1985 Spring Fling - 1 of 3

HAPPENINGS ALONG THE WAY TO HEAVEN

August, 2012 (First of three)

"We spend our years as a tale that is told" (Psalm 90:9)

Sometimes I wish to go back in time and share with you super special memories of God in my life…like April 12-13, 1985. It was the third annual event my daughter Wanda and I had attended at the Ramada Inn located at Highway 290 and Northwest Crossing. This event was First Baptist Church Spring Fling '85.

It is a privilege not shared by all who desire to attend: many are turned away because only the first 500 women to sign up can attend. The church rents a "block" of rooms, and handles all the reservations, gives out the room keys, plans all the events. We can use all of the Hotel's facilities, except one: We cannot use our room phones. Buddy Griffin, the Church Minister of Activities explained: "The hotel charges 50 cents per phone call; and if everyone of you called your husband to see how the kids are doing, that would be…(and he began counting on his fingers; then shouted in a loud voice)…that's NINE THOUSAND DOLLARS! We just can't afford it!"

Four women may share a room with two king-size beds for $40. When Wanda asked me if I minded sharing our room, I could only say "no"…otherwise two other women might not be able to attend. I assumed she'd invite two of her young friends; and we'd save $20.

The purpose of Spring Fling is stated in Buddy Griffin's "Welcome:"

"The seminars, Bible study, music, and other activities have been carefully and prayerfully planned with you in mind. I pray that during these two days you will be refreshed in mind, body, and spirit, and that you will leave with a renewed commitment to Jesus Christ."

Activities began at 4:00 Friday afternoon. Because of car trouble (mine), we were slightly delayed, arriving at 4:45. This meant we would miss one of the seminars. However, they would be repeated tomorrow. There are more than we can possibly attend anyway. We choose which ones interest us the most. We opened the door to our room. It was quite evident our roommates had arrived: Curlers and make-up containers covered the entire bathroom dressing table; open suitcases took up the wall space between the dresser and closet, which also was taken over with clothing. There was lingerie on one bed, and personal items in the middle of the other bed.

I began complaining: "Weren't we supposed to SHARE this room? Which bed is ours?

(Wanda tossed the personal items on the bed with the lingerie). Where do we put our suitcases? (Wanda shoved theirs closer together, making room). I'd like to hang up my dress for tomorrow." (Wanda is sliding clothes down to one end of the closet). I was getting the "idea" so I did not complain about the bathroom: just put my make-up case under the dressing table.

Wanda began arranging daisies and purple flower stalks in a basket. I am still mumbling about next time: We'll have a private room! The flower arrangement is beautiful! She placed it on the dresser along side a 10"x12" framed photograph of the three most beautiful grandbabies in the world (mine)! Then she taped a sign on our door which says "BIBLE STUDY;" and taped a bunch of daisies to it.

On the table in our room, Wanda placed her open Bible, the souvenir booklets on "Commitment" that I purchased at the Baptist Book Store, the rainbow note pads assembled at my office, pencils and bookmarks furnished by the church with the words "I HAVE DECIDED…" on them. As you may have guessed, Wanda was a Bible Study Leader, and was prepared for a group of 10-12 women to attend between 8:20 and 10:00 p.m.

After the banquet, the women would be instructed to find a door marked "Bible Study" on their floor, and join in.

I was trying to rush Wanda to leave the room to attend a seminar at 5:15. As soon as she arranged a platter of cookies (made with honey) for the Bible Study guests, we left.

We attended Lynda McNeal's discussion on what Jesus meant when He said, "Ye are the salt of the earth," and how that relates to everyday situations of life. She added humor to the class when she said, "Sitting in church does not make you a Christian anymore than sitting in a garage would make you a car!" (this is 1985!)

Next, we went to the banquet…and you could certainly tell it was a Ladies' Banquet: The tables were decorated as a touch of spring -- huge butterflies hovered over bouquets of silk flowers arranged on 10"x10" mirrors. There was the touch of femininity at each place setting with a little five-inch basket intricately woven in brown tones of colorful designs. On top were bows of two colors of ribbon, and white lace. To lift the lid of the basket was to get a whiff of heaven: the most delightful fragrance came from POTPOURRI (that's "poe-poe-ree," not "pot- porry!") of dried flowers. These were our treasured souvenirs. (I still have mine -- 2012).

Wanda and I were walking through the banquet room where approximately 500 ladies sat at round tables in groups of eight. "Let's sit here by Debra Tate," Wanda suggested, as we approached a table in the center of the room. Debra introduced us to her friend, Eilene Smith.

Two other women introduced themselves as Karen and her mother, Mary. There was another lady at our table whose name I have forgotten.

Wanda asked Debra if she had attended a seminar. She said, "No! I just got here. Can you believe I was standing in my kitchen with my suitcase beside me when my husband showed up at 5:30! He had forgotten what time I was to leave! He asked if it was too late for me to come!"

Then Debra asked Wanda if she was leading in a Bible Study. Wanda said, "Yes, on the fourth floor." Karen replied, "How nice! We're on the fourth floor…we'll attend yours. What room are you in?"

"423."

"423?????" Karen and Mary shouted in unison! "That's OUR room. OH, my goodness! We have things strewn all over that room! Where did you put your luggage?"

"In the room," Wanda replied. Mary was hiding behind her program with embarrassment.

I asked, "Wanda, did you rent out our room to strangers? I thought your friends would share with us."

Wanda replied, "I just said we'd share our room, and left the rest up to the Lord."

Everyone at the table was just flabbergasted…that in this room of 500 women, Wanda and I would choose to sit at a table with our unknown roommates! It was almost unbelievable. We were screaming with laughter.

Mary further explained to us that the two ladies who registered with them had to cancel. They did not know they had been replaced by us! They were wondering if they'd have to pay the extra $20.00.

Then Karen screamed, "OH, NO!"

"What's the matter NOW?" Mary asked.

Karen continued: "I just told my friend…you know, the one who is 8 months pregnant?...I told her she could sleep in the other bed in our room, so she wouldn't have to share with her roommate! I'll have to find her and tell her to stay where she is. She'll be more comfortable sleeping with one other person rather than TWO!"

Throughout our stay, as Karen and Mary would meet other friends, they'd say, "You just can't believe what happened to us…"

(to be continued)


TILLIE WIER, inspirational writer and employee of Logos Ranch, LLC shares her adventures with God so that others may see Him in their everyday lives.

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