I noticed him on the first day of my second semester. He was just starting his college experience; I was winding down to the end. There were several new members in our symphonic band, 3 of which were French horn players. There was just something about him that caught my eye. I think it was the goofy grin that never quite left his face.
A few weeks into the semester I landed myself on crutches, don’t ask, it’s too embarrassing to tell. It was January, in Rexburg, Idaho, and I had to try my hand at maintaining my balance on a couple of skinny sticks with hardly any traction. Heh. While I am sure I displayed many comic routines as I skidded, flopped, and flew to class, it was also the blame for why I got to know my future hubby so well.
I swung into the music building and turned the corner to the locker room. I was already running a bit late as I tried to keep balanced and yank my horn out of its tiny little space. I had developed the art of holding onto the handrest of my crutches with my thumb so the rest of my fingers could wrap around the handle of my French horn case. The only problem was that the horn would swing and bash into my crutch threatening to take it out completely. After the weeks I had spent on crutches my senior year in high school (due to the toe vs. lawnmower incident) I had become quite proficient at crutch wielding and I was at least able to maintain a certain aspect of dignity, even if I was lying on the ground, heh. By the time I finally managed to bash my way into the concert hall where we held our daily practice our conductor had started warm-ups and I found myself the humiliated center of attention as I proceeded to make my painful way to my seat, tried to balance as I extricated my horn, and then figure out what to do with my crutches.
After practice was over and I was making my way back to the locker room I felt a strong hand wrap itself around my horn and gently take it from me. Surprised I looked up to see him, with that goofy grin on his face. From that point on, he always carried my horn for me. And, me, being the sweet, genteel, demure, creature that I am followed behind, swinging on my crutches, kicking him (not hard of course) in the rear all the way.
He would also perform this routine for me on Tuesday evenings as I went to horn lessons (we had our lessons within 30 minutes of each other) and our group sectional on the same evening. I soon discovered that he spent quite a lot of time there on Tuesdays and I began to purposely arrive there earlier and earlier hoping to see more of him. The thing I did not discover until quite some time later was that he was doing the same thing.
The weeks passed and I finally ditched the crutches in March, but by now he was in the habit of carrying my French horn and our tradition continued as we talked our way into class. One fateful Tuesday evening our group had gotten to talking and it was entering into the hours of twilight as I headed out of the music building when I heard someone jog up behind me. The goofy grin asked if he could drive me home, after all he hadn’t had a chance to talk to his friend (my roommate) in a while. I accepted and off we went.
All our rooms were upstairs in the apartment and that’s where I had gone to change, while he talked with my five roommates. I didn’t know it, but they were talking about me. He was perusing our kitchen and had asked which was my cupboard. They told him and much to his surprise all he found when he opened it were 3 boxes of “yellow death” (mac and cheese) and 5 potatoes. See, I was a poor starving college student. My parents were very helpful, but I was too proud to try and tell them that the $80 they had sent to get me through the rest of the school year just wasn’t going to cut it, so I was squeaking by on my meager budget. Paul was horrified, but knew that I wouldn’t accept help from him so he devised a sneaky plan. He invited me out to dinner.
But don’t get the wrong idea here, it wasn’t a date. Never a date! He simply stated that he had extra money on his food card that he didn’t want to waste and so we went out to the campus restaurant. Our first such dinner we ate spaghetti and ended up talking for 2 hours. My roommates were anxious and upset that I wasn’t home when I usually was until they found out I was with him. Then the teasing began, but I denied it all quickly, after all he had the same name as my brother and that would just be too weird! 🙂 Well, to make a long story short, he kept feeding me, and my sources tell me he kept checking my cupboard too, and it wasn’t too long before we were dating. I left to serve my mission and we were engaged shortly after I returned home. Eight years ago today we were married in the Portland Oregon Temple. These have been the happiest eight years ever, and I look forward to another happy 80. (ooh, and he still has that goofy grin, which I love so, so, much!) 🙂