In September of 2006 my wife to be sat in a crowd of people watching 30 or so males play the great sport of rugby. It was a hot September day and the pitch was hard and dusty. Little did I know that she was watching me. I even noticed her sitting with some of my girl friends from JMU and snapped a photo. I didn’t think anything of it thereafter.
Almost exactly one month later a buddy Jon Chase organized a hike up Old Rag on October 28th. I was contemplating working at a book binder to earn a little more cash while taking classes at JMU still. The guy put it up on facebook as an event and about 12 people signed up mostly from JMU. There wasn’t much interest from the female side going except for this one very attractive young woman who posted “come on girls, lets go and beat these guys up the mountain.” I remember staring at her photo and being mesmerized by her pretty blonde hair and fine features. Deep down inside the competitive side of me was saying, “like heck you’re going to beat me up the mountain.” I hadn’t made the connection yet that this was the same gal from the Rugby match watching me get beat up. So I went.
She was quiet most of the hike and hung back. I was keenly aware of her position in the group and made small talk from time to time. There were a few other women on the hike and they were nice. Something about this highland beauty grabbed my attention. At the end of the cold hike my head was half frozen because I failed to wear a hat. I was so tough, I thought. Shorts, sandals with socks, wool military dress gloves, a Columbia sports jacket, and no hat. Nice. And because my head was cold my thoughts were not totally clear. As we were saying our goodbyes I called my wife to be some other woman’s name. It was close, butttt.. not her name. Awesome.
A few days later I sent her a message a few lines long. She responded with a few more lines. After three months we had written a book, but still hadn’t seen each other. (Literally we wrote a book. I used my book binding skills and created a hardbound book an inch thick full of the letters we wrote to each other leading up to our marriage.) Finally, in January I invited her to a celtic concert hosted by Eileen Ivers. It was me, Robert Mehring (I would love to know what happened to that guy), and my wife’s housemate. We piled into my beat up red Land Rover (affectionately named “Pelton” after its famous former owner) and headed to Court Square theater. It was a great time. We didn’t see each other for another month. The letters kept coming.
Finally, on April 7, 2007 I asked my wife to be if she would allow me to pursue her with the intention of marriage. She told me she would think about it. Now what in the world kind of answer is that. I asked again and she said she would allow it.
On July 7, 2007 I took her mom, brothers, a few of my brothers (the ones that didn’t go I’m still holding a grudge), my parents and my wife to be up Old Rag where I thought I met my wife to be for the first time. I still hadn’t made the connection that she had been watching me prior to the hike that day in October nine months before. The whole time I thought I was in control of this woman. The whole time. I proposed on my knee infront of onlookers and family alike. It was a beautiful day.
On October 27, 2007 we were wed and both agreed to travel to Colorado as our hearts were in the hills. My dad gave us a wad of cash and our first night in a five story condominium at a resort. The building was just built and we had the entire complex to ourselves. It was supposed to be one night and then to the Rockies. We didn’t see a soul for two days.
A few days later we summited Mount Elbert. The highest point in the lower 48. It was the first big obstacle we tackled together in our marriage.