Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Just Another Ordinary, Every Day Love Story - Part 1

For over 30 years I have been married to my best friend. Occasionally someone will comment on the longevity of our relationship and wonder how we've done it. If you'll indulge me a little meandering down memory lane, I'd like to share how Shannon and I got to this point in our lives where, as a single-minded force, we have been able to stare down cancer and conquer it. (Yes, conquer it. Even though it will eventually claim Shannon's life, cancer has not defeated us. If its intention was to discourage us and cause us to grow apart due to the stress and strain it causes, it has failed miserably. We have only become stronger and closer as a result of this.)

When we first met at fine arts camp in Henderson, TN in 1978, we didn't like each other very much. I was the new kid in town and she thought I was a dumb athlete (she always has been good at judging character). She was very sure of herself,  had been a part of that group for a couple of years and held some leadership positions. I thought she was snooty. A week or so later, in my first semester at Freed-Hardeman University, I had pretty much forgotten about her, choosing instead to focus on getting acquainted with other people at the school as well as my new surroundings.

Sometime into the semester the drama department was holding auditions for "The Music Man." I tried out and won a small role. You can probably imagine who the student director was - Shannon. At that point our opinions of each other had not changed, but as days of rehearsals passed, I began to notice something about her. I again saw that self-assurance, but this time in a different light. I saw it even in the face of a bunch of male teenage cast members who sometimes weren't very respectful of their young, female leader. I also saw an interest in and concern for other people. There was something there that I had never really seen before in a young lady and suddenly I wanted to get to know her better.

I asked her out and, thankfully, she agreed to go with me to dinner at The Old Country Store in Jackson, TN and then to Bible class afterwards. It was a memorable evening for me. Does that mean I remember all the details? Well, I recall where we sat but if you ask me what I ate and what she ate, forget about it. Regarding the meal itself, suffice it to say that we ate food, got full, I paid the check and we left. But this person for whom I previously had little regard had now captured my thoughts, and, as I would soon find out, my heart.

More to come...