Kathy and I met my freshmen year in college. I still remember our first date: October 9, 1977. That was a life-changing day for me. Somehow I just knew when that first date was over that she was the person for me. Over the next two years we were in college together, but since she was a couple of years ahead of me (notice I didn’t say older because no matter the date on her birth certificate she is eternally 29. If you don’t believe it, just ask her!) We grew very close in college and in August of 1979, I asked her to marry me.
But there was just one problem. She was headed to teach school in the mountains of West Va., and I was going back to college in Nashville, Tennessee. Now this was in the days before cellphones. We had no e-mail. (Sounds like we lived in the middle ages, doesn’t it). If we wanted to talk to one another, we had to wait till late at night when the long distance rates went down. So here we were, engaged, but separated by hundreds of miles.
Well, you know the saying don’t you? Absence either makes the heart grow fonder, or it makes the heart go wander. Now, when Kathy left, there were plenty of girls that were still attending FWBBC, but I have to say, I was not tempted by any of them. I was more intense than ever about my future bride. Why? Because she was on my mind. Everywhere I turned I thought of her. I thought of her that year when I went on the Music Retreat alone. The previous years she had been with me. She was on my mind constantly as I tracked through the autumn leaves. And then came the winter snow of Nashville and, again, I remembered her and how walk together to chapel or to class.
Every once and a while a letter would come filled wonderful words of love and the smell of her perfume. We didn’t get to see one another but 2 or 3 times that whole year, but I couldn’t get her off of my mind. I dated no one else. I hardly had a conversation with another girl. Why not? Well, it was because my “eyes were on the prize” you might say. And finally the day arrived. I boarded a bus from Nashville to Beckley, WV. I can still remember that ride through the mountains to Kathy’s house. I still remember getting off of that bus and seeing her knowing that in just a couple of days she would be my wife. You see, I had a passion for her and that passion made for a great relationship and it still does today.