Today over at Betty Beguileswe are sharing our engagement stories. I knew that I couldn't do that without telling the tale of how I and the Man of My Heart met some 25 years ago. On a blind date! Yep, you read that correctly. It was April 1986 and my friend Kim called to ask a favor. She was dating a young Midshipman at the time and was going to be driving down to Annapolis to visit him. It was an hour drive from our town and her Dad didn't want her to drive alone so he asked her to take one of her "responsible friends". I asked what I was supposed to do while she and R were fawning all over each other? "Oh, don't worry. We can't leave campus because he has duty but we can meet over at Dalgren Hall for the mixer. He promises to bring along a few of his friends so you and Christy (her other friend tagging along) won't be bored." "A blind date? No way, no how. I will get stuck with some egotistical loser who loves his own reflection. Not happening my friend!" "Oh no Mar. You know R's friend all have such great personalities." she said trying to sound convincing. Oh yeah...I had heard that one before! After an hour of listening to her talk all bout how much she missed her guy and how her father was a tyrant and wouldn't let her go (smart Dad now that I am a Mom!), I finally relented but warned her I would not be happy if this guy was a dud. A few days later, dressed in my most conservative "responsible" clothing (because I knew I would NOT be meeting the man of my dream so I didn't really care what I looked like) the three of us headed down to Annapolis for the evening. Kim commented that I looked like a librarian. What...ever... Upon arrival, R met us and escorted us to the mixer (for you young 'uns, this was back when there were very few female midshipmen so they bussed girls in every Saturday night from the local colleges to "mingle and mix". Nowadays they are left to their own devices).
That's when things go interesting. My blind date didn't show up but my friend Christy's did. He was a handsome, tall, blond and blue-eyed stud. What took me by surprise was how funny he was. He didn't mind at all that there were two of us. He was a midshipman after all and "planned for all contingencies". He laughed and couldn't believe his good fortune. He took turns dancing with each of us and we were having a blast. He told us all about this foreign land called Oklahoma where there were cows and horses. After about an hour, he grabbed another friend of R's and introduced him to Christy, who went all gaga over the new tall dark and handsome. I was stunned that he wanted to spend the rest of the evening with ME! The responsibly dressed librarian. Oh be still my heart... We danced and laughed and had the very best time. He was such a gentlemen, holding out my chair, offering his arm, and he looked quite hot in that uniform I must say! At the end of the night, he walked me back to the car and sweetly gave me a kiss that turned my knees to jello. I found out later, it was his first kiss and he knew I was the "right one" to give it to. I was stunned. The man was 21 years old and not only was I his first kiss and I only met him because my blind date didn't show up! Hah! Best luck ever!! Over the next two years, he courted and wooed me. We won't discuss how my six brother's did not speak to him for the first SIX months. They just stared and grunted occasionally. Then one Sunday we were all having dinner and my brother Chris asked him to pass the mashed potatoes. Jerry looked at me and said "I guess I finally passed the test." To which my brother said "You must be one stubborn dude cause we figured you'd be out of here in a few weeks and you just kept coming back. You must like her." Ya think moron! Gosh I LOVE brothers! We won't discuss the first time my father met Jerry, he simply stated "Son, I was in the Navy and I know what your thinking. Not with my daughter you won't." Upon my immortal embarrassment, rolling of eyes and the quintessential "Daaadddd, please stop embarrassing me." he leaned and and told him "Don't get any ideas son. My wife was in the navy as well and she is still a better shot than I am." Miracle of miracle the man still wanted to be with me! See, God does have a plan! Then one cold December night in 1987, while he was visiting from Flight School, we were babysitting one of my neighbors little ones and he got down on both knees and asked me to be the mother of his children and to grow old with him. I started to laugh uncontrollably because I knew if I didn't I would cry and that might freak him out. He presented me with a beautiful sapphire and diamond ring that looked like Princess Di's, only a wee bit smaller. The theme song of the "A-Team" was playing in the background on the TV. and after I screamed "yes, yes, yes" and he placed it on my finger your could hear Hannibal's character say "I love it when a plan comes together!" I could NOT agree more! What's so stunning though is that when we were sitting there that night talking about our future together I asked him directly what he would do if one of our children were handicapped or disabled in some way. My best friend's brother had special needs and he came to my mind in that moment. My future husband looked at me and said "Well I think I would have a really hard time if they couldn't speak or see. But I guess we would do the best we could to love them." And love her he has...oh the story God has written...amazing... We have been through much in 25 years together (23 years of those married) but one thing remains the same...we laugh as often as we can.