Today marks the thirteenth anniversary of my first date with Jaimie–waaaaay back in high school. We went to the Mel Gibson movie Man Without a Face. I was a junior, she a soph. It was the night before my Grandpa and Grandma Knox’s 50th wedding anniversary celebration. What’s strange about us is that we had really just met a couple weeks before that. We went to different schools, but both grew up part of the same little village community. She was a Lutheran, me a Catholic, so I guess that’s why we didn’t know each other. But I did know most of the kids in Montrose.
We met one night on Main Street, in the back end of Shane Vogel’s little pickup (we all called it “the Brat”). There were about a half dozen or so of us in there, just cruising Main (as was the customary teenage pastime). I was there because Shane was a good friend of mine, and because my ex-girlfriend (and only real “girlfriend” I ever had besides Jaim) wanted to “talk” about getting back together. I don’t remember how long ago we had called it off.
We drove around for hours that night, with Kristie (that’d be the ex) trying to get my attention while all I could do was gaze (OK–stare) at Jaimie and listen to her conversations. She wore a v-neck shirt with white, green and blue stripes and a black Oakland Raiders coat. She kept pulling the sleeves down over her hands. Later that night we all climbed onto the roof of the old band/shop building at the school (it’s no longer there). A bunch of teenagers lying there on the roof watching the stars. Kristie still trying to get me alone to talk and me just doing what I could to be near Jaim. I just kept thinking I didn’t know how I’d never noticed her before. It was the most surreal night I can remember. I felt like the whole world around me was slowed down, and didn’t really need my attention. My focus was totally on this girl. I was smitten and hadn’t a clue why.
For the next couple of weekends, I was on a mission to get to know this girl. I had never really asked a girl on a real date before. I must have practiced the conversation in my mind a hundred times before I called the Cleveland house. The conversation didn’t go as planned. It was very short, basically “Hi. Hi. What are you doing this weekend? I don’t know. Oh. Um, I was wondering if maybe you might want to go to a movie or something? If you’re not busy, I don’t want to bother…Yes! Cool. Ok. Ok. Bye. Bye.” That was it. No time or day or I’ll pick you up or I like you or anything.
So, we went on that date, and then a whole bunch more of them. Thirteen years later, we have matching rings, three kids and a mortgage. They haven’t all been blissful times; like any couple we’ve had bumps in the road. But God has a beautiful purpose for the two of us, and He swung it into motion that September night in 1993. I remember the details like a frozen moment just a few days ago. It seems like just yesterday and like 100 years ago. I can’t remember my life without Jaim.
There are only a few moments that are frozen in time for me. Moments when I almost felt beside myself with intensity and blissful calm. When I knew I was experiencing the brush stroke of my creator on the canvass of my life. One of those happened on Main Street in Montrose, in the back of Shane Vogel’s Suburu Brat in 1993.
You are the love of my life.