Monday, October 28, 2013

Monday Memories - He Loves Me, She Loves Me Not

Calvin tells me at least twice a day that he loves me. Sometimes he even prays that I will know in my heart how much he loves me. And just in case that isn’t enough, if I ask him if he loves me he’ll say in a teasing, but matter-of-fact tone, “Married ya didn’t I?’ or “Man can’t love a woman more than that.”

A few days ago I came home to a hand-dipped, chocolate-covered caramel on my pillow, and this past weekend after being gone to a scrapbooking retreat with Cali and Grace I came home to supper on the table. It wasn’t just any supper, it was complete with chilled glasses of sparkling lemonade and the red ‘you are special’ plate at my seat. The chips were served in a basket he’d found in the living room and had lined with paper towels, and the fresh, homemade salsa was in a little black caldron dish like you see at Mexican restaurants. He served refried beans alongside them. The next course was Spanish rice and tacos, and dessert was strawberry ice cream. But even more than the great food, it was the kind sentiment of "welcome home, I missed you," behind it.

In short, Calvin is a very loving man so you’d think it would have been a horse-race as to who would say “I love you” first when we were dating.

The first week of January 1982 I had traveled to Phoenix, Arizona with a group of BYU students to show and sell feeder calves at the stock show. Calvin went to Arizona at the same time to visit his family and invited me to meet them. He and his dad came to the fairgrounds to pick me up. I was out on the wash-rack washing steers when they came. I still had some work to do before I could leave so they walked around looking at exhibits while they waited. After the chores were finished they took me back to my motel room so I could change clothes before going to meet his family.

We were staying at a rundown motel in the seedy part of town. Even in the daylight it was scary. Calvin’s dad parked at the base of the stairs near my room and they waited while I rushed upstairs to change my clothes. I put on a gray, pin-striped, lace-collared, button-up blouse and grey corduroy pants. I looked my best. As I walked down the steps to meet Calvin and his dad, I felt their eyes on me. I willed over and again, “Don’t fall. Concentrate. Now is not the time to trip.” I was justifiably nervous. Just the week before Calvin had come to Idaho to meet my family. We’d had a big storm and the roads were slick and so were the sidewalks. I met Calvin in town and we ran an errand for my sister before going home. As we walked down Main Street to the store, I slipped on the ice. Both feet went out from under me and I landed solidly on my tailbone. It was embarrassing. He’d just barely started holding my hand a week or two earlier and the first kiss was still weeks away. Calvin gave a courtesy laugh and helped me to my feet. We walked another thirty feet and it happened again. I fell even harder and nearly pulled him over as he helped me get to my feet. I tried to tell him that I was normally sure-footed (being sure- footed is important in the livestock world, you see, nobody wants a stumbling horse or bull, I've seen them culled for that reason). We walked another fifty feet and I did it again. By now my tail bone was really sore and my Levi’s were soaked. I didn’t even try to apologize or make an excuse for the last fall. I was out of them. I just hoped the rest of the visit would go better than the first twenty minutes had. Now, as I walked down the stairs to join Calvin and his dad in Arizona, I rightly worried I’d step on the edge and slide down the flight. But I didn’t. I didn’t even have to grab the handrail, which was a good thing because, remember, we were in a rundown motel in the seedy part of town.

Calvin got out of the pick-up to let me slide into the middle between him and his dad. After I had slid in he leaned over and whispered, “Your pants are unzipped.” Indeed they were.

We drove to his folks’ home and had a lovely dinner with his parents, two sisters and brothers-in-law, and his brother and sister-in-law. We ate a green salad, roast, and potatoes. It was a wonderful evening. And other than my fingernails were nubbed and my hands grubby and stained with black spray paint and grease from fitting the steers, I didn’t spill or say anything embarrassing.

Late that night, Calvin drove me back to the motel. He seemed a bit uncomfortable as we drew near. Before he got out of the car to walk me to the door, he said he needed to tell me something. He paused. A long time. A very long time. I looked at him, and while I may have wondered briefly if he had decided I wasn’t good or sure-footed enough for him after meeting his family, I soon could see it was something else. I waited for him to speak, but he didn’t. We sat there awkwardly for a few moments. Finally I understood what he really wanted to say. I excitedly stole his thunder, “Did you want to tell me you love me? Is that what you’re trying to say?”

He nodded and carefully said, “Yes. I love you.”

It was the sweetest thing on earth. It was so sincere and so kind. And to see a grown man nervous about a tender thing is always endearing. He loved me.

I looked at him and said, “Ohhhhhhhhh, thank you. That is so kind of you,"  then it was my turn to pause.  I weakly added, "I hope I can tell you that someday too.”

He nodded and we sat there for a minute or two before he walked me to the door.

End of story.

It was just as awkward then as it is reading it now.

I finally told Calvin I loved him several weeks later while we were sitting in the Wilkinson Center at BYU. He laughed when I said it and said my actions had already told him long before.

Calvin doesn’t tease me about the time I fell on the ice or the time my pants were unzipped; nor does he razz me much about the time we were leaning over a map on my apartment kitchen table and my nose dripped on his hand; he hardly ever brings up the date where I fell off a horse when it spooked on a busy highway in Provo.  But he never lets me forget how socially awkward I was when he told me he loved me.

So I’ll say it again, loud enough for the world to know: I love you Calvin.

I married you didn’t I?

(How about you? Who said “I love you” first in your marriage?)


Melinda said...

Oh my word Jane, I love this story! I love it! Jason told me he loved me first and I took a couple of weeks after before I told him. Great memory!

Deidra said...

This story tickles me pink! I love imagining you out washing steers and then cleaning up in the seedy hotel.

I told Chris first, but it was immediately reciprocated. I mean, we had been dating for something like three days by then. Why wouldn't it be?! :)

Grace said...

I was laughing out loud while reading this. Your guys' story is one of my all time favorites!

abe said...

I love this story. It never gets old.

Ande said...

I laughed out loud too. This is a wonderful story. It's just so sweet on so many levels.

Becky said...

Sooo sweet!

melanie said...

I smiled, I shuddered, I laughed and then I cried. That's a recipe for a wonderful story! I happen to love both you and Calvin. So glad this was your Monday Memory.

Jill said...

You guys are the cutest couple ever!

I told Randy I loved him first but then he said it right back.

Neighbor Jane Payne said...

Scrapbook friend Anita wrote:

I met Jim 40 years ago this past July and for the life of me can't remember who said I love you first. We were "match made" by my best friend and her boyfriend, Jim's best friend, who we'd known for a couple of years (but for some reason had never met Jim in those two years). When I first saw Jim waiting to meet me, I was totally P.O.'d at my friend and his friend for setting us up together for an entire week at church camp!!!! But, we all know how that story ended .... 39 years married this coming Monday! And as a side note, his friend ended up marrying Jim's cousin - boy was that a shock when we first saw them dating! LOL

Love, Anita

Haley Krumblis said...

My story is pretty similar and awkward! Ryan and I re-lived it after reading yours! Ryan said I love you after dating for two weeks. I turned to him and he had the sweetest, sincere look on his face. I smiled and said, "Awww." and hugged him. That was it:). He thought it was over for another two weeks before I said it back. Good times.

Cali said...

I love this story. Ive been thinking about it for the past hour. It's like Abe said. It never gets old