I met Susan Carol Richtman
several years before I became romantically interested in her. I had actually gone to elementary school with one of her sisters, and, because Susan had dated my best friend’s brother, our paths would cross from time to time — more by accident than by fate.
Then Burton Cummings changed everything.
The lead vocalist for the rock group The Guess Who is my all-time favorite singer – by a wide margin. I hope, for your sake, his hits list rings a bell. “These Eyes,” “American Woman,” “Share the Land,” and “Stand Tall” topped the charts, back in the ‘60s and ‘70s.
And “Dream of a Child” helped me win the love of my life.
That song was the title track on an album Cummings released in 1978. It is a beautiful, playful ballad that was a big hit in his native Canada, but for some reason it never struck gold in the U.S.
In fact, I heard it play only one time on the radio.
When it did,
when the first note from Burton’s grand piano rang through the car’s dashboard speaker, I knew I was party to a transcendent moment. I knew I was being called — by God or, maybe, just by Burton. And I knew I JUST HAD TO finish the business that was started the first time I’d engaged in a meaningful conversation with the striking, bright, tenderly shy brunette sitting just a few feet away.
Though the clock had struck midnight not long before, it was chiming again — only, now, just to me and just for me. I looked into Susan’s eyes. I moved my head oh-so-slowly toward hers. I pursed my lips.
Never before or after has there been a better kiss. Anywhere.
A little more than a year later,
as the organist fingered the first chord, and the congregation stood, and every head turned to afford a view of the newest August bride, what that view revealed, instead, was an angel.
Susan, her arm clutching that of her father, paused for a moment. She never liked attention. Never mind that she never deserved it more — she clearly felt embarrassed that some 200 eyeballs were fixed on the spot where she was standing.
Upon dad’s tug, she started the slow trek from back of church to front, and thus began the first leg of the journey. The second produced a shared life … in the same tiny duplex … in the same small bedroom … in the same bed. A third wrought four remarkable children, three “all boy” boys and our dancing daughter, who left us forever spellbound the moment she waltzed into our lives. Whatever leg we’re on now recently gave us our first grandchild. And gave me yet another glimpse of God’s grace.
All that said, this is His truth: When I first saw Susan Carol Richtman enter the sanctuary at St. Paul Presbyterian Church in North Richland Hills, Texas, I didn’t give even a remote thought to this journey. I had reached my destination. It was heaven.
I’m very proud to note that some 34 years later I’m still there.