The Boardwalk Of Life

It was June 1978, and my wife and I had only been married for two days. We were on our Honeymoon in Ocean City, Maryland. If you have been there, you know that the boardwalk holds all kinds of attractions and houses a carnival-like atmosphere in places. As my wife and I strolled down the boardwalk, I spied a booth that we all are familiar with. It’s probably the most straightforward game on the boardwalk. A carnival worker stacks three milk bottles or more in a pyramid, hands you a softball, and you cash in on your best Nolan Ryan impression, right? It’s not usually that simple. Bottles stacked on the bottom are often filled with lead weight, and the softball you’re given emphasizes soft—they may be filled with cork to make them lighter. But even with the odds stacked against me, I wanted to impress her with my athletic abilities and win her a big stuffed animal that she could forever cherish. And besides, baseball was my game, and I had been bragging to her how good I had been in High School and college.

I didn’t disappoint! Even I was amazed at how well I did. I kept putting down my money and knocking over the milk bottles repeatedly. I was a superstar and loved showing off to her. After I had won a number of times, I motioned to the Carnie that I was done and wanted my winnings. Much to my surprise he put down in front of me, painstakingly so, my prizes. First, a little green plastic army man. Then, a tiny glass horse, a rabbit’s foot, and last, a tiny plastic farm animal. I think it was a cow if I remember correctly. I was dumbstruck and started to get angry. The booth worker never smiled or seemed the least bit uneasy giving me my expensive and hard-earned “prizes!” I gotta say, I started to lose it. But then something wonderful happened. My new wife of two days started to snicker as each “prize” was presented. Then she began to laugh, and soon she was hysterically laughing beside me, holding onto my arm and practically falling down. I snatched my winnings off the counter as she laughingly pulled me away from the booth. We both laughed all the way down the boardwalk as only a young newly married couple can do.

I brought this incident up to my wife of forty-five years the other night, and before I got very far into the story, she burst out laughing, and we both got a great “moment of wonderment” together!

I learned a couple of valuable lessons that day so long ago. I married the right girl. When she pulled me away laughing that day, I knew she was a gem. I love her so much. Life has so many things that are of real importance that matter. Winning a stuffed animal wasn’t one of them! She has kept me grounded in the important things! Two; this world will make a lot of empty promises to you and seldom does the reward end up being what you thought it would be for the effort or sacrifice you make. With that said, I am reminded that the eternal promises of the Lord are sure. In Him, the Savior, I can put my trust and know that the promises and covenants I make with Him will bring true eternal rewards! The world often rewards us with plastic army men or tiny glass horses that break easily! I don’t need a rabbit foot for good luck, I need to trust in my Father above and His promises!

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