How We Met
We first met at the Holy Trinity Parish Bazaar, September 21st, 1996. Or maybe it was over Legos and Play-doh in Mrs. Meyer’s kindergarten class back in the year 2000, who really knows. Either way, the point is we’ve known each other forever…and now we get to spend forever together. How cool is that?
Over the next few years, we were in and out of the same classes, making friends, and battling it out on opposing teams during Ms. Mertink’s quiz-review Jeopardy…which Carrie still swears her team always won. Eventually, we made our way through middle school and on to high school, where James finally got a cell phone like the rest of the world. Before we knew it we were staying up way too late sending each other text messages that were probably longer than the essays we were supposed to be writing. A couple months and a lot of “you’re sorry you fell asleep,” text messages later it was safe to say we were both pretty hooked.
Now here’s where things get tricky. For those of you who don’t know, Carrie and I attempted to date in high school. Well, let me correct that, I attempted to date Carrie in high school. Let me explain…
After texting every night for months, I finally found the courage to ask Carrie if I could walk her to class, maybe even hold her hand if I was lucky. It seemed so simple to me, but it wasn’t as simple to her. She saw the big picture way before I did.
Here’s a little backstory. Hang in there…it’s about to get confusing, but it’s really not that complicated.
Before we were in the picture, my Aunt Teresa married her Uncle Andrew, and my Aunt Missy married her Uncle Russell. Making my aunts, her aunts and her uncles, my uncles. What are the odds that 2 out of 7 of my aunts would find and marry an uncle from each side of her family? Well, I guess they’re pretty good when really big families full of really great people grow up in a really small town.
See, it’s not complicated. Okay, but now try to imagine convincing a bunch of high schoolers that we weren’t related, even though we share two different sets of aunts and uncles. Not so easy. That was the end of that. We remained friends throughout the rest of high school, but things just weren’t the same. After graduation we went our separate ways and didn’t see each other often, but when we did the conversations were easy, the comebacks were quick, and the laughs were real. It was like we never missed a beat.
On Carrie’s 21st birthday I sent her a text saying, “Happy Birthday! I only remembered because Facebook reminded me.” Sweet, right? It was about as insincere as you could get, but for some reason it worked and before I knew it we were texting like old times. The following weekend, a group of us went to my cousin, Margaret’s lake house, who just so happens to be Carrie’s best friend.
As the sun started setting, Carrie and I found ourselves sitting at the picnic table talking about anything and everything. Before we knew it, it was 3AM and everyone else had gone to sleep. That night we both knew there was something between us.
The next morning I left the lake to go to a concert. On the way Clayton Kovar, my Best Man, told me, “Dude, you’re in love.” I denied it, but I knew he was right.
A few weeks went by and I invited Carrie over to watch the Cowboy’s preseason game against the Seattle Seahawks. Which turned out to be the night that Tony Romo (my one true love at the time) played his last snap as a Dallas Cowboy. It was the end of one era and the beginning of the next.
The next two years were full of countless concerts, Chili’s dates, ridiculously long phone calls, and endless drives up and down I35 while Carrie attended grad school at TWU in Denton.
How They Asked
It started all the way back in Texas, I met James at his house with my car packed and ready to make the big move to Charleston, South Carolina for the first half of my internship. As usual, James waited until the very last possible second to pack. So while he seemed to aimlessly walk around, I gathered up his stuff and loaded it into the car. I had no idea that the whole time he was waiting for me to leave so he could hide the ring! As I waited for him in the car I noticed he was acting a little weird. He spent a really long time looking in the trunk and making comments about how packed it was. I thought maybe, but I convinced myself he was just being James.
We made it all the way to Charleston – in and out of gas stations, restaurants, and hotels with the ring hidden in his boot, his bag, his pocket, anywhere and everywhere he could think to hide it.
Beach walks at sunset/night are kind of our thing, so we knew we wanted to check out the beaches as soon as we could and made a plan to go to Sullivan’s Island the very next day.
That morning I went to grab us coffee, during which time James called my parents and got one final blessing. When I got back he had a huge grin on his face and seemed almost giddy, but I thought it was just the time off work going to his head. We spent most of the day unpacking and exploring a little bit before finally heading to the beach. Finding parking on Sullivan’s Island seemed impossible and the sun was already starting to set. Feeling defeated and kind of frustrated, I suggested we just give up and try again tomorrow, but James wouldn’t have it. Later he told me there was no way he was waiting another day and basically that he would have carried me to the beach if he had to.
Eventually, we parked on the curb and we walked to the beach, praying the car would still be there when we got back. Realizing he didn’t have pockets or a way to hide the ring, James had tucked it in the waistband of his shorts – he wasn’t giving up.
Sullivan’s Island is gorgeous – it looks like something straight out of the movie Safe Haven. We walked on the beach, looked for shells (there aren’t any), and played in the waves until the sun started to set. The wind started to pick up, making it a little chilly and we figured we should probably start finding our way back. As we started packing up our things I could tell James wasn’t quite ready to leave. He kept nervously looking around and back at me until finally he got on one knee and opened the ring box….upside down. It was absolutely perfect. He shook his head as I turned the box over and we both laughed. Obviously, I said YES. At some point. I think.