October 20-23, 1970
As the days passed, we didn’t see or hear from either Cathy or John. Our history had been to check in with each other frequently, and it wasn’t unusual for us to get together 3-4 times a week.
But our last conversation had ended badly with unresolved tension over the differences in our spiritual beliefs. As Nate and I talked about it further, I got an idea that was probably from God. Never once had Cathy and I done something apart from our guys. So I thought I’d reach out to her just one-on-one, two wives trying to be friends.
Nate thought the idea had promise, so I called Cathy. We talked without any strain, and then she came up with a great suggestion… a way to spend time together while also being productive. As a team of two, we would home-make all our Christmas gifts.
The next day she came over for coffee, and neither of us brought up her amorous professor or the subject of open marriage. Instead we listed gift ideas that would be inexpensive and fun to make – candles, chocolates, simple sewing items, and maybe some knitted things.
Cathy had a natural ability to organize and troubleshoot (skills I lacked), so she would assemble our supplies, and I would develop the ideas of how to use them.
A few days later we began by melting chunks of wax in my double boiler, coloring them with stubs of broken crayons I’d gleaned from my school’s waste baskets. At the end of the evening, we had several finished products and were ready to run a test on one of them. Hopefully it would actually burn.
It lit right up, and our victory shout was loud enough to bring Nate from his paper-writing. Never mind that the candle burned down twice as fast a store-bought version. It had a flame, it was a candle, and we were thrilled.
Gradually we worked out an efficient assembly line and were churning out all kinds of candles, no two alike — some thin, others fat, and some hand-shaped in rough-looking balls. When they were all lined up on my pull-down ironing board, they were an impressive sight.
But best of all was that Cathy and I had deepened our friendship without a hint of tension. As we parted, we set a date to start making chocolates.
“I know how to do hand-dipping that will look as good as Fanny May!” she said. Both of our extended families loved chocolate candy, and we couldn’t wait to get started on Phase 2 of the Christmas Gift Adventure — and to continue growing a new friendship.
“Just as you want others to do for you, do the same for them.” (Luke 6:31)