Saturday, June 21, 2008

16 Years Ago...


This beautiful lady said "I do."


June 21, 1992 is a day that will forever live in my top days of all time. It is the day that Jenni and I became one. We were married at St. Robert Bellarmine Catholic Church in Chicago, Illinois at 2PM.


I will never forget the feeling of having my breathe taken away when Jenni and her Dad walked up that aisle, towards me. I still have to pinch myself when I think about how lucky I am, the introvert, to marry such a beautiful woman. To think that our love affair started five years prior with a letter...


I was stationed in the United Kingdom, in the Air Force, learning a trade that would be good to me - even if I didn't enjoy it 100%. I would write to several friends, this is before email was a common communication device, and my cousin Tanya, in Colorado. I was 19 at the time and Tanya was 16 and still in High School. My cousin and I were always pretty close, so we wrote each other regularly. Jenni was a friend of Tanya's and they hung out together a lot, so naturally Tanya talked about Jenni, so I would always tell Tanya to say hi to Jenni, whenever I wrote her.


One day, I got a letter from Tanya, that had a note from Jenni in it. I guess Tanya did as I asked and Jenni, being the good sport, agreed to write a little something. For the next six months we wrote each other pretty consistently, some more than others. Some days I would write her three or four letters (hey, I liked to write and I liked Jenni, what more can I say) and basically inundate her with my pearls of wisdom, or something like that.


I was in love, and just knew she was the one for me. Even when I first met her face to face. Now remember I am quite shy, of course no one believes that but it is true. I flew home that December for Christmas, and my friend Marnie's wedding. I had just been at my parents house for a couple of hours, when who shows up; Jenni and Tanya.


OMG!


If I was a turtle, I would have crawled inside my shell, as it was my brothers were there and they like to remind me of how I turned into a statue. I think that was the only time I have ever felt speechless. I didn't know what to say, or even how to speak for that matter. Meanwhile even my thoughts were screaming at me, telling me to say something, anything! I blamed it on jet lag and not my own insecurities, but still. Looking back on that day, I still wonder and marvel at how things have turned out.


She told me later that she thought I was pretty much a loser, and blamed me for the speeding ticket she got on the way back to her house. I was, and I apologized for making her run away as fast as she could, that she got pulled over and got a speeding ticket. We did get together more, pretty much every day, after that first day. She gave me the first of many second chances.


Praise God!


After I went back to England, it was hard to maintain any kind of relationship, per se, and we continued to write each other and occasionally I would call her on the phone. However, by the time I got back from England and was stationed in Abilene, Texas (UGH!) we were more or less on talking terms. She has always been more of a social butterfly than me, and well... We'll call that the 'Dark Ages of Roger and Jenni.' We both had different relationships, but I ALWAYS had Jenni on my mind, so you can imagine how those poor girls must have felt competing with my one TRUE LOVE.


Here is an example of how "romantic" I am/was. After we starting talking and seeing each other on a more regular and serious basis (remember I'm still living in Texas and she's still in Colorado), I just knew that I was going to marry her. So, we went to a Zales, and she picked out a ring that I purchased, and then as we got in the car to head back to her house, I turned to her and said; "By the way, will you marry me?"


What romance, eh? She, of course, laughed and said; " Let me think about it."


Oh crap!


She then started laughing some more and said that of course she would.


Whew!


The rest as they say is history. A great history filled with blood, sweat and tears that is required for making a loving relationship. The blood was mostly mine, because I have this thing with hammers and various other tools - I'll save that for another day.


So here we are sixteen years and six kids later, if this isn't true happiness then I don't know what is.


I LOVE YOU JENNI!! Now, forever and always!!