Once upon a time, there was a girl. A Beautiful Girl.
I met her on campus, at Oral Roberts University. I didn’t know from the moment I laid eyes on her that she would be “the one”, but I did know that I’d like to give her that chance some day.
It didn’t catch fire automatically. In fact, the first time I talked with her, it was on a date. A date she was having with somebody else. A date that was arranged, by me.
That summer, I saw her at a Counting Crows concert, we talked, I was hooked.
Several months later, during the next school year. I finally worked up the courage to ask her out, sort of. I, in my infinite wisdom, didn’t want it to look like I was asking her out, that would give my feelings away, and I definitely didn’t want to do that. So, I told her a group of us were going to a movie, and wanted to know if her and her friends would like to go with us. When she said yes, I had to go find a group of my friends to tag along. I truly did not expect her to say yes.
So we went on our first date.
With about 7 other people.
Pretty much the least romantic movie of all time. So, since I was trying not to tip my hand, and show her I was interested, mission accomplished. Why was I so afraid to have this gal know how I felt? Just pure unbridled insecurity, that’s all. I thought for sure that there was no way I had a chance, I mean, look at her.
Two weeks later, a group of us were going to my parents house in Norman, on a Friday night, and going to see the Oklahoma football game that Saturday, on a whim, I decided I should ask her to come along.
And by asking her, I mean, convince my friend who had a class with her, that he should ask her for me. Here I am, 21 years old, and it’s like I’m having a friend pass the note that says, “Check here for yes, Check here for No”. I thought for sure, the note would come back with “No” not only checked, but bolded and underlined in Deep Red.
Instead, she said yes.
Holy Crap! What am I going to do now?? I can’t let her think I’m interested, so I called up another girl who was also a friend of hers, just to see if she’d want to come too, so it didn’t seem like I was asking her to come as my date.
The friend said yes, and God Bless her. It ended up being 3 couples, me, and two girls. One, I wanted to be my lady, the other, a buffer, so she wouldn’t know I wanted her to be my lady. Yeah, that was real fair for buffer girl.
It worked. We hit it off, despite buffer girl, and 3 other couples being on the trip, my lady and I clicked, and we haven’t been apart since. That was September 16, 1994.
It only took a few weeks to know that she in fact, was THE one. I’m not sure what spell was cast on her to feel the same way, but she did, and before we knew it, it was Christmas Time.
Over Christmas Break, we talked on the phone. She was in Virginia, I was in Norman. A trip was planned for me to go to Virginia, and ask for her hand in marriage. We’d been together just over 3 months.
While I was still in Norman, she and her parents had checked out churches and country clubs and florists and cake people. In other words, the cycle was set in motion.
The night before I boarded the flight to Baltimore, I was staying the night, alone in a hotel room in Tulsa, watching a miserable football game on Television. It was the 1994 Copper Bowl, Oklahoma was spanked by BYU, 31-6. That was December 29, 1994. The next day, I would meet her family for the very first time.
I arrived in Baltimore on time. I got my bags, and waited near baggage claim.
This was before the days of text messaging. I was still many years away from even owning a cell phone. I had no way of knowing if they had gotten stuck in traffic, fallen into the Potomac, or just decided not to come. Thankfully, they had just gotten caught up in traffic.
So there I am, in baggage claim, in BWI, sitting on top of my oversized duffle bag, waiting for my lady and her mystery family to show up.
Finally, there she was, with her mom and dad in tow.
It would be a 2 hour drive to her house, a 2 hour drive of trying to prove myself to what could be my future in laws. This was it, it was now or never. I had a 2 hour drive to be charming, but not TOO charming. No parent wants their daughter to marry an Eddie Haskell type.
I’m not sure how I did, but I guess I fared well enough.
The stay in Virginia was fruitful.
See the church I’d be married in.
Set a date.
Pick the reception place.
Taste Test Cakes.
See the sights of DC.
And oh yeah, ask her dad if all of that was ok with him.
There was a grocery store just outside the neighborhood called Giant. Coming back from the country club where we had just picked the date for our wedding, we stopped at Giant. The two girls got out, and it was just me and the man who would be dropping a few bills for this wedding extravaganza.
Somewhat jokingly, after the girls got out of the car, he turns to the back seat and says, “Well it sure would be nice to know why we’re going through all this trouble.”
I took that as a not so subtle hint that it was time to pop the question.
I don’t remember what I said. But I DO remember what he said.
“We would love for you to be a part of our family…………..but you have 6 months, don’t you be taking any liberties!”
The rest of that trip was about meeting her family. I had already met her older brother and sister, both of which lived in Tulsa at the time. This trip was the first time I’d met her younger siblings, and they accepted me right away. Her brother and I were, and still are a lot alike. Her younger sister may have taken a little longer to warm up to me. I felt she was sizing me up all week. She’s pretty picky, and protective. Once I passed that test, I knew I was golden.
As a side note, I couldn’t have asked for a better family to marry in to. From BWI till today, I have NEVER felt uncomfortable around any of them. I really, truly wish we could all live closer together, just to see if they could actually stand me for longer than 5-10 day increments.
June 3, 1995. The date was set.
I had to drive my car from Norman to Fredericksburg, because we would be driving back after the wedding. My best man Jason would drive cross country with me, 1 week prior to the big day. We surprised her by showing up a little early.
We were days away from gathering together in front of all her family and friends, and about 12 of mine. But hey, weddings are for the girl right?
The week went great. My groomsdudes drove or flew in from all over the country. A couple of other friends even showed up just to see if it would actually happen.
The two days I spent with my friends, right before the wedding are still some of the most hilarious days I have ever experienced in my life. I love those guys for that.
There was no raunchy bachelor party, nothing you’d see on any HBO special or anything. What did we do the night before the wedding? We played wiffle ball for hours in the Toys R Us parking lot. What did I do right before that? Forget to call my 15 year old brother and let him know what we were doing. To this day, that still eats at me. He’s sitting at the hotel, waiting of my call, and I never did. I’m truly sorry bro.
June 3, 1995.
She looked amazing.
The day actually went by fast. The reception was grand and exciting. My biggest regret, I never had one bite of my fabulous groom’s cake. An oversized Strawberry Cheesecake. So if you’re looking for gift ideas, there you go.
June 3, 1995.
My life changed forever. I can only hope that everyone has the opportunity to have what we have. For 15 years, we’ve never spent more than a few days apart, and I can’t speak for her, but I don’t remember many times when we’ve wanted to.
We’ve shared apartments with a family of mice. We’ve built a house together. We’ve built a family together. We’ve built a life together.
15 years sounds like a long time, but it seems like we’re still in the honeymoon phase.
As I write this, on June 2, 2010, I can honestly say, when I saw my wife bring the kids to church tonight, I’ve never seen her look better. She’s the best friend I’ve ever had, and the most beautiful girl I’ve ever known. What did I do to deserve that combination?
I love her because she laughs at my jokes, even the stupid ones. And there are lots of stupid ones. I love her, because she knows what I’m going to say, and when I’m going to say it, and how I’m going to say it. She can text me a question, and as I’m typing my sarcastic response, she’s already typed the same response because she knew what was coming. Maybe I’m just predictable, but maybe we just know each other that well.
I love that for 15 years, she’s kept my head on my shoulders. If you know me at all, you know that I’m spontaneous. I do things for right now. She’s helped me make sure that right now leads somewhere.
My last year of college, she had already graduated. She went on job interview after job interview to find a job that could support us that year so I didn’t have to work, and finish school.
She told me of a job interview where she went in, wearing her business suit, and come to find out, the job was for a door to door meat sales position. She was a 22 year old college grad in a suit, in a room full of flannel and trucker hats.
When I think of how much she loves me, I think of that job interview, every time.
I know this read was probably longer than 5 minutes, and I thank you if you made it this far. It just had to be said.
June 3, 1995, my life changed forever.
Amy Johnson, became, Amy Wright.