Or was I? I had new information to process. Was not sharing a love for red sequin dresses, dancing and singing show tunes a deal breaker? Was this a battle to wage? Could I really live the rest of my life with a man who didn't share my love for the theatrical stage?
He wasn't interested in show choir. He didn't go because he didn't get it. But he was very much interested in me. So I could persuade him to love vocal music. I made it my project. Maybe I could change him. :)
But in the end I let it go. No fights, no yelling, no moping about. Maybe we could find enough common ground elsewhere.
But we really had little in common. His parents were younger, mine were older. I was from NC, he'd never lived past Grady County. I came from a large family, it was just him and his sister. I danced in the dark (and the aisles :). He rode four-wheelers. I was on the verge of being a vegetarian. He never ate anything green. He spoke his mind, I held it in. I spent my time playing Beethoven and Chopin, he fished and hunt.
I thought I could refine him. I was critiquing his sermons at the nursing homes. I was introducing him slowly to boiled peanuts, baseball and the beach (well, I was building it up, we kinda don't live near one) . I'd have him loving show choir in no time.
In the meantime my heart was growing fonder and fonder of the idea of forever. I was deeply curious as to what he'd get me for a graduation gift. I had 3 friends in show choir that were dating seriously at the time too. We had lots of long conversations about our "guys". One of them was getting a ring for graduation. Hummm...
Despite a myriad of differences the one thing that first brought us together was faith. We had both come to know the love and grace in knowing Jesus Christ and accepting his salvation. We'd come face to face with our own depravity and knew in Christ alone was hope and peace. It was freedom and real life, not religion. We both had a love for God's word and loved helping others.
The love for God did not deter the physical attraction however. Feeling so close to him only made it harder to walk away from his Ford Bronco every night. We'd talked enough about John Calvin, Martin Luther and Jacob Arminius. We'd talked enough about our selves. And someone had forgotten to give me the dating boundaries handbook.
So could our faith be enough common ground to keep us together? Could we build a life around only that?
Shortly after his mother's day "big church" preaching debut (where the people didn't fall asleep or get in his face) my dad was making plans. Maybe he wanted to keep us busy helping others instead of ourselves :) The church wanted to reach out to kids in the community. They also wanted to honor David Baker the 7th grader who's life had been taken in the April accident. So plans began for the David Baker Youth Center. My dad wanted Cody to run it. Cody was considering for the first time quitting his job at the Mini Mall pumping gas and going to work for a church.
It seemed as if things were falling into place. That someone was guiding us. That maybe there was a plan. Maybe I'd found my destiny. Maybe I'd found someone to manipulate, I mean love , the rest of my life. Was I worthy of a ring like my friend had gotten?
It was a week before our June 1st graduation and he called (pre-cellphone) on the land line and asked to come over. He had a graduation present for me. I was beyond words. Anxious didn't touch this.
Breathe. Just be calm. Just be calm....
This could be it.
This could be the day.
I could be sporting a ring very soon.....
Meeting the Deevers
The sun was shining in the 12 windows of my parents upstairs. I loved the light up in that place. I checked my appearance and brushed my teeth. Surely kissing would follow this much anticipated wedding proposal.
Cody invited himself in, as usual, and we sat in that upstairs area. The gift was much larger than a jewelry box but I was still hopeful that many boxes would lead to the ring. He gave me the gift. And immediately I had a problem. It was heavy. Very heavy. Rings aren't heavy. And I don't think he'd add a brick to through me off.
He was excited to give me the gift, that much shone on his face. I began to open the wrapping and before my young little eyes laid a brand-new-just-like-the-one-I had STUDY BIBLE.
A study Bible? This is what he thought I needed? This is what he thought I wanted? Did he have a clue in his head how to buy for a girl?
"Thank you, Cody, it's very nice. I needed one"
Not really. I had one exactly like it and I had 10 Bibles in my home.
"I saw how yours was falling apart and thought you could use one."
"It's wonderful, thank you."
God, forgive me but I wanted a ring.
I must not have hid my excitement well because he knew something was wrong. And he asked. I avoided the questions for a while but within time I gave in.
"What's the matter? You don't like it? Did you want something else?"
"Uh, no, not at all. You surprised me that's all."
"Really? You seem upset."
Well you hadn't come to my last reflections concert for one. Just like a woman to bring up the past.
" Nothing, nothing at all"
I looked at it, turned it over and over. That's what you do right when you are trying to like something, you just keep looking at it, right?
After awhile of his I finally gave in.
"Well I thought........maybe...........well, you know"
"What are you talking about?"
" I thought you might get me something else."
"? What did you think I was going to get you?"
" Oh nothing really, nothing, I don't know what I'm talking about."
"What did you think I was going to get you?"
"Well I just kinda thought"
"WHAT DID YOU THINK I WAS GOING TO GIVE YOU"
".......well...........well Farrah got a ring for graduation. I just thought I might get one too."
There, the truth was out .
And this smile came across his face. I will never forget that grin. He knew he had me won. And I think he liked it. He chuckled a bit and said he was sorry. I think it was in those moments that I realized I'd found him. I'd found THE ONE.
Then as I always do, I felt guilty. I SHOULD NOT have told him that. Why did I tell him that? What was I doing?
I graduated on June 1st, 1995 under a rainbow in the sky. It was beautiful. Enough tears had been shed the previous months but none that night- it was a happy day. Cody's sister Aleshia also graduated with me that night.
Plans were very much underway for the grand opening of the David Baker Youth Center. I would be singing at the event and Cody would speak briefly to the community about the youth center. David's death had been so hard. It was exciting for Cody and me what was happening but it was bittersweet. David's mother would've gladly given up the honor of having it named after him if she could have him home again. We tried intently to honor his family in everything we did.
The center would be open each weekday and Cody would oversee all activities at the center. He had several volunteer staff that would work there too.
Besides an afternoon a week of teaching piano lessons I didn't work a lot. I had quite my job at Lane's Furniture so I was also planning to help out. My youth pastor called me a kid-magnet so this youth center was right up my alley.
We had a lot of activity planned for the summer. Including a trip to Cody's uncle's home.
I was excited. A road trip with my boyfriend. What were my parents thinking? They must have called Uncle Bob and made sure we checked in. Of course I was a high school graduate now and eventually you have to let your kids go make their own paths.
So to uncle Bob's we went. He lived in Sand Springs, Ok, near Tulsa. We drove up there in Cody's blue bronco II. The ride was pretty, it was my first time to Tulsa. It reminded me of back east, the trees were taller and there were more hills. But as we got further away from the highway I began to wonder what I had gotten my self into. I sure trusted Cody. He really didn't know where he was going. He had never been either. But before it got too dark we arrived.
In his family I knew Kathy, Roger and Aleshia fairly well. We all went to church together, we'd had lunch on Sunday afternoons occasionally and gone skiing together. Aleshia and I had been in some of the same classes at school too. That was awkward. I never dreamed I'd date her brother, much less want a ring from him.
I'd first met "The Deevers" at Grandma Marie's wedding in February. It was a small service and the entire family had come. (I need a picture of that right here) . Marie was remarrying after Cody's grandfather passing years before.
So I'd actually met Uncle Bob then but they were all preoccupied and I was much more intent on watching Cody's cousin and his new girlfriend he'd brought to the wedding. We'll just say they gave a better show to watch than we did that day.
Bob is married to Vivian, (a "married in" Deevers) and I wanted to get to know her. I needed information. Who were these "Deevers"? Should I run away and never look back? Tell me know or forever hold your peace Aunt Viv.
The night we were there they had their 2 daughters and some good hunting friends over.
My dad's family grew up out in the middle of Richmond Co, NC. They owned a gun (as in one) but my dad had never had one in our home and my mother's family had no need at all for guns. Killing a live animal would've been there worst nightmare. Needless to say I didn't really understand the sport of "hunting".
It was a beautiful night and they were so hospitable. Vivian and Bob gardened and canned and I was a gardener wannabe. They served us pickled watermelon rind and bread and chicken and dumplins and fried okra. It was all very nice. Then came the real treat- homemade ice cream.
I'd never gotten ice cream anywhere but in carton at the store. I didn't know such delicacies existed. Much like my first experience with real butter.
So I thought cranking that handle for 3 hours was normal. That was some hard earned ice cream. But as the dusk was setting in on their wooden deck I remember tasting some of the best ice cream I'd ever had.
Bob was a little more reserved than Roger and at one point during the delightful evening he made a point to ask me if I liked everything.
"Yes, thank you, it's all very nice."
"My mother doesn't fix chicken and dumplins, they were very tasty"
"You liked the dumplins?"
"Yes sir, they were good."
At this point my brow furrowed. Why wouldn't I like them?
"Well we added somethin special to those dumplins, I wondered how you'd liked them"
My eyes must've been large. What did he just say? What was in those dumplins and why was I not informed of this earlier.
The darkness was falling quicker than before and the trees seemed 100 feet taller and the nearest highway 100 miles further.
Where was Cody and what did I just eat?