Thursday, June 30, 2005

March 22, 1997

I had spent a good chunk of my 30 years thinking about relationships, seeking relationships, obsessing over whether I would ever have a serious relationship. In 1997 I decided that I was through with it. I had spent too much of my time and energy seeking something that just wasn't happening. In my journal entry dated January 1st I said that my New Year's resolution was to remain date-free.
If I really meant that, of course, I would have taken my personal ad out of the paper. But let's not quibble over small details :)
I had placed a personal ad the year previously and kept it in, checking my voice mail box every week or so. If anyone out there has done this, you know that sometimes you meet some very... interesting people. After going out on a few dates with a woman who wanted to marry me so I could pay her bills, who visited me at work and called me every night, who smothered me in every way, I gave up. I checked in every month or so, but never thought much about it.
In March of 1997 I checked in, out of curiosity more than anything, and heard a long, rambling message by a woman who ended the call by leaving her phone number but not her area code. I was intrigued and decided to track her down. Her name was Laura and she lived in Medina, OH. We talked... and talked... and finally decided to meet. We set a date- March 22, 1997.

A day which will live in infamy :)

We had some pizza, walked around a local mall, and got lost when I tried to drive her home. But I got the all-important second date. And a third. And eventually I had a girlfriend out of the deal. So much for "date-free 1997" :)

I was still attending Metro Church South, but she attended a Baptist church. She had attended the same church all of her life, Chippewa Lake Baptist Church, deep in the sticks of Medina County, where a dozen tiny townships all call themselves Medina, where people still pumped water from wells, where if you wanted to get the necessities of life you had to "go into town." I was satisfied with my church, but I wanted to be with Laura, so on our third date I went to an Easter breakfast and church service and faced a mob of curious Baptists wondering if Laura's gentleman caller was worthy of her affection.

I'm still not sure if I passed the test :)

Several weeks went by where I went to Metro one week and Chippewa the next. As my relationship with Laura progressed, I wanted to be with her as much as I could. It was apparent that things were getting pretty serious between us, so I made the decision to leave Metro and attend services at Chippewa. For the first time in my life, I was a hardcore, King James Only, "independentfundamental" Baptist.

Services at Chippewa were pretty bare bones basic. Hymn-prayer-hymn-hymn-offering-solo-sermon-invitation-announcements-close. Rush to the cars and go eat lunch. The sermons were good, solid, meat and potatoes kind of messages. That was attractive to me. And being a good, conservative, fundamentalist church, I also got a good solid dose of conservative, God and country, love it or leave it kind of preaching. That wasn't so attractive to me. But for my weary soul there was something appealing about the simplicity of the whole thing, and the innocence of Laura's soul was attractive to me.

So attractive, in fact, that on August 8, 1998, we made it legal :)


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