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Reflections February 2018

Sam's Side

A Puppy Love Story

By Sam Beeson

There was never any doubt that Jennifer and I would someday be married. Rarely was one of our names mentioned without the other close behind. It was destiny, kismet, or sheer chance.

The young boy stood nervously on the stage, aware that everyone was watching him.

"Contemplate."

"Compemplate."

He blushed. What was he doing here?

"Contemplate."

"Conpenplate."

He began to hear groans and sighs from some of the other students who were all watching this nobody making a fool of himself.

"Contemplate."

"Comtemplate."

Dang. Almost had it that time.

The young man thought about what brought him to this point in time standing on his high school's stage being coached during a rehearsal for the school play on how to say a word that most elementary school kids could utter.

"Conpenplate?" He just couldn't get it.

The play's director decided to move on and coach the young man later on how to pronounce simple words.

That young man, was me. Shy for most of my life, when I entered high school I did something that was completely unexpected and out of character, I tried out for the school play. To everyone's surprise, especially my own, I got a part in the school's production of "Lost Horizons." But I had to say that word. And I just couldn't.

One of the other students watching this spectacle on stage was a young woman. She could say "contemplate," and couldn't understand why this freshman simply couldn't manage it. No doubt, she believed that this would be his one and only play and that he would disappear into the rabble of nameless, faceless others at a large metropolitan high school.

Eventually, with patient coaching from the play's director, I finally mastered the word, and have rarely screwed it up since. Furthermore, the experience awakened a part of me that I never even knew existed. A love for the performing arts. I was hooked. From that point on, I spent every hour of free time in the school's drama department, both on stage and behind the scenes. I became a card carrying member of the theater clique.

I developed a fascination with stage lighting. So I was recruited into running the lighting for various school functions, including choir concerts. One day, I was running the lights for a concert. A friend of mine was in the lighting booth with me. Boys being boys, we decided to rate the best looking girls in each row of the choir. One of the members of the choir was the same young woman, no longer a stranger, but a casual friend, who thought I was so inept for not being able to say the word "contemplate." She would routinely tease me about this and we would both laugh at my awkwardness. But anyway, as we picked the girls we thought were cutest in each row, we got to this young woman's row. I didn't pick her.

"What about Jennifer?" My friend asked.

I still remember the moment as if it happened yesterday. I stared for a moment at her, and something strange happened. I fell in love, though I would not admit it for months.

"Yeah. You're right. It's Jennifer."

Jennifer and I developed a close, platonic relationship. At one time, we were both in other relationships that had their typical teenage problems. We would confide in each other. We would talk on the phone nearly every night, telling secrets, sharing stories, and making sure we both understood that we were "just friends."

It was in my sophomore year, and her junior year, that we both finally realized what our friends already knew. We became a couple (which is a whole ‘nother story for a later time). Not only a couple, we became THE couple. The "power couple" as a friend described us.

When Jennifer was 17, her mother and step father moved out of state, but Jennifer stayed
behind living with a sister in order to keep our relationship together. Eventually, her sister moved out of state, and Jennifer was left with no family at all here, but she still stayed. 

There was never any doubt that Jennifer and I would someday be married. Rarely was one of our names mentioned without the other close behind. It was destiny, kismet, or sheer chance.

You see, we came from completely different backgrounds. In fact, we shared very little in
common. But we persevered. Her unique qualities and mine combining to create a couple with a wide variety of interests and passions.

This is not to say there haven't been bumps. We certainly had our share. But through it all there was a common denominator. No matter what life threw at us, we would see it through together, and we have.

As of this writing, we are facing our 34th year of marriage, and our 41st year as a couple. We recognize that most childhood sweetheart stories do not end like ours. But this should serve to show that some can.

And that love can find and change an awkward boy standing on a stage. And it is never too late, nor too early to find it.

And that is something to contemplate.

 

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