I wanted to include something in my blog that was entirely pleasant, completely Laurel, and seriously awesome. See that gorgeous man in that red tie? That's now my husband. These were taken the day before he became said husband, a moment he had waited for a long, long time.
See, we were together, many many years ago. I got out of school in the spring of 1987 and much to my disappointment, was unable to attend the school of my choice when I wanted to. I had no clue about financing college, what college really meant in the long term (a job) and what I wanted to do with my life. So I took a year off, goofing off and working a part-time job at a local department store selling housewares which I stockpiled hoping for the day I would use such items making a home.
I entered junior college in the summer of '88. I immediately began having a blast. I began dating the second semester I was there--no, I mean literally began dating--I was a few months short of twenty before I had my first date--and went out with a guy for a while, then another guy (who stuck around for a while) and then I rolled into my second year of school.
I experienced a new sensation: I was popular. I was on the paper, and my columns were funny and well-liked. I was bumped up my second year in to "editorial editor" of a ridiculously named paper, the Radiodian. (It was explained to us that when the college formed their paper, the radio was brand new and all the rage, hence the stupid name). In the first editorial meeting of my second year, there was a new set of faces. We sat in a series of tables that were squared off. Cattycorned from me was the table where my current boyfriend sat (more on him later), and my last boyfriend was in attendance, too. And there was a new guy sitting across from me.
After the meeting I went downstairs to leave the building when I saw the new guy in the cafeteria, leaning up against the glass wall waiting in line. I thought--on a whim--I'll go eat with him--new guy. He was tall and very thin and very tall and thin and sort of blindsided by my approach. He thought I was butting in line, but I really just wanted to eat with this new staff member.
He was sunk by the end of lunch. And after hanging out with me for a few months, leaving flowers on my screen door and clearing away some wild hedges from my front yard, I decided to give him a chance.
We dated six months when he broke up with me. And for the only time in my life, I shook off what happened and moved on.
Forced to move back home soon after, I married my ex-boyfriend after he showed up and proposed. He had gotten wind that Chris and I had broken up and wanted me back, in a desperate way. I was desperate. I had left my abusive home at 20 for a reason. Winding back up there a year later was more than I could handle.
It lasted six months. The first person I told it was over was Chris. He was thrilled. And I left. Feeling like I had no options, I went to live with my aunt in California. And the letters followed.
And followed, and followed and followed, till I had a three inch stack. And I came home after a glorious year and a really silly near-miss marrying yet again, the wrong man.
And there he was, feeling the same way. I spent a lot of time with him that fall, and left, again, to go to school in Oklahoma. And the letters followed. And I married, again, this time to the man who seemed to fit all the stops: he was a theology major, he talked a lot about family, and Lord, did we have fun together. He made me laugh--a lot.
He had, though, a fatal flaw that involved stability--economic stability. The end came when he moved us across country for a dream job that wasn't so dreamy. I was trapped in a strange town without a vehicle, without money, and two devastated children who were falling apart in their new circumstances. Even with a lucrative job offer, I looked around and saw that I had to get them out of there. I fled, once to Indiana and then to my mother's on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. There was a spring in my step knowing that I didn't have to live that way anymore. And proceeded to be devastated and grieved--hard--for the next two years.
But there were beautiful moments in there, too. I knew that I had a future with Chris, and that it was all coming back around. Slowly, on my Facebook feed, I started referring to him as "The Man". Eventually, we came together and started a life here in Laurel. I make it my mission to spoil him rotten, particularly for what all he has done for me. I have had an absolute blast cooking for him. He's not hard to please: he is such the Meat and Potatoes guy. His favorite dish I make is ranch mashed potatoes, which I will include on the blog.
In coming together, I moved to his home in Laurel. I was still battling hard with anxiety issues, but over time, those faded completely away. It was lovely to be with someone who knew me so well and was so observant who made my life better with each day without really meaning to. He is an excellent step-father, and slowly over time his little girl has come to feel at home with me as well.
Many of my friends my age complain about having to come back to Laurel for all sorts of reasons: having to take care of elderly parents, having a hard time finding work, not satisfied with the social scene, it's too redneck, etc., etc. Not so with me. I remember when we were driving away from my place on the coast for the last time and Chris turned to me and said, "I'm bringing you home to heal." I have.
We were married on December 12 at the courthouse 25 years and 4 months after we met. I forgot to have someone take pictures of us on my phone during the wedding. But we had this, driving away, and it's pretty much my favorite picture of all-time. We posted it on Facebook with one word: Married.
When Chris eats, he turns over the utensil he's eating with when he really enjoys it, particularly with deserts. It is an absolute blast to cook for someone who you don't have to worry about getting fat. He has the most amazing metabolism you can imagine. He's asked me what my blogs are about, and I can't really tell him except for love. And some knitting. And stuff.
And pictures like this.