She said yes!

Trudi was her name. She’d told me that on her first visit. She’d told me that she would visit again. She did, on a Tuesday. Marten, my brother-in-law to be, had brought her there. As they were about to leave, I said to her ‘How about kiss?’ She did. That was special!

She came gain on Thursday, walking on a hot WA summer day. In just a few days, that very Saturday, my brother-in-law to be, Marten, was getting married to my elder sister, Gaye. The next day I was released from hospital, though I was still pretty careful. Both Trudi and I were going to the wedding service in our church, but we had also been invited to the reception, but separately. So I asked Trudi to accompany me to the reception. She said yes, she would.

The reception was the first time I had been to a function as part of a couple. I must say that I was pretty tentative about it. A bit scared of something new. But it went well. Trudi was great company, and she is a people’s person, and interacted well with many people. She still does. I am a bit more reserved and tend to sit back and observe.

After this Trudi and I started to see each other regularly. I always picked her up and took her to church on Sunday. But we’d also go out during the week. To the movies. Out to dinner. Visiting church families. We were getting to know each other.

After some months we had to go to Perth for an appointment. Marten also had an appointment, so we agreed to go to Perth together in his car. That was an old Toyota Corolla – one of those small, two door, cars from the sixties. Marten was driving, Trudi was in the passenger seat. I was lying across the back seat, with my artificial leg lying on the floor. On the way back I was thinking about our relationship, and what to do next, and praying about it. If you have something really significant to decide, getting God’s opinion of it is a good idea!

Marten pulled in to my parents’ place in Harvey. That was where we had met that morning. Trudi and I got into my car to go back to Bunbury. I would drop her at home, and then go back to my boarding house in Bunbury. I had by that time returned to work at the State Electricity Commission in Picton, just outside of Bunbury.

Before returning to Bunbury I had other things in mind. There was a gravel road just south of Harvey. I drove up that road, and pulled into a spot overlooking a valley, with the hills in the background. A lovely spot! We sat there for a few minutes talking. Then I turned to her and said ‘Trudi, will you marry me?’. She looked up at me and her eyes and face were smiling. ‘Yes!’ she said!

That was more than fifty years ago. We just celebrated out fiftieth wedding anniversary. Fifty years of getting to know each other. And I, more and more, appreciate and admire the person she is. And I love her with all my heart! Fifty years. Twelve children. Twenty three grandchildren. Two great-grandchildren. And married on spouses. We are so richly blessed!

It has not all been sweetness and light. Having twelve children is hard work, for an extended period of time. I have often said that we changed nappies for thirty years, and that in no exaggeration! Both Trudi and I got to be very practiced at changing nappies, though she did more than I did, because I was at work during the day. Trudi, doing the most important job in the world – mother – was there more of the time.

There were hard times. But we both trusted in God, and He sustained us all the way through. The hard times and the good times. We still trust in God, and He still sustains us. And we delight in our family, our children, our grandchildren, our great-grandchildren. We are richly blessed, beyond measure!

© Copyright Willem Schultink

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