When I was young I read the stories in the bible and thought 'That's fine but how do I apply that message for today?' The following story was based on the book of Ruth. I felt the Lord urge me to take this true story and make a fictional story like it for the year 2010. I am not adding or subtracting from the bible. This story is fiction but gives the reader a glimpse of some of the priceless principals of bible days applied to today.
The wind blew gently at the cemetery. The mother sat with a handkerchief. The wife sat with her shoulders tense. Her shoulder length blonde hair was pinned back. The black dress hung on her slender frame. She had lost ten pounds since receiving word of her husband’s death. Dark shadows encircled the usually sparkling eyes. She hadn’t eaten a whole meal in days due to her grief. Marie sat in the chair and received the folded up flag from the man in uniform. It seemed like she was playing a part in some dramatic play. Her husband couldn’t be gone! He’d kissed her good bye only a month ago before being shipped out to the Middle East. But, the letter of his death had been delivered by two soldiers in person. Now, she sat with her mother in law at the funeral. She had been living with his mother. Now what would she do? The funeral went on without her mind being present. She was there in body but her mind was back to the day of her wedding. He was in full dress uniform that day. It was a small outdoor wedding with a bright shining sun overhead. The sun sparkled in her eyes as she sat in memory. The sounds of a gun salute brought her back to the present.
When the day was over and well wishers left her mother in law’s home; Marie didn’t know what to do. Nancy walked over to the couch were her daughter in law sat trembling. She put her arm around her as she sat down. “We don’t have to make any more decisions today Ruth. Just rest for a few days. Everyone has left. “
Ruth went to bed after hugging Nancy. Nancy was a dear person who had raised a very dear son. Now, she was all alone and Ruth was alone as well. “I guess I’ll go to be with my sister in Queensbury now.” Nancy spoke without realizing it.
“When will we go?” asked Ruth. Nancy turned and looked at the young woman.
“Ruth, I thought you would want to go home to be with your folks in Georgia. You don’t have to stay with me. I don’t know what I’m going to do in New York. “
Ruth was very emotional and decided to leave things alone at that point. She went up stairs and thought about going to live at her folk’s home in Georgia. Her mother was a waitress when she wasn’t giving tarot card readings. Her father had been gone since she was five years old. What did she have to go home to? She decided that she would rather take her chances with her mother in laws family. She would have to find a way to let her go with her.
The following morning Ruth approached the subject as they were having coffee. “Mom, I really don’t want to leave you. Couldn’t I go with you?” She sat down her coffee cup and waited for Nancy to answer.
Nancy looked out the window for a moment and prayed silently. “Ruth, I don’t mind if you go with me. But, you’ll have to find work. You are too young to be a widow the rest of your life. Why you are scarcely twenty nine years old. I want you to be able to meet people. If I had another son I would love to give him to you. Do you understand that you would be making a whole new life?”
The sun was just coming up over the mountains and cast a bright glow on the red and white checkered table cloth in front of them. “Yes, I do understand. If Joe had lived I would have had your people as my family. I still want to have you as a mom. My mother reads tarot cards for a living. Her God is so foreign to me now. Wherever you go, I want to go with you.”
Nancy was delighted that she wouldn’t have to travel alone. The car was in good condition but driving for 600 miles didn’t appeal to the woman. Also, Ruth had become such a part of her that she would have missed her terribly. Just knowing that she was coming out of love and not obligation meant a lot to Nancy.
They sold most of their possessions and made plans with Nancy’s brother to arrive the following week in Fort Ann, New York. The four large suitcases were all they brought with them. Ruth made arrangements to have several boxes shipped to them later. Nancy’s brother had an apartment all ready and waiting for them. It was completely furnished.
Ruth drove as Nancy gave directions and within three days they met their destination. Nancy’s brother’s home was on a farm on the outskirts of town. Nancy told Ruth about the apartment as they drove. The apartment was near the back of her brother’s property. It was an upstairs apartment with a garage underneath. It wasn’t fancy but it was neat and clean. It had two bedrooms, a complete kitchen and living area. It had a television and dishes too. They made plans to go shopping after they settled in.
Buster came out to greet his sister as they emerged from the car. “Hello! Come here and give me hugs you two!” Soon Nancy was enjoying the feeling of safety within her brother’s arms. Ruth hung back and looked around the area. She saw the barn and heard the sound of cows and dogs barking. The hills surrounding the area made it feel as though she was in a valley. She had never seen the Adirondack Mountains before.
“Just call me Uncle Buster my dear.” He reached over and swung a brawny arm around the young woman. Ruth was glad to be welcome. The trio went into the house and Ruth was rewarded with a view that she’d seen only in pictures. The home was very old and yet it was well kept. It felt like you were walking into 1940’s era. A round little woman came out to greet them. “Nancy? Is that you?” Nancy smiled and said “Oh Kate, it’s so good to see you!” The two women were of the same height and both in their sixties. They had been best friends before Kate married Buster.
The two women hugged and Nancy introduced Ruth. Ruth was swallowed up in the woman’s arms. “Now, you are just as much family as Nancy dear. Don’t be shy!” Ruth giggled as the woman tweaked her cheek.
“We’re so glad to have you! Come in! I’ve made dinner and you can eat with us. I’ll tell you all about the apartment. You can see it from my kitchen window. See?
Ruth looked out the window. She enjoyed the looks of the white curtains with green ivy print that matched the green linoleum floor. Nancy’s sister in law had decorated her kitchen in greens and white with red checkered tablecloth and red pots and pans hanging on the wall. It was old and charming looking. The kitchen had a white oven with matching refrigerator. They were obviously new but made to look old. A huge pine wood pantry lined an entire wall. The table was another antique from the forties era. White metal with red trim and matching chairs with red and white leather cushions against stainless steel legs. The tea kettle was whistling on the stove as Ruth looked out the window.
Out side the window Ruth saw the apartment building where she would be staying. It was sturdy with a wooden porch upstairs. The garage underneath was filled with junk but she didn’t care. She was starting a new life. She was living on a farm. A pasture was between the garage/apartment and the farm house. Chickens roamed in their pen. Horses and cows lived in her back yard. Mountains rose with vibrant colors all around the farm. Ruth stared as if looking into a whole new world.
The family paused to say grace before eating. Ruth was glad that Nancy’s family followed the same faith as she did. Ruth was still new to the Lord even though she had been in church for three years. It had been such a change from her upbringing.
After supper was done, Buster phoned his son to help load the women’s suitcases into the apartment. Nancy was amazed when she noticed the elevator on the back side of the building. “An elevator?” Before Nancy was able to ask why the elevator was there, her nephew came into view.
Ruth was met with another hug as a taller version of Buster came to her and Nancy. “Aunt Nancy! This must be Ruth! Yes, I had an elevator installed last year. I was living out here and when I had tons of boxes I realized the elevator would be easier. I hope you like it!”
“Bo!” Nancy was glad to see her nephew. “It’s been too long!” Nancy was excited and Ruth noticed that she’d never seen her mother in law look so happy. Nancy had been a mother of three sons. One had died when he was just three from SIDS. Ten years later Nancy gave birth to Robert. Joe was born seven years later when Nancy was thirty eight. When her husband died from a heart attack, Robert and Joe took care of their mother.
Robert was killed by a drunk driver the year Joe went into the army. Ruth was glad for Nancy to have her family now. She was especially glad to have them accept her as well. Ruth watched as Nancy hugged her nephew several times. “You were such a handful as a kid Bo! Just look at you now.”
“I’m no kid anymore Aunt Nancy. I’m forty on my next birthday! Don’t worry; I won’t cause you any trouble!” Bo had an easy laugh. Ruth saw that he resembled her deceased husband in that he was average height and had light brown hair. His jeans and tee shirt gave her the impression he spent a lot of time on the farm.
Soon Ruth and Nancy were upstairs looking over their new home. Nancy hoped Ruth wouldn’t be disappointed. They had lived in a nice condo before they moved here. She was relieved that Ruth was smiling and remarking at the pretty kitchen. “Oh, Mom! Look at this! We have a yellow kitchen with white trim. The curtains are dotted Swiss yellow and white! How sweet! It’s a gas stove and the refrigerator looks new!”
Bo smiled. “Mom said to get a new one after the old one made noises. I’m glad you like it! Well, I’ll be going unless you need anything else.” Nancy gave him a hug and sent him on his way.
“You’d never know it but he owns a construction company in town. He’s one of the richest guys in the area. But, he always makes time for family.” Nancy was very proud of her family.
Before long the two women had made the apartment their own. Nancy found everything they needed in the kitchen. Kate had put her old set of pots and pans, dishes, silverware and even a coffee pot. Ruth found the linen closet in the bathroom. Towels, washcloths and even two hand maid quilts were left for them. Each bedroom had a full size bed with sheets, pillows and bedspreads for each. The windows had curtains with shades beneath them. The beds themselves were four poster beds and the matching dressers and armoire made the room look very homey. The huge bay window overlooked the mountains.
Ruth went out on the porch that evening with her coffee. Nancy chose to bring out her bible and they had some time in prayer. “I think you are going to love our little church on the mountain top. We just call it ‘Mountain top Church’. Kate told me there is about two hundred people who go there now. It’s quite friendly. In fact, Bo leads a group of singles on Thursday nights. You may like that group Ruth. Kate says he has quite a ministry.” Nancy waited for Ruth to reply. When Ruth remained silent, she went on. “I hope you’ll go to church with me here.”
Ruth suddenly left her view of the mountains to look at her mother in law. “Of course Mom!” Nancy was relieved. She knew Ruth would need friends her own age.
The following Sunday Ruth was welcomed by a large group of people. Nancy knew most of the older ones and sat down to have a chat with them. Ruth sat close by. The minister’s wife was a tall willowy woman named Lilith. Lilith had curly red hair that made her look like a little orphan Annie grown up. “We have a group of people in their twenties that get together each week. Perhaps you would rather go to Bo's group on Thursday nights though. He leads the singles group. It's a varied age group. Would you like to come?”
“Well, I need to find a job first. But, as soon as I know what my schedule is going to be I want to get involved with a group like that.” She hoped Lilith wouldn’t be put off. She really did need to get to working.
Bo had been standing nearby and walked over to Ruth. “Pardon me, I didn’t mean to be eavesdropping. Did you say you are looking for work?” He sat down next to Ruth.
Ruth told Bo that she was. “What can you do?” he asked.
“Well, I was an office worker before I married Joe. That’s where he met me. I did anything from making coffee to answering phones and scheduling appointments. I know my way around a computer too. I have a degree in bookkeeping as well.” She began to blush. “I’m sorry; I sound like I’m bragging. Truth is I’m terrified. It’s been a few years since I’ve worked.” She took a sip of coffee that Nancy had brought to her from the church’s kitchen.
“Bingo! You are hired! When can you start?” Bo smiled and crossed his arms.
“Start?” Ruth was confused.
“I’m looking for someone just like you! I mean, I’m out on the field all the time and I try to answer all my calls but it’s been crazy. My old secretary went off and got herself married. Then quit! You’d be doing me a huge favor by taking this job. I’ll give you benefits too. So, what do you think?” He was staring at Ruth’s many emotions displayed on her face. He saw surprise, wonder, amusement and hope. He also saw a beautiful young lady. He would make a point to keep her safe until she was ready to date. He made a mental note to move Charley back outside.
“Why, I’d love that. I’d be working with family and….” Ruth was overwhelmed and didn’t know what to say. She did the first thing that came to mind. She stood up and kissed Bo on the cheek. “Thank you Bo! Oh wait, I’d better not kiss the boss huh?” She laughed.
Bo felt like a protective uncle. “Well, just this once won’t count!” He grinned and got up. “I’ll see you tomorrow morning?”
Ruth drove into town with careful detail as to where she was going. Soon, she found the main street and parked where Bo had told her. She walked to the glass doors and noticed the sign on the window. ‘Bo Az Construction’ Underneath was his full name. ‘Bogdan Azure’ Ruth remembered that his name meant ‘gift from God’ in Slavic. His ancestors had come from Bulgaria years ago. “Oh good, I’m in the right place” she said to herself. She walked inside and saw an office that was glassed in to the left and another office to the right. There was a desk and some office equipment immediately in front of her. Scattered notes were all over the desk. Papers had blown to the floor and the fax was going off. Before she found Bo, she reached down and picked up the papers.
“My goodness, you don’t waste time!” A deep baritone voice told her that Bo had found her.
“Oh, hi!” I just noticed some papers had blown off the desk.” Ruth stood and waited to be taken somewhere for an interview. Instead, Bo told her that this was her desk and showed her what the other two offices were. The office on the right is mine. The one on the left is for storage of contracts and things. It’s a mess, this is all a mess. I’m sorry, but I have to be some place in twenty minutes. I’ll show you where everything is.
Bo explained how he wanted things to run. He gave Ruth his cell number for emergencies. He had a crew of thirty men. The back area is where we meet. He showed her what looked like a cafeteria. Ruth noticed several long tables with chairs and a couple of coffee makers. Ruth made a mental note to arrange for sugars, creams etc. “We meet here and I send them where ever. Your hours are going to be the same as mine. I start at five. You will leave at 2 p.m. with an hour off for lunch and two fifteen minutes breaks. It’s up to you when.” Ruth nodded her head.
“The phone calls are a good thing, but only if I have you to take messages. I don’t normally answer the phones at all. Can you screen calls?” He wondered if he was talking too fast.
“Yes, I’m pretty good at deciphering emergencies from just simple questions. It might help if you were to tell me more about it though. For now, you are rushed so go ahead. I can manage from here.” She didn’t want to make him late.
“Tell you what! I’ll come over tonight and we can go over stuff more. OK?” Bo smiled when she nodded her head.
Bo was off in his jeep to a construction site within moments. Ruth straightened her desk without a problem. The fax machine sent messages and she gathered them up in order and placed them on Bo’s desk. She found a tray that had been used for incoming mail and faxes and retrieved it from the corner. After placing it on Bo’s desk she sorted the mail and faxes and organized them for Bo. She put a little note about the tray on top. “If you don’t want to use the tray let me know. I thought it might help to organize things so you can see at a glance what you have waiting for you.”
The phones rang almost every five minutes. Ruth didn’t mind the phones though. She took down messages and found it easy to decipher emergencies. The town inspectors were an emergency on Broad Street. She gave Bo a quick call. “Bo, the building inspector says that he needs to speak to you about possible code violations. It’s Friday now, if you don’t reach him today you’ll have to wait until Monday. That might make trouble for deadlines.” Ruth waited for Bo to answer.
“Wow, your good at this aren’t you? Give me the number, I keep losing it.” Ruth told him the number. After she got off the phone, Ruth went to the storage room. It looked like a bomb went off. She opened several filing cabinets and quickly figured out how things were sorted. She had always loved filing in her old job. It was so easy. She found that Bo’s previous secretary had a weird system though. To do things by date or alphabet was simply not good in this type of business. She began to sort things by types of jobs, and then sort them by alphabet. “Bo wouldn’t have time to remember the date of a job. He’d remember the street though, I bet.” She started to doubt herself.
An hour later Ruth had the filing room all set up to find things according to type of project and according to street name. She decided to ask Bo for further ideas to help him locate things at a glance.
She walked back to her desk just as a fax was coming in. She laughed when she read it. “Want to have lunch? Mom made peach cobbler and chicken sandwiches.” She phoned Bo. “I’d love to go have lunch. If you have time.”
Bo was hot and sweaty and very hungry. “I always make time when it’s my mom.” I’ll pick you up in five minutes.” Five minutes later he was walking through the door. “Wow, this place looks different. You ready?”
“Yes, it’s so nice of you to do this. I could have gone next door to the deli.” Ruth was happy to be busy.
“Nonsense, Aunt Nancy is going to be there and they all want to see you. So, how do you like it so far?” Bo hoped she wasn’t too overwhelmed. He was getting sick of trying out new people.
“Oh, I love it. I was wondering about the filing system though.” She began to ask him about it when he interrupted.
“I never could find anything, that’s why it’s such a mess. I spent over an hour one time just looking for the permits on a job. How can we make this better?” He was watching the road and driving with one hand.
“When you think of a job don’t you call it a street number? Do you remember it as the ‘Main Street job or something?
“Yeah, that and I think of it as a residential repair or restructure job, or a commercial job. Why?” he asked.
Ruth smiled. “I hoped that’s what you did. I arranged them first in order of the type of job. You’ve done four school additions. I have them under ‘commercial’ and then ‘school’ and under that I wrote the street names. It’s all done. If you have time before you go back to work I’d like to show you.”
“Sure! This sounds great!” Soon they were back at the farm. Bo helped Ruth out of his truck and they were soon seated in front of the table. “How are the telephone messages coming?” Bo asked.
Nancy, Kate and Buster had gone out on the porch with their coffee, leaving Bo and Ruth at the table. “Well, I think I’ve got a handle on it. I found several notes that you had taken while I cleaned the desk. I put them on your desk. If you ever get in a jam and need to answer the phone, try to put a date on your notes.” Ruth was surprised by the look on Bo’s face. “Oh, it’s not for me! I just that it would be easier for you in case the note gets lost. That way we’d know how long ago the phone call came in. If you don’t want to do that, it’s fine. Did I say the wrong thing?” Ruth had only worked for a few hours and didn’t want to get fired by lunchtime.
Bo laughed. “No, I just never thought of it! Give me any suggestions you think of.” He wolfed down half a sandwich and washed it down with a glass of lemonade.
“Well I do happen to have a suggestion. Does your cell phone have a phone directory?”
There was a moment of silence as Bo pulled out his cell phone. “Here, you check it out if you like. I only make calls.”
Ruth checked the cell phone over. It was a newer model and had a large capacity for a phone numbers. It had call waiting, and voice mail as well. “Why don’t you come over tonight with this? I want to show you ways to shorten your time and make it more productive.”
Bo smiled and nodded his head. Just then his mother and aunt walked in. “That will be a splendid idea. Why not have supper with us?” she asked.
“I never pass up a home cooked meal!” Kate poked him on the shoulder. “If you’d get married you’d have more of them!”
“Aww Mom, you know I’m looking for a girl like you!” Bo stood up and gave Kate a squeeze. “Well, we have to boogie out of here. Ready Ruth?”
Ruth was soon feeling the wind in her hair as Bo drove back to the office. “I want to see what you did in the office for a second.” Bo said as they walked in.
Just then the door opened and a friendly voice called “Hello cousin!”
Bo turned and greeted his cousin Mike. “Hi, I want you to meet Ruth. She’s working for us now.”
Ruth looked at the man who had entered. He was also medium build with broad shoulders and a suntan that told her he worked outside. The family resemblance was unmistakable. He was a younger version of Bo except his hair was darker.
Mike smiled and held his hand out for a handshake. “Pleasure to meet you! Just think of me as your cousin! Joe and I used to get into a lot of trouble when we were kids. Of course old Bo here used to whip us in shape. I work with Bo, so I guess we’ll see a lot of each other.”
Ruth smiled and shook his hand. Bo and his cousin spoke for a few minutes about some business and then Mike turned to Ruth again. “Hey, if you aren’t busy Friday night do you want to go out to dinner? I know a great new place over in Lake George. It overlooks the river. It might be nice to see something other than the farm.”
Ruth thought a moment and decided ‘why not?’ Mike smiled as she accepted the offer. After Mike had left, Ruth went back to talking to Bo.
Ruth explained his office first. Bo liked the idea of having incoming messages separate from incoming mail. He looked around and noticed that Ruth had dusted and cleaned the floor too. “These are those notes I found too.”
Bo sorted them out and threw some away. “Man, I can’t believe I lost Mayer Dayton’s phone number!”
“That should go in your cell phone tonight.” Ruth suggested.
When Bo saw the filing room he stood and looked at the clean cabinets first. “I forgot these were made of wood.” He laughed.
“I’m going to show you how it’s put together.” Soon Bo was familiar with her filing method. “Now, I want you to find the residential repair job on Fourth Street.”
“Oh, I get a test now?” Bo smiled and looked around. He soon found the exact papers. “Hey, you’re right this IS easy. I don’t have to increase your pay do I?” He was enjoying teasing her.
“Oh, now tomorrow I’ll introduce you to the team of guys I have working with me. They are a nice bunch. They love to tease like I do. I’ll let them know up front that you are related though. That way, no one will get any ideas of bothering you.”
Ruth wasn’t sure what he meant but she nodded her head.
Bo smiled and said good bye. As he was getting into the truck he wondered if he had unintentionally frightened Ruth. The men he had working for him were mostly old friends and school chums. He always checked back grounds as well. He began to count off all of the guys who went to his church and then the amount of men who were married. “Why am I getting so protective? Ruth will be fine. Some of the crew was women too. There were six women painters. They took care of detail work to make the job go faster at times.
That night after supper Ruth explained to Bo how to put new phone numbers into his cell phone. They were sitting on the balcony with the outside light on. Bo had installed a bug zapper and every once in a while the sound of ‘zzzzt’ could be heard as bugs flew to the light rather than to Ruth and Bo. “It’s really not difficult Bo if you have time to read the directions. I have the time, you don’t.”
Bo waited patiently as she described what she was doing. She also wrote out the directions for voice mail. In about an hour Bo had a whole phone directory in his hands. He explained that the voice mail would be for only personal use. “I just don’t have time to talk while I’m working.” Ruth agreed.
"Sure" Ruth said. She sat back in the chair and enjoyed the warm night air.
Bo cleared his throat and got to the point. "When did you make a committment to Jesus Christ?"
"Oh, well Joe told me about the Lord before we even dated. I had been raised by folks who practiced the occult. I was a mess. I felt like death was all around me. Joe invited me to his church and I listened to what they said about Jesus dying on the cross. I felt a tug on night and asked Joe to pray for me. I asked the Lord into my life that night. I confess I have been saved for a few years but still don't know everything. Joe used to go over things and teach me. Mom and I study together now."
Bo was silent a moment. "Would you like to come to my group on Thursday nights? We are studying the gospels. You'd meet some really nice folks. It's about 14 or so who meet at my place. I could pick you up if you like."
"Well sure I guess. But, what do you think of Jesus?" She wanted to hear his testimony.
Bo toyed with his cell phone a moment before answering. "Well, I went along to church all of my life. Yet, I didn't make it my own faith until after having problems in my life. I figured I would get to heaven with my parent's faith I guess. I started really reading the bible and understanding my need for Christ about 10 years ago."
Ruth was silent as Bo spoke. Bo went on after taking a sip of coffee. "Let's see, one night I felt like the whole world was on my chest. I asked the Lord to really take over my life. I asked Him to show me His glory! Over the next few days I just couldn't get Him off of my mind. Then I remember the night I sat outside after having a huge disappointment in my life. Yet, I was praying and feeling such a peace that it surpised me. I knew He was there."
Ruth was excited to find someone so real in their faith. "You remind me of Joe when you talk. I can tell it's real too. Sure, you come get me on Thursdays Bo. I think this is just what I needed."
The following morning Ruth set out the two coffee makers on either end of the table and put a carafe on each table as well. Styrofoam cups were on the tables with packages of sugar and cream. In the middle of each table was a plate of donuts.
“Wow, we got donuts?” One of them grabbed a donut and sat with his coffee. Soon, everyone was ready for their orders. Ruth disappeared into the filing room. A small radio was playing in the corner as she took out a box of unsorted files. There were five boxes of files to be updated and sorted through. Ruth kept a notebook handy in case she had to jot something down.
She kept the door open so that if the phone rang she could hear it. Soon, Ruth had totally blocked out the voices in the back room. Her mind was on the soft jazz music and her work. When a deep voice said ‘hi’ she nearly jumped out of her sandals.
“Oh, I’m sorry. I guess I was so engrossed I never heard you come in.” Ruth looked up from her stool. Bo was smiling.
“I was wondering if you paid for those donuts out of your own pocket. The men loved them, they’re all gone.”
Ruth shook her head. “No, when I was going over the books I realized you had a special cash fund for misc. I noticed you buy coffee, sugar etc. Is it all right? They are day old donuts for half price at the donut shop.”
“It’s a wonderful idea. It sure put the men in a good mood to start off the day. But, we meet every morning and I didn’t want you to have to go buying extras each day.” He was amazed at how neat the place looked so quickly.
“Oh, I made friends with the owner. He said he’d deliver three dozen a day if it’s ok with you.” Ruth was making friends with people easily.
“What a little business woman you are! I get half priced donuts delivered each day? Old Barney must have flipped his noodle! He doesn’t do anything for nothing.”
“Well, according to him you have plowed him out every year since you were old enough to drive. He just wanted to pay you back some how. Besides, we are paying him albeit half price!”
Bo threw his head back and laughed. “Oh Ruth, you got him to talk to you! He’s been a lonely man for years and I plowed him out to show God’s love! This is wonderful! You are going to fit in just fine young lady! Well done!”
Ruth was left to do her work. Each day she met a new challenge. She enjoyed her time at work. Bo enjoyed the easy way his office was handled.
Friday night came and Mike drove Ruth to a beautiful restaurant near a marina in Lake George. They sat on a outside deck overlooking the river. Ruth enjoyed the live music and watching the boats sail by as she waited for her meal. Mike explained that he owned a boat nearby. “I thought maybe I’d take you out on the lake tomorrow is you like. Do you swim?”
Ruth laughed. ‘I was on the Olympic swim team six years ago as an alternate. I’m very at home in the water.”
“Oh no kidding? Well, I’ll come get you around eight in the morning then. We’ll have breakfast on the boat. I’m a great cook! I’ll see if Bo and Aunt Nancy want to come! Oh, wait it might be short notice for them.” Mike picked up his cell phone and made a few calls. A few minutes later their dinner was served.
Ruth sat sipping her drink as Mike spoke to her mother in law and then Bo. When he got off the phone he explained to Ruth, “Aunt Nancy said no thanks but Bo will be ready and waiting here. This should be fun!”
Mike was an excellent host and Ruth enjoyed her evening. The two laughed and even sang to some of the music. It was the first time Ruth had gone out since her husband’s death.
The following day Ruth was pleasantly surprised when Mike arrived with his cooler in the back seat. “I’ve got hamburgers, salad from the deli and my favorite Chianti. I love to entertain on the boat!”
Bo was waiting at the marina and soon they shoved off into the water. The cool wind felt good on Ruth’s face. Her white Capri pants and blue and white striped t shirt showed off the sun tan she had gotten. Mike brought the two of them down to the galley. Bo and Ruth drank coffee as Mike flipped pan cakes and fried summer sausages. The smell of breakfast against the clean air was a welcome change for Ruth. The day was relaxed and soon they were in the part of the lake where Mike decided to let down the anchor. She had brought her swimsuit and soon the three of them were in the water. “Isn’t this the life?” Mike asked.
Bo watched as his younger cousin was playing the entertaining host. He was glad that Ruth was enjoying herself. The three of them laughed and talked for hours that day.
Lunch was eaten on deck. Ruth commented that she was having a wonderful time. She looked at both of Joe’s cousins and marveled at how generous they were with their time. “It feels like I’m finding parts of my family for the first time.” She said.
“Good! I want you to feel like family because you are family!” Bo said. Mike smiled and began to pick up the dishes.
“I guess we’d best head back.” Mike said. The ride through the waters was wonderful and calm. “We’ve got to do this again some time.” Mike said.
Once they reached the dock Bo gave them both a brief hug and said good bye. Mike drove Ruth home. “I’m tired from all of that fresh air and exercise but it was wonderful Mike!”
“Good, I’m glad you had a good time. I know I had a great day! I guess I’ll see you tomorrow!” Mike let her out of the car and gave her a squeeze.
Soon, Ruth was able to go to the parties and functions for people who were in their twenties at the church. Bo's group on thursday nights was exciting. She met and befriended everyone. Each week it seemed that she always had a party to go to. Soon, she was being asked out on dates as well. She was polite but firmly said no. She went out with Mike on the boat a few times. They became great friends.
Six months went by and Nancy sat with Ruth one day with a cup of tea. “You need to get out more.” She said.
“Mom, I’m at a party or off with Bo and Mike almost three times a week. I have a wonderful job. What more could a girl want?”
Nancy patted Ruth’s arm. “You are too young to be alone Ruth. Why not go out on a date. I know several have invited you and you always say no. It’s been long enough.”
Ruth went out on the balcony and stared over the mountains one evening. The evening sky was deep purple and she could see the stars as well as the black outlines of the mountains. The air was fresh and clean. “I just can’t imagine living anywhere else.” She hadn’t realized she’d spoken aloud until someone said, “Me either”. She looked down and saw Bo smiling up at her.
“Hi, I came over to fix Dad’s tractor. Sorry to intrude on you thoughts!” Ruth went downstairs and asked to assist Bo as he changed the gasket on the tractor. “You don’t have to help me Ruth.”
Ruth was silent for so long that Bo stopped what he was doing. “What’s wrong?”
“Mom is worried I’m going to be an old maid. I just don’t have a clue what to do. I always thought I’d be having a life with Joe. I’ve tried to talk to some of the women at the church but they don’t understand. They’ve never lost a spouse. I guess you don’t understand either. Oh, never mind. I just talk too much.” Ruth started to get embarrassed and leave.
Bo reached out and gently grabbed her wrist. “I do understand Ruth. I was married once. I’m surprised no one told you. She decided I was too boring and left with some guy years ago. The divorce papers were settled quickly and I haven’t heard from her since. It was sixteen years ago. Dating just seemed too awkward. Everyone in town knew she ran off with another guy. I made my life full with the construction business and helping my folks out. I don't do that quite so much though since the Lord became more real to me."
Ruth watched Bo pull off the worn gasket. Bo talked in gentle tones as he worked on the tractor. “I guess I just kept hearing her tell me ‘You are the most boring man I ever met.”
Ruth was shocked. “I can’t believe you sucked that garbage in! You are definitely not boring Bo. Why, I find your work exciting! You have a great sense of humor and you are very creative. You are fun to talk to. How could you think you are boring?”
Bo smiled and kept on working. A few minutes went by and Ruth spoke. “I really like my job and I enjoy the church functions. You don’t think I’m weird then?” she asked.
“No, of course not! I know folks have asked you out. If you ever do want to go out though, maybe I can help. Do you want me to weed out the bad seeds from the good guys? I know most every man around here.” Bo kept working as he talked. He had grease all over his fingers and some on his shirt. Ruth leaned over and wiped his nose with her finger.
“You always manage to get stuff all over yourself Bo!” Bo laughed.
“Tell you what I think we’ll do.” Bo said. “Tomorrow, when we’re having coffee and donuts; why don’t you tell me if you’re interested in anyone in the room? Just put down an extra cup of coffee in front of someone you want me to check out. OK? I hate to see you never having a date.”
Ruth looked over at Bo as if for the first time. His hair was messed up and he had grease clear up to his elbows. Yet, she suddenly realized that if she wanted anyone’s company it would be someone like him. His mind was on his work and he never noticed Ruth’s stare. “OK” she said.
Bo drove home by instinct. His mind was on Ruth. He enjoyed going to work and hearing her singing in the file room. He envisioned her helping his aunt pack her things and come to the area. She seemed to be everywhere in the church. She took whatever jobs that needed extra help. One Sunday she’d be in the nursery, another she substituted in Sunday school. Sometimes, she went to help a sick person after she finished work. She baked fresh cookies and brought them to work at times. She always smelled like strawberries. Bo had asked her and she said it was her shampoo. Bo shook his head. “If I were ten years younger I would take her out.”
Ruth went back into the apartment and found her mother in law sitting in the living room. “What do you think of me going out with Bo?” she asked directly. To her surprise Nancy smiled.
“Well, doesn’t God work in mysterious ways?” Ruth told her mother in law of her talk with Bo. “Here is what you should do Ruth…” Nancy laid out a plan for her to get Bo’s attention. They talked for an hour and prayed before going to bed.
The next morning when Bo and the men loaded into the back room for coffee, Bo waited to see what Ruth would do. He began the work schedules as usual. Ruth stood with her coffee in her hand. He was surprised when she didn’t move from the wall. When he was almost finished talking Ruth came over and set the extra cup of coffee next to him.
At first he didn’t think anything of it. Then he looked up and saw the smile. The message of her eyes startled him at first. Nothing was said and the rest of the men never caught on. Ruth quickly left to go to her desk.
An hour later Bo was still sitting at the long table staring at the Styrofoam cup. Ruth came in and sat down.
“I don’t quite know what to think Ruth. Do you remember what I said to do last night?” Bo almost was afraid of her answer. He sat staring at his hands.
“You said if I was interested in anyone I should give them a second cup of coffee. I gave you the coffee.” Ruth was nervous but she thought she was doing what the Lord wanted. She’d prayed for a long time about this.
Bo looked up and met her smile. “Well, we’ll need to talk about this. I hate to have to leave but I do have an appointment. You know that. How about I swing over tonight and we’ll go grab a bite to eat?”
Ruth agreed and soon Bo was out the door and jumping into his truck. He’d forgotten his paperwork and tool belt and Ruth phoned him. “Hello?”
“You forgot your paperwork Bo.” Ruth said. “Oh, well I’m coming right back.” Bo swiped his hand over his unruly hair. “Gee, I’m losing it!” he thought.
Ruth met him at the door with the paperwork and a smile. She handed him his tool belt as well. “I thought you might need this as well.” Bo gave her a startled look with wide eyes. “See ya!” was all he could think to say. As he was driving to his destination he thought of what a fool he must have looked like.
That night Bo arrived to take Ruth out so they could talk. Ruth was relieved to see him in jeans and not a fancy suit. She didn’t want to go to a fancy restaurant. They were a mile down the road before either one of them spoke.
“I’m thinking of going to Stan’s Diner. Is that all right?” He was in the mood for country fried steak and Stan cooked it the way he liked it. Ruth agreed and soon they pulled into a parking spot.
Ruth began talking in light conversation as they sat down. She sipped her coffee and explained how a cat had gotten under her Mother’s bed without anyone knowing it. They had screamed when they heard a noise and Nancy held out a broom to protect the two of them. When a scrawny yellow cat crawled out they both laughed. “I guess we have a new houseguest. I hope the rent doesn’t go up!”
Bo found himself laughing with Ruth during the meal. When Ruth ordered desert she began to get serious. “If you want to let me down easy Bo, it’s all right. I’ll still work for you. I don’t mean to upset you.”
The waitress came and refilled their coffee cups. Bo swallowed and looked back over at Ruth. “I’m just a little surprised. I mean, I’m ten or twelve years older than you. I figured you wouldn’t want an old guy like me.”
“Have you looked into a mirror lately Bo? You aren’t ready for the retirement home yet! I’m 29 years old. Not exactly a young chick anymore!” Ruth giggled as she talked to him. For the next hour the two sat and relaxed.
Bo drove Ruth back home after they ate. Bo stood leaning against his car watching to see what Ruth was going to do. Would she kiss him good night or scoot up the stairs? He’d been out of the dating scene in a while and didn’t want to be making the wrong move. Ruth stood facing Bo one second, two seconds, and three seconds without moving or speaking. Bo took a chance and reached for her hand.
Ruth walked closer and turned her face up. The moonlight danced on her eyes as Bo looked down at her. “Come here Bo.”
Bo realized he’d been holding his breath and let out a sigh of relief. The invitation had been sent. He bent over and grazed her lips with his own. Then, he reached around her waist and pulled her to his chest. He bent his head and rested his forehead on hers a moment. Ruth reached up and claimed his lips for a full four second kiss. When she released Bo he stood with a foolish grin on his face.
“Well, hello!” he said. Ruth laughed and said good night. Bo stood there a moment too dumb struck to move.
Buster was cleaning his glasses and looked out the window to make sure he wasn’t hallucinating. “Well, finally!” he said. He went back to reading the paper and sipping his coffee. A few minutes later his son knocked on the door.
Buster sat the paper down and offered his son a cup of coffee. “No, thanks. I just had some.”
Bo sat staring into space for a while. Buster tried not to laugh at the look on his son’s face. Cat got yer tongue boy?” He reached over and picked up his coffee cup.
PAGE TWENTY ONE
“Oh, no I was just thinking. Ruth wants to date. What do you think?” He sat staring out the window.
Buster wanted to laugh out loud but he kept a straight face. He propped his feet up on the old ottoman. “Well, Ruth wants to date huh? Anyone in particular or am I going to have to guess? I warn you, I always win at ‘Wheel of Fortune’.”
Bo shook his head. “You aren’t making any sense. I told you Ruth wants to date me.”
“Well, I don’t care what Ruth wants. You have a say in this Bo! What does Bo want?” Buster settled back in amusement. His coffee cup settled on his armrest.
“I really like the idea. But, I’m so old.” Bo scratched the back of his head.
Buster let out a loud laugh. “Hah! Well, you old timer you, take some vitamins if your going to kiss her good night next time! You looked like you were ready to pass out there kissing her good night!” He continued to laugh.
Bo just sat there. “I looked old?”
“No, you didn’t! The two of you looked perfect together! What do you care what you look like anyhow? I’ve been praying you’d find the right girl for years. Who knew my own sister would bring her to you!” Buster looked at his son and smiled.
Bo smiled and then got very serious. “Dad, there are a lot of other guys more suitable for her. Should I wait and let her date someone else?”
PAGE TWENTY TWO
“Bo, there is no one more in line to date that girl than you. This isn’t like it was in bible days when ‘Boaz’ went to make a deal with a relative who was next in line to marry Ruth.”
Bo relaxed a bit and then went home. The next day he was working at a project with his cousin Mike. “Hey Mike, can I talk to you a minute?”
Mike was using his cordless drill and shut it off. “Well sure, is something wrong?”
Bo leaned against the wall and folded his arms. His head was down and he was searching for what he wanted to ask. “No, nothings wrong Mike. I’m wondering about Ruth. I know you spend a lot of time with her. You and Ruth are almost the same age.”
Mike stood still and narrowed his eyes on his cousin. “What on earth are you trying to ask me? Spit it out Bo!”
“Are you interested in Ruth? I mean she isn’t actually related except by marriage. I know she’s really pretty…” Bo didn’t get a chance to finish his sentence.
“Sure I’m interested in Ruth. I love her, but not in any romantic way. Have I done something wrong?” Mike was used to his older cousin pointing things out that he missed.
“Oh no, it’s just that well…I would like to date her but I won’t if you have designs on her. I figure you should be first in line since you and her are of an age.” Bo’s face had flushed a bit.
PAGE TWENTY THREE
Mike was silent a moment before answering. He smiled at his cousin and answered his questions. “Ruth is a prize worth going after I’m sure. But, I think you are the one who she has eyes for Bo. So, date her then. The coast is clear!” He slapped his cousin on the back and teased him per usual. “You had me worried there a minute. I thought you were losing it!”
The following few weeks Bo spent his days working and being very businesslike to Ruth. He spent the evenings taking her to see the work sites and out to dinner. A month went by and Bo had made a decision.
Ruth was sitting across a picnic table eating half of a submarine sandwich. The sun was shining and Bo watched the breeze lift Ruth’s hair. “This is a wonderful picnic area Bo.”
“I wanted a place where I could talk to you privately.” Bo watched as Ruth’s face looked surprised.
Bo spoke in a gentle baritone voice as he proposed to Ruth. “It’s been amazing getting to know you these past few weeks. Do you want to go on dating me another year or two; or would you like to marry me next week?”
Ruth dropped her sandwich and wiped her mouth. She cleared her throat and began to speak.
“Oh, wow! I mean, yes! Next week?” She was laughing and getting up to go over to Bo. He grabbed her and hugged her close to him.
“Well, is that too soon?”
“No, tomorrow would be better!” The laughter rang out as they made their plans. Bo suddenly got serious. “Would you want to stay at home after we get married?”
Ruth shook her head. “No, I love my job. Even when we have children I’d like to stay. We can do it, can’t we?”
Bo was relieved. “Yes, we can! I hate the idea of having someone else in the office. I guess we are a team!”
PAGE TWENTY FOUR
Six days later Bo stood in a white tuxedo at Mountain Top church waiting for Ruth to walk down the isle. The church was filled with friends and family. Ruth’s mother was in attendance.
The music started and Buster walked Ruth down the isle on his arm to deliver her to his son. Ruth wore a simple sleeveless white gown with blue flowers in her hair. The music ended and a hush went over the church as Ruth took Bo’s hand. The minister led them in the vows and Mr. and Mrs. Azure were formerly introduced.
When the marriage ceremony was over and they were midway through the reception Ruth went to Nancy. She handed her a microphone.
Nancy stood and spoke into the microphone. “I am like Naomi from the book of Ruth, I love you Bo and Ruth.” Nancy then opened her small bible and spoke to the wedding party.
“Ruth chapter 4 says this…’So Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife. Then he went to her and the Lord enabled her to conceive, and she gave birth to a son. The women said to Naomi [the mother in law] “Praise be to the Lord, who this day has not left you without a kinsman-redeemer. May he become famous throughout Israel! He will renew your life and sustain you in your old age. For your daughter-in-law who loves you and who is better to you than seven sons, has given him birth.’ I tell you all that whatever children Ruth has will also be my grand children. I am blessed to introduce to you all my precious daughter Ruth and my nephew/son Bo. A child will come within the next few years. Just you wait and see.”
PAGE TWENTY FIVE
Two years later Bo handed his aunt Nancy a wiggling bundle. “His name is Joseph Peter Azure.” He’s named after my cousin and your son!