Cupid’s Arrow

cupids

I’ll never forget Valentine’s Day of my freshman year in college.  I was a student at Liberty Baptist College (which is now Liberty University) in the town of Lynchburg, VA.  This was the private Baptist College founded by the pastor of the Thomas Road Baptist Church, Jerry Falwell.  My grandmother was a distant cousin of the Falwell family and this was the only college I considered.  (Thank goodness I was accepted!)

Little did I realize that on the very first day when I arrived on campus the fellow who would eventually become my husband spotted me.  He had just come into the lobby of our dorm building after playing basketball with his buddies and saw me with my parents checking in for the first time.  He was a sophomore, a year older than I was.

I guess he would say it was “love at first sight” because he began a campaign to win my heart right away.  He knew my roommate and persuaded her to introduce us, which she did.  I thought he was nice, but I was more focused on my classes and studies than worrying about dating.

During the fall of that year “he” cleverly found ways of putting himself in my path.  If I was at a football game, he would happen to be sitting nearby.  If I was at a concert, he would cross my path and say hello.  When I sat with my friends in chapel, he would be sitting nearby with his friends.  After a while seeing him in my peripheral vision became the norm.

Then Valentines Day arrived.  As I made my way to my classes that day I started to see little red Cupid cutouts hanging on the walls all along my route.  Some of them had little notes on them, such as “Val, be my Valentine” or “Val, be mine!”  I started to suspect that I was the target of those messages and knew “he” was the sender because he had signed some of them.  It was fun to anticipate what might be in store on my way to the next class.

At the end of the day when I arrived at my dorm building, I spied on the front desk a beautiful bouquet of flowers with my name on them.  It was quite an object of attention and as I opened the card I could feel the curious eyes of others watching me as I read it.

The message on the card identified “him” as the instigator of the Cupid messages and invited me out on a date.

Needless to say, I agreed and the rest was history!  We dated, got married, and had three children.  Last year we celebrated our 35th wedding anniversary!  And it all started with a little ingenuity, persistence, and some red Cupid cutouts.

Reg & Val

DPChallenge: My Funny Valentine

Photo credit:  www.blumchen.com

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A [[Not-So-Funny]] Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum

Photo credit to http://www.baystreet.org

Today’s Daily Prompt “Isn’t Your Face Red” encourages us to write about the last time we were embarrassed and how we reacted.  Instantaneously my memory zoomed back to an event that was not the last time I was embarrassed but was one of the most mortifying experiences of my life.   I think it qualifies for this exercise.

Almost the worst part of this experience (and probably why it was so personally embarrassing) is the fact that I was the one who instigated the outing.  I happened to see a commercial for a show coming to the Denver Performance Art Center – “A Funny Thing Happened on the way to the Forum”.  In the commercial people were gushing about how funny the show was, how much they laughed, etc, etc, etc.  I thought to myself “Hey, that sounds like fun, let’s do it!”

Living in the Denver metro area, I’ve often chided myself for not taking  advantage more often of the world-class performance art and museums that are available.  Every time we venture to a show or an outing to a restaurant or event downtown we find ourselves wondering “Why don’t we don’t do this more often?” Since we have a group of friends who enjoy a good time as much as we do, we soon found ourselves on our way to dinner and the show with Dave & Lynn and their two young adult sons as well as Steve & Jeanie.

We could only get two blocks of tickets for four, so Redgie, Steve & Jeanie and I sat on one side of the theater and Dave & Lynn and their boys sat on the other.  And the show began…..

Shall I just say the humor was quite….um….”bawdy”?  You know, the kind that is filled with adultish innuendo and complete with courtesans sporting tassel-tipped nipples???  That’s pretty much all I can remember.

You have to understand….Dave & Lynn by this time were good friends of ours, but they were also my employers.  And Steve was on staff at our church.  I could feel the waves of embarrassment wash over me as the first half of the show plodded on.

To effectively complete this exercise I need to confide that my reaction to this embarrassing situation was to dash to the women’s restroom as soon as the lights came up at intermission! I hid in the farthest stall the whole entire intermission period.  I just knew that as soon as I could muster the courage to exit the restroom I would find the rest of the group waiting in the lobby so that we could leave without watching the second half of the show.  Imagine my surprise when I found them all still in their seats.  Redgie just asked “Where did you go for so long?”

Maybe I mis-judged everyone’s reaction to the show.  I figured Lynn would want to whisk her boys out of there as soon as possible, but every now and then I could hear Dave’s booming laugh across the theater. And Steve just kids me now and then about it, joking that I should not be allowed to orchestrate any more of our group outings.

That is just fine with me.

Photo credit to http://www.baystreet.org

An Open Letter to My Son

One of the things I’ve enjoyed since creating this blog on WordPress is seeing the daily writing challenges offered for the bloggers who use this site.  For example, there are the “Weekly Challenge” or “Daily Prompt”.

Today there is a “Daily Prompt” about the “Art of the Open Letter”:

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/08/13/open-letter/

As I was reading the article, I realized that I have already written an open letter on my original blog (Nov 2010).  It was called “Letter to My Son”.  So I am reposting it here in the spirit of participation.

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I’ve waffled back and forth whether to post the letter that I recently wrote to my son Brooks upon the occasion of receiving his wings as a Naval Aviator. On the one hand, it WAS a letter written to my son…not necessarily to the world. But, on the other hand, this IS my blog, where I write about my life and my view of the world. So, although it seems a private thing, I decided my message to my son was an appropriate entry in my blog. It conveys my state of mind, emotions and view of the journey that Brooks has been on for these past several years…..

November 3, 2010

So…….

I sit on this small airplane, as it takes off from Dallas and heads east to Pensacola, FL. We arc into the sky and I think about how happy I will be to see you at the end of this particular journey. It has been a while since you and I have had time for ourselves, to be together and enjoy each other’s company.

I don’t believe I’ve ever been a guest at your house, before!

Because of whom I am (or rather should I say how I am), I know the message I want to give you at this momentous time of your life would be better delivered in the written form than the spoken word. I wouldn’t be able to speak these words to you without becoming emotional. So, I write….

I remember the Sunday before you left home to enlist in the US Navy. You were only 17 years old, and I will admit that at the time I felt cheated out of your last year at home. You decided to finish high school during the summer between your Junior and Senior years, and convinced us to allow you to enlist in the military. I was not very happy about not only having you leave home too soon, but also embarking on this journey that I was afraid was too impulsively begun.

At the end of the service that morning at church, you, your father and I went to the altar to pray. We prayed for the Lord’s protection upon you as you left home to begin your adult life. I remember telling the Lord that we understood that you were never ours to keep and that you belonged to Him always. We thanked Him for giving us the privilege and often challenging responsibility of your life, and hoped that you would never abandon the life lessons that we tried to teach you while you were in our care.

And then, you were gone.

It has been ten years since that day, and I hardly can believe that is the case. When I look at the man that you have become, I can truthfully say that our prayers that day have been honored. You have become a young man of honor, kindness and determination. Your strength of character has been honed by difficulty and trial. You have developed a moral code that has become the axis of your heart and mind. You are considerate of others and have learned the value of grace.

You have learned so many lessons beyond what we could have taught you during your childhood years. You have learned what it means to dream of possibilities, and to choose a destiny. You have learned that you really can accomplish anything that you put your mind to. You have learned the value of a determined work ethic, and enjoyed the rewards of pressing on and not allowing anything to turn you from your path. You have experienced the truth that a life is built one decision at a time, and that every choice has a consequence.

And while I am thinking about life lessons learned, I believe that you have recently learned this lesson: We don’t know the scope of our influence during this life, and we must take every opportunity to shine the light for others who may not have had the opportunity to experience that light. The most important message we can live is that there is always Hope, that we are never completely alone, and that there is One who loves us more than we can ever understand. I believe if we can live this message, then our lives will have fulfillment and purpose and we will never experience regret at the end of our time here on this earth.

On Friday, November 5, 2010 you will receive your “wings” as a US Naval Aviator. This ceremony is not simply the culmination of 18 months of flight school. The significance of this event has been around 6.5 or 7 years in the making. It is the arrival at the end of this journey (and the beginning of a new journey) that we will celebrate with you on that day.

Your journey began when you realized (once enlisted) that it would be better to be an officer in the Navy than an enlisted sailor. So you decided to research the options available to you to become an officer. You pursued the option of obtaining an appointment to the US Naval Academy, beginning with setting up interviews with the necessary officials in Washington and beginning the process. You ended up not receiving just one nomination, but three, and were awarded an appointment to the US Naval Academy.

Because you had been out of school by then for a few years, your journey to the Academy began at the US Naval Academy Prep school in Newport, Rhode Island. You spent one year there, preparing for the rigorous course ahead. You learned what life at the Academy would be like both academically and in discipline.

Then, you arrived in Annapolis, MD and took the pledge as a “plebe” to declare your purpose for the next four years. It was during these years that most of the life lessons mentioned before were learned. Even when the outcome was not sure, you made the commitment to continue your course, hoping that in the end you would earn your first choice selection as a pilot in the US Navy.

Graduation day in May 2008 was a highlight of your life, and most certainly of ours. I know that you know how proud we were of you and your accomplishment, but I can’t tell you enough how grateful I am to have experienced that day. Added to our pride was our knowledge of the sacrifice of years and of self in military service that you (and your fellow graduates) were giving to us and to our country.

Your journey continued after graduation as you waited months and months for flight school to begin. And finally, you have completed that training and are poised to begin your service as a US Naval aviator, flying your beloved helicopters and serving your country in any way through which you are called.

So, Brooks, I hope that this letter can give you some insight on all of the love and pride and gratefulness I am feeling when I regard you and your life and the person that you have become. I hope that some day you will have the great honor of regarding your own son with such emotions and knowledge that his life has been directed by a Hand that was surer than the human example of his own parents.

I love you and I wish you joy and fulfillment as you begin the next chapter, and pray for safety and mercy for you and all of your comrades-in-arms (so to speak.)

Mom