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Happy Valentine’s Day!

I hope everyone is having a great Valentine’s Day! I know some people say it’s just a made-up holiday to sell candy, but it’s a truly special day for my husband and me. Twenty-four years ago today, my husband proposed to me.

I first published the following in 2018. I’ve made a few edits, but the core story is the same. This is my story – the story of how I met my husband when I had given up on love and refused to look for it anymore.

Many years ago, I moved back to my hometown after spending a few years in a large city roughly 100 miles from where I’d grown up. My boyfriend of two years and I broke up shortly after my move. The relationship had been declining for a while, and it was time to let it die.

Days became weeks, which became months. I had a few dates, but nobody really interested me. I decided that I would be better off without a man in my life. I needed to concentrate on me and my own identity, which had been tied to someone else for too long. So, I found a second job to make some extra money and fill my time while I figured things out.

My typical day was pretty hectic. I worked eight hours at my full-time job, and then I went to my second job where I worked a few more hours. I returned home to sleep and do it all again the next day. I was keeping busy. I wasn’t exactly happy, but I only had to worry about myself. No one else was demanding my time, attention, and money.

One day a friend of my mom’s asked me if I would like to come over to her house for a dinner party with the date and time to be determined. I accepted her invitation with a weak smile. I thought she was either having some sort of home sales party or really felt sorry for me. The dinner party never took place, and I forgot about it.

Approximately a month later, on December 30th, I was at my full-time job when I received a beautiful bouquet of red roses from a man I had never met. I’d never even heard of him. I know. It sounds like an old cheesy TV commercial. It’s pretty thrilling when it really happens, though.

In his note, the guy mentioned my mom’s friend by name, gave his phone number, and asked me to call if I was interested in meeting him. I immediately called Mom’s friend and asked who the heck this guy was and why he was sending me flowers.

She explained that she had planned to introduce the us at her dinner party, but he’d chickened out. Therefore, dinner never happened. She went on to say that he was a good man, hard worker, and devoted dad. He was also recently divorced.

I tried calling him that night, but he didn’t answer. I figured that I at least owed him a “thank you” for the roses. I was a bit perplexed by him not answering the phone. Who sends a woman flowers with his phone number and then doesn’t stay home to receive her call? This happened in the days before cell phones were prevalent and texting wasn’t even a thing.

He never did answer the phone that night. He came in to where I was working the next day, and I found myself face to face with my future. I caught my breath when I saw him. He was a tall handsome red-headed fellow who towered over me with kind blue eyes and a mischievous smile.

I felt my face grow hot when I saw him and knew I was bright red. My voice went all high and wobbly. My hands shook as I scribbled my phone number on a scrap of paper for him. I blushed and had trouble thinking for the rest of the day.

We started dating in January. Things happened fast. I fell utterly in love with him. I met his kids and his parents. I thought things were progressing very well. I was excited for our first Valentine’s Day together even though we would be celebrating late due to our work schedules.

I couldn’t bear to let the roses die, so I carefully dried the petals and put them in a crystal bowl. I didn’t know if a relationship would develop, but I wanted to preserve the memory of such a grand introduction and the most romantic gesture I’d ever witnessed.

He was waiting for me in the parking lot when I got off work on our first Valentine’s Day. He asked me to get in his car and told me that we needed to talk. Since that’s usually code for “We’re breaking up,” I wasn’t happy. I climbed into his car for what I was certain would be a “It’s not you. It’s me,” speech.

He started out by telling me how great a person I was and how any man would be lucky to have me. Again, I thought we were breaking up. He told me he loved me and always would. Then he produced a ring box and asked me to marry him. As he flipped the box open, the ring flew out of its velvet slot and under the seat.

Chaos ensued. He was scrambling to find the ring, and I was grabbing at him to make him hold still so I could answer his question. He found the ring, and when he was finally still, I told him that I would be happy to become his wife. We were engaged on Valentine’s Day and married in October of that year.

For those of you keeping track, I had been married to him for two months before we had known each other a year. We moved faster than we probably should have. We talked about having a long engagement, but he told me that there’s no sense in moving slow when you know something is right. He had a good point, so we moved at his speed. It’s been 24 years and counting, so I guess he was right.

My stepdaughter was our flower girl. The rose petals she sprinkled on the church aisle at our wedding were from that first bouquet I received from a man I’d never met. The flowers had come full circle. And the woman who tried to introduce us? She was one of my bridesmaids.

May love surround you this Valentine’s Day and every day!

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Thank you for reading Ozarks Maven! If you’ve enjoyed my little seeds of wisdom and joy, please subscribe to Ozarks Maven, Like Ozarks Maven on Facebook, or follow me on Twitter @OzarksMaven.

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