We talked about marriage consistently through the fall semester, and the closer we got to Christmas break, the more we dreaded the looming summer separation.
Over Christmas break, Ked came down to Lima for a few days. The details are fuzzy with age, but I remember going out one evening and having a long talk over dinner about our future and how badly we wanted to spend til death do us part with each other. And we knew. We just both knew. It was time.
Some people live by ordered lists – First you do A, then B, then C. Ked and I have tended to be people who decide the desired end result, and then figure out the rest as we go. We were going to get married. Neither of us had a car of our own. We had no idea where we’d live or how we’d support ourselves. But we knew we were going to get married that next summer. The rest would work out.
I looked at Ked and said, “I think we should seal it with a kiss.” Butterflies jumped around my stomach as his gaze met mine with a new intensity. We’d been waiting for this moment for over two years. He broke the silence and said, “I don’t want it to be just anywhere. I want it to be someplace memorable. How about the reservoir we went to after Senior Banquet?” Ah, the reservoir. One of the very few romantic spots in Lima. I grinned, “I think I remember how to get out there.”
We drove to the top of the reservoir, and got out of the car to stand under the stars. I shivered, not just from December’s chill, but from anticipation. After all, he’d warned me it wouldn’t be just any kiss. And it wasn’t. I think he knocked a few stars out of the sky that night. It was the passionate kiss of a man who had waited patiently for the woman he desperately loved. It was the return kiss of a young woman who wanted to spend her lifetime with him. It wasn’t just any kiss. It was the kiss of the future.
Weak in the knees, with his arms wrapped around me, I could have stayed under those stars forever, if it hadn’t been December in Ohio. Shivering still from cold and excitement, we got back in the car and headed back to my parents house. The house was dark when we got home and everyone else was in bed. They never waited up for us or chastised us to stop talking and go to bed. I once had asked my mom about her lack of worry and badgering. She had looked me squarely in the eyes and said, “I trust you. You’ve never given me reason not to.”
We sat on the couch in silence for awhile, neither one wanting to break the spell of the evening. Ked asked for another kiss and I obliged. He leaned back and groaned. I checked to see if he was having a heart attack. “I might be,” he murmured. I chuckled.
I’m not sure I slept any that night, but this time it wasn’t out of anxiety or worry, but out of sheer excitement for the future that lie ahead. Forever with him. I couldn’t wait.
Before Ked had “the talk” with my Dad, he wanted to get a few details hammered out. So he went home to get to work, earning money for a ring and the courage to talk to my Dad about getting married…at the ripe age of twenty.
Early in the spring semester my parents came up for a weekend visit. I was so nervous, I could barely eat. We were hanging out in the dining hall, when Ked pulled my Dad aside to ask permission to marry me. I had no doubts that my Dad loved Ked and would approve of us getting married, but so young? What if he said wait a couple years? I watched, chewing on a nail, my bad nervous habit and I tried to read my Dad’s facial expressions from across the room.
I needn’t have worried. Ked reported that my Dad had approved 100% and said something like “It’s about time!”
When they returned to where my Mom and I were sitting I recall one of the first things my Dad said was that we needed to pick a date right away. “But Dad, I don’t have a ring yet, it’s not exactly official, official.” He looked at me and said, “If you want to get married this summer, you need to pick a date soon, the church tends to fill up with weddings pretty quickly.” I knew that to be true. I grew up in a large church and I wanted to get married there, and there did tend to be a lot of weddings each summer. Not to mention, coordinating a free weekend with his parent’s ministry schedule might prove to be challenging. Their summers filled up quickly as well with week long camps and Bible schools across the country. I wasn’t thrilled about having a date on the calendar before having a ring, but if we really were going to get married in less than six months, it might not be a bad idea to line up the church.
It took a couple weeks of coordinating open church dates and open dates with his parents ministry schedule, but we landed on a Saturday in late June. And things started to move along.
I was cautiously excited, and even though I knew we were getting married, for some reason, until I had a ring on my finger I was afraid to really believe it.