The summer God moved us south

The realtor rushed over to our home in Indiana to quickly jam the “For Sale” into our front yard and finalize the contract to sell before he showed the house to the first couple. A few hours later, he returned to say the buyers would pay the full asking price – and I went into shock.
Yes, back in the 1980s, my husband had been looking for a new job. With a newly minted diploma, he eagerly anticipated moving into management.
He talked with professional recruiters and applied for open positions. I listened and prayed with him about a new job, but mostly I focused on rambunctious children and keeping house.

In February, he went to yet another job interview to talk about a position in Arkansas.

March, April and May slipped into eternity with no new job prospects. We planted the garden, had strawberries in June and planned a tent camping trip in the Smoky Mountains in July.

I prepared for mountain climbing, cooking over a camp stove and wading the creeks in the mountains. Our parents knew our plans, but in those pre-cell phone days, we all knew there would be no phone calls (except for emergencies) until we returned home. One night a drenching rain woke us from our slumbers to discover sopping wet sleeping bags. Nearby laundromats overflowed with moist sleeping bags, wet clothes and campers with greatly dampened spirits.

The recruiter did not know any of that. He only knew he suddenly had a hot prospect. Cooper Industry in El Dorado had finally decided to ask my husband to be the next quality assurance manager. They needed to talk with him, but we were not home.

Nothing deterred that recruiter. He tracked us down through our parents, who told him where we were. He called the park, the park rangers checked the reservations and agreed to pass along the message for my husband to call.

We found the park ranger’s note under the windshield wiper.
My husband called the recruiter. We flew down for a final interview and toured the area. He accepted the job and returned to give his two-week notice. We made a list of things to do to prepare our house to sell.
We never got through the list. The house sold for the full asking price to the first couple who viewed it. We had honeymooned in that house, spent 10 years refurbishing it from basement to roof and now we had to say good-bye.

I did not realize how shocked the announcement left me until I was shopping that evening and caught myself mechanically loading can after can of green beans into the grocery cart.

My mother announced our move in a family news letter, “AANNDD!!! the latest news is that Joan and Joseph have sold their house in Indiana: listed and sold in 24 hours.” The letter included a small map showing El Dorado’s position in relation to Louisiana and Texas and said, “according to the Arkansas 1982 road map, population is 26,685.”

Hubby flew off to his new job in El Dorado. His head buzzed with things to do: choose a school, find a house, find a church, learn the new job. He talked about schools with strangers he met at the grocery stores and chose a school district. The realtor showed him the couple of properties available in the school district and pointed him to a church.

Before his first week ended, he called to say school started three weeks earlier than it did in Indiana and that he had signed to purchase a half-built house at a lower price than originally asked. The contractor promised to finish in time for school.

Before he returned to finalize our departure from Indiana, he visited the suggested church – the one we eventually joined. His days in Indiana were filled with appointments to finalize the sale, saying good-bye to friends, preparing for the moving van and packing the station wagon to move the family.

After a week’s stay in a hotel, we sat down with the bank loan officer. The thought of signing away all the equity from our previous home overwhelmed my husband. He shook his head in astonishment, turned to me and said, “Here, Joan, you write the check.”I looked at him oddly. Sure, the check was for a fourth of the cost of the new house, but it was just a couple more zeroes than normal – just numbers. I wrote the check. We took our suitcases to the new house and waited for the moving van.

Looking around, I told my husband, “God moved us here quickly and smoothly, I do not think it will be that easy to leave.”                                                                                                                                           We came. We stayed. We still live in the same house but other things have changed. The last city border sign noted a significant decline in population. Our baby daughter now has babies of her own and my husband is retired. But, we still shake our heads in astonishment at how quickly God made it all happen.