kind.


As plain as the freckles on my face, I knew God had just ended my relationship with Lee and it was okay. God was not only honoring His own word in Jeremiah but He was also honoring my daily prayer . . .  for Him to intervene early and not let me fall in love with the wrong man and marry him!


My ego did hurt for a little while but I was glad God had shut the door to a bigger hurt! I knew He had someone special out there for me if I stayed patient, kept praying and trusting Him.