It was a cold winter evening when I first met her.  I had spent several hours in my fencing gear, winning a few bouts, losing a bit more.  I was a bit lonely, I admit, it being ValDay.  The beautiful young lady I had asked to marry me 31 months earlier was not even in the country.  So when I overheard a man that I vaguely recognized as an officer of the local group ask her if she was enjoying herself, I decided to ask her to dance.  She was a red-head, and with that black corset, she had curves that would make Marilyn Monroe jealous.

To my delight, she said yes.  After a few dances, we swapped stories.  She had just moved here from Down South.  When I told her my fiancee was studying in Mexico, she perked up.  It turns out that she had been to the same city a few years before my fiancee’s first visit.  They even studied the same field!  I knew they would be instant friends.

Meanwhile, a man danced with his wife.

I was right: they became fast friends even before my fiancee returned from Mexico, passing messages through me.  But when we got married, there was an absence.  She hadn’t received her invitation because of an argument with another member of the group.  (To this day, my wife has a tendency to forget that she wasn’t there).  Our wedding was wonderful, the reception the best evening of my life, but there was a bit of a hollow space.

Meanwhile, a man fought in honor of his wife.

The two became even closer as the years passed.  After returning from a year-long research stint in Canada, my wife started spending days at a time at her house, writing the dissertation.  They started a research project together, even managing to drew me in.  But she sometimes felt left out, being single.  They even camped together when i had to work the first week of a two-week camping event.  When a man and his wife announced  they were selling a period tent so they could get a different one, my wife pursuaded me to purchase it so we could camp with her the next year.

Meanwhile, a man lived and camped with his wife.

They started a research project together, even managing to drew me in.  And then another year had passed, and we were getting ready to go out to that annual camping event.  My wife had won; I was going to leave the group I had always camped with so we could camp with her.  I had decided to go out the first weekend to help set up, returning for the full second week.

Meanwhile, a man was left by his wife.

This man was in charge of our camp.  He rode out with me, while the girls went in my wife’s car.  We all decided to make sure that he was taken care of.  It was rough for him, alone in that brand-new tent his wife convinced him to buy the year before.  He and I talked for hours on the trip home – and neither of us are gregarious.

Meanwhile, a man fell in love with a woman.

The man’s wife had already moved out of state to be with the guy she was sleeping with.  Soon, she was pregnant (planned) with the other guy’s kid.  This threw a monkey wrench in the divorce proceedings, which had to wait until the child was born.

Meanwhile, a man proposed to a woman.

We moved, as did some other friends of ours.  And they moved in together.  And she asked my wife to be maid-of-honor.  Soon, I was hip-deep in wedding planning.  And then they traveled with my wife Down South to see her parent and hold the first of three bridal showers.  My wife helped organize and host all three.  And as I write this, it is 12 hours before the rehearsal luncheon.  I will play a small, but important role, so I will be leaving work early.

And by the time this posts, a man will be dancing with his wife.

Congratulations, James and Galen.  It’s been quite the journey.  And we look forward to journeying with you to where it all started – Mexico.


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