"A Chance Meeting"
By 1997, I'd been out with the girl who is now the current Huntsville ABC station executive producer, the chick who is cousin to former Miss America Heather Whitestone, and even more. I dated alot. Not bragging... like I said, some of it, I wish I could take back.
I did go out with a girl named Chrissy... I just went to her webpage... its sublime. I remember when she was learning Spanish. I was actually on the NYC mission trip--my first of three to come--where Chrissy & her husband met, so hey, I was there from the beginning. I heard they recently became parents--good for them!
Incidentally, Chrissy was also part of the streak I had going where when the relationship ended, the girl married the next guy she dated after me. Chrissy (married Drew, a fraternity brother) Heather Howell (married Nathan Carroll, another fraternity brother), Melanie Jackson (married Tim Spooner a year or two later) and so on. The common joke around my female friends was "Hey Dave, date me. I want to get married later." Yeah, thanks.
Sidebar: It was God working through Chrissy that not only taught me about the Christian Walk, but it was God working through Chrissy that taught me a love of Christian drama. It was that love that God used to lead me to Valleydale Church (an sbc fellowship) and God used to help encourage the drama talents of Andrea Brobst, Scott Latta, Jaci Gresham, The Fine Girls, The Kelley Girls, Garrett & Paige Cheney, The Long Twins, The Noland Sisters and even more. So in short, I throw it all back to Chrissy. You'll never know the impact you had.
1997 was a good spring. I had been selected to go onto the mission field in Montgomery, and work with the Montgomery Baptist Association--and get this... it was PAID mission work. My supervisor, Debbie, was even nice enough to let me have an evening off, because I had tickets to see "Les Miserables" in Atlanta (I took Chrissy...). It was fun work, playing with kids, helping a youth group in Millbrook and so on...
Well, one day in July of 1997, I'm sitting in my Wookiee's room, because he owned the only computer in the cramped place at Thomas Circle Apartments. I'm on AOL 2.0, using my screen name The Tan Guy, and basically goofing off, looking for conversation online. It's late in the evening, I'm not even sure where Chris is, but I find this chick online named Amy. Find out she's from Montgomery. We talked online for about five hours, into the early, early hours of the morning. I think Chris actually came home, and when I asked him if I should get off the computer, he just grunted, which is Wookeese for "I don't care what you do, but if you wake me after I pass out, I'll eat you". For whatever reason, Amy and I agreed to meet the next day at the Eastdale Mall for a movie.
Remember, this is 1997... AOL is very young, I'm in Troy, Montgomery is 40 miles away, and meeting someone from the internet is still a very, very geeky thing to do. But hey, I'm single, so why not? The next morning, I wake up with a headache--I get that when I am awake too late, then don't get up early enough. I have Amy's phone number, and am supposed to call her and confirm the time we're meeting. Part of me is holding my head, thinking "I'm calling and canceling... what am I doing? What if she's a schnauzer?" But, I call her, set a time and we agree to go see "George of the Jungle". I tell her what I'm wearing, she shares the same so we can spot each other. On the way to Monkeytown, I make my shallow plan to sit and wait for her at the mall, and if she walks in and I don't like what I see, I walk. No muss, no fuss. Better to stand up this chick I barely know then to have to fake nice.
I sit on a bench near the Eastdale Mall theater and wait for her to come. I see a few people that I'm glad I'm not meeting, I imagine I'd seen one or two that made me think "Oh, if this is her, my life rocks!!!" Finally, she came in. About 5'5, probably tipping the scales at 120, brown hair and a big smile. It was Amy Wible. And I liked her from the first moment I saw her. We shook hands, talked for a minute, then went into the theater. Movies are always risky first dates, because it forces silence. This can be a good thing, if the date is awkward, but it can be a bad thing if the conversation is going well.
The conversation went well, the movie went well and we walked out together, still sizing each other up. She had just graduated from high school, I was two months away from 22. She was headed to the U of Alabama in the fall, was playing flute in the Million Dollar Band, and was a Christian. After the movie, we hopped in her truck (!) and she took me over to a friend of her's to hang out a little while... and we did. We talked, laughed and had fun, and at the end of the evening, she brought me back. She asked me to call her again, I told her I would.
Turns out, Debbie (the supervisor) and Amy went to the same church... when she heard that I was going out with Amy, Debbie approved. She even said once "Oh, yes, you're the one Amy's been talking about. She really likes you." I got to go to church with Amy once, to hear her sing Nicole C. Mullen's "Redeemer", of which she did just a slam bang job.
The next month or so is a blur. We went out a couple of times, though it was hard to get to Montgomery to see her...by late July, she was up in Tuscaloosa. Once, I went to my friend Allyson's house, living in Alabaster, and cooked dinner. I took it to Tuscaloosa, and Amy and I had a picnic at a park, which was great. Another time, myself, Wookiee & Allyson went up to T'town to visit Amy and her roommate Kristi (who, if I remember correctly, had a crush on me...). I would send Amy little verses and cards for encouragement and such, just for fun.
She told me in a phone call that her new Blessid Union of Souls cd had broken, so the next time (which turned out to be the last time) I went to see her that summer, I came to save the day. Here I was with a new copy of the newest Blessid Union of Souls cd (remember that song about racism, "I Believe", or that goofy song "She likes me for me!" that namedrops Leonardo deCaprio? Yeah, thats them.)
But somewhere in the middle of August, when school started, Amy stopped returning my calls. Kristi didn't tell me much when I talked to her on the phone, other than "I'm sorry... I wish she'd get her head together..." kind of stuff. Found out Amy had a boyfriend, or so I heard. I shrugged it off, picked up my hurt feelings and moved on. I mean, it happens, right? You like someone, they sort of like you, then you find out they don't, it stings for a day, or maybe a week, but life goes on. And for me, it did.
Until May of 1998.
Next: A Love Story in Three Acts, Act 2, Scene 2