Jimmy Was the Answer

by Suzanne Cardwell Stewart

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    The question was, Where do I find a good man? You might say my search started in a tree.

    I walked into the backyard and climbed a tall, strong tree. I didn’t get very high. Being six feet tall, I figured I was already too far from the ground. I sat in my perch and pondered my fate. I wore glasses, had grown much too tall, and weighed more than necessary.

    My roommate, Sally, had just left on her third date with a returned missionary. Tonight was supposed to be the start of a three-day camping trip that Sally and I had been planning for more than two months. I guess you know what happens to camping trips with roommates when a gorgeous, broad-shouldered, car-owning, worthy priesthood holder asks you out.

    It wasn’t that I was jealous. I didn’t want to take from Sally; I just wanted with all my heart to know what it felt like.

    I looked up into that clear night sky, stars thick and bright, and a prayer left my heart and burst from my lips. “Heavenly Father, please, oh please, I need to make friends with a boy.”

    I’m not sure how long I spent praying. I do know it was one of the most heartfelt prayers I had ever offered. When I stepped down from that tree, I felt so good. It was more than just a peaceful feeling. I was excited. I almost expected my new friend to be waiting for me in the backyard!

    At first I grinned at each male I met, sure he was going to grab my hand and say, “I’m here!” I got some funny looks and a few smiles, but none of the grocery clerks, paper boys, or mailmen I saw claimed me.

    Gradually I simmered down. The excitement left, but the peace stayed. I finished school, got a job I liked, and found myself actively involved with the Young Adults in our stake. I was happy.

    One Saturday a few of us went out into the desert to practice target shooting. Jimmy, a country cowboy at heart, took us. I rode in the back seat of his very old, very large car. Jimmy spent time with each of us setting up targets, helping us load, then teaching us to hold the guns properly. I was more awkward than the others, who had been shooting before, but the extra attention I needed paid off. On the way home, I sat in the front seat.

    My three roommates were often visited by three boys from our ward, and with Jimmy, now there were four. Jimmy had become a regular. The eight of us had so much fun. We went four-wheeling in Jimmy’s new Jeep. We played football and baseball. We swam. When we went hiking, Jimmy stayed behind me all the way even though I was slower than the others. We had a great summer.

    When the weather cooled and the nights lengthened, we spent more time inside. Jimmy and I had long talks. He went with me to visit my grandpa, helped me run errands, came to sacrament meeting with me, even took me to the hospital the day I broke my finger.

    He held my hand after the first snowstorm so I wouldn’t fall. He put his arm around me in the movies to keep me warm. One night he wore his best clothes, bought me flowers, and took me to a dance. He held me in his arms when the music slowed, and as we walked home he kissed me.

    Eight months later, sitting in our new apartment decorated with our families’ old furniture, I looked up from my book, put my cold feet in my new husband’s lap to get warm and asked, “Jimmy, what first attracted you to me?”

    He looked at me thoughtfully and said, “Something told me that I should be your friend.”

    My heart jumped. Tears filled my eyes. A smile started on my face and spread clear down to my toes. I put my arms around his neck and held on tight. I was holding in my arms the answer to the help I prayed for that lonely night in an old tree.

    Illustrated by Cary Henrie