Tuesday, February 21, 2012


There are those stories that get passed down, generation to generation, with no need for embellishment or flourish because they are just so amazing. You know the ones, the stuff movies are made of, the kind which inspire the scenes in The Notebook, Bridges of Madison County and When Harry Met Sally. The ones which leave one sitting in her jammies on the couch, popcorn eaten, cozy pants on and big, giant tears taking up residence on the front of one's shirt...those scenes.

We all know them.

Some better than others, a'hem.

I am a sucker for a good love story. I cry every time I watch Definitely, Maybe. I cry every time I watch Sleepless in Seattle. Don't even get me started on Love Actually for you will, perpetually, find me with a wet face and unable to breathe during the end. Every. Single. Time.

It isn't a pretty sight.

But these are the movies. And I know this, really I do, yet there I go - falling into their magical trap as if I had no warning at all.

Once upon a time, in a hick town in Eastern Washington, there lived a girl, a barmaid, of not yet 24, who was finishing up her college degree. It was the kind of place with rustic wooded floors and Naugahyde booths. There may or may not have been a pool table or two.

She met his dog first, an aging Golden named (appropriately) Brandy.

Although the details are for only the two of them to know, really, the story goes something like this:

He walked in and we began an easy conversation, discovering early on that we were both transplanted "west siders" (that is what people who come from the west side of the mountains are referred to in hick towns east of the Cascades). It was just before President's Day weekend and I was going to go home to Edmonds to spend some time with friends and family. He mentioned that there was this party he was going to in Fremont and asked if I'd like to go.

It was a date.

I met him in Seattle a few days later, bringing my little mutt Abbie along with me, and we talked and talked and talked. At some point in the evening, Abbie was lost. I was scared I'd lost her forever. He stayed out all night with me, looking for that little dog and it was then that I knew I'd found someone special. I mean, who spends an entire cold night looking for a girl's dog that he hardly knows?

We had decided to drive back to Ellensburg together, after the weekend. Just after Snoqualmie Pass, at the West Nelson Siding Road exit, he pulled over.

My heart knew he was the one. And we made a decision right then and there, after only a few days, to keep on driving to Idaho to elope. It felt like the most perfect thing in the world to do.

We called and told my brother (your Uncle). We called and told my sister (your Aunt). We called your future godfather to ask for some money to be wired so that we could pay for the ceremony, but later decided we could "do it on our own." We made it to Idaho and had to wait one extra day because of the holiday and then, on the 7th day, we were married! And we have been ever since.*

This is how I remember my mom telling me the story of how she and my dad met and were married.

40 years ago.

40 years after only one week.

Reckless, silly, irresponsible! I used to think. I, who was with my husband for 7 years...not 7 days before we were married. How could they know? I used to wonder. How?

After they eloped, my grandparents held a reception for them, in which I am sure more than one person muttered, "This will never last." I mean, who wouldn't think that? What person in their right mind would believe that this kind of love, the kind that makes you have butterflies for 38 years, the kind that brings you through all that life throws in your direction, good and bad, the kind that truly does endure...who would have thought that this kind of love could be found and more importantly, recognized, after only 7 days?

I know now that it doesn't matter how, what matters is that it is. It is.

Happy 40th Anniversary Mom and Dad.

Thank you for giving me a love that I can believe in, and a love story that still makes me cry, no matter how many times I hear it.

*Originally posted in 2009...and here they are 3 years later celebrating the big 4-0!


Lisa said...

That is so sweet!

Anonymous said...

I like the way YOU remember this.. we're lucky to have you, Ryan, and all of the family that has come after!

Love to you all..


Kendra said...

What an amazing story. Congratulations to your parents on knowing right from the start!

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed reading your blog. Keep it that way.