July 28, 2021

This is a Daylily. It is from the garden of my first love. She was 15 and I was 16 when we met on the street in front of my “best friend’s girlfriend’s house.” Whew, that was a mouthful! It was early evening on a Thursday night. My best friend Herb Partain and I drove to North Michigan Street so he could see his girlfriend, Sandi. When we arrived, Sandi was with a group of kids hanging out under the streetlight in front of her house.

There were girls in this group, so my teenage senses were instantly aroused. I was drawn to the cute dishwater blonde in blue jeans. She was quite a dish. Petite yet shapely, she was half girl, half woman. Herb and I walked up to the group and his girlfriend Sandi promptly introduces me to her friend Sandra. That’s right, Sandi & Sandra. Sandra had light olive skin, a cute button of a nose, 60s puffy hair and blue eyes that twinkled even under the streetlight. With a full smile I found a slightly crooked tooth on the bottom left side of her mouth, and it unmistakably whispered “There is something special about this girl”.

Before we left the streetlight, Herb and I had scheduled a double date with the two “Sandys”. On that date she let me kiss her and I immediately awarded her my class ring. We were going steady! Too fast? What can I say, I wasn’t used to girls letting me kiss them. It wasn’t all that simple so be patient, I’ll tell you the juicy parts from that date and the romance that followed at the end of this story.

When I saw this picture, I Googled “Daylilies”. I learned that each Daylily blooms in the morning and withers that same evening. They never bloom again but are replaced daily by other buds. I learned that there are many kinds of Daylilies in different shapes and colors, but every one is beautiful. This picture immediately reminded me of a Bible story. So, I opened up the Good Book and read where Jesus said “I tell you not to worry about everyday life. Whether you have enough food and drink or enough clothes to wear. Why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing. Yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautiful as they are. If God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you”.

That part was just what I needed. Hearing from the mouth of Jesus, the son of God that he promises to take care of us. It was just a few days ago that I woke up at 5:30 in the morning worrying about everyday life.  As I read on, my eyes got wider when Jesus put everyone in the crowd on the spot with this question. “Why do you have so little faith?” It sounded to me like he was saying, when we worry that is a lack of faith. Why do I have so little faith? Apparently, my worry indicates I’m not trusting God to take care of me. When we were children, we didn’t worry about those things, we trusted our parents to provide. Think like a kid, Andy.

Back to Sandra. I still remember the first date and first kiss. We were in the back seat of Herb’s mustard yellow 1954 Ford at the Hillcrest Drive-in on the north side of Kansas City. (If you are too young to know what a drive-in movie is, they put up an outdoor movie screen at the end of a gravel parking lot built on a slope. Each space in the parking lot has a post with a speaker that plays the sound while you watch the movie from your car. The Drive-in theatres today probably play the sound through your car radio. They were popular because you could take your kids with you to the movies, and they didn’t bother anyone else. By the way kids got in free so it was cheaper. Teens loved the drive-in. You would see a car with two or three kids pull up and park. Then 3 or 4 more would climb out of the trunk. I think the most Herb and I ever got in a trunk was seven.)

I sat there in the back seat with Sandra posing to watch the movie, but the only thing going through my mind was kissing that blonde. I feigned a stretch and slowly put my arm over the back of the car seat above her shoulders. I left it there for a few minutes and slowly dropped my arm around her shoulders. She pretended not to notice but she didn’t move away. Victory! It was one small step for a boy but a giant leap for my hopes of affection. I sat there like that till my arm was about to go to sleep, trying to get my courage for the next move. My heart was racing, I knew the movie was not going to last forever and my lips were drooling like Pavlov’s dogs. I swallowed quietly and pulled her a little tighter. With that feeble embrace she turned her head towards me and I looked directly in those twinkling blue eyes. It was magic as I was drawn like a magnet to connect with those pouty lips.

I kissed her recklessly! Beyond my imagination, she kissed me back! I couldn’t believe it; I was kissing a girl! I was in ecstasy and felt like I would float out of the seat. I must have been a quick learner because by the end of the movie I was wearing more of her lipstick than she was. At this point you are probably thinking, I thought this was a double date. What are Herb and the other Sandi doing while you two are smooching in the back seat? You might think they were sitting there eating popcorn watching the show we were putting on in the back seat. Nope! They as only true friends would do, were giving us a demonstration of proper face sucking in the front seat. At this point we were ignoring the teachers and they weren’t checking on their students. We were only inches apart, but oblivious to each other. I guess you would say we were embracing a common cause.

Even at the drive-in, movies don’t last forever. We hung the speaker back on the post and Herb drove us all back to Michigan Street. “The Sandys” lived across the street from each other so when we took the girls home, I walked Sandra to her door as Herb was taking Sandi to her door. We both kissed them good night until their mothers started blinking the porch lights. Innocently impatient, I gave her my ring with that kiss. We were an item. This was the first love for both of us. Sad to say It was a whirlwind romance that only lasted a few months. We were inexperienced in the ways of the heart; however, we are friends to this day. Happily, she still has the twinkle in her eyes and the crooked tooth still says, “there is something special in this girl.”

My understanding from the Bible is that the affection from which I wrote this story, is nothing compared to the affection that God feels for his creation. He made you special and he cares for you wonderfully. The Good News is that Jesus is already in love with you, when you fall in love with him it is a romance that will last forever.

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