Blonde Hair, Blue Eyes, and the Piano

I was always very careful when it came to dating.  Every date represented a potential marriage partner.  After I came to Christ in 1970, I decided what kind of girl I wanted to marry.  While praying one day, I gave the Lord four prerequisites regarding my future wife.  You may laugh, but God knew I was serious.

First and foremost, she had to love the Lord with all her heart.  Then I requested a blonde, blue-eyed girl, who played the piano.   After all, if I was going to be a pastor, I needed a piano player!
I met Lori Owens in January, 1976, when we both served on the Evangel University newspaper and yearbook staffs, respectively.  Lori was a quiet, yet fun-loving girl, who did not catch my eye at first.  She told her roommate that I was too stuffy.
I was a sophomore; she was a freshman.  During that semester, we worked together on the newspaper and yearbook staffs.  In fact, I was her “boss.”   As time passed, we developed a close friendship.  I found her to be a lot of fun and deeply spiritual.  She saw me as focused and serious-minded.  Toward the end of that semester, I decided it was time for a “real” date.  Lori’s story is that she painted my office in exchange for an evening together.  What she didn’t know was that I was afraid of her declining my invitation, so I used the “bartering method” to avoid rejection!
Because I was short on cash, I took her to a free movie at the college.  We watched Gone with the Wind, while sitting on straight-back chairs in the school’s musty old fine arts auditorium.  Afterwards, we went to dinner at one of Springfield’s (MO) finer restaurants.  We both ordered spaghetti and meatballs.  I was nervous; she was clumsy!  A meatball fell off her fork, rolled across the table and landed in my lap.  And of course, I was wearing white pants!  Lori loves telling the part when I dropped her off at the dorm and ended the evening in prayer.  “He didn’t even kiss me,” she says.
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