When I transferred to Kentucky Christian College from Wittenberg University, I had sworn off dating altogether. That lasted approximately 18 hours. To say I “met” Mel in our first chapel service is a bit of an overstatement. I made my way into the chapel, where this red-headed goddess was singing on the worship team. I leaned over to my buddy and said: “I want THAT one.” In the Lifetime movie of our story, I approached her after chapel and won her over with my wit and charm. Nope. Pine cones. Pine cones were my play. I’ll elaborate.
I didn’t talk to my red-head that morning, or maybe even that week. I think we had been there a bit when a friend I had made on campus, Melissa, invited me to her devotion group. We met under….a pine tree. Wait for it, this is good stuff. The red-head was there! She and Melissa were roommates! I was freaking out, trying to figure out how to talk to this girl as she sat on the grass across from me in our little group of students. When in doubt, go OLD SCHOOL. I’m talking junior high-style. I started tossing pine cones at her. Seriously. It was very romantic, you had to be there. It must have been my 4th or 5th shot that finally made the impression….I hit her right in the corner of her eye and made her bleed. Together forever, the end. Right?
No, but that night began a series of conversations that would lead me to pursue her for the next year. She had kind of “kissed dating goodbye” too and was a little scared of the pinecone-hurling former frat guy transfer student. We talked on the phone almost every night, and I prayed for the opportunity to date her every night. Sounds silly, but my greatest education in prayer was trying to get a date with this girl!
SO, eventually, with the help of her roommate, I convinced her to take a chance and go out with me. It was then I was introduced to a whole other side of Melony Smith. You see, she had convinced her roommate to participate in this elaborate story where Mel’s parents were REALLY old-fashioned and would only allow her to go on a CHAPERONED date, and so Melissa had to go with us, and she hoped I had money to pay for her too (full disclosure- I didn’t. A few hours later this broke college student was counting change trying to pay the Olive Garden bill). She had her roommate get in my car and refuse to get out, just to tune me up and see what I’d do. I might have had words with her roommate about getting “out of the car right now” through gritted teeth. They got me good.
The rest of the night was magical. The finest of dining awaited us at the Olive Garden. The movie- horror, of course. Horror movies ensure a certain level of “opportunity”… scare her enough, and she’ll be driven to the safety of your shoulder in the theater. Of course, scare her as the movie “Urban Legends” did, and she will dig her nails into said shoulder like she’s falling from a cliff! The scars I bear are evidence of our love.
The date must have been memorable because we were right back to the phone calls and praying after that. Mel made me chase her for a year before that fateful day when, after we had both auditioned for a traveling summer outreach ministry our school sponsored, we both found our names on the list of students who had made the team. I’ll never forget the sweet words she said. She looked over at me and said, “well, I guess I’m stuck with you now.” 18 years later, she still is.