Hope realized…Vol 87
When I was in third grade… among all us rough and tumble little bitty dudes there was a sweet little gal. Honestly…I didn’t pay any girl too much attention in third grade…I probably spent more time trying not to catch “girl coodies!” Anyway…as chance would have it I moved to a different school the second half of third grade and never saw this cutie again till 7th grade. We had a couple of classes together and I remember a note being passed to me in Mr Fragola’s Social Studies class. I don’t remember what it said, but i remember the smile that accompanied it. I think we both ran into each other again at some music stuff in Jr High and Miss Luce made some comment about us being a part of some musical or something. I didn’t want anything to do with any musical, but as it turns out…I didn’t mind the time I spent with the girl who had passed me the note some time ago.
Years went by…she was sweet on a bunch of guys while I played my guitar and football. I was introduced to a little singing group that was forming called Power Company. It was in the late 60’s when contemporary gospel music was just getting going. We worked on a few pieces..most by by Ralph Carmichael. My buddy Kevin was in the group and lo and behold one Friday night this girl from Jr High shows up. ( I really did know her name…I’m trying to build suspense…) OK…Kathy shows up…rather Kathi shows up. I don’t remember many particulars from Power Company days other than Kathi dated one of my buddies, Kevin for a little while. I think it was during that time and talking with Kevin’s mom that Kathi came to know the Lord…I remember sorta wishing she would look my direction…but it never happened.
Fast forward through the summer to 10th grade. I started to have the occasional conversation with Kathi. I think I may have shown her a few chords on the guitar and maybe taught her how to play a John Denver song or two. During that time we had been asked to sing some together and so we had to get together to practice. I remember looking forward to the time I got to spend with her. Somewhere in there a relationship developed. But it wasn’t a real relationship until you were able to kiss right in public at your locker…well at least that’s how it was in Doug world. By golly one day that actually happened. In my mind that was it. We were both 16 and we’d date through the rest of high school and surely get married at some point. But a few weeks after Jr Prom Kathi was ready to move on. I wasn’t the one. I was crushed. If you talk to my mom about the break-up, she will tell you that I didn’t eat for days…I was heartbroken. I had never experienced such joy or such pain and I didn’t know what to do with the emotions. I knew Kathi had gotten a job as a cashier at a local supermarket and I would walk over nonchalantly and get in her line to buy a pack of gum or something just to see her…to talk to her…I was pathetic…really. But Kathi had closed that door for good.
Junior and Senior years went by…we still sang in the Power Company some but Kathi had started dating some big farm dude. And right after graduation, she married him and I never heard from her again for 40 years.
But that was not to be the end of the story.
One day while texting a mutual friend on Facebook I learned that Kathi was living in West Virginia…and that she had a profile on Facebook as well. Her married name was different now and I had no idea if she would answer my friend request…it had been so long and so much life had happened. She had lost her son to Diabetes and I had lost my wife to cancer. I sent her a friend request in May of 2012. I didn’t hear anything back.
In July of 2012 Kathy (notice how I cleverly changed the spelling of her name) accepted my friend request and we began to text back and forth some. As it turned out…she had a daughter and two grandkids right here in Rochester (just 5 miles from my house) and had been traveling back and forth from West Virginia for 6 years. She used to come up to the lake, literally around the corner from my house to walk, shopped at the Wegman’s we shopped at…I couldn’t believe we hadn’t run into each other.
So after a few weeks of texting she was coming to Rochester and we agreed to see each other for coffee on a Saturday morning at SIPS. I walked in and saw her. It was as if the 40 years just melted away and here was my prom date all grown up. Kathy was as pretty as I remembered and we spent the next hour or so catching up…until her daughter and the grandkids stopped by and we all went over to the beach. Strangely enough I spent most of that time talking with her daughter…and enjoying watching Kathy play with Annabelle and Gabriella in the sand.
We said good-bye and promised we would do this again some time. Well…that sometime ended up being that night at Tim Horton’s. We had coffee late and talked until 4am. We talked about each other’s heartbreaks, about our kids and where life had taken us over the years. It was one of those kinds of conversations that you didn’t want to end. But she had to get back to West Virginia and so we said good-bye and promised to keep in touch.
It was just a few days later that I called. It was good to hear her voice. I can’t quite explain it but it was exciting and comfortable all at the same time. Somewhere in the conversation she told me she missed me and right then I knew that God was going to do something in our lives together….and He did! Two years ago today we were married by my brother in front of family and a few friends. It has been an incredible two years. Not without challenge but filled with love and hope for what God will do in us and with us.
I don’t know if anyone reading this will get a thing out of it other than to know that I love my wife of two years with all my heart, and couldn’t be happier that God loved her to me…and that I get to love her the rest of the way home.