The anxious concern that she brought to her oak tree sanctuary this day was not uncommon to other young women of similar age. In fact, her mother had reminded her earlier that morning, “Once you hit twenty you are just about guaranteed to die an old maid.”
Then there was her thirty-two-year-old sister, Pearl, who still lived at home. Mable sure didn't want that to happen to her.
So what was the problem? Wasn't she pretty enough? Wasn't she fun to be with? Maybe she talked too much or said the wrong things.
Actually, Mable Shown was a very attractive young lady with a great sense of humor who could carry on a good conversation with just about anybody. She was sweet, caring, and wise beyond her years, a hard worker, and a splendid cook. Which again begs the question, “What's the problem?”
Mable's problem was she had very high standards. Any young man who took designs on her was given a strict set of rules that must be followed if he was to share her company. To be fair, those rules were not all of Mable's making. Her daddy, Moses, and mother, Mary, had a very thorough vetting process required of her suitors.
“Dear Lord,” she began. “Mama says if I wait much longer to find a husband I'm gonna end up an old maid. So I came today to ask you to send me a man. Now, you give me whoever you think is best for me but if it's all right, I'd like to make a few suggestions. Now, it doesn't really matter if he's a farmer, because that's what most of the men in these parts do for a living, but please send me a clean one. Some of these farmers smell bad and you know how I can't stand that. And please don't send me an old man. My cousin Ina Mae just married a man twice her age because I figure she just gave up looking and didn't think she'd ever find anybody else. And, if it's your will I would prefer not to have a homely fellow like the one that Lola Bell Strosnider married. I know Bucky Jones can't help the way he looks and he is your creation. I'm sure you had a good reason for making him look the way he does. Maybe you make people like him for girls who are hard up for a fella. Just so you know, I'm not hard up, at least, not yet. Daddy has told me many a time that you put somebody on this earth just for me. I don't know who that might be, but I hope you will make him known to me real soon. Preacher said we should pray real specific. So, if it be your will, I'm asking you within the next 30 days to send me a husband. He doesn't have to be perfect but I would like him to be handsome, gentle, kind, generous, loving, godly, smart, caring, hardworking, church-going, compassionate, and wise. And if I missed anything throw that in too. Oh, and please don't forget about the handsome part. That's real important. Finally, please answer me this time. Sometimes you don't answer my prayers but I know you know what's best. Please, please give me a positive response to this one. Amen.”
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