|Farmer John with his mother-in-law, Anna Ruth|
I'm not alone in this impression. Over the years I have been amused by the approving glances he attracts from women of all ages. I'm only hoping that the college-age girls who still smile at him are thinking that he reminds them of their dads.
Happily, John is mostly oblivious to this kind of thing, and so it hasn't cost me more than passing annoyance. But in the past few years he's become just a little chagrined at the kind of female attention he's begun to attract. Older women--much much older, as in over 80--will select him out of a crowd to do their bidding. Wal-mart especially has become a hazardous excursion for this man who mostly likes to mind his own business. But he has a good heart and these aged damsels in distress guess, rightly, that he will do what he can to help.
This past week's trip to Wal-mart was especially taxing for him. Two older ladies asked him to reach for items off a shelf, and I volunteered him to help a third woman who was standing, alone and upset, looking at a container of beef bouillon that had been pushed out of reach on a tall shelf. "My husband will help you!" I said. And he did.
When we got to the store exit, there were two white haired ladies standing side by side, having an urgent conversation. One was saying, "I have to help you to the car or else I have to go get the car and bring it here..." And the other was arguing with her.
John walked out of the store and the argumentative lady pointed her cane toward him. "You, get over here," she said.
To his credit, John didn't hesitate. "He'll walk me to the car," she said to her companion, linking her arm through John's. And he did.
I think there is an element of divine provision in all of this. In the same way that emergency workers often come upon car accidents by chance and render aid, or off-duty police officers just happen to be available to help in some crisis, John's experience as a caregiver and his willingness to help makes him the choice, not only of elderly folks in need of assistance, but of the good Lord, who provides for His children through those who are willing to lend aid.
But I can't help teasing him just a little bit. My husband, the elderly lady magnet!