A number of years ago, today, a baby girl was born to Ernie and Ena Manchester. I met her 19 or so years later. She had curly blonde hair (the colour was natural but the curl was chemical). We met in a hot tub.
Bonita was a lifeguard at the High Street Complex, now the St. Thomas YMCA. I was new to the club and I was trying to get into shape. I had just finished a workout and was going to sit in the hot tub for a few. There were a number of guy and gal lifeguards that arrived at the tub shortly after I did…and there was a camera man. He was doing some promo pics for the Y and I tried to sneak out but he made me stay. I guess they were short on guy lifeguards. I don’t know to this day whether those pics ever saw the light of day.
I ran into her a couple of times after that and she was apologetic for the way I had been treated by the photographer. We struck up a conversation and I asked her out a couple of weeks later. She was a believer and through several conversations and some Bible studies, she helped me see my need for the Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. I repented and believed the gospel. We married about three years later.
She brought so much into the marriage and developed skills over our married life. She knows how to cook for an army (she worked in a group home for a few years), she makes some fave recipes for her family (clam chowder, lasagna, and shrimp alfredo to name a few) and is pretty good at coming up with something quick on a Sunday afternoon when we invite people over after church (she’s much more spontaneous with this than I am and it’s often sausage and waffles).
Bonita can unclog a sink and fix a washing machine. She can diagnose the problem with our cars, nine times out of ten. She painted our house from downstairs to upstairs in our first year in St.T. (More than once I came home from the church for lunch when we lived in Brigden and she would have all the furniture pushed to the centre of the room with a drop cloth over them and would have her scrubs on with roller in hand). She balances a budget well. She also taught me how to change a tire…and that’s another story for another day. She’s an amazing Mom, equal parts grace and truth. She’s an incredible support to me. I could go on and on…
A few years back we had a surprise b-day party for her in Brigden. We had a potluck, some singing, some entertainment, and I read from Proverbs 31…and so much of it describes her:
 An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels.  The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain.  She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life.  She seeks wool and flax, and works with willing hands.  She is like the ships of the merchant; she brings her food from afar.  She rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household and portions for her maidens.  She considers a field and buys it; with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.  She dresses herself with strength and makes her arms strong.  She perceives that her merchandise is profitable. Her lamp does not go out at night.  She puts her hands to the distaff, and her hands hold the spindle.  She opens her hand to the poor and reaches out her hands to the needy.  She is not afraid of snow for her household, for all her household are clothed in scarlet.  She makes bed coverings for herself; her clothing is fine linen and purple.  Her husband is known in the gates when he sits among the elders of the land.  She makes linen garments and sells them; she delivers sashes to the merchant.  Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come.  She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.  She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.  Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her:  “Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.”  Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.  Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates. (Proverbs 31:10-31 ESV)
We haven’t had a perfect marriage and many days she could have called the game on account of rain in the early days…but I grew up by the grace of God, I matured and it has so much to do with the graced women that God blessed me with. I am so grateful for Bonita.
She’s working a twelve today. She was up at 5:15 this morning and out the door at 5:45. She’ll drive an hour to get to work and she’ll be home around 8:15 tonight.
On days like today I sit back and realize that I married up. She has ridden the roller coaster of ministry with me and continues to be the support that many men only dream of. I dearly love her, thank God for her…and oh yeh…she still makes my socks roll up and down.