“We didn’t forget you. We ran miles just to get back to you.”


Wednesday night is church night at the Renaud Empire. We take our kids to AWANA where they play fun games and memorize Bible verses. We usually go to the service except for the one week a month when we serve in AWANA as parent volunteers.

Tonight I thought it would be fun for Yoli and I to use our short time away from the kids for a mini date night. It had been a long week for me at work. Tuesday and Wednesday are usually my weekend, but I had worked overtime on Tuesday for election night. The weather was nice, and it seemed like a little one-on-one time was just what we needed.

After dropping off the kids, we headed over to St. Louis Bread Company for some drinks and a little dessert. Then we drove to Creve Coeur Lake Park. We found a bench where we enjoyed our goodies, people-watched, and talked as the sun set.

After a few minutes, we threw away our trash and decided to walk along the trail that loops the lake. We didn’t set out to walk the entire trail, but we were talking and taking in the scenery. We made it to the other side of the lake from where we had been sitting in good time. I assumed we were halfway around the lake.

Alas, I was quite mistaken. The trail was nearly four miles long.

We kept walking and walking. We enjoyed hearing bugs and frogs. The nature sounds reminded us of Yoli’s neighborhood after the rain in the years before the streets there were paved. We saw people playing lacrosse. The sun sank lower and lower and disappeared.

So did the joggers. And the bikers. And the walkers.

We were walking at a brisk clip now, and still we hadn’t turned the corner of the lake. I kept checking my iPhone. It was nearly 8 p.m. Belatedly I opened Apple Maps and for the first time I realized how far we still had to go. This romantic walk had just become a race against time.

Neither of us had intended to run. Yoli was wearing some really great-looking clothes, but not the kind you run in. Nevertheless, need pressed us. We had to run.

So we ran. And walked. And ran again. Over and over. No lights, scarcely anyone else on the trail. I wanted to run full speed ahead and just zoom to the minivan. But I couldn’t leave Yoli behind in the dark. We had to make it at least to the point where the trail met up again with the road.

Once that point was in sight, Yoli told me to go ahead and I increased my pace. But it was far to go for a guy who never runs. It was dark, and I didn’t want pass our parking lot by mistake, so I crossed the street and ran on the other side.

A painful while later, I made it to the van. I turned the key and roared down the road to pick up Yoli. Then we raced back to the church as fast as we could.

Out of breath and apologetic, we found the AWANA workers there, watching the four Renauds all together; the last ones to be picked up.

The kids, of course, wanted to know why we had forgotten them.

“Forget you? We didn’t forget you. We ran miles just to get back to you.”

As we drove home in the cool night we told them the story. I imagine it’s a story none of us will soon forget.

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