I truly am patriotric. My husband is now a commissioned officer in the Air Force after all, so my priorites are really not as screwed up as the title of this post sounds. It's just that today marks an important day for me as an individual as well. So, Happy Independence Day, America, but you have competition in my heart.
You see, somewhere around the time I was 15, I met a kid on a bus. It was a Greyhound bus, headed for Fresno, California for the endcap race of our season. Footlocker Invitational was a big deal for us Mountain View runners and the bus ride was always one of the highlights of the trip. Somewhere around Beaver, Utah (yes, that is actually the name of the town, folks), our poor bus broke down. We were stranded on the side of the highway. As we waited, I started talking to this person I didn't really know. His name was David Holst and while we had both ran on the Orem Track Club during the summer, we weren't really friends. I don't remember much of our conversation except that at some point I had hijacked someone's old-school Game Boy and was doing my darndest to ignore him. After a couple of hours, it was evident the bus was going to be not quickly fixed, so the local school district sent a bus to rescue us. They brought us to their local high school and we played games until a replacement bus could arrive from Salt Lake City. Again, it was several hours for that to happen and I have awesome memories of this particular night. Playing four-square in the hallway with Kara Wilson. Playing "I love you, baby, but I just can't smile" with a group of friends. BEST MOMENT EVER.....Chris Shane singing "If you want my body and you think I'm sexy" while strutting his stuff. CLASSIC. But, again, I digress. As you can see, I'm easily distracted. Moral of the story, I spent several hours this particular night with a young kid that my mother would eventually say I was going to marry and I would balk (is that a word? Is that how you spell it? I should probably get a dictionary if I continue this project) at that idea.
Fast forward a few years. David had gone away to college for a few semesters, although I tease him because he's old enough that he was still on the quarter system, not semester system at SUU. It was the last year, but hey. He's old. He went away on his mission and I wrote him a lot and even sent him a few packages. So we never really lost touch. We just never knew that anything special would come from our relationship.
Dave returned from Toronto on April 18, 2000. I didn't know this of course but his mom eventually came into the store where I worked (eventually, lol. I kept a journal around this time so I know these dates. It was EXACTLY May 22) and mentioned that he was back. I told her to say hi for me and she wanted my phone number so he could call me. I had just bought my new cell phone and was delighted to give out numbers. After all, cell phones weren't as popular as they are today (so easily distracted, aren't I? ). I was really busy at this time. I was working two jobs and going to school full-time. I had lots of friends who kept me entertained and my own missionary that I was in love with so I wasn't sitting around waiting by the phone, but secretly I was hoping for a call. I won't lie. One day I was shopping in Wal-mart (ok, ok, it was May 24), buying more clippies for my hair because I had a new phascination for clipping my hair up in weird ways, when my fun little phone started ringing. It was of course Dave but I didn't recognize his voice. We talked for a few minutes and then said we'd do something soon. Funny though, that wasn't good enough for me. I called him back several minutes later to invite him to a party, that truthfully didn't exist. He was a trooper and said yes. After some frantic phone calls, we had a little party arranged and it all worked out. Oh, Mormon kids. How easily we can be entertained. All it takes is a few party games and we're laughing all night. By the end of the evening, I was dropping off my Bennion, the cutest sophomore I ever knew, and David. There was a play fight over who got to ride shotgun. Someone, I believe it was Bennion, suggested Rock, Paper, Scissors. Dave pretended to go along but at the count of two, he jumped in the car, leaving a bewildered Bennion standing there with his fist on his palm and no opponent. Gotta watch Dave. He's a tricky one.
I won't bore you with more details but after a whirlwind romance and hints of something special happening, I woke up eleven years ago today with butterflies in my stomach. I had a job which required me to be to work really early (really, really early in my eyes now) but also required no brain cells thankfully because I was usually running on one or two hours of sleep at this point. I remember chatting with my work girls and we were all speculating on when it was going to happen and what my ring was going to look like, because HE HAD TO BE PROPOSING, right?
An hour and a half after work, my family arrived at his house for a Fourth of July barbecue. Only it was awkward. VERY AWKWARD. Dave was avoiding me like I had the plague. Obviously something was wrong because whenever I tried to talk to him, he had something to do. He would literally walk out of the room when I walked into one. At one point, I saw him throw already-cooked hamburger patties back on the grill just so he had something to do. It was a very perplexing time for me. I didn't know what to think except that by now our relationship was tanking or he had lost his marbles.
Finally, lunch was done and we all gathered around to eat. His father asked David if he'd like to bless the food. Dave agreed and I tried to take a seat on the deck but was told I had to stand up and was shoved (ok, maybe shoved really isn't the word but it felt like it) next to the rail. And so the longest prayer in history began. That might be an exaggeration but it was quite lengthy. I started dozing off a few minutes in seeing as how I had been running on empty for so long (it's a good thing I was not sitting on the steps), but I did notice when sweet little Dave had ran out of things to pray for.
"And please bless these carrots and this broccoli...." kind of got my attention.
After what seemed like an eternity, Dave finally got around to what he had been intending to do all along. With all of our families, a close family friend, and a random neighbor who was as clueless as I was, watching, or rather listening, Dave blurted out, "and please bless Leslie that she'll say yes when I ask her to marry me."
The prayer finally ended. Dave slipped down to one knee and pulled out the box his father had slipped him, and proposed. I was so confused by the whole day that I didn't even answer and went straight for the ring. Enough said.
I think I eventually officially said yes though.
The rest of the day was spent playing games with his family, lunch at Denny's, and an evening concert with fireworks. Alabama performed that night and we sat holding hands and sneaking kisses every chance we could. It was beautiful and perfect.
Now, when I feel especially cheesy on subsequent Fourth of July's, I whisper in his ear that I still see fireworks when I kiss him. I can see his internal eyeroll at my cheesiness but the truth remains, after eleven years, he still knows how to give me butterflies and I'd say yes again.