For all of you who are getting cheesed-out at all our smiley couple pictures, here's something a wee bit different . . . the story of how we met, fell in love and decided to go to the chapel on the 29th.
Once upon a time there was a girl named Jen
. She was but a fresh-faced 15-year-old, roaming the halls of her high school in Oakbank, Manitoba. Her life was happy, surrounded by her friends, family, and her numerous hobbies. She even had a boyfriend! Things couldn't get much better. That is, they couldn't until one cold night in mid-winter, a friend stuffed Jen into the back seat of her car, and took off to the big city (aka: Winnipeg). There were many dangers lurking in the alleyways of this foreign place: pool halls and loud music, shopping malls, boys, and . . . Calvary Temple youth group. It was there, in the humble enclave of those Friday night gatherings, that Jen first met Mark
. He was a smashing young lad, well-educated and yet with a "wild" curly mane suggestive of his adventurousness. A few weeks went by, until one day in Chemistry class, when Jen was feeling particularly unsure of the boy she was then dating, her friend said casually, "Do you like Mark?" (ah, the simple days!) Jen replied, "well, I don't really know him, I guess, he's nice . . . " "well he likes you!" was the response. Jen was surprised and flattered. Her friend asked, "would you ever call him?" She answered, no, I couldn't do that. She asked that friend NOT to tell Mark that she had a boyfriend, but it was too late, he already knew. "He doesn't care," said the friend. Jen liked that very much.
A few days later Mark called. As verified by Jen's journal, they had a great talk, and she wrote "he's WAY more talkative than xxxx
(current boyfriend)." She then proceeded to list his other qualities (followed by the ubiquitous smiley-faces) and state how confused she was.
Time passed. They fell out of touch. Things happened, Life
happened. There were other relationships, other continents. They lived on opposite ends of Winnipeg, they went to different schools and churches, they had different friends. There were a few brief meetings at parties and other social events.
Then one day, Jen decided to move to Vancouver, on a whim, needing very much to mend her heart. Strangely enough, it was less the beauty of that distant coastal place than a boy from Winnipeg, living in upstate New York, who accomplished that. (they seem to have this thing for opposite ends . . . ) After a few on-line chats through the fall (neither were ready for more at that point), they decided to meet up at Christmas, just for coffee,
or something. That night, they both didn't get home until well after 5 am. It turned out they still had LOTS to talk about.
And Jen may not have filled her journal with smiley-faces, but she was smiling all the way home.
There was a visit to Syracuse, and one to Vancouver. There was a spring apart and a summer together in Winnipeg.
That August Mark popped a very beautiful David Rice
ring on Jen's finger in front of both their families. He not only succeeded in completely
surprising her, but he threw in a real sweet little bit about making her the center of his life as well. Nicely done, she thought, and exclaimed "Yes I'll marry you!" before he even had the words out of his mouth.And so, from a blustery February in '95 to a sun-soaked '06 August, there goes the story of how Jennifer Anne Ward and Mark Graeme Barber met and fell in love and decided to go to the chapel on the 29th.
not looking like this, mind you!