Gooooood morning everyone! I hope you have a wonderful Saturday, and to start it off, we have a great article I dug up from 2005, written by Kathy Buchanan! It’s entitled Matchmaker Eugene, and originally appeared in Brio magazine in September of 2005. Brio was a magazine aimed towards girls ages 8-12, the same “age range” of Adventures in Odyssey. All rights to this story belong to Kathy Buchanan and Brio. Without further ado, here is the long-lost gem of fiction!
Likable, detached, eccentric and possessing a dry sense of humor, Eugene doesn’t take offense when people show a lack of interest in his vast array of knowledge. After a long struggle, Eugene finally became a Christian. But his new faith hasn’t kept him and his co-worker, Connie Kendall, from getting into numerous, often humorous disagreements. The only thing his superior intelligence apparently can’t fully figure out is women. After a tulmultuous courtship, he finally wed his fiancee, Katrina Shanks.
A teen employee at Whit’s End, Connie is into modern trends or at least as much as she can get in the small town of Odyssey. She and her mother moved to Odyssey from California after her parents divorced. She has a stubborn streak that challenges conventional thinking and questions many of the assumptions Christians make. Of particular note is Connie’s very sisterly relationship with co-worker Eugene Meltsner. Frankly, they get on each other’s nerves most of the time and engage in playful banter that occasionally gets out of hand.
The Story Begins
“No offense, Miss Kendall, but your knowledge on the subject appears to be lacking in both sense and experience.”
Sometimes I wish Eugene would just speak in plain English. Why did I even invite him to co-host my radio show with me? I thought a guy’s perspective on my special call-in show on relationships would be helpful, but instead it’s just become a headache.
“We’ll return after this brief message from our sponsor,” I announced into the microphone, clicking on a commercial to play. The lyrics for Bernard’s Walton Janitorial Service rang out. . . .
All the way from here to Fiji,
Bernard Walton uses his squeegee. . . .
I turned to Eugene.
“This show is ‘Candid Conversations with Connie. ‘ And guess what: I’m Connie. I have every right to speak my mind. And I do know what I’m talking about.”
“No offense, but you just don’t have the experience I have on the issue with relationships. I’m married.”
“Sure. But I’ve dated. It’s not like I’m clueless in the area.”
“But you can’t argue with the fact that I’ve had more success in my relationship. The last guy you dated is now in Budapest.”
“As an FBI agent. That’s very admirable.”
I didn’t want to talk about Mitch. I certainly didn’t want to talk about all my failures in guy-girl relationships.
“Regardless,” Eugene continued, “what you told that last caller wasn’t completely true. Just because a boy talks to you doesn’t mean he’s necessarily interested in pursuing a relationship.”
Who’s to Pursue?
The commercial for Walton Janitorial Service wrapped up, and my caller light blinked incessantly at me. No matter how annoyed I was with Eugene, I had to go on with the show.
“Welcome back. We’ll take our next caller with a question about relationships. Hello. You’re on ‘Candid Conversations with Connie.’ ”
“And Eugene!” my co-host piped in.
“What’s your name?” I asked.
“My name is Melanie,” said the voice over the phone. “And I was wondering what do you do when a guy seems to like you, but he doesn’t approach you? Is it OK if I invite him to go out with my friends?”
“Sure. That would be a great idea. It’d make you much more approachable. And, if he’s scared, that takes the pressure off.”
“Excuse me if I interrupt momentarily.”
“Do you have to disagree with everything I say?” I asked him.
“Of course not. Just when you’re wrong. My personal belief, speaking as a male, is that you can be friendly and approachable without initiating the relationship. Men, at our core, are pursuers. And although it might be easier for our female counterparts to make the first move, it immediately puts our relationship in a skewed fashion with the female in a leadership role.”
“In other words, he disagrees,” I explained to our audience.
“I believe you should wait for him to invite you to an event,” Eugene said.
“And I believe you should ask him to a party with some of your friends. Good guys are hard to find. You need to snatch one up when you have the chance.”
“Good guys aren’t that difficult to find,” Eugene said.
“Well, of course you can say that because you’re a guy! You don’t know what it’s like. Smart, kind, Christian young men aren’t always around.”
“Perhaps I could issue a challenge, Miss Kendall,” Eugene spoke directly into the microphone.
“What kind of challenge?” I didn’t have a good feeling about this.
“How about I set you up with a friend of mine. I believe I could choose a young man for you of high quality who would fit your definition of a ‘great guy.’ ”
It felt like all of Odyssey held its breath while I weighed this out. How could I decline his offer when all the listeners out there heard the challenge with their own ears? So even though I didn’t think Eugene knew a great guy from a lawn ornament, what choice did I have?
“OK. I guess.” My reluctance was evident.
“Wonderful. We’ll have a double date with Katrina and me this weekend. Shall we say Saturday?”
“Sure. Saturday. And on next week’s show I’ll report how it went.”
I reluctantly got ready that Saturday night. I wanted to look nice — but not too nice, you know. We were meeting at the Odyssey Bowling Alley and going out for pizza afterward.
“Miss Kendall! Miss Kendall! We’re over here!” Eugene called when I walked through the front doors. He and Katrina introduced me to their friend Alvin. What can I say about Alvin? He was nice. And a Christian. And, well . . . a little different.
“Connie, this is Alvin.” Eugene said.
“Hello, Alvin,” I said.
“Hello. You probably thought that word was invented with the creation of the telephone, didn’t you?”
“The word hello. Do you realize how old that word is?”
“I never really thought about it.”
“In actuality, the word hello originally comes from the word hallo — an 1840s term used as a cry of surprise. Halloo dates to about 1700, but a variant, aloo, appears in Shakespeare’s King Lear a century earlier.” Alvin grinned at me with satisfaction.
“Fascinating,” Eugene concurred. “It’s also interesting to note that Alexander Graham Bell proposed the word ahoy be used when answering the phone instead.”
“Yeah,” I said. “So . . . what are your hobbies, Alvin?”
“I have numerous hobbies. Interesting, that you would call them hobbies. That word originates from the old French word hobe. . . .”
Eugene, what did you get me into?
“What was wrong with Alvin, Miss Kendall?” Eugene asked me the next day.
“Besides the fact that he made pterodactyl noises at the pizza shop?”
“He was merely demonstrating the mating call of a deceased species. I found it quite interesting.”
I wiped the last of the crumbs off the Whit’s End counter — the soda shop where I work. “Nothing was wrong with him. We just didn’t click.”
“He’s kind, generous, intelligent, a Christian. What more could you require?”
“Maybe . . . ” I thought about it. “Someone who is a little more like me?”
“Nosey, consistently tardy and a fan of lime popsicles?”
I sat down on one of the counter stools. “You think more logically than I do. The perfect guy doesn’t just meet a list of certain requirements. I need to feel like we’re compatible in our personalities.”
“Hmm . . .”
“Like you and Katrina are. You have different personalities, but they work well together. You like each other even though you’re not the same.”
“And we do have a lot in common.”
“I think I understand. I apologize for putting you in an uncomfortable situation.” Eugene patted my shoulder.
“It’s OK. I know you meant well. It just takes both the right qualities ?”
“And the appropriate compatibility,” he finished for me. “I can see now why it might be difficult to find the right one.”
“I guess it just takes time,” I said. Customers began to trickle in, and I headed back to the cash register.
“I should be going,” he said.
“I’ll see you later.”
Behind me, I heard him walk to the door and then turn around.
“But for what it’s worth, Miss Kendall . . . Connie . . . I think when the right guy comes along, he’s going to be a very blessed man indeed.”
I guess I learned that romantic relationships are confusing. But God can bring them into our lives at the right time.
And, along the way, He gives us some pretty good friends.
To learn more about the radio drama series Adventures in Odyssey, check out www.whitsend.org
If you’ve ever heard Adventures in Odyssey, you know we’ve had many relationships that have come, gone and stuck around for the long haul. But they’ve all taught us something.
Jason and Tasha: The best relationships share a common faith in Christ.
Jason and Tasha had a lot in common: they both worked for the National Security Agency, and they loved experiencing adventure, cracking codes and having fun. It seemed like they were the perfect match, except for one important factor: Tasha didn’t share Jason’s faith. At first Jason chose to ignore that issue, but it soon became apparent that a God-pleasing relationship couldn’t be built on differing values. As painful as it was to break off their engagement, Jason knew it was the best thing to do. Read 2 Corinthians 6:14.
Eugene and Katrina: A solid relationship requires unselfish hearts and commitment to grow.
Talk about a relationship of ups and downs. They like each other, then they’re just friends. One has a relationship with God, then they both do. And Katrina even started seeing someone else. But both of them grew throughout the process of their friendship and eventual courtship. They had to face their own insecurities and selfish attitudes — creating a stronger marriage today.
Serving others and growing in Christ will provide a strong foundation for your relationships. Start now in becoming the right one rather than always focusing on finding the right one.
Connie and Mitch: A good relationship forms you into more of the person God wants you to be.
They seemed like a great couple from the start. But their relationship quickly moved from friendship to dating to engagement. And all the thought and prayer that needs to go into building a solid relationship fell by the wayside. Eventually the two realized God was calling them in different directions and not to be together.
Whether you’re dating or not, pray about your relationships. This practice will be a constant reminder to wait for God’s best and trust in Him!