We were around fifteen when Stephen and I were at the stable. All at once Stephen said, "Wow," almost whispering. "Huh,"I responded glancing up from the book I was reading." I hadn't wanted to go to the stable; I only tagged along, because Stephen practically accused me of being afraid of horses.

"Huh," Stephen sputtered. "Huh, is that all you've got to say about that beauty Mary Beth is riding?"
"Sorry," I muttered. "I was studying the bible lesson Mr. Carpenter asked us to read."

"Put the book down,” Stephen said. "You'll have plenty of time to read it tonight. Mary Beth's going to the barn; if we hurry maybe she'll talk to me about her horse."

"I don't want to pester Mary Beth," I said. "I don't know why I let you goad me into coming with you anyway."

"Well, David, while you're sitting on a stump reading, I'll be making an awesome impression on Mary Beth," Stephen gloated. "After all, I've read at least a hundred books about horses."

I watched Stephen run his fingers through his short red hair as he approached the barn. Mary Beth appeared to ignore him; she vigorously brushed the horse's coat without even looking at Stephen.

"What's with that girl?" Stephen grumbled coming through the barnyard gate. "All I wanted was to ask about her horse. I finally found out his name, I tell you what I think; I think she's a snob."

"What's the horse’s name?" I asked gathering my papers and books, placing them neatly in my backpack.

"Prince," Stephen snapped. "Probably because she thinks he's better than the other horses."

"Maybe you should read the lesson I just finished," I said getting on my rusty ten-speed bike.

"What for?" Steven shouted. "What's reading the lesson have to do with Mary Beth's attitude?"

"Probably more than you think," I answered. "Just read it tonight, okay?"

"Yeah, yeah," Stephen said grabbing his bike that was propped up against the tall oak tree.

"See you later," I said when we came to Stephen house. "Don't forget to read the lesson."

"I'll read it," Stephen said. "I'm just sure it's going to solve all my frustrations about Mary Beth's behavior."

I didn't answer; I picked up speed as I peddled the two blocks to my house.

Stephen said he ate supper, took out the garbage, then went to his room. He said he picked up a sports magazine and plopped down on his bed. Then he rolled over on his stomach before he remembered he promised me he would read the lesson.

Later when Stephen phoned, he said,"I guess I did sorta judge Mary Beth," he mumbled. He said, when he finished reading. "I assumed she was a snob, I really don't know what her problem is."

Later Stephen said he snatched up the phone; he punched in Naomi's number. She was Mary Beth's best friend; and he thought maybe she could shed some light on the situation. He said he thumped his fingers on the night stand impatiently waiting for someone to answer. "This is Stephen Parker," he said when Naomi's mother answered the phone. "May I speak to Naomi please?" He said he walked around the room, the long cord tangled around the bedpost. He twisted the cord around his finger. "Hello," Naomi said. Stephen blurted out all his feelings, without giving Naomi a chance to say a word until he was finished.

Once Stephen finished the call to Naomi he said he pushed down the button, got a dial tone then hurried to punch in my phone number.

"Hey, David, it's me," Stephen said. "I read the lesson, you were right and it sure got me to thinking."

"Yeah," I said. "Now, what do you plan to do about your attitude?"

"It's all taken care of," Stephen answered. I talked to Naomi, Mary Beth isn't a snob and I admit I was completely wrong about her. She's been upset because her dog disappeared yesterday, he's probably at the pound, but anyway she didn't tell anyone other than Naomi, she didn't think other people would understand her missing an animal."

"I see you did get the message from the lesson, old buddy," I said.

"Thanks to you, I probably wouldn't have read the lesson if you hadn't been so persistent," Stephen said. "I wont be so quick to jump to conclusions next time. See you at school tomorrow."

That was twenty-five years ago and today Mary Beth and I are married. We celebrated our twentieth wedding anniversary a few weeks ago. We have three horses and three daughters who love horses as much as Mary Beth does. Stephen married Naomi and now when he isn't sure about some situation he always goes back and reads the Sunday School lesson from back when we were fifteen years old.

Copyright © 1994  Jo Ann Lovelace. All Rights Reserved.