Not many things rattled Matthew McKinlay but today he could hear the maracas.
This latest request from Grandad was too much. What on earth was he thinking?
The entrance to his grandparent's property stood where it had for three generations but Matthew, oblivious, sailed by. Then realising his mistake, he sighed, backed up and turned in.
Maybe Grandad's lost the plot. He's getting on a bit.
Matthew's latest geriatric module in Med school levelled the odds, and by the time he'd pulled up outside the house he'd decided he had to go along with the idea—if only to estimate Grandad's mental health.
It was November and as he stepped out of the car the branches of a flowering jacaranda, his childhood climbing tree, waved hello. He loved everything about this place and most of all he loved his grandparents.
The smell of freshly baked bread and something else—a mint roast perhaps— drifted from the kitchen area and he decided to follow his nose.
Please Heavenly Father let everything be okay.
The kitchen, to which all family members gravitated, was Grandee Lisa's domain and it lay to the back of the homestead: its wide double-glazed windows looking out over peaceful undulating pastures and a well ordered horse complex.
Matthew found Grandee in the kitchen. At his footfall she turned and holding out her arms; smiled.
She is clothed with strength and dignity and she laughs without fear of the future.(Prov.31:25 NLT)
This morning that particular reading had washed over Matthew. He'd thought it the water of the Word and not really food for his spirit. But now his heart devoured it.
Grandee Lisa stood, wearing her relationship with God like a robe of strength and dignity; the certainty that she was His princess.
Let me marry someone like this Lord, please.
He embraced her, asking 'Grandee nothing has changed?'
She drew back and scanned his face with her serene eyes. 'Not unless you have news.'
He shook his head
'Then let's get you unpacked and fed. But first go and get Tim; he's down in the quadrangle'.
Matthew found his grandfather lunging a colt in the round yard.
'G'day my boy. Glad you could make it.'
'No hardship Granddad; though…' he narrowed his eyes as he drew close.
'Ahh come on… I know what you're thinking. You'll be helping Pastor Tom out. He's trying to bring the city's Christian singles together—a "get to know you shindig".
I prayed, and knew I was to invite you. Let's put this colt away then we'll go inside.'
On the way inside Grandad threw an arm around Matthew's neck.
'Got your favourite dinner Son —good, solid, roast beef.'
It was his own sanity Matthew questioned that evening, when he walked into the church hall; it was crowded, noisy and half the folk were strangers.
Lord,this is madness.
'Matthew, over here. Grab those chairs mate. Put one each side of a desk. Desks—three feet apart. Follow the circle.' Pastor Tom gesticulated wildly; threw him a grin and disappeared.
Ten minutes later a loud horn blew.
'Welcome to our Speed Dating everyone. Ladies, please…take a seat behind a desk on the inside. Gentlemen, the same on the outside. When the horn blows you've three minutes to make conversation with that lady; then the horn will blow again and men you MUST move to the next chair.'
Laughter broke out at his emphasis.
BWOH: the horn sounded.
Everyone joined in with good spirit including Matthew, who moved from chair to chair, smiling and enjoying the challenge.
Three chairs from finishing, however, a problem arose. The conversationalist in front of him refused to move.
Matthew studied the attractive cause of delay. She held herself like Grandee Lisa and although she was laughing; when she looked up her eyes were soft. Today's Scripture reading flooded his heart and everything made sense.
'Hi, I'm Matthew,' he elbowed in and spoke softly, 'I think I read about you this morning.'
The recalcitrant player squawked. 'Hey, I'm not finished.'
'You've had three minutes. All's fair in love and war mate, sorry.' Matthew grinned but did not look away from the lady. 'Now, may I ask your name, your measure of a good man, and how you would describe me if...if I was a food?
Lord don't let her say fairy-floss.
She laughed delightedly. 'Okay. Firstly—was I an interesting read? Secondly--Eliza; then…a man who loves his family; and finally, roast beef.'
And the horn blew.
(750 words without reference)
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