Tuesday was a bit of a strange night for a date, but I was sure it wasn't easy for Walter to schedule in all of the things he needed to get done before entering the Missionary Training Center on the following week. Actually I vaguely suspected that he was saving the choice nights of Friday and Saturday for dates with other girls, but I put that thought out of my mind and told myself that it was just that he had tons of stuff to do and scheduling it all in was tricky.
Mom was pretty happy for me that I would be going on my first date with a boy who was about to set off on a mission. She was perfectly willing to overlook the fact that I wasn't quite sixteen yet, although Dad wasn't too thrilled about it. Mom patiently explained to him that we needed to make a special exception this one time because if we waited until I turned sixteen, Walter would already be gone.
"I don't think that that's a good reason to be making a special exception," said Dad. "I don't know that she should be dating a boy who's so much older."
"But he's about to set off on his mission," said Mom. "Our missionaries need to be encouraged by the support of girls back home." She said it as if I were doing some altruistic thing to advance the spreading of the gospel, but the gleam in her eye as she helped me get ready said that she was proud that her daughter was on the road to snag such a desirable guy.
"I don't like it," said Dad. "I hope that this 'last date before going on a mission' isn't like the proverbial 'last date before going off to war.'"
"Sweetheart, what a terrible thing to say," said Mom. "This Walter is a fine, upstanding, righteous boy who is about to sacrifice two years of his life to serve the Lord. The least we can do is believe in him and encourage him."
"I'm still not happy about it," said Dad. "If you insist on allowing this, I won't try to stop you, but I'm not going to be a part of it." He went into his study and closed the door. I supposed that that meant that he wasn't going to come out and insist upon meeting Walter. So much the better, really.
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