I know ya’ll are all impressed with my French. I can also sing some songs and tell you that Jacquez and Pierre are going to the store. A high school education put to good use, lemme just tell you.
So, Lance and Kearsie head to Atlanta for the aforementioned game. I am hobbling around on an air cast and crutches, but mobile enough to still see my first pro-game. Maybe if I see it “live” I won’t get that glazed look in my eyes when I see it on TV. So we drive the six hours to Atlanta and make it to the game-park-stadium thing. It looks PACKED. Lance had been hoping to buy some tickets from a scalper as there wasn’t time to properly buy tickets before. We spend a couple of minutes haggling with some scalpers out front. In fact, there were a few terrifying minutes where Lance disappeared down some alley with one of the scalpers, me sitting on the curb looking pitiful with my cast and crutches. But he came out safe and sound, but with no tickets so we just climbed back into the trusty Buick and went to a mall.
We talked for HOURS. We talked about family, about Alaska, about growing up in Alabama and did he have any incestuous relatives (none that we know of, thank God), about what we wanted to be when we grew up. About our home churches, deep thoughts about God and theology and doctrine. We talked about everything under the sun. It was awesome.
Delana had arranged for us to stay the night at a friend of hers. We drove over, met this complete stranger and camped out in his tiny apartment.
That Sunday we got up and drove to a big church and at a red light in the middle of busy Atlanta, Lance kissed me. In fact, I kind of suspect that he kissed me all through the light changing because when we looked up, the light was still red.
We drove home to college after church and went back to our dorms. Now, I am a girl. I think like a girl, act like a girl and do girly stuff like pluck eyebrows and paint toenails. So my girly mind was just a-whirling. WHAT was going on? I hardly knew this guy! What would my friends think? What if, (and this made my heart stop a little) Lance was doing the same thing with OTHER girls! I stayed in my room and just privately freaked out.
What I didn’t know was that Lance had gone back to his room and called his mother. I wasn’t there for the conversation, but from what I gather, the conversation went something like this…
LANCE: Hey Mama.
GINGER (Lance’s Mama): Hey Lance!
LANCE: Mama, I’ve met my wife.
GINGER: …Ok, bring her home and let’s meet her!
End scene. Ok, so there was probably lots more said, but that’s the good stuff.
So Lance concocted this crazy idea for me to come back to his hometown and do some skits and stuff with him at a hayride. (Side note- I was like, what the heck is a hayride?? Why would anyone in their right mind want to ride around on hay? Don’t you people have a movie theater or something?) So I said sure, I was game.
The next weekend we drove to Lance’s hometown. I met his parents and they were the kindest, sweetest, most welcoming people I had ever met. They had fixed Lance’s favorite meal, party chicken, and I don’t think I got but three bites between all the hundreds of questions they asked me. Lance just sat there and watched, this silly grin on his face.
I met his sister and her husband and two boys the next day. More questions, more descriptions of Alaskan winters and such, more Lance just watching and grinning. We got ready for the hayride and took off to go ride some hay. Once at the farm, we (Lance’s sister Merriem and I) realized it was colder than we thought, so we went back to grab some jackets. She talked about parenting (scared me with parenting, more like it) and marriage and being a youth minister’s wife. By the time we made it back, we had missed the hayride and try as we might, we just couldn’t meet up with them. It was like trying to catch a glow in the dark caterpillar in a maze. I kept tripping over cow patties and hobbling along after Merriem and her husband, Danny. It was in the middle of the pasture, stumbling in the dark over cow patties that Merriem spilled the beans.
ME: Ouch! ( I had just tripped over a large piece of cow poop and hurt my twisted ankle)
MERRIEM: We are just so excited to have you here, Kearsie!
ME: Oh, me too! Lance talks about you guys alot!
MERRIEM: Well, when Lance called home and told us he thought he had met his wife we just couldn’t wait to meet you!
ME: … (shocked silence)
DANNY: Merriem! What have you done! That was a secret!
MERRIEM: (begins to cry) Oh, I am so sorry! I didn’t realize that was a secret! Oh no!
ME: … Wow! No, really, it’s ok. I promise. Just forget about it.
So we trudge along and finally meet up with the hay caterpillar, which has finally stopped and now rests beside a large bonfire. Lance is preaching away, animately telling the youth group some funny story. I sit and watch and sort of smile on the inside, because what was a mistake has totally set everything right inside me.
See, that ten minutes I first talked with Lance, that one Wednesday night, when I walked away from him, I knew. Do you know what I mean? I just knew that I was going to marry him. That I had just met my husband. So when Merriem made that little mistake, it was exactly what I needed to hear to let me know I wasn’t crazy.
Merriem proceeded to cry the rest of the night and nothing I could say would disuade her. After the hayride broke up, Lance was told by Danny what had happened. Lance and Danny were both upset, Merriem was crying and apologizing right and left. I think I was the only one having a good time. Who knew hayrides were so much fun?
I knew we’d have to talk about it, but I let Lance bring it up. So on the way home, we stopped by a restaurant and had ourselves a little meal. Lance sort of sighed and said “Soooo…you know what Merriem said?” I said yes. Lance asked, “So what do you think?”
I looked at this man that I had only met a month ago and I saw my future. I knew that there would be good days and there would be hard days. I knew that there would be children, and a ministry with this man. I knew that I wouldn’t have to force myself to love this man, that it would just come naturally. I knew.
But I didn’t say anything, because sometimes the wells in a woman’s heart are deep and mysterious and some things shouldn’t be brought to the surface until the right time. So I just said “Don’t worry, I’m not scared. I’m not going anywhere.” (Or something cool and calm and sophisticated like that, you know)
And Lance just smiled and everything was ok.
A month later, he proposed. More on that tomorrow.