Thursday, May 21, 2009

Always Count to 10...

I was in the tenth grade, finally not a freshman any more, thank goodness, and it was football season.  I had decided not to play football after ninth grade because the football program and soccer program hated each other at Upson-Lee.  The football coach told me I would not be allowed to play both because of Spring football practice (two weeks in the middle of Soccer season, mandatory) and so I had to choose.  I said, "That's fine, soccer it is," and steam began to rise from the little mustached man's ears.  Don't worry, he'd get his revenge, but that's another story entirely.

I mention the above story because that was the beginning.  That decision put me on a path of good fortune that I still reap the bounty of daily.

So, yes, football season.  I found myself in the stands with my buddies to help cheer on our Black Knights.  I was having a great time, wishing perhaps an iota that I was down on the field, but okay with the fact that all my friends were there and we were having a blast.  Halftime rolled around and out comes the marching band.  We, think nothing of it and decided to take a trip to the concession stand, but I realized how crowded it would be up there, and I'd never seen my brother perform (clarinet), so I decided to stick around.  I find my brother, looking good, looking good, flag corps, dance-line, majore........


Who is that???  The beginning....

Fast forward a few weeks and I had found out her name, she was a freshman, and she had been dating a good friend of mine. He was a guy I'd played soccer with since I was 8 years old and things seemed good with them.  Oh well, I thought.

A few months later, she and soccer boy had broken up, Joy!, but quickly she had started dating another of my best friends that I'd been in school with since kindergarten. I still hadn't even met her, blast!!

A bit later, my friend dating mystery girl gave me a call and said he wanted to hang out, go over to someone's house, eat, watch a movie or something.  I said it sounded good, but I'd have to drive (since we were going out of the county, Dad's rules).  He said that was fine, but that he was bringing mystery girl, so I could just follow them.   I should have known something was fishy at that point, but I was excited I was going to meet mystery girl.  We went out to her house, where my friend was greeted by mystery mother, and her dog, Bear.  I should have known when her mother kept squinting, pointing, and asking, "Who is that out there, who else drove up with you, what kind of car is that, do I know him?" but again, I was just excited to meet mystery girl, finally so my judgement was clouded.

We got to our destination, and it was just four of us, not a group of people like had been alluded to  earlier.  We had some food and some laughs, then we turned on the movie: '8 Seconds'....seen it, he dies in the end.  Then finally everything came together:  this was a SET-UP!  Mystery girl and kindergarten friend were trying to set me up with mystery girl's best friend!  I played along, but knew that I was there because I had gotten to meet mystery girl, and she was funny, good looking, smart, and sarcastic...oh the humanity!

I didn't see mystery girl, or mystery girl's best friend again for a while, winter was changing into spring and that meant soccer was in full swing.  I had heard through the grapevine that kindergarten friend and mystery girl had broken up, Joy! Unfortunately, another of my best friends, the hopeless romantic, was head over heels for her, and they had been hanging out some, blast!  Soccer became my focus, and it felt good to be out there again (having missed most of my freshman year with a fractured vertabrae in my low back, now healed up). 

Turns out, that since I'd decided not to play football that year, mustached man, in a moment of evil wouldn't allow me to take weightlifting (which had previously been marked in ink on my schedule for my 9-12 years by the athletic dept.)  I was told to leave, that I was now in regular PE, and to go enjoy my badminton and tiddliwinks.  This was fine by me, I had a buddy in PE right then, we'd have some fun, destroy the volleyball competition, it was no big deal. 

A few days into my PE exile, I saw a beam of light walk and sit in the bleachers.  It was Mystery girl!  She had her 'health' class (actually a classroom class taught by PE coaches) at the same time that I had PE and whenever they finished assignments early, they were allowed to go hang out in the gym until the bell rang.  I got excited, but I was generally a shy guy, especially around girls, and especially moreso around girls I liked.  So I took my time, pulled the 'accidental throw of the frisbee near her' and her friends so that I'd have an excuse to interact.  Gradually (over weeks) I worked up to a, "Hey girls, how's it going?", then to a, "Man I'm tired, I need to rest. What are you girls doing in health class right now?"

This went on for weeks and weeks and finally, I was comfortable saying I was friends with mystery girl.  We then began to chat every so often on ICQ (I-seek-you).  Anyone remember that?  During one of these chats, she invited me to a pool party at her house she was having to kick off the beginning of summer.  I went, and it was fun, but still no definite sparks.  I had to finally work up the courage to ask her out, something casual, I thought.

She said yes, and it was set, after her spring dance recital, we would go and grab a bite to eat with some friends, then I'd take her home, it was a school-night after all.  Finally, we were in the car, alone, together, riding around our small town and I was dreaming the whole time of what could be.  We ate, I took her home, met her folks, said hey to Bear and then went home. We chatted that night on ICQ until our parents kicked us off.  Before we had to turn off the dial-up 56K, we settled that we would go out again, our first real date.

I picked her up, visited with her family, we went and grabbed a bite to eat at the local drive-in, rented a movie and headed back to my place.  (Our town has a one-screen, roaring '20's era theatre that at that point in time was at risk of collapsing mid-show).  The movie we rented: The Faculty, absolutely the worst movie I've seen, ever, and we both chuckled about how bad it actually was.  

At some point during the movie, toward the end, I gathered the courage and said, 

"Hey, what are we doing right now?"

"Uhh...watching a movie.." (characteristically sarcastic while knowing exactly what I'm asking)

"You know, I mean, are we 'friends', are we 'talking', are we 'dating'?"

"I don't know, what do you think we are doing?"  (again avoiding the obvious, driving me nuts)

"Well, I hope we are dating."

"Well, you haven't asked me..."

"Well, then, will you go out with me?"

"Sure, I'm having a pretty good time."

That was May 21, 1999, 10 years ago today, and since that time it has been the single best thing that I've done.  If I only knew then what I'd be writing today, I wouldn't have believed it and I have the little red-faced mustached man to thank for it.  Thank you, Senor Mustache.

Thank you mystery girl, Jaynah Hamby Morgan, for the best 10 years of my life.



*The photo at the top is the first photo taken of Jaynah and I together at some point during that Spring of '99 while hanging out in the gym bleachers.  

Click here to browse my Flickr albums that I put together before our wedding of our adventures together to that point.


Becca said...

haha what a great post :-) Isn't it crazy how fast time goes?! Adam and I started dating in high school too!

Jamie said...

thanks to you i have mascara running down my face and it's only 9:30 in the morning! what a sweet post.

brittanydyan said...

I had never heard that story! Thanks for sharing and congrats guys!

Kathy said...

Your post brought tears to my eyes...what a precious gift to "Mama Jaynah!"

Ginny said...

What a great story! Congratulations on the new addition! Enjoy this wonderful time!

Ashley Landers said...

What a great story. I never really knew how y'all met. And how Sweet! Brought tears to my eyes ;-)

Catherine said...

I came to your site from iHeartFaces, saw you had a new baby girl (congrats!) then read this post and got all teary and sentimental. My husband and I just celebrated 10 years together on the 20th of this month! For us it was ninth grade.