She was so Beautiful.
It was a blind date. My sister Cynthia set it up. They were coworkers. Said I would really like her.
She had a great smile.
The date started ok. Cynthia brought her boyfriend. She and my blind date also invited another coworker of theirs.
She was friendly and outgoing.
We all sat at a table. I was across from the boyfriend. The three of them sat at the end. And they talked about work. The boyfriend didn’t talk much. Had to pull conversation out of him.
I was not having a good time.
It ended. We went home.
My sister asked what I thought? I said that I really didn’t have an opportunity to get to know her since they talked the entire time, but she seemed nice.
She was so Beautiful…had a great smile…and was friendly and outgoing.
It was a couple days before Christmas, 1992. I was home from my first operational flying assignment in the Air Force for the holidays. Long drive from Ellsworth AFB near Rapid City, SD to Baton Rouge, LA.
I was just off a relationship. My blind date as well. Both involved and messy. So here we were.
I suggested to Cynthia I call Angelle and see if she would like to go out after Christmas. Cynthia said Angelle worked nights and was scheduled after Christmas. My vacation was up and I had to return in a couple days. Small window to get together.
I called. Nervous. “Sure” she said. “Maybe lunch?” YESSSS!!! I didn’t say it that way on the phone, but was thinking it. It was a date. Just the two of us. December 26th.
I grabbed a rose. Yellow. Signifies friendship. Nice but not too presumptuous.
She had to go to work later that day. I had to return to the home of Mt Rushmore 1500 miles and 24 hours of driving away. Weather wasn’t good up north so I was thinking I needed to get started on the return trip that afternoon so I wasn’t late.
And then everything changed.
We decided on Chili’s. Public place. If all went bad we could part ways. Safe.
We talked. And ate fajitas. She had an appetite! Attractive, I thought. Not afraid to eat in front of me.
And talked some more. For hours. About everything.
She was so Beautiful…had a great smile…was friendly and outgoing…and easy to talk to.
This was going well, I thought. Then at some point she asked me if I had ever been arrested? Did I do drugs, or have I ever? Did I have any kids?
Weird questions for a first date. But I didn’t care. No, No, and No.
We pressed on. I took her back to her apartment. We talked some more. She asked when I had to return to South Dakota?
I really liked this girl. Cynthia was right! How could we spend more time together? Could I get an extension on my leave? Does she feel the same way?
As all these thoughts were running through my mind, Angelle said, “I may be able to get off work tonight if it’s not too busy. Could you stay another day?”
She called. I called. At her work it was slow. My boss had no issues extending my leave.
I asked if she would like to have dinner at my parent’s house? She said sure!
Angelle will tell you that night she knew I was the one. As she describes, I was at the refrigerator getting some ice, she looked over at me and “had that feeling” she was going to marry me. To her credit, she kept that to herself! But, she was spot on.
We were engaged a year later, and married the following year. Angelle had no real exposure to the military lifestyle before meeting me. She grew up in southern LA, her parents did, as well as her grandparents, etc. You get the picture. She had always told her mom she would marry someone and travel the world!
Angelle fell in love with me. Not an Air Force pilot, or the idea of traveling, or anything else. Me.
She said she liked that I was easy to talk to, and that there was only one version of me, not different ones that change depending on the circumstances. Said another way, what you see is what you get!
Marriage is not easy in the best of times, and certainly not in hard times. Add to it the military lifestyle, and it is exponentially more difficult. To get through the ups and downs takes commitment.
Which comes from love.
The military. Frequent moves. Deployments. In harm’s way. The fact that when you are home, you are not really home.
As a former member of the Armed Services, people would often thank me for my sacrifice. They read the news and would see what was happening half way around the world. I appreciated the sentiment, and I knew it was sincere. Let’s face it, we take an oath to:
“Support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.”
Many have given their lives.
So, this kind of sacrifice is front and center. But, our families also sacrifice.
Kids struggling in school because they are in their third school in three years. Left their friends again. And again. Dad is gone. Mom is homeschooling to try and provide some continuity in the midst of chaos. Serving as Mom and Dad.
And, even more subtle, spouses who sacrifice their own careers to support the one they love. This comes in many forms, but is just as real.
I am so proud of Angelle. Yes, she raised two great kids, supported my career, and spent many sleepless nights worried about me. The whole time, focusing on everyone but herself.
She gave back to Airmen in countless ways. Loved them. Supported them. Advised them. Encouraged them. She did not sign up for this, and did not receive a salary. But she did it with passion and zeal.
Over 26 years ago, in my parent’s kitchen, she knew I was the one. And we went on the ride of our lives.
Through good times and bad.
She is so Beautiful…has a great smile…is friendly and outgoing…and easy to talk to…and loves me for me.
Even more so today.
Angelle, thanks for showing all of us that when you love someone for who they are, everything else can be worked through. That commitment…that love…binds us, strengthens us, and keeps us together. Forever. I love you!
1 Corinthians 13: 4-8
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.