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How I Met My Husband or Pride and Prejudice
Lightening flashed and thunder rumbled---but it was only an ordinary summer thunderstorm---not an indication that I had just my future husband.
I was standing on the front porch when I first saw him. Around me swirled laughter and chattering voices. My friend Teresa and her sisters had planned a picnic on July 4, 1998. They invited a wide variety of youth from among their acquaintances at church, school and work. When two young men ambled up the walk, I guessed that they were Ed and Marlin, Teresa's co-workers who I had heard about often but never met.
The rest of the evening is a blurred memory. I know we ate yummy food and played volleyball until the rain chased us indoors to play games. Marlin and Ed added life to the party by turning an empty soda bottle into an Amish soda rocket. But I was completely unaware of the other sparks that were kindled that evening.
Over the next several months, Ed and Marlin occasionally appeared at a church service or a volleyball game. It didn't take long to figure out that Marlin and Teresa were moving their relationship to a deeper level than co-worker. I assumed Ed was tagging along with Marlin to give him company in visiting a strange church.
I was twenty-two years old and spending many Saturdays watching my friends marry. I had the normal young woman's dream of marriage but when I looked around, I didn't see many marriage options available. A Mennonite young man, though interesting from a single girl's perspective, didn't count.
To an outsider, my long skirts and white head covering looked similar to a Mennonites. I was often asked by strangers if I was Mennonite. But I was from a Brethren church and had built a huge wall of prejudice against Mennonites. I had never specifically said that I would never marry a Mennonite (I didn't want to make a rash promise), but I had thought it in my head many times.
In November one of my dear friends, also Ed's co-worker, married. After the wedding some of us played volleyball, including Marlin and Ed. Eventually hunger sent us to the tiny local pizza shop, aptly named Romeos. A few of us girls quickly slid into a booth, hungry for some girl talk. While I don't have trouble talking (usually I talk far too much) I was usually more reserved around guys. I would have much preferred catching up with some dear friends. But the guys started shoving tables together and obviously wanted us to stay in a group so reluctantly I left my comfortable huddle.
One cold day in February, Teresa called to say her co-workers were organizing a snow tubing excursion, "Will you go?" That evening, Teresa and three of her Brethren girlfriends, met a few Mennonite guys, plus several couples to car pool together to snow tubing. The young men offered to drive, but already feeling awkward, we girls refused to be separated, to Teresa's disappointment. Whether any young men were disappointed, I never asked.
At the mountain, the snow tubing course was crowded and the lines were long. But the evening was cold, crisp and lovely. At closing time, I lingered to the back of the line, enjoying the beauty of the West Virginian mountains before the last ride. Ed waited too and gave my tube a shove. I lingered at the bottom so Ed could catch up and we briefly chatted as we walked over to join the group. Nothing memorable was discussed but it was, to my memory, our first conversation. (To be continued)