Our Love Story

Okay, so it’s Valentine’s Day so I’ll do this:

Jenn and I met after a youth group activity in Saint Simon’s Island at a McDonalds.

I wasn’t even supposed to have gone to the event. The people I was going with left me but my sister and her friends gave me a ride. I’m sitting with them at McDonalds wearing a light blue Fernandina Beach fishing cap with the front flipped up and I see this girl. My first thought, “That is the cutest girl I have ever seen.” Not fine (they say “hot” now)… cute. Cute as all get out. Like the standard of what cute is measured by. A strong cuteness. It was better than “fine” it was real. I had to talk to her.

I never would have except that she was in line to get food and happened to be with a friend of mine. I went up and started talking to Shannon, or whatever her name was, and soon enough I had met Jennifer.

I ended up following them to their table, mostly just to make this new girl laugh. She seemed to think I was pretty funny. My sister and her friends come over to tell me it was time to go. I didn’t want to leave. The new girl offers to drive me home along with Shannon. Apparently she doesn’t want me to leave either. Cool cool cool.

The ride back to St. Mary’s, Georgia was an experience. New girl had only been driving for two weeks and was a horrible, nervous driver. She nearly killed us by driving up the highway off ramp but once we were safely speeding toward our destination at a safe and efficient 55 MPH I got to hear their story. They weren’t supposed to be there either.

Jennifer and Shannon were supposed to have gone with their youth group. The youth leader had been involved in an accident and canceled at the last minute. Jennifer decided, “Let’s go anyway! My parent’s will never know!.”

After Shannon was dropped off Jennifer and I got to talk about our troubles. We both wanted to be better Christians than we were and were with people who were holding us back. Then she dropped me off at my house.

The next day I played six-degrees of separation on the phone calling everyone I could because I had no idea who this girl was except her name was Jennifer. Each person would give the number of the next person who might know and so on. Finally, after no less than a dozen calls, I spoke to a nerd girl from the school had it. I thought it was a bit odd that the nerd girl would have Jennifer’s number, but I was too excited to give it much thought at the time.

I called Jennifer and we talked for no less than 8 hours. We talked about TV, movies, music, friends, enemies, ex’s, religion, politics… almost everything. We had a lot in common. It was uncanny.

The next day she called me and asked me out. It was something like this, “I’m going to this Super WOW thing… I don’t know what it is but do you want to go?”
My response was something like this, “Absolutely yes!”
So I went to what turned out to be a youth convention thing and she and I walked around the lobby looking at Christian merchandise and a huge mural on the ceiling while I made observations about everything we saw. She laughed and laughed… and somewhere in there we started holding hands.

She found out my birthday was coming up and decided that she was going to take me out for a meal. So a little seafood place in town became our first date. She ate. Girls never eat on a date. She spilled salad in her lap and laughed it off. Girls never laugh that stuff off. I was smitten.

In the week following we each broke it off with the people we were seeing and became exclusive or as we called it then, “Going together”. I went with her family to the beach that weekend. We sat side-by-side in the sand and I felt something so strong so I leaned over and whispered, “I think I’m falling in love with you.” I already had, but if she freaked out, I had a way out. “Me too,” she said and laid her head on my shoulder and with that the rest of our lives began.

We dated for 4 years and married in 1996. Eight years later we had our first child, Jenna, and when she was three little James came along. We just celebrated 18 years in June.

I had no idea what I had been blessed with on that night in that St. Simon’s Island McDonalds. I had no idea the person she would help me to become, the life we would create together, the support she would give, the amazing little morons we would give life to. No idea. I still look at her and wonder what I did to deserve her. Why someone would ever decide to spend the rest of their life with me… and not see it as a sentence or punishment.

All I know is this. I will spend my life trying to become the person that she deserves to be with. I will strive to make every day she is with me worthwhile. I will teach our kids to honor her and celebrate with them in the reality of who she is. I will brag on her to everyone who will listen.

And I will continue to make her laugh. She still seems to think I’m pretty funny.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *