Thursday, February 21, 2013

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Love Story, Part IV

Okay, so I finally did say "Yes" to Steve's proposal.  Now what?  Decisions! Church wedding? Outdoor wedding? Roanoke (where we both live)? Meadows of Dan (my hometown)? Nickelsville (his hometown)?  Have a 19th period wedding at Virginia's Explore Park where I was employed at the time? Get married by a judge? Elope? So many decisions!

I was really leaning towards having a period wedding. I have a friend who is a fabulous seamstress and she has made me some gorgeous 19th century period dresses. She was willing to sew something for Steve also.  For me, it was not going to be very pricey since I already owned all of the period undergarments, shoes, hats, etc. For Steve, it was going to be way more expensive because he would need EVERYTHING and period shoes are very expensive. We had pretty much decided to go that route and have the ceremony at the Hofauger House at Explore Park. We were even willing to do it as a special event for the park that would be open to the public. Since I had been working in living history for 11 years at that point, it just seemed like a natural thing to do. So, with some planning, the lawn and front porch of the Hofauger House would be a great location!  YAY!

Uh-Oh. What if it rains? That would be a disaster!!! So, I checked with the park-powers-that-be to see that if it did rain, could we move the location to the Mountain Union Church that was located in the park. Their response? They would give me a SMALL discount on the price of renting the church. What? Here I am willing to let the park advertise MY wedding as a special event and they are going to charge me when the only thing that it would cost the park was using the space?  Well. My hopes of a period wedding were dashed.

On to the next idea. A beach wedding! I had initially wanted to get married at Virginia Beach, but after checking the price of a ceremony and a week long honeymoon there compared with the same thing at Myrtle Beach, let's just say that South Carolina had way more to offer! Figuring out how to get a marriage license in another state wasn't as easy as I had thought that it would be. You would think that we could have gotten a license in Horry County, but for some strange reason in 2000, we had to get it in Marlboro County, SC. We had to fill out all of the paperwork and mail it in weeks in advance so that they would have it ready for us to pick up on our way to the beach.

Now, we have to figure out a date. Hmm. Explore Park was always open to the public from April through October and it was danged near impossible for me to get any approved leave during that time. For years, I have always taken off the week of my birthday in March. So, that is how we figured out a date. I turned 36 on March 12 and then we planned the wedding for March 18. Six months to the day from when we first met! Since we were not inviting people to our wedding, I want to send out announcements that we had gotten married. Here is the announcement:

Trying to get a good scan of our wedding announcement proved to be
almost impossible. It is two dolphins swimming on a wave with
little silver hearts floating up. 

We contacted a business called "Beach Weddings" to do our ceremony. It would just be me, Steve, and the reverend.  We also had to find a place to stay for our honeymoon.  We finally decided on The Palace Resort (A piece of trivia for you: The Palace was the tallest building in Myrtle Beach in 2000).  Our suite was oceanfront on the 17th floor, so the view was just amazing.

My good friend, Robin Ferguson, made my wedding dress for me. I made my headpiece and veil. My shoes were white satin embroidered with blue. I borrowed a handkerchief from Steve for something borrowed. For something old, I had on one of my mother's rings.

Yep!  That wind would just about sandblast your face off!

The morning of the wedding arrived and the wind was really strong!  I had originally planned on getting married standing on the beach near the surf line, but not even a bride looks beautiful with her hemline above her head! So, there was this pretty little putting green area that was somewhat sheltered by the motel and I decided that we would get married there, facing the ocean. Before we left the room, Steve told me to be sure and remind him to get the marriage license. Of course, going down in the elevator, I remembered that we had forgotten it. The reverend was already there to marry us, so I waited in the lobby with him while Steve went back to the room to get the license. It was a little embarrassing because everyone was staring at me!

You can tell, the wind was bad, even with the building sheltered us

We finally got our act together and got married. When the reverend got to the part about, "you may now kiss the bride", Steve did.  All of a sudden, loud cheering and hollering erupted! When we looked, there were people on many of the balconies of our motel and the one next door sharing in our special moment! That was a pretty cool thing since we did not have any wedding guests.

That is The Palace Resort behind us

That evening, I wanted to go to Pier 14 for our wedding dinner since it was over the ocean. For our dessert, we had Key Lime pie, so ever since then, we always have that for our anniversary and special occasions.

The most heartbreaking thing about our wedding was that the reverend was also taking the photos as part of the package. Would you believe that the stupid man actually brought a new camera that he had NEVER USED to take almost every photo?! He used his old camera for three photos of us. The rest were all blurry. The ones of me and Steve on the sand were taken by kind folks passing by using our camera. I am so thankful that we at least did that! 

So, I think for a relationship that started out on the internet, we are doing pretty good! We will be celebrating our 13th anniversary next month.

For Steve, my only Valentine!

I guess it wasn't so terrible having to give up a small bit of independence 
to share my life with a wonderful husband!
Copyright 2013--All Rights Reserved--The Wheel & Distaff by Kimberly Burnette-Dean

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Love Story, Part III

This was what happened 6 weeks later:

I loved dolphins way before they were so popular and easy to find on t-shirts, jewelry and just about everything else. VaMan101 knew how much I loved them and he managed to find this ring to give to me. (In writing this post, I found out how hard it is to really take a good photo of a ring!) It is hard to tell in this photo, but the eyes of the dolphins are tiny little diamonds and the heart that the dolphins are swimming across is a black onyx.  I was blown away to receive this beautiful ring that had special meaning to me after only knowing this guy for such a short time. Of course we HAD been spending almost every single evening together after the first week that we met, so I suppose this was a courtship clicked over to warp speed!

To make things even MORE exciting, a couple weeks after that, I was at his house waiting for him to get home from work. When he walked in, he was all smiles and I got a hug and kiss. Then, after I sat down on the couch, he knelt on the floor in front of me. All of sudden, there was this little black box in his hand and he was asking me to marry him!!!!!!

In the TV shows, you always see the woman look all happy and swoony as she cries out "YES!  YES, I will marry you!" Well, that was not me. I sat there with a stunned look on my face and I said that I would have to THINK ABOUT IT!  I'm sure that wasn't the answer that he was looking for. He told me to go ahead and wear the ring while I was thinking about it. I did wear the ring, but on my right hand. That night, we went out to dinner and we took his son, Patrick, with us. I know that I was much quieter than normal that night.

Here I was at the ripe old age of 35 trying to decide whether I wanted to get married or not. After being single for so many years, there was quite a bit to think about.  I was an independent little cuss and thinking about giving that up was difficult for me. Plus, I had only met this guy about 8 weeks earlier. What if he was an axe murderer with very good self control?  LOL!  In any case, I did end up saying yes. I cannot remember how long it took me, but I think it was a few days.

I'll never forget going home and telling my dad and grandma. I know that my dad had just about given up on me ever getting married.  Grandma always thought that it was fine and dandy that I was still single. She had always said that she did not want to get married when she was young either. When her and grandpa were courting, she kept on putting him off and putting him off about getting married. Finally, he told her that if she didn't say yes this time, that he was moving on. She did say yes! That is a completely different story that I will  have to tell you sometime!

Tune in tomorrow for Part IV and I promise I will finish the story!

Copyright 2013--All Rights Reserved--The Wheel & Distaff by Kimberly Burnette-Dean

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Love Story, Part II

As I was walking towards him, he raised his head and glanced at me. It was a sideways look and I guess it was just a trick of the lights, but it was almost like a look of pure evil! There was a slight falter in my steps but I went right up to him and introduced myself. He seemed pleasant enough, so we decided to bowl a few games. I remember that he was wearing plaid shorts and a Jeff Gordon t-shirt. I was wearing a skort and platform sneakers. Yes. Platform sneakers! Go ahead. Laugh. But it was a fashionable thing at the time.

We decided to bowl a few games. I cannot remember who won or what the scores were, but I did have a fun time. At that point, I thought that he was a pretty nice guy, but I didn't really know if I wanted to go out with him again. I wanted to leave the bowling alley while it was still daylight outside, so we wrapped the bowling up, walked outside and stood around talking for a bit. During our conversation outside, I learned that we both grew up in the country and our families raised most of the food that we ate. We started talking about all different kinds of foods that we had eaten. Part of that conversation covered normal things such as chicken & dumplings, biscuits & gravy, and cobblers. Then it moved on to eating wild game such as deer, squirrel, groundhog, frog legs, rattlesnake, and possum! Hey, I realized that we had quite a bit in common!

After I got home that day, I immediately logged on to AOL to see if VaMan101 was online. He was, so we chatted for awhile and then wound up talking on the phone even longer.  He explained that he had to do inventory the following weekend at his job and that he would be at work from something like 7:00 AM until the wee hours of the next morning.  The problem was that he had a dog and he did not have anyone to take care of him while he was working such long hours. He asked me if I would go to his house and let the dog out.  Hmmm . . . I have just met this person and he is asking me to come to his house when he is not going to be there? That freaked me out a bit, so I figured out where he lived and drove by to see what the area and his home looked like. It looked pretty normal. Against my better judgement, I agreed to do it.

Once again, I told one of my good friends all of the details and the address of his house so that if things didn't go well and he turned out to be an ax murderer, at least someone might find my dismembered body! After I got off work that day, I went to his house. The key was in the mailbox just as he had said. I started to slip the key in the door and I heard voices in the house! He had told me that he would be at work and that no one else lived there. Instant panic!! The other thing that I could hear was the sound of a dog snuffling around just inside the door.

I looked around and saw one of his neighbors sitting on the porch watching me like a hawk . . . they looked a bit creepy and so did their house! I didn't know what to do, so I stood there very quietly and listened. The voices inside continued, so I just decided to be bold and I knocked loudly on the door. The conversation continued inside with no pause. That seemed strange because if someone knocks on the door, you would usually stop talking. I waited but no one came to the door. So, I went ahead and unlocked the door and was greeted with a happy, dancing Cocker Spaniel. That is when I realized that the voices were coming from the television!  Hee!

I went ahead and let the dog, Rascal, loose in the backyard so that he could go to the bathroom and I also fed the two cats, Phantom and Simba. As I was leaving the house, I noticed this creepy trapdoor in the floor of the hallway. That was a bit weird and unsettling! Later that night while VaMan101 was on break, he called me to see if I had any problems at his house. I asked him about the television and he explained that he left it on to keep the dog company. I told him that it scared me to death. He found that to be hilarious!

A few nights later, he invited me to his house for dinner and it it was an excellent! I cannot remember everything, but I do remember some fabulous mashed potatoes, beef roast, green beans, and yeast rolls. I finally invited him to my house for dinner too. I recall that I made some homemade Anadama yeast bread and I think that I also made some barbeque chicken. Over the following weeks, we spent almost every free minute together.

A couple of months after I first met VaMan101, something happened.

Stay tuned for part III

Copyright 2013--All Rights Reserved--The Wheel & Distaff by Kimberly Burnette-Dean

Monday, February 11, 2013

Love Story, Part I

Back in the mid-90s, I spent quite a bit of time on America Online in a chat room called "Virginians Online". Many of the folks from that chat room would meet as a group for dinners, bowling, dancing, or parties, so I knew quite a few folks in person as well as just online. There was one person from Roanoke, VaMan101, that I talked to occasionally. One night, he mentioned that he lived at an apartment complex on a particular road . . . and it was the road that I lived on! YIKES!  He lived about two miles from me!  I never revealed to people where I lived, so when I realized how close he lived to me, it freaked me out a little, so I decided to not talk to him any longer even though he seemed very nice.  Not too long after that, I stopped using AOL.

About two years later, I rejoined AOL and went into the Virginians Online chat room. In just a couple of minutes, an instant message popped up from VaMan101 welcoming me into the room. I immediately assumed that he remembered me because I remembered him. So I just started happily chatting away! Well, what I didn't know at the time was that he DID NOT remember me and the only reason that he sent that instant message to me was simply because he was a chat room host and was just being polite!

Over the next few days we went on chatting and he seemed pretty nice. Then he asked me for my phone number so that he could call me. I refused because I did not give my phone number out to people online. I told him that if he would give me HIS phone number that I would call him. Now, I know what you are thinking. Boy, she is some kind of stupid because all he had to do was look at Caller ID. Well, the joke would be on you because that was in the Stone Ages before Caller ID!

He seemed to be pretty nice on the phone and we seemed to have quite a bit in common. We exchanged GIFs (photos). After a couple of weeks of chatting online and on the phone, he asked me to meet him in person.  At that time, I felt fairly safe meeting someone like that as long as I took a few precautions. There is NO WAY that I would do that nowadays!

I told him that I would meet him at the bowling alley on Franklin Road on Saturday afternoon.  That way, it was still daylight!  I also told several of my friends what I was doing and gave them all of the information that I had about him. As the date approached, I was getting more and more nervous. I had told him that I would meet him inside at the snack bar.  As I walked in, I saw him sitting at the snack bar with a soda.  I had the advantage because I saw him first and managed to get almost all the way to him before he saw me. Now, when he looked at me, there was something that made me a bit leery.

To be continued!

Copyright 2013--All Rights Reserved--The Wheel & Distaff by Kimberly Burnette-Dean