From the first moment we started dating, Libby had her work cut out for her in the quest to keep me in line. You see, Libby was a rule follower and she saw the world in black and white, so whether I was telling a story in which I misstated a date (insignificant to the story, in my mind) or if I made a joking comment to someone in passing, either way, Libby would correct the date that I had messed up and she would tell the person that I joked with, that I didn’t really mean what I said (although in my mind they should have known that I was joking). That correction is apparently still going on today.
Recently, Nathan was looking through some old keepsakes when he found some of Libby’s writings from a composition class that she was required to take as a part of her continuing education classes. Below is an excerpt from a paper written to Nathan and Jerod in 2006 to describe the beginning of Libby’s and my relationship along with some of her thoughts leading up to our first date.
In an earlier post, I described how Libby had shown up at my parents house with an old jersey, seemingly out of the blue. A portion of Libby’s story to Jerod and Nathan is reprinted below and it fills in some of the blanks and explains what happened leading up to the jersey episode. Libby remembered details that I had forgotten, I did remember going to see my old friend from high school because she was sick, but I never knew until later how that visit had changed Libby’s view of me. So as usual Libby has corrected one of my stories:
For My Boys
I thought it might be of some interest for you both to know how our story began and the things about your dad that secured my love for a lifetime.
It was one of those times when you just know in your spirit that you need to go home. The year was 1977 during the spring quarter of my first year of college, when I noticed a drastic decrease in my energy level. Over the next few days, I completely lost my appetite and by Friday midterms, my fever was up and down, between the chills of a Russian winter and the heat of an Arizona summer.
Driving home half-delirious from the fever and the other half from pain medication, all I could think of was snuggling in my warm bed and being lovingly cared for by my mom and dad. I needed rest, lots of rest! Much of the next few weeks, I only remember in snippets. “She has a severe case of mono which has caused an infection in her teeth,” the doctor said. “She needs plenty of rest, a liquid diet, and I am prescribing some high-powered antibiotics. She is one sick little girl.”
A true Southern lady, I had always been taught to make yourself “presentable” and would not think of leaving my home without bathing, “fixing my face,” and curling my hair. With that being said, when you are truly sick, the only priority you have is getting well and the only energy expended is to achieve that goal.
After several weeks of high fever and drastic weight loss, my mom told me I had a visitor. Too weak to protest, I looked up to see my good friend Barry walk through my bedroom door. Friends since eighth grade, we always had a special relationship, but today, little did I know, would take our friendship to a completely new level. With his dark raven hair, beautiful smile, quick wit, and outgoing personality, he was definitely a desirable date but the character he displayed over the next few days was decidedly, what secured my love when choosing a life mate.
I am sure as he saw me he was taken back by not only the stench from the infection but also my appearance, but if he was, he never showed it. He caught me up on all the “Valley People,” the latest in loves lost and gained, brought me eight track tapes of some of his favorites, Elton John and “The Eagles,” and made me laugh with his funny mix of humor and sarcasm.
As he left, my spirits had truly been lifted, but in my heart I felt he probably would not be back. Even my own family had to take turns waiting on me because of the terrible odor caused by the infection. As I lay back down, I caught a reflection of myself in the mirror and could hardly believe the frail, weak figure whose hollow eyes stared back at me. Oh, would I ever be well again?
To my surprise and delight Barry’s spirit was undeterred and he returned many times until I was well enough to resume my studies at Mercer. Over the last six weeks, we had talked about many things: our dreams, God, careers, football, music, family, and friends. In all those chats, I began to believe this was more than a good friendship.
I believe with all my heart God allowed these circumstances to take place… I began to realize the difference between true love and infatuation. In that little window of time, Barry had shown me unconditional love. Love not based on emotions that rise and fall but the choice of your will to put someone else’s best interest above your own, the choice to persevere even in undesirable circumstances, the choice to remain faithful even if beauty fades and the body fails.
Even though we did not start dating until several months later, I realized that this young man possessed qualities of character that were rare and would make someone a great husband. Maybe that someone could be me!
Now, after twenty-seven years of marriage, your dad’s character has only deepened. He’s the hardest working man I know, not only to make a comfortable home for us, but is always there to help others in need. He is not a man who lets his emotions lead him. He makes daily choices to put us first and deny himself of his own desires. Your dad is not perfect but we can both testify that he loves the Lord and serves Him daily through his actions. He has truly loved us well because of his desire to please God. I thank God for him daily and cherish him as the servant leader of our home, my very best friend, … a wonderful dad to you both, and as my beloved husband.
May God fill you with wisdom, power, perseverance and faithfulness to love well until “death do you part.” You have both been a delight and a challenge and I am proud of the young men you have both become.
Jerod and Nathan, I love you forever,