The Girl I married
Have you ever known about someone before you ever met them? I have. Her name was Frances. Yep, the same one I married. You know that stately beauty with a beautiful smile and swan like neck. Strange isn't it. Some people would say it was written in the stars; we were ordained to be together. I can't argue with that. I personally believe that God had these plans all along, too.
I was in the army. In Vietnam, at the time. My commanding officer asked me to replace someone putting together a yearbook for our brigade in Tokyo. He knew I had a background in art and assumed I knew all about layout and proof reading. Of course, I told him I did. I was clueless. I went to Tokyo for my last month in Vietnam. What a blessing. I did get to meet with the person I was replacing. We had one day together and he taught me everything I needed to know to finish the yearbook.
I had a friend stationed at the airbase there. Sam lived down the street from me growing up. His wife, Jill, was pregnant. Jill was also a great friend. I had gone to college with her and we even dated, as friends on occasion, before she met Sam. Sam was in the air force and going on temporary duty to Korea. I looked in on and visited Jill a lot while he was gone.
Jill has a twin brother, David. I was always hearing about this girl he was dating from south Louisiana. Jill was also telling him about me watching over her while Sam was gone. This girl was named Frances. Frances was also hearing about this friend that was with his sister over in Tokyo.
Years later, after I finished another year with the army, I returned to school and finished my degree. I started work as an art therapist in town. I lived in a house that had been vacant for seven years. It was rent free since my dad owned it. One day, I got a call from a dear friend, Madie Carter, who was like a second mama to me. Her daughter and I were long time friends. Ms. Carter had a girl staying with her that had graduated from Northwestern and was teaching in Alexandria. I should meet her, she said. Her name was Frances. I was invited to a meal, several times. I politely declined those several occasions. Eventually, Frances joined my church, Emmanuel Baptist and I went down to meet her. She looked at me and said, “You must be the guy Ms. Carter keeps inviting and never comes.” I could have kicked myself. She was beautiful.
We ended up singing in choir together, going to Sunday school together and I finally got the nerve to ask her for a date. (Men are dumb when it comes to matters of dating.) I asked her one day if she would like to see Cabaret the movie with me. She said that she heard about it and did not think that would be the kind of movie she would want to see. I said, “Oh, okay. Well maybe some other time.” I kicked myself to the curb all the way back to the car. Why didn’t I ask her to do something else, or even see a different movie?
A few weeks later I finally worked up enough nerve to ask her out again. I chose the correct movie. The day of the date came, and it was a disaster. It rained. Not just a rain but a down right flood, a Noah's Ark type rain. My roof was leaking in several rooms. I called her and told her that I was not going to be able to go on the date because I needed to stay home and mop the floors. I did not explain about the roof leaking or what a disaster each room was. Oh, no. That would have been too easy. Again, remember,men are clueless and dumb when it comes to dating.
She must have thought I was nuts by this time. I'm sure she was rather cold toward me at church for a good while after that. Eventually I did ask her for a date a third time. I told her I had to do something over at a girl's reform school. Did I explain that I was chaperoning some youth? Of course not. Would she like to go. She said yes, to my surprise. So, our first date was chaperoning twenty something youth to sing at a girl’s reform school. We did not go anywhere else afterwards. You would think I had been able to get my act together by this time. Bless my heart.
We did continue dating after that and one day discovered we had heard about each other before. I I told her about my friend Jill whom I had visited while in Tokyo. She asked Jill’s last name, “I heard about you from her twin, David. I used to date David. He was always telling me about her friend helping her while her husband was flying to Korea.” I realized that this was the Frances I heard about from Jill. The puzzle came together. Small world isn’t it.
How we married is a story all its own, just as bizarre and yet we have been married almost 47 years. Bless her heart, she still loves me.
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