Altar Call – Opelika-Auburn News

Walter Albritton

September 16, 2018


What happened the day a young man forgot the ice cream


Bill Bouknight tells a funny story about a young man named Ole who took his girlfriend Bess on a summer outing. They took a picnic lunch out to a picturesque island in the middle of Okauchee Lake near Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It was summertime in the year 1900.

Bess wore a long dress with several petticoats. He was dressed in a suit with a high collar. Ole rowed them out to the island, dragged the boat into shore and spread their picnic supplies beneath a shade tree. So hypnotized was he by her beauty that he hardly noticed the hot sun and perspiration on his brow. Softly she whispered to him, "Ole, you forgot the ice cream."

Ole pulled the boat back to the water and rowed to shore. He found a grocery store nearby, bought the ice cream and rowed back to the island. Tired and wet with sweat, Ole listened as Bess fluttered her long eyelashes over deep blue eyes and purred, "Ole, you forgot the chocolate syrup."

Ole was an unusual young man. Without even frowning, he got back into that boat and returned to the store for syrup. But while rowing back toward the island, he suddenly stopped. He sat there in the boat for a long time, captivated by an idea. By the end of that afternoon, Ole Evinrude had invented the outboard motor. And a footnote: Ole later married Bess, the girl who waited so long for the chocolate syrup though the ice cream had long since melted.

What may we learn from this funny story that can help us when we face a daunting problem? The big idea for me is this: don’t play the blame game. Refrain from negative reactions which only make the situation worse. Ole could have blamed himself for the dumb idea of rowing out to an island for a picnic. He could have criticized Bess for selfishly insisting that he row back to shore for ice cream and syrup. We would not fault Ole if he had said to the young lady, “Bess, this picnic was a bad idea so get back in the boat and on the way home I will buy you some ice cream.”

            No, Ole was wise. He identified his problem – the hard work of using two paddles to move his rowboat. He figured there had to be a better plan. So he kept thinking until the idea of an outboard motor was born. His was actually the first outboard motor invented. By 1912 Ole’s company, Evinrude Outboard Motors, employed 300 people.

            Often when we face overwhelming problems, we focus on the problem and its pain and fail to look for the blessing that God may want to give us as we struggle. Bruce Larson offers a helpful insight: “In every disaster God has a gift for you, so claim it.”

I like that. Look for the blessing that we may not be able to see because of the tears in our eyes. When we stop crying, we can see more clearly.  When we stop having a pity party, we can better see how God wants to bless us in the midst of the pain and frustration we are facing. You can count on this: God is always looking for a way to bless his children.

            Dear brother Ole not only invented the outboard motor, he showed us that using your brain is far more important than playing the blame game or eating ice cream with your girlfriend!  + + +