i love love...day 13

 Sarah & Charlie

Charlie and I met in August. I was still on a "Boy Break." I had made a pack between me and God that I would not date for year. It was time I figure out who I was without a boy influencing my decisions. We were both graduate assistants. We had to attend a seminar about how to teach undergraduates and then practice giving a lecture to each other before they let us go and teach real students. He says he saw me sitting outside a classroom getting ready to go in and do my practice lecture. He remembers every detail down to what I was wearing that day. I however, only remember being completely annoyed by this boy who kept trying to make small talk. After the seminar was over he asked me where I was going and I said back to my office. He wanted to know where my office was and when I told him in the exercise phys dept. he said Oh me too, I guess I'll see you there. I however did not believe him because I thought I knew everyone in my dept, but obviously I had not met the new boy yet. I was sitting in my office telling my two office mates the story about meeting this crazy guy who thought we would be working together, when before I got done with the story he shows up and is peaking his head into our office. He says, "see I told you, I'm just right down the hall from you." I was very rude and tried not to pay too much attention when he introduced himself to my office mates and he finally left. They all laughed and immediately picked up on what I was trying to deny that he was totally into me. No matter how rude I was, he came by every day. My office mates would giggle every time he came by. I would try to sneak out before he could see me but some how he would always catch up with me on my bike ride home. He would ride several blocks out of the way just to talk. One day he finally asked me out and of course I said no. I did finally come around to enjoying his company and wanting to hang out, however I was still on my "boy break." I told him I could not go out with him until after October when my "boy break" was over. He asked me almost every day if I would change my mind. We became very close friends over the next couple of months but so did everyone in our dept. We all hung out together. I would never hang out alone with him. Finally, October came and I remember him asking me if my boy break was over and could we finally go out on a date. I agreed to go out however was very clear that I was not ready to get into anything serious. I remember we went to spaghetti warehouse and then watched a movie. We ended up spending more and more time together and had a blast but I could tell he was more into me than I was into him. So over Thanksgiving I broke his heart, I had to break it off because I didn't want to hurt him. It broke my heart too because I knew how much he cared for me and I knew it was going to hurt him. We so called "took a break" but continued hanging out just not as much alone. Over Christmas break I had learned that a tumor we had been watching on my thyroid kept growing. I had it removed and learned it was cancer. I had to go back for another surgery. Charlie came down to be with me during this time. He sat by side during recovery. Patti Abbott tells a story about when she first met Charlie she knew that he was in love. She says he sat on the end of the couch while I was totally zonked out and would rub my feet and just sit with me. My recovery time was much longer than we thought because the tumor was cancer so it was in question if I would be able to return to school. Charlie had worked it out with my professor to teach all of my classes. He and another friend also input all my data from my research project so all I had to do when I got back was run the stats and write the paper. I was able to return to school Valentines day week. He was at my house when I came home. He had cleaned and made sure everything was perfect for my arrival. I had missed a month a school and realized I missed a month of him. He maintained all my classes and helped me catch up on all my school work so that graduation would not be delayed. It was then when I realized how much he really did care for me, that his love was real. One of Charlie's great characteristics, and also something that can drive me nuts, is that he is always persistent and pursued me every day. That summer I graduated and he left to go coach baseball. I had promised I would take a trip to go see him. One of my best-friends girlfriends from college was also living not very far from where he was coaching. I will never forget when I stepped off the plane and saw his face I finally realized what he knew this whole time. He would be the man I would marry. So that is the story of how we met. The two key words though are persistence and pursue. My year of "boy break" I was doing several bible studies. Two of the key things that I got out of my year of single hood is that God will always pursue me no matter what mistakes I make or how far I try to push. That He will always be persistent in his pursual for me. Charlie mimicked that and was his aide in winning over his bride.
To Sarah, These are dates and experiences I had and felt before we got married. I happen across them often and remember them like they happened yesterday. I'm so glad to share them with you. ~August 19th, 2004~ I had just walked into Kaufman Hall to complete my TA Instructor training when I saw you. You were walking in my direction and I absolutely couldn't keep my eyes off of you. You were beautiful. You were wearing a black top and blue jeans with your red hair highlighting an already amazing presence. I was crushed. I just had to talk to you. So I did. You didn't have much to say to this brash guy invading your space. Why would you? I was just another guy. When you told me your office was close to mine, I couldn't help be excited. After I left Kaufman Hall that day, I met up with Eric Mathe at Jimmy Johns at Campus Corner. I told him all about a gorgeous Redhead I met at our training. You had me right then. ~October 9th, 2004~ I had traveled to Lawrence, Kansas to hang out with Eric for the weekend at KU. You had traveled down to Dallas for a wedding. I was missing you so much and couldn't stop thinking about you all weekend. During my time there, Eric and I had many heart to hearts about life. It was there that I told him I was going to marry you and that we would be my best man. ~January 3rd, 2005~ You had cancer. I had traveled up to Little Rock to visit you. I had never met your family before. I remember pulling up your driveway and this old orange cat was just staring at me the whole time. Giving me a good rundown. He didn't move a muscle. Just looked at me like a concerned father would look at anyone trying to date their daughter. This was a serious cat. As I walked up to your parents house, your mom was there to greet me. She showed me great hospitality. Before I really got to see you, she had offered me an egg and ham sandwich. How could I say no? A couple of days later, OU was playing USC in the National Championship game. I was sitting on the couch rubbing your feet while you were passed out. Your dad was sitting on his leather chair, and as OU was getting crushed by USC. My blood was boiling and your Dad kept making snide remarks about OU to me. "I thought you guys could play football!" "What kind of game is this?" "They look like a highschool team.". Being a man that carries a lot of pride on how my Alma Mater performs, this was a serious pill I had to swallow. I just sat there and took it. Later on in the game, I remember turning my head and looking at you as you were sleeping. Suddenly, the game really didn't matter to me at all. Only you did. ~May 3rd, 2005~ I was leaving for Arizona to go coach baseball. I stayed at your house because my apartment was packed up. You were graduating and moving back to Arkansas. Nothing was clear in our relationship. The only thing I knew in my heart was that I wanted you. We stayed up most of the night talking and just hanging out. I remember not wanting to leave. I would have given anything to not go and to stay with you in that moment. The sun started coming up and it was time to leave. You gave me a kiss and a good hug that still stays with me today and always will. A piece of my soul lives in that moment. ~January 15th, 2006~ Donating plasma to get gas money so I could visit you in Arkansas was a pretty common occurrence for me in those days. The clinic would pay me $50 to donate my blood. I did it happily. Needless to say, money was definitely tight. I loved my trips to Little Rock to see you then. I would leave early on Friday and stay as late as I could on Sunday. It was 5 hours on the dot from my house to your doorstep. We had grown so close in the previous months and we had talked many times about where our relationship might go. I wore my feelings for you on my sleeve and you knew how much I loved you. It was time to pop you the question. I had bought the ring. I had planned out how I wanted to propose to the very last detail. There was just one big thing I had to do. Talk to your Dad. Man was I nervous. I had hidden your ring in my trunk under the spare tire like there was even a remote possibility you would have ever found it. I didn't risk it. I wanted you to be surprised and I didn't want you to stumble across it. I opened up the trunk and got my prized possession out of there. I bravely walked up the stairs to your parents room. I knocked...... "Come on in!" Larry called. My palms were sweating, I was as nervous as that orange cat outside. I opened up the door....... There was Larry..... In his underwear.... He was was changing clothes and was so polite. "What's going on Charlie?" It was now or never. I told him how much I loved you and my intentions I had for you. I showed him the ring told him of my plan. He spoke with me for awhile. He asked me questions about my faith and how I planned to care for you. It was an experience and a rite of passage every man should go through. He gave me his blessing (after he put his pants on) and he was very excited. We drove to his office and he called Sandra. She met us there, and he shared the news. She was surprised and wanted to see the ring. She was very happy for us both. The next Sunday, you would go on a scavenger hunt and I would propose to you "Where the trees whisper". We would be married 9 months later to the day. It was the best decision I have ever made. Sarah I love you so much. I hope these stories bring you joy. I have so many more. With love, Charlie

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