Be sure to read this story to the very end …
I have a new young friend. His name is Theo. Theo is 19 years old and special. Theo is special not just because he has a special way of thinking and seeing the world, but because he is an amazing person. Theo is smart, friendly, and interesting. And I like him a lot. And I think Theo likes me too. In fact, he says I’m his favorite “Babci” (my Polish grandma name) because our grandson Evan is his best friend.
I haven’t gotten to know Theo very well yet, but I have discovered that Theo loves people, biking, and trains. And one day around the holidays, I was offered the opportunity to experience all three with him.
It was a Saturday during Christmas break, and we were at my grandson Carter’s basketball game. While waiting at the door to the gym until the previous game was over, Theo began sharing, via his cell phone map app, his past bike road trips. He recounted his trip through Tipp City on his way north to Troy. Now you have to know that Tipp City is one of my favorite towns and one with which I have a history. So I said, “Oh Theo, I love Tipp City, and there on your map is ‘Sam & Ethel’s Restaurant,’ one of my favorite places!”
“Would you meet me there, Babci? You can drive up to Tipp City, and I’ll ride my bike. We can meet there.”
What a great idea! So of course, I said, “Yes!”
So later that week, Theo biked and I drove, and we met in front of Sam & Ethel’s Restaurant in historic Tipp City, Ohio. Since neither of us was hungry yet, we decided to walk the few blocks up to the railroad tracks in hopes of seeing a freight train pass by before lunch. While waiting for the train, we had fun chatting about trains. I learned from Theo about directional signals and warning lights, and I shared with him what I knew about trains having “tires” made from steel. However, after waiting awhile without a train appearing, we decided to go eat lunch and return to try again.
Sam & Ethel’s was crowded by the time we walked our few blocks back. So when our names came up for a seat, all that was available was the counter. What fun to be seated next to my new friend at the counter at my favorite “local color” restaurant! There is something unique about sitting at the counter. (It took me back to my childhood.) The waitress came and we placed our order. When our food appeared, I told Theo that I would like to ask a blessing for our food the way I do when my grandsons are with me. So I held my hand over our food and said, “Thank you, Jesus, for this food. Amen.”
Theo responded, “Babci, can I do that too?”
I said, “Of course you can, Theo.” And so Theo asked the same blessing. And I responded, “Amen!” How I love my friend Theo, and how I long for him to know my Jesus.
And so we ate and chatted about lots of things, and then we left for another try at our train tracks and the possibility of watching a train pass right in front of us. How I prayed along the way, “O Jesus, please, please give us a train. Surely, You wouldn’t disappoint this friend of mine.”
So we waited and waited and then … we heard the faint sounds …could it be? Yes, a train was approaching! “O thank You, Jesus, thank You, thank You!”
The lights! The gates coming down! The traffic stopping! And what anticipation on our part! And Theo counting the cars, “One, …five, … ten, … twenty, … thirty, … forty, …fifty, … sixty, … seventy, … eight, … ninety, … one hundred, … one hundred five, one hundred six, one hundred seven!!!!!!! WOW!
“Thank You, God, for a humdinger of a train!”
And so Theo and I went our way rejoicing at the sight of a glorious freight train with all the bells and whistles and 107 cars! So back to bike and car we walked, vowing to “do it again” next year if not before. Later Theo told me that he had dubbed our joyful excursion, “The Babci Holiday Classic.”
What a delightful day with my new friend Theo. He is a gift from God to me. I like Theo a lot. No, I love him, and I pray that one day he will come to love my Jesus even more than he loves people, biking, and trains.
Thank you, God for Theo and his beautiful life. Amen.
On Easter, April 21, 2019, my precious friend Theo opened his heart and life to his Savior our Lord Jesus Christ. Our son Jeremy and daughter-in-law Cortney and grandsons Evan and Carter had the privilege of leading Theo to the Lord at Easter dinner.
Cortney’s mom wrote on facebook: Theo accepted Jesus as his Lord and savior today and he couldn't contain his joy. He kept saying how free he felt and laughing and dancing around! Could not have happened at a better time!! He is risen! Praise The Lord!!
Now Theo is not only my friend and my surrogate “grandson,“ but also my beloved brother in Christ. The angels in heaven are rejoicing and so is Theo’s Babci. Amen.