How I Met Your Mother Part 2: Our Beginning

What does it mean to meet someone? Does meeting someone involve a formal “Hi my name is…”?
Before Candice and I ever “met”, we “knew of” each other for several years. The first time I ever saw Candice was at a Summer basketball game. I was there to watch my sister Coral play. I noticed a girl my age who was pretty good at basketball. But other than that, she might as well have been any other girl on the team. Just a glimpse of my future and I was unaware. 
I saw Candice again after a friend’s dad passed away. I learned later that my friend was related to Candice. I remember during the funeral looking across the church and directly across, sitting about as many rows back as I was from the front, was Candice. Another glimpse into my future. 
I remember clearly the first time I spoke with Candice. Candice was given the duty of calling new students to Santiam Christian in the week leading up to the first day of our Junior year. I picked up the phone and knew who she was. The conversation was short, but I felt like I at least had someone I could talk to when I started at my new school. Prior to attending Santiam Christian, in fun, my sister gave me 3 names of girls she approved of me dating when I got to Santiam Christian. Candice was one of them. Another glimpse into my future.
Our first face to face meet came on the first day. I was heading up the steps to my next class and there was Candice on her way down. We spoke for a minute. I believe at the time I was asked to have lunch with her and a group of friends if I had nobody else to eat with. I’m glad she asked because I didn’t.
The first thing I noticed about Candice was that she was pretty popular. It was fun getting to know her because she seemed comfortable introducing me to anybody. We hit it off and I found myself having lunch with her and her friends daily. The first time I noticed that maybe Candice might be interested in me was after a football game. We had an away game. The drive was a bit far. The weather was wet, cold, and muddy. Yet after the game, I heard “Dennis!”. I turned around and there she was (with her mom observing in the background).
Candice and I had a Foods class together. Basically we made food each day and got to eat it and do a lot of socializing. We also had a Literature class together. She sat right behind me and we got in trouble a few times for chatting a bit too much. Candice was my best friend. Another friend in our Foods class noticed that we had a connection. She grilled me one day on whether I would ask Candice to our Christmas banquet. So, I did. I asked her and on December 4th, 1999 I picked her up at her house. I remember it being a bit awkward at the time. I was sitting on her parents couch with her family and uncle Dick. Then Candice came out. Everyone was stunned at how great she looked. I agreed but what do you say in that situation? I decided to keep quiet. Bad move. I remember Dick giving me a nudge and saying “Doesn’t she look great!?” I emphatically answered “YES!”
We took some pictures together in front of the Christmas tree. It’s one of my favorite pictures to this day because that night was truly special. I guess you could call that the night when we fell in love. Both of us were only 16 years old, experiencing something we had never had before and still have until this day. The banquet went well. Candice and I still love riding in the car together. It’s just peaceful being side by side, listening to music and watching the sights go by. No talking is necessary. We just enjoy the time together.
A week went by and there was something obvious that sparked during our time together at the Christmas banquet. I guess you could say that things got awkward. Both of us had obvious feelings for each other. Conversations seemed a bit forced. I remember at some point I was online and an instant message popped up. It was Jeff. He and Tiffany (dating at the time in Alaska) hounded me for some time about my relationship with Candice. That conversation really got me thinking.
That Friday Candice and I chatted online. It was much easier that way than in person. We spoke about our feelings for each other. Then I decided that this was it. I told her that I was going to ask her out, just not then. The reason for that is probably because I knew someday I would be retelling this story and didn’t want history to show that I asked Candice out in any other way than face to face.
From eternity past God had laid out a time in His sovereign plan to begin something beautiful. That date was Monday, December 13, 1999. I asked Candice “out” and it was official from there and forever. For us, this next Monday, December 13th will commemorate our 8th wedding anniversary. Our marriage was a special day. But it really all began 3 years earlier at 16 years of age. I met my wife and my wife met her husband. Since then, our love has deepened in more ways than I can only begin to describe.
I love you Candy. Happy 8th (and 11th) Anniversary!