By Marieanne Rose
Our address was 1123 Knoll Crest Court in Traverse City and our home sat near the crest of a hill. We had a beautiful view and, from our yard, we could see Grand Traverse Bay, a full five miles away. Unfortunately, to get to our home, you had to drive almost to the top of a steep gravel road and follow a driveway with an incline to match.
We had purchased the home in the summer, of course, and had no clue of the challenge our road and driveway would present in the winter. During heavy snows or when roads were icy, it wasn’t unusual for us to park at the bottom of the hill and trudge up the hill to our home carrying bags of groceries.
I can still see Karl – wearing his suit, white shirt, and tie – sitting on a sled, briefcase on his lap, hat on his head, gloves on his hands – riding down the hill to where our car was parked…early in the morning on his way to work. He can be so funny sometimes… but, I digress…
All our boys had bicycles and it had been tricky for them to learn to balance, peddle, and coast with the challenge of our steep hill – but their hard work and determination paid off…eventually. Then the skateboard popularity struck the Traverse City community and it seemed every child had a skateboard. Every child – that is – except the four Rose boys.
There was a young boy who lived on the next road who was thrown off his skateboard, breaking his arm as he tried to conquer the steep hill and little Cindy Cole…who lived next door…lost her balance and her two front teeth in one particularly nasty fall. After this last incident, Karl and I held a meeting regarding the skateboard issue.
We decided there would be NO SKATEBOARD and that was that! We listened to groaning and moaning, begging and pleading, but we did not budge from our decision – we held firm. We explained that bikes had brakes, but skateboards had no such safety feature and – as parents – were trying to protect them and their bodies from serious injury. They listed to our explanation, but didn’t grasp the importance of the issue or agree with our decision.
We decided there would be NO SKATEBOARD and that was that!
Every evening at bedtime, we would accompany our sons to bed, listen to each boy’s prayers, bless him, and move on to the next child. One night, we were listening to our oldest son, Michael say his prayers when he bravely asked God for a skateboard. Apparently, he wasn’t happy with our decision and decided to go over our head. Hmmm – pretty gutsy!
When all the boys had been prayed with and blessed, we headed for the living room. Karl turned toward me, pointed his finger at my chest and quietly whispered, “There is no way we are buying a skateboard, so don’t even suggest it. If he gets a skateboard, it will have to be God!” I suspect he thought we were pretty safe with that decision and off we went…to bed.
“There is no way we are buying a skateboard, so don’t even suggest it. If he gets a skateboard, it will have to be God!”
About mid-morning the next day, our phone rang…it was Ted Bathke, who was Purchasing Manager for Oleson’s Food Markets. (Oleson’s is a smaller grocery chain in Northern Michigan where they sell…not only food; but also shoes, drugstore items, a small assortment of clothing, magazines, and toys.)
Karl and Ted both served as Elders at Trinity Lutheran Church. Also, Ted…with his wife, Norma, and Karl and I co-led a Prayer Group every Tuesday evening in the church. From this had spun a close friendship. Part of Ted’s work related responsibilities included discarding broken, damaged, and returned goods. His first words to me were, “Marie, I have a box of items from Oleson’s that might be of interest to you!” At that moment…without asking, I knew…
Ted dropped off his “box” and protruding out the top was the tip of the prettiest bright blue skateboard I had ever seen. Karl came home for lunch that day and the first thing he spied on the dining room table was “blue”. I explained the circumstances – he sighed in resignation – and then picked up the skateboard to see why it had been returned. He spied the problem immediately – one of the wheels had lost one of its’ ball bearings. He got in the car, drove to the hardware store and for 20 cents purchased a replacement ball bearing. He put it where it belonged and there it was – God’s provision for Michael, in perfect running condition – not even a scratch marred its’ appearance!
Ted dropped off his “box” and protruding out the top was the tip of the prettiest bright blue skateboard I had ever seen.
However, we still had the safety issue in the forefront of our minds. So, after we had a sandwich, we did what any Christian parent would do – we prayed. Karl got quite bold, actually! He told God that if He felt inclined to prove His Lordship over us by answering Michael’s prayer, then it would be a small thing for Him to make sure that our boys would be in His capable hands as they played with it.
He asked Him to protect them so that they would never have a broken bone or lose any of their teeth while riding that skateboard. He further informed God that we were not going to worry about this issue…that Michael’s safety on the skateboard was His problem and not our problem! And then, he closed with, Amen!
When Michael got off the school bus that day and spied the blue skateboard – he went ballistic with excitement! I told him exactly what had happened – he picked it up and ran outside with it under his arm while yelling, “Hey guys, God brought me a brand new skateboard!”
He began the learning process…aided by his friends…on how to ride the thing. He lost his balance, tripped, stumbled, and fell over repeatedly. He cut himself, sported bruises and lumps on just about every imaginable spot on his body, but he never broke a bone, sustained a serious injury, or lost a tooth. God fulfilled His end of the contract (we imposed on Him) and Michael (and we) learned that God answers prayer!
“Hey guys, God brought me a brand new skateboard!”
One side note: Our oldest son, Michael, turned 50 recently! To this date, he still has not broken a bone or lost any of his teeth…but, I assure you, he will NEVER forget that amazing day when God answered his prayer by giving him a beautiful blue skateboard!