Friday, July 2, 2010

time flies, marriage edition

Thirty years ago this morning, I woke up in the wood paneled bedroom of my parent's home.  Before I opened my eyes, I prayed that it was gray and wild with storms outside.  But I could hear the birds singing, and I knew there was no rain.  I opened them, and it was as sunny and beautiful and warm as it is today.

Who on earth would wish for a rainy day in July?  A freshly turned 18 year old who had made a date with a young man to go waterskiing.  Who does that for a first date?

I got ready for work, skipping breakfast as my stomach was in knots.  Arriving in downtown Bemidji, I parked my silver Vega hatchback at it's usual spot, in a small parking lot across the street from the Schwartz Junk Yard.  Walking the two blocks to Patterson's, I kept asking myself over and over again what I was thinking, and how I could possibly get out of it.

The guys I worked with (mostly college boys) asked me what was up, and in my naivety I told them.  Of course, they teased me mercilessly the rest of the day.  At noon I walked down to Herb's popcorn for some lunch, and I ventured down to the lake, hoping there were signs posted that the lake had been closed for the day.  No such luck. 

I had met Mike at Super Johns the week before, on a fateful Friday night. and later that night had given him a ride home when I saw him out walking.  To this day he will say he asked me out because I knew how to drive a stick shift.  He had at first asked me for a date on Sunday, but I had declined, as I already had plans, but being in retail I told him I would give him a raincheck.  He had called the next day to ask me out on Wednesday night.  So there was really no backing out.  The fact that I had never waterskiied didn't deter him in the least, and in fact he proudly proclaimed he had taught many people how to ski.

 With Christopher Cross playing on the turntable in the living room, (luckily Mike did not hear it, or he may have changed his mind...) I nervously paced the floor.  Not sure what to do, I had put my swimsuit on underneath my clothes, the choice of which I had agonized over for hours.  My whole family had gone fishing, so luckily I was home alone when Mike pulled in to the driveway on his motorcycle.  I am quite sure my parents would not have let me go if they had known that would be my transportation...and little did I know what role motorcycles would someday play in my life...

The lake was calm, the water was warm, and conditions were perfect for a ski lesson.  And after much trepidation (and 45 minutes spent just talking me into the water, on the part of Mike's brother and his friend Dan Schwartz) I shed my clothes, stepped in to the water, and listened as Mike instructed me on what to do once the boat started up.

I was the little engine that could....l can do this, I can do this, I can do this...and I did!  I am not AT ALL athletic, but God was kind to me, and helped me up out of the water somewhat gracefully, and I made it all the way around the lake, before gliding in to shore.  I have never been so relieved in my life.  And I sat back in the boat the rest of the evening, watching Mike as he barefooted across the lake.  He was quite the accomplished skiier.

As I sit typing this, I think of all of the things that Mike and I have been through since that warm summer night thirty years ago.  Thirty years-dates and vacations, fun and arguments and making up those arguments, dealing with jobs and opening our store, apartments in Bloomington and a cozy little house in St. Paul, and raising our son.  As Jimmy Stewart so eloquently stated 'It's a Wonderful Life."

And I am so very glad it didn't rain.


  1. Kristi~ I adored this post!! I would say "love", but I tend to over use that word. It knocked my socks off. What a wonderfully, well written story. I loved reading it. Oops, there I go again. Happy anniversary! By the way, I Loved the fact that you added pics of younger years. Perfect.

  2. P.S. I remember attending your wedding with Grandma Betty at Trinity Lutheran. :o)

  3. I adore those "old" photos! What a good sport to go waterskiing on your first date! What a great post. Have a great weekend away.
    xoxo t


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