I know you probably think I have gone nuts. No Dr. Seuss at the top, has he ran out of quotes? Actually, no I have plenty of others coming but I am going to mix things up just a little. Unfortunately, you have to read all about other parts of my life. It may not be as boring as you think, but then again I do think I am interesting so maybe it will.
What I thought I would start with is the beginning. Not my beginning but our beginning, the events leading up to our first meeting and the short time afterward. To me it is one of those stories that has too many coincidences to just be left to dumb luck. It seemed more like fate. I have always thought that and maybe over the next few posts you may see how I became so helplessly in love with my wife.
I grew up in a small farming town of a little over 9000 people. We were sandwiched between two other towns that had grown considerably larger than ours but because of the farm land and desert between our little town and those two cities, we were perfectly isolated. We did not have much of the hustle and bustle of normal towns and we somewhat operated on our own time, but there was also the tremendous work ethic of a farming community.
I am not going into my childhood other than to say that I pretty much knew the town like the back of my hand. I wandered the town at all hours of the day and night from a very young age. Outside of town in the middle of the farmland is another small farming town, if you could actually call it that. It consisted of a gas station, grocery store, and post office. There was also a small high school but it wasn’t near any of the other parts of the “town”. It did not seem to have any real boundaries and the houses were acres part. This small town was the home of the rival high school to the one I attended. It was not a fierce rival, more of a spirited rivalry. They were good at some sports and we were good at others, but if you actually wanted an education then you needed to come into town for school (I still tease my wife about this).
In these farming towns you were allowed to drive at 14. So once you entered high school everyone could drive to school. It also gave us the ability to expand our social circles or just get away from the normal life and go camping or swimming in the many rivers or irrigation canals.
My friends and I would spend most of our summers at a couple of swimming holes. We would get there around 10 am and stay around until 3 or 4 in the afternoon. Then we would go play whatever sports were going on that night. I, of course, was only allowed to play soccer but so did most of my friends by this point in my life. Over and over we would do this. Our favorite swimming hole was an irrigation canal with a rope swing into relatively calm waters but if you did not want to get out right away you could float down about 100 feet and go through a series of rapids built for kayakers to practice navigating rapids.. It was a little dangerous as someone always seemed to die every few years, but that was all part of the fun when you were that age and thought you were invincible.
Well, my day always began at 5:30am. If I was home, which wasn’t too often by this point, then it was for family prayer, but I also had a paper route that I did as my only source of income. It was easy and then I could be up and gone before the rest of the house ever got moving. After that I would practice soccer or basketball until one of my friends would come and get me to go swimming. Normally the same set of friends would not take me out as would bring me back in as I stayed out much longer than everyone else. However, at the same time each day we would meet up at a local ice cream shop in town. This is where I first saw her.
I was meeting a few of my soccer friends who had summer jobs and just got off and were meeting there to grab something cold, then eat and head to soccer. Well, the first time I went my friend told me about a couple of really cute girls working there. This, of course, was the real reason I went in the first place as I really don’t even like ice cream. It was not too far from my house and I could walk on days that I did not go swimming. Anyways, my friend picked me up that day in his jeep. It was a hard top and he had the top off and we had the radio cranked all the way up. It was the only way to drive back then. He was telling me that he really thought one of them was cute as we pulled in.
The ice cream shop was not much more than a shack. There was no indoor seating, actually there was no indoor anything except for the workers. It had an old wooden look to it with a short pitched green shingled roof. There was a window that you walked up and ordered and then waited while they got your order. On hot days they were constantly busy and this was just one of those days. We waited in line and talked about soccer. As we got to the front of the line my friend nudged me as said “That’s her.” I looked up and there were two girls working in the store. One was blonde with blue eyes and a friendly smile. She was had a light creamy complexion and was very attractive. She had on a pair of dark shorts and a white guess t-shirt. The other was a dark haired, sun kissed girl with freckles. He smile and green eyes had a way of making you feel so happy when she looked at you. I asked my friend which one he was talking about as they were both pretty hot. He said he really liked the brunette. She was working in back while the blonde took our order. We made a few jokes and got the blonde to laugh. Her laugh was contagious and made me smile to just here it. They were both about our age and while we wanted to try and stick around and talk with them, the line of customers growing behind us made it clear that was not happening that day.
We took our shakes and sat down at a table right outside the shop. We both watched as the girls worked and were friendly as they helped each customer. I think we both waited around to see if the line would ever go down, but there never seemed to be a lull in the customers. After about an hour, 45 min after we were done with out shakes, we decided we better leave and head to soccer. As I climbed up into his jeep, I turned and looked back and saw the blonde look up and smile at me. I felt like I was on cloud nine.
I was 16 at the time and would be heading into my junior year. All my friends were a grade above me and obviously a year above me in school as well. I had never really dated anyone up to this point in my life. I had one “girlfriend” (she called us that but I hardly ever saw or talked to her so I didn’t think so) that I met at a church dance I got talked into going with my friend. We kind of went out for about 2 months but hardly ever saw each other because she went to the other high school and lived way outside of town. The only time I ever saw her was at church dances, which I hated and only went to if one of my friends made me go with them, or if I could convince one of my friends to take me out there. I stopped seeing her after I went on one of the only actual dates I went on with her. She told me that I could not drink Coke because it was against the Mormon religion, she was convinced for some reason that 1. I cared and 2. I was a very active member. I guess that is what you get when you meet up at a church dance. Anyways, I promptly bought and drank an entire 2-liter right there at the table during dinner. I did not talk to her after that day even though she called a few times. I probably saw and talked to her about 8 times in those two months so it really wasn’t much of an actual relationship. Other than that minor experience, I had zero experience with girls.
My friend asked me if I liked the blonde as we drove to soccer that day. I thought back to her smile and I said of course I did. She was cute, attractive, funny, and just seemed so alive. He came up with a brilliant idea only a 16 year old could create. We agreed that we would ask the other girl to go out with the other guy. So he was going to ask the blonde to go out with me and I was going to ask the brunette out for him. This seemed like a genius idea because neither of us would ever get rejected because they would not actually be saying no to the person they are going out with. I loved the idea but still had no clue how I was going to ask the brunette out for my friend. I had a hard time even talking with any girl I had any interest in so I knew this would be hard, even though it was for my friend.
The next day wasn’t as hot as the day before. I went swimming in the river that was close to my house so I could walk home early and then get to the shop a little early. I figured the best chance I had was to do it when they were alone. I still had not figured out how to ask out one in front of the other without offending the other one. Well, as I got there the was not anyone in line. It looked like things were going to work out. I walked up to the window expecting to see the blonde and instead the brunette sat at the window. This was the first real close look I had at her. She had long brunette hair that had a slight curl to it. The green part of her eyes seemed to be outlined in dark brown and hazel which made them so warm and inviting but slightly mischievous all that the same time. She had a perfect smile and the cutest little nose. She was incredibly tan from being outside during the summer and it made her freckles stand out against her darkened skin. I was just staring into her eyes when I noticed that she had been talking to me. I quickly recovered with a disarming smile (okay, it probably was a cheesy grin but I thought it was a disarming smile) and asked what was their special flavor of the day. I did not even care what the response was as I knew I did not want it. I just looked at her talking to me. Then I remembered the blonde. I looked back and she was not there. Instead it was a little girl in the back working. She could not have been much older than 13.
I made some comment asking how old do you have to be to work in an ice cream shop. She laughed and said her dad had bought it for the summer for her, her sister and her friend to have a summer job. I asked her name and she told me but I immediately forgot. I am horrible with names. We talked for a little while and I found out she went to the rival high school and was a year older than I was. So she was the same age as my friend. As we were talking I placed my order, same as every time I would go there for the rest of the summer. She got up to get it and I noticed her long tan legs, that stood out with the shorts she was wearing. Her shorts were cut-offs just longer than the white body glove tank top she wore with them. I couldn’t help but stare at which I believe her sister noticed and began laughing at me. I quickly tried to strike a cool pose leaning up on the side of the window and almost fell over. This only led to more laughter. I found it funny as well and tried to play it off like I meant to do it. By this point more customers started to show up and I took my shake and sat down. During a quick break between customers I told her that I would stop back tomorrow. She told me she would like that and gave me a smile I would soon learn to adore.
A story has no beginning or end: arbitrarily one chooses that moment of experience from which to look back or from which to look ahead. ― Graham Greene