Tuesday, October 13, 2015

A Very Special Day Indeed!

On the 286th day of the year in 1985, Kelly Jo and I went to church in the morning and in the evening at Harveysburg Full Gospel Church which was our home church. The day seemed perfect and everything felt pretty good in our world. It had been a roller coaster year emotionally and it was fixing to get even more exciting.

It was a gorgeous Sunday afternoon in the fall. That afternoon we walked up and down Main Street in Waynesville, Ohio along with 100,000+ of our closest friends enjoying the sights, sounds and smells of the annual Sauerkraut festival. 

Although the wonderful food is always the main attraction of the Sauerkraut festival I do not remember what we ate that day. I was only making $4.50 an hour so it is very possible that we did not eat much of the overpriced but delicious festival food. I do remember the warm day, the crowded streets, the beautiful sunshine and holding my lovely wife's hand as we walked.

I also remember that Kelly Jo told me something was not quite right with the baby. She was expecting our first child and she was only seven months along but something was not right. She had been to the clinic but her first doctors appointment was the next day so we figured it would all be worked out then. 

Kelly Jo did not drive at the time so my Mother was taking her to the doctor the next day while I went to work. We were sure the doctor would say everything was on schedule and was fine.

That night we stayed with my parents rather than driving to Wilmington to our upstairs apartment so Kelly Jo could be close at hand for my Mother. Mom could have picked her up in Wilmington but we did not have a phone so I am sure that was part of the consideration and ultimate decision to stay the night in Waynesville.

My sister gave up her room for us that night and Kelly Jo and I discussed baby names before we went to sleep. I do not remember discussing names much before that night but I am sure we did. That night we settled it. Before we went to sleep we knew what our baby's name would be. We had a boy name and a girl name. 

We did not have any clue at all that we had decided on a name in the nick of time!

I drove our 74 VW Bug to work the next morning at Buehrle Electric near Dayton and climbed into the company truck with my first cousin Gary Coffman. Gary was my work partner most of the time and was the lead electrician on an office building complex on Dyrden Rd. Gary and I had been working on that project for about two months and we had settled into a comfortable routine. We ran and worked hard all morning and afternoon and ate our lunch quickly so we had time to try to kill rats in the hedge next door. Hey! We were just overgrown kids after all.

There was a huge hotel and restaurant next door and their dumpster was next to a hedge that ran the length of the property. The hedge had rat tunnels all through it. A whole colony of rats lived in the hedge and ate from the dumpster. 

The huge construction dumpster was on our side of the hedge and the rats had taken up residence in and under it too feasting on left Big Macs and hostess lunch cakes I guess. We had been trying to kill a rat for weeks. We were in the city limits so guns were not an option but we had considered it anyway. 2x4's were not getting the job done.

At the end of the day we decided to try a new tactic. Gary stationed a third man inside the just emptied construction dumpster and he and I were on the outside between the dumpster (the rats dining room) and the hedge (the rats home and safe place).

On cue the man in the dumpster began hitting the floor of the empty dumpster with a 2x4. The rats went crazy! One came right toward Gary and he barely missed it with the heavy thump of his 2x4. The rat barely escaped Gary by making a quick move to the side and by chance the sudden change of direction placed the rat right where my 2x4 was smacking the ground!

After weeks of trying to kill a rat with no success, it was all over in a flash. We had just killed the biggest rat I had ever seen in my life! In the next few moments as we were admiring our kill and reliving the brief battle, Gary's work radio crackled. We did not have cell phones in that day.

Our boss, Dave Buehrle was calling us on the radio. He was on the phone with my wife. The doctor had said our baby was coming that day. Since it was so premature he recommended we go some where beyond the capabilities of the Wilmington hospital. Kelly Jo wanted to know if she should go to the recommended hospital in Cincinnati or the recommended hospital in Dayton. Since I worked in Dayton I decided that would be best and we made plans to meet at Kettering Hospital.

Gary took me back to the shop and I jumped in the Bug and drove to Kettering. When they found out we were uninsured, they recommended a transfer to Miami Valley Hospital and after a crazy few hours, a boatload of stress, emergency surgery and divine intervention Andrea Eve Boggs was born at about ten minutes before 9:00 PM on October 14, 1985!

Odie Podie Pickle Hymer Schmidt, as she came to be known, came into our world weighing 3 pounds and 9 ounces. The rat I killed that afternoon was much bigger than she was but Odie was definitely prettier!

After 27 days in the intensive care we took our beautiful baby girl home from the hospital. The next Sunday, which was probably November 17, 1985, we took her to church and I knelt at the altar with her in my arms as the children sang, 
"Come in to my heart. Come in to my heart, Come in to my heart, Lord Jesus. Come in today. Come in to stay. Come in to my heart, Lord Jesus."
That morning was one of the defining moments in our lives when it comes to our precious baby girl. It kind of closed the door on a very chaotic and frightening beginning to our lives together and opened the door to a wonderful exciting future. 

We have had hundreds of those memorable defining moments in the years since then. Odie has brought so much joy to me and her Mother, her grandparents, our families, our church family and thousands of others across the USA and in other nations.

Odie will turn 30 years old tomorrow October 14, 2015. 30 very short years. 

Happy Birthday to our dear sweet daughter. We are so very thankful that God entrusted you to our care. You are one of the few things in our lives that we might have gotten half way right. Your Mother and I love you more than a hog loves slop!

Happy 30th Birthday Odie!

Would you please join us in wishing Odie a Happy, Happy Birthday? You can send her a text or give her a call. But keep in mind we have no phone signal in Millry this week. Feel free to leave Odie a Happy Birthday comment here on the blog. She can also receive an iMessage from your iPhone or iPad or you could send her an email to our ministry email address or through the contact widget here on the blog.

Thanks for reading!



  1. Happy Birthday Sis. Odie!! Over the past few years, we have admired your faithfulness to the ministry, your sweet attitude, and most of all, your dedication to the One you sing about. May God truly bless you on your special day!

  2. Happy Birthday Odie, Love ya Cuz


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