Happily Engaged

 

RingOnce upon a time, there was this girl who didn’t see the wall this guy had built around his heart. She didn’t see the battle scars, nor the pain, but instead she looked right through the injuries and into the guy’s very soul. And she said, “There you are! I’ve been looking for you!”

This is where we push the pause button on our story, which by the way is as factual an account as if it had descended from Mt. Sinai on a stone tablet, in order to pass along some happy news. Yesterday, surrounded by family, I knelt before a woman whom I thought only existed in my dreams, and asked her to marry me. She said yes, and quick as a flash before she had time to reconsider, I gave her a ring along with my heart, happily and eternally.

Now, following the doctrine of preemption, let me answer some questions before they are asked, and tell you about Shelley Allen, a woman so amazing, with such a graceful spirit, such a radiant countenance, whose quick wit and humor give me face cramps from laughing and whose captivating beauty leaves me speechless and…well… I’m getting ahead of myself. Here, let’s have an interview.

Q: So how did you kids meet?

A: Online, actually. I was browsing through some profiles online one day when I saw what was, up until that point, the most truly radiant smile I had ever seen.

Q: Why do you say up until that point?

A: Because I’ve seen her smile in person since then and it’s even better than the photo.

Q: So it was Shelley whose smile you saw.

A: Yes, but I didn’t try to contact her after I saw her profile.

Q: Why not?

A: Figured I didn’t stand a chance with a pretty girl like that.

Q: So what happened?

A: She actually wrote me. Very kind note. She said I was handsome.

Q: Did you answer?

A: Is the Pope Catholic? Of course I answered! I wrote back and suggested that she might be overdue an eye exam. In no time at all we were writing back and forth, joking and having a wonderful conversation.

Q: So it all started with that photo?

A: Well, her profile showed that she is also a die-hard LSU fan, so that helped. It’s nice when someone is pre-converted.

Q: When did you actually meet for the first time?

A: Last Veterans Day. I had an event in Memphis to show the Ride of Pride truck, and we decided to go get a bite to eat after the event.  It began as dinner between two friends, yet the very first moment we met, we very naturally gave each other a hug. As the evening went, it was obvious that there was a connection between us that was different from anything in our respective experiences. So it went from dinner with a friend to a wonderful date, and we never looked back. In fact, I was shocked by how difficult it was at the end of the evening to say goodnight and walk back to my truck. It was like I had left my heart with her, which in fact I had.

Q: Easy there, Sir Romance-Alot, let’s go back to your first conversations with her. What did you learn?

A: Well, for starters, I learned that she is Native American Indian — Cherokee, Choctaw and Sioux to be specific — and that her and her mother have both been active in the Native American Indian community for many years, to the point that they’ve both held office on the Commission of Indian Affairs for the State of Tennessee. Her knowledge of her own culture and ancestry is encyclopedic, and that includes the tartan pattern that she showed me while explaining the bit of Scots Irish ancestry she has as well.

Q: Does she work?

A: It would be easier if you asked, “when does she not work?” She does accounting work, making sure corporate bills get paid. She teaches cake decorating classes. And when she’s not doing one or the other, she is very active in her community and in her church especially, on any number of committees, juggling numerous projects and displaying organizational skills that would make any CEO envious.

Q: You mentioned her church. Do you two share the same faith?

A: We will. When we first started talking and getting to know each other, it was at a time when much of my world came crumbling down around me. I had lost my stepmom in September, only two months after she had been diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumor. Her passing shook our family down to its foundations. The situation was made more difficult when my Dad, suffering from Alzheimer’s and coping with the loss of his wife of 34 years, suffered a stroke shortly after Mom’s death. This was in addition to issues of personal tumult that would make your head explode were I to detail them, which I respectfully decline to do.

Q: How does Shelley figure into all that?

A: She listened to me for hours on end, as I tried to reason through events and make sense of them. Her patient responses, the wisdom of her advice, and the warm kindness that exudes from her perspective is due in large part to her Catholic faith. Now, keep in mind that at this point, I was questioning a great many things. Not my faith in God, though. I learned years ago not to let fallen man come between me and my Redeemer. But it was at this time, however, that I cleared the table as it were, of my preconceptions about the Catholic faith in particular, and looked at it anew. Through my own study of the faith which is continuing, through my conversations both with Shelley and with a very knowledgeable and caring priest, and through attending church with Shelley and watching her faith in action, I felt increasingly drawn to it.

Q: So you’re converting?

A: Yes I am. Now, there have been religious debates on Ricochet, and I’ve steered clear of them, as I will continue to do. Let’s just say that the more I learn about the Catholic faith, the more I attend Mass, which on so many levels really is a feast for the soul, the more I feel like I’m coming home.

Q: Change of subject here. How does Shelley handle your, shall we say, unique sense of humor?

A: With a loaded gun… the gun being her own wit and humor. I remember joking with her when I drove out to L.A. for Ricochet’s 200th podcast that, even though I’m 10 months older, I would actually be two hours younger than her while in L.A. Of course she was having none of it… but as soon as I crossed back into the Central Time Zone, I got a text from her saying, “Welcome back, Old Man.”

Q: Takes no prisoners, eh?

A: She doesn’t need to. She said something playful about my bald head one day, and I wrote a message feigning injury and said, “That’s not funny.” She wrote back, “Yes it is. I’m laughing hysterically over here!” I even enjoy it when she chastises me!

Q: Oh!

A: Her church is planning some activities in honor of their upcoming 60th anniversary. I had some suggestions, like, The Feast of the Immaculate Gumbo, for example, or an Our Lady of Perpetual Motion Hula-Hoop Contest, or The Running of the Protestant. She called and warned that at this rate I would be excommunicated before I even converted.

Q: Seems like a reasonable assessment to me. Do your kids get along with her?

A: They are thick as thieves. My kids are grown now, and have families of their own, but they have embraced Shelley in a wonderful way, and I think that’s in part because she is a wonderful person, and in part because she has embraced them. In fact, when we began to realize the trajectory our relationship was taking, Shelley made it plain that she would never come between my children and I, and that if the kids objected to the relationship we would need to call things off.

Q: Really?

A: “Family comes first,” were her exact words. She not only believes that family takes care of their own, she lives it. In fact, we’ve let the kids know that our home will always be their home as well.

Q: Neither of you is exactly a spring chicken anymore. Is it disappointing to have found each other at this point in life?

A: We believe that things happen for a reason. Our respective lives, up until this point, have been filled with triumphs and tragedies that make us who we are. We’ve both learned some hard lessons from previous relationships and have been able to apply that knowledge in a way that makes our relationship even stronger. Besides, some people go a lifetime and never meet that one special person. I’m blessed beyond measure to have met this remarkable woman at all. To be loved by her, at any stage of life, is more of a blessing than I could ever hope for, and certainly more than I ever dared to dream was possible.

Q: When is the wedding?

A: Well, there is the little matter of my conversion, which process is starting now, but will culminate next Easter. We hope to be married shortly thereafter. Next April hopefully.

Q: Is that how the story ends?

A: No, that’s the beginning of a whole new story. But here… when we left the earlier narrative, this certain girl had looked into this guy’s very soul and said, “There you are! I’ve been looking for you.” The story continues:

EngagementAnd the guy looked up and said, “Is it really you? Is it possible?” She smiled the most beautiful smile the world has ever seen, and said, “I love you.” The guy sat there a moment, stunned, half in disbelief you see, because he had been burned before. But then, with the strength of her love and the beauty of her heart… he realized that this was different… that his dream girl really was standing beside him… and that she would never leave his side. And he found his own heart, because it called her name as if in recognition of that one kindred spirit. And he stood, stretched out his arms and enfolded her in his embrace, to love and to cherish, for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, forever. Happily Ever After is only beginning.

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  1. Jon Gabriel, Ed. Admin
    Jon Gabriel, Ed.
    @jon

    Many congratulations, Dave!

    • #1
  2. Kelly B Member
    Kelly B
    @KellyB

    Wow – Congratulations!

    • #2
  3. user_6236 Member
    user_6236
    @JimChase

    Dave, on a day in desperate need of joyful light, you brought it and in good measure!  Janet and I wish you and your betrothed the greatest joy and blessings.  Congratulations!

    • #3
  4. Frank Soto Contributor
    Frank Soto
    @FrankSoto

    Congratulations Dave

    • #4
  5. George Savage Contributor
    George Savage
    @GeorgeSavage

    Fantastic news!  Blessings on you both.

    • #5
  6. jpark Member
    jpark
    @jpark

    Congratulations, Dave, with a mazel tov thrown in from the family scholar, Mrs. jpark.

    • #6
  7. Son of Spengler Contributor
    Son of Spengler
    @SonofSpengler

    Congratulations!

    • #7
  8. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Congratulations to you both.

    • #8
  9. user_189393 Inactive
    user_189393
    @BarkhaHerman

    Congratulations!

    • #9
  10. user_385039 Inactive
    user_385039
    @donaldtodd

    A Catholic wife.  Welcome home.  dt

    • #10
  11. user_3444 Coolidge
    user_3444
    @JosephStanko

    Congratulations!

    In your extensive FAQ you left out one vital question: is Shelley a Ricochet member yet?

    • #11
  12. user_86050 Inactive
    user_86050
    @KCMulville

    Congratulations, Dave! A prayer for the Road Chief!

    • #12
  13. EThompson Inactive
    EThompson
    @EThompson

    Oh my! You do realize you’re breaking a lot of hearts around here?

    • #13
  14. user_1938 Inactive
    user_1938
    @AaronMiller

    Congratulations! It couldn’t have happened to an older guy. Nicer, I mean. 

    • #14
  15. Whiskey Sam Inactive
    Whiskey Sam
    @WhiskeySam

    Good news, indeed.  Congrats, Dave!

    • #15
  16. Pencilvania Inactive
    Pencilvania
    @Pencilvania

    Shelley and Dave, happiness upon happiness on you both!  Whatever will Alphonse say?

    • #16
  17. Trink Coolidge
    Trink
    @Trink

    Oh Dave!  Congratulations!! You are both truly blessed. Happy, happy day!  Love is transformative.  I feel the glow all the way over here on Cape Cod :)

    • #17
  18. user_96427 Contributor
    user_96427
    @tommeyer

    Congrats, Dave!

    • #18
  19. iWc Coolidge
    iWc
    @iWe

    Congratulations!!!!

    • #19
  20. Mama Toad Member
    Mama Toad
    @CBToderakaMamaToad

    Blessings on you, both in your life together and your life in Christ through the church. Know that many of us will be praying for you! Peace!

    • #20
  21. user_5186 Inactive
    user_5186
    @LarryKoler

    God bless you both. Dave, this is great news. Thanks for sharing with all of us. We love you.

    • #21
  22. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    You rock, Dave!

    • #22
  23. Nanda Panjandrum Member
    Nanda Panjandrum
    @

    Congratulations and bless you both!  Prayers on the journey..”

    • #23
  24. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Oh, one more thing . . .

    WEDDING MEETUP!

    Just kidding, but it would be fun to tie tin cans to the back of your truck . . .

    • #24
  25. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    Oh my, I’m all verklempt! What a beautiful bit of news. Let’s all try to remember, we’re not losing Dave, we’re gaining a new member of Ricochet. Welcome Shelley!

    /won’t mention the new member of the Church aspect lest it appear I’m spiking the football. Wouldn’t be prudent. Never mind me while I do a teeny tiny nearly invisible happy dance… Welcome home Dave. ;-)

    • #25
  26. PHCheese Inactive
    PHCheese
    @PHCheese

    I am hoping Dave that this means you will park that big truck and show up more on Ricochet . Congratulations.

    • #26
  27. Knotwise the Poet Member
    Knotwise the Poet
    @KnotwisethePoet

    Congratulations! 

    • #27
  28. raycon and lindacon Inactive
    raycon and lindacon
    @rayconandlindacon

    Great news, Dave.  Let’s see if you guys can make it 45 years.

    • #28
  29. user_517406 Inactive
    user_517406
    @MerinaSmith

    Aw–what a nice story!  Congratulations and my best wishes for many happy years together!

    • #29
  30. user_125733 Inactive
    user_125733
    @DebbieStevens

    Congratulations, Dave!  What a wonderful gift of grace during this tumultuous year, too.  So, you met in Memphis — is she from there?  If so, we might be neighbors!

    • #30
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