Something of a Fairytale
Susie and I have know each other for 36 years. And although life’s journey took us on different paths at first, I can honestly say that I am at home.
It was a hot summer day in 1980 when riding my bike around the camp ground road of Brady Mountain, Lake Ouachita, Hot Springs, Arkansas. (That is pronounced Wah-she-tah for you non-Arkansans reading this) I was trying to make each lap faster and more quick. Yet, on about lap number three I spotted this tee-tiny, 55-pound girl sporting a royal blue terry cloth bikini.
Now, I was all of twelve, but can honestly say I almost fell off my bike right then and there. And to be truthful, still to this day I cannot explain why. In a split second, my life changed forever because I saw the girl—the woman—who ultimately became my “quintessential.”
Before you begin playing the soundtrack to a Nicholas Sparks movie, I think I should tell you that I was instantly petrified for what was probably the first time in my life. Even though I was gasping for breath and had noodles for legs from riding so fiercely, there was zero chance I was going to quit riding by. At least not until I worked up the nerve to stop and say, “hello.”
Sadly – those nerves never made it there. I. Was. Scared. Speechless.
Then suddenly, on what would be my last pass by, sadness ensued as she was no longer where I had seen her. I had missed my chance!!!! NO! Only to round the next corner where I was run over and made to crash my bike by a Schwinn-yielding, 55-pound girl who instantly stole my heart.
Now when telling this story, this is where I usually embellish and say that i was bleeding terribly and all scarred up, etc. But I will spare you the more dramatic version to get to the facts.
We talked for a good little bit while her momma peeked around the corner of their Merry Miler camper. I can remember that for the rest of that trip, and for year after year at the lake, I would remain focused like a hawk, trying to see if my buddy was nearby. For several years, we would find each other the instant we arrived and were hanging out together as much as we could. Sneaking off down the nature trail, or to the lookout point, or laying on the rocks at night watching lightening storms off in the distance.
But life took a turn and although we tried to date as best we could in the pre-internet and pre-mobile phone world; ultimately, we ended up losing touch just as we went away to college. (story here – but probably should not share it.)
A Turn of the Page
Over the next 25 years we were blessed with a life journey that gave us four beautiful, dynamic, vibrant young women we loving call “our girls.” As I write this, Natalee is 22, Mallory 21, Carlea 20, and Abbie 17, and of course Chaco, Sperry, Fozzie, Thor, and Athena.
When Susie and I re-connected, we had gone through a pretty dark season or two. Yet, instantly picked up our connection as though it had been nurtured by the hour for over 25 years.
Then on a perfect blue-sky day, on a private beach in St. Thomas, USVI, Susie became my wife and we began building our life together in ways that I did not know existed. Certainly, there are challenges, especially given that we still live in separate states while we get all our girls into college. But I can say without a doubt or hesitation, I am blessed beyond so much more than I deserve.
Susie is my best friend, confidant, and quintessential life partner. We simply just “get” each other at a level I thought was reserved for feature films.
It is our earnest prayer and hope that you find this kind of love. Everyone deserves something this spectacular.