This Monday, March 2, Jeff and I will celebrate our first year of “Mr.-and-Mrs-ness”. We’ll buy a bottle of champagne at Costco, feast on their $1.50 hot-dog-and-drink special, and go home and rescue our frost-bitten wedding cake from the freezer and take turns licking it like a popsicle. Then, we’ll reminisce over our wedding pictures and dance to our wedding music. If we have any money left over after paying our bills, we might even take a day trip to Canton Trade Days.

Yes, March will always be our favorite month, but it will always be bittersweet. My mother passed away on March 10, 2004. So, a week after I married my soulmate for life, I took him. flowers in hand, to meet my parents — at Rose Hill Cemetery.

I wish they were alive to meet Jeff.  He and Daddy would have loved each other — you know, in a guy-kind of way. And my mother and I would go off in another room where she would ask me how I met him, what I wore, where we went on our first date, and whether he acted “smitten”.

Please don’t get me wrong.  I miss both of my parents. But my mother? Well, helping me plan my wedding,  zipping up my dress, calming my nerves, looking regal as the usher walks her down the aisle, and crying happy tears from the front row?  Well, isn’t that what mothers do when their daughters get married? Shoot, it’s in their DNA!

From the first day I met Jeff, on Thanksgiving Day 2013, I ached to tell Mama about the handsome cowboy I met on Zoosk.com. The one with the kind face and eyes and — be still my heart! — gray sideburns peeking out from under his cowboy hat. I wanted her to be the first to see my engagement ring — a one-carat, three-stone “past, present, and future” design — that Jeff presented, down on one knee, when he asked me to marry him.

I yearned for Mama to go with me to David’s Bridal for my wedding dress and at Michaels to help me find silk bluebonnets and yellow roses for my bouquet and Mason jars for our unity sand.

I wish for my parents every day of my life. To drop in and have a bowl of fudge-marble ice cream with them because, as Daddy always said, “our little girl has come home”. Their faces would beam when I tell them what fine  husbands, and fathers Tam and Terry have become. To meet their grandchildren, Harald, Sofia, Sadie, and Thomas. And to hear all about my teaching and writing triumphs. And, finally, to get to know Jeff, the love of my life, my husband and their son-in-law.

But, you know — I sort of get the feeling that, just maybe, they already know.




MAN ON BOARD, PART II: Sometimes You Just “Know”.


Since the weekend we met,  my relationship with Jeff has zip-lined along. At first, caring friends, who had seen me hurt, advised me to take things slowly.

“Be careful,” they urged. “Get to know each other, first.”

And Jeff and I did just that, talking on the phone, chatting on Zoosk, and text messaging into the wee hours. We lived forty-five miles apart, yet, with each day, we became more emotionally intimate. Although I had been a night owl, I was able to slip into a sweet sleep, dreaming of his arms around me. 

Since “Jeff and I”  became “us”, everything has fallen into place. Convinced that God led us to each other, we started talking about marriage.

Last Friday, January 17, as we strolled the aisles at Dallas Market Center, we discovered J.C. Jewelers.

“Hey, babe, let’s see if they’ll size us,” I suggested.

Sure enough, the couple at the booth measured our fingers. I was a seven,and Jeff, a ten. Seeing wedding bands nestled in velvet-lined cases, we tried on one ring after the other and marveled how wedding band designs had  changed. One even had a little chain for a bored spouse to twirl around. Another was a skull with glowing ruby eyes. Jeff and I traded amused looks.

Skulls? Really?

After  trying on five or more styles, we settled on a  pair of brushed, silver, Triton bands, guaranteed to withstand the toughest of marriages.

As we hurried out to the pickup, we huddled against blistering wind whipping around us. Before Jeff pulled back onto the road, he stopped and gazed at me in wonder.

“Girl, do you realize we just bought wedding rings? Wedding rings! I  thought I’d never buy another one of those, again!”

I placed my hand on his and whispered.  “I know. Neither did I.”

We were in the best possible kind of shock.

Now, it’s been a little over a month since we met.  That may seem short, but we have found out more about each other than some couples learn in a lifetime.  Our relationship is built on love, respect, and trust. Shoot, we even like each other!

The wedding is only six weeks away, and we can hardly wait.  This time, we just “know”.

So,  ladies, how did you “just know” you had found the one? I’d love to hear from you.

Stay tuned for “Man On Board, Part III”.