In case you haven’t heard a good romance story lately, here you go.
In 1996, my high school band hosted a marching band contest. I was a band guide for Cleburne County High School. I spent the day hanging with their band, and several of their girls exchanged contact information with me. We stayed in touch, the old fashioned way. We wrote letters. You see, in rural West Georgia and East Alabama, technology was slow to descend on us. This was pre-internet. There was no social media. Dial-up access to America Online was just beyond the horizon for us, and long distance phone calls were still pricey for a family like mine.
To rattle off a few names, there was Amy and Pamela, both with red hair and freckles (still the most dangerous combination EVER), Ashley, Evette, Lisa and Paula. I exchanged sweet thoughts with a few of them; Amy and I actually went out on a few dates. Then, college graduation came along, and we scattered to the wind. Ashley ended up at the same university as me, we saw each other from time to time there.
Fast forward a decade. Social media pervades, and it seems like each week the “people you may know” window has another face from your past gazing your way. Amy found me on Facebook. Such-and-Such commented on Jeremy’s picture.
People have recently started copying and pasting a thing on Facebook, asking folks to hide their likes and comments from view. Don’t! That’s exactly how I got a second try with a high school sweetheart.
You see, Amy lived less than 10 minutes down the road from the apartment I was in. We got together for barbecue one night. She was coming out of a failing marriage; and it had really rattled her. I invited her to my Pampered Chef party that was coming up soon… she needed an excuse to smile.
She smiles pretty often, now.
Don’t get me wrong, this has been a lot of work. There was a lot of emotional scarring she had to deal with from the failed marriage, and we started slow. But, there was just so much in common. We’d escaped the vacuum of our hometowns. We chased ambitions, saw the world, and settled in civilization. Our hearts and values, though, were still very much from the hometown. That’s something that’s just hard to find when you’re sitting in a bar hoping some great girl will just fall into your lap.
She helped me become the person I wanted to be, as well. When we re-united, I was at least 250 pounds. Probably 265. I drank too much. Most anything I cooked was heavily processed, bacon-wrapped, or cheese-stuffed. My roommate, Eric, was a pretty big guy, as well. We kept the thermostat on 62, or lower. Skinny guests wore sweaters. I sweated. There were massive problems in my future, if something didn’t change.
Things did change.
Amy volunteers with Crop Mob-Atlanta, and she eats all organic vegetables that are washed in hippie tears. She taught me how to eat. Last July, I started running. Then, I started logging my food consumption on a fitness app. Now, I’m not obese anymore. I’m not overweight anymore, either. I’m down to 180 pounds, about what someone my size should weigh. I haven’t been this size since middle school.
We decided to waste no time with a long engagement, either. December 1 – just a tad over two months from kneeling in dew-soaked grass with a ring, to married. We’re gonna have fun.