Today is my twenty-first wedding anniversary. I am 42 years old which means I have been married as long as I’ve been single. That is a weird thought. In honor of such a special occasion I thought it would be nice to tell you how Mister and I met. He doesn’t really like when I talk about him, but it’s a cute story.
We met when I was nineteen. Good heavens, I was young. But like all nineteen-year-olds, I thought I was as mature and experienced as the hills. I was going to BYU, majoring in Art History and having a grand old time. I spent my spare time waiting tables at a Chinese restaurant owned by an incredibly superstitious man from Shanghai named Randy. I have always been a fan of things Chinese so the restaurant seemed a good fit for me even though I only made $2/hr (plus tips! Which in a college town are pitiful.) Randy made the best Sesame Beef I have had to this day.
One Friday night, the girl who normally hostessed called in sick. I covered her shift and did my usual friendly banter and smiling at the customers as they paid their checks. One table of four guys came in, had dinner and then left without taking their leftovers. Here’s another thing about waiting tables in a cheap-o college town: people always come back for their leftovers, being hungry students and all that. So I was waiting by the door, Chinese take-out boxes in hand when one of the boys from the table came running back in. I smiled and handed him his food. That was Mister. Sadly, I have no recollection of this at all. I must have had other things on my mind but he can still describe the outfit I was wearing (Mister likes to say, “you had a big smile and big boobs. I was hooked.”)
Mister, normally very shy with the ladies, was tranfixed by my beauty (or something) and after much egging on by his roommates, decided to call the restaurant and ask me out. Only I had gone home by that time. Randy informed Mister that while he couldn’t give him my phone number, he could tell him my name and that I was a BYU student. Now at that point I was going by Jennie. And my maiden name was Davis. You can imagine what a common name that was. Mister decided to call every Jennie/Jennifer Davis at BYU (there were around 10) to find me. The funny thing is that it’s so unlike Mister’s personality to do anything like that. But apparently I looked really good when he saw me at the restaurant.
Wouldn’t you know that I was the one Jennie Davis with an unlisted phone number. So Mister decided to expand his calling area to Provo in general and got another half dozen phone numbers to try. None of them were me, either. There were a lot of Jennies who thought what he was doing was so sweet and volunteered to go out with Mister should I never be found.
Mister called Randy at the restaurant late that evening and told him that he couldn’t find me. Randy informed him that I’d be working the next night and that he should come in because [say this is very broken English] “she no have boyfriend. You have good chance!”
When I showed up for my shift the next day Randy was so excited he could barely talk. “You boyfriend come in tonight!” he said over and over. It took a lot of explaining before I got the story that some guy had been trying to find me and was planning to return that evening to ask me out. I was slightly weirded out but flattered. The other waitresses were on high alert for this mystery man and finally he showed up just before the end of my shift. Shelly, a fellow waitress, came running up to me announcing that he was here! And he wanted to know if I’d like to go to a play next week! I relayed a reply (Yes! any guy who didn’t suggest dinner and a movie at the dollar cinema was definitely on the right track!)
I didn’t actually meet Mister until he he was on his way out. We both felt bashful and awkward. It was even more awkward when he picked me up. It was almost like a blind date. I had been in no mood to go on a date with a complete stranger so I had tried to pay my roommate Tiffany $10 to go instead. Tiffany looks a little like a blonde version of me so I figured it wouldn’t be that big of a deal. She refused, of course. Mister and I double dated with another waitress from work and one of Mister’s friends so it didn’t feel as much like a set-up for a date rape scenario.
The play was good, although neither of us can remember what play it was anymore. We spent to hours talking afterwards at Frontier Pies (oh man, do you remember the scones and cornbread and honey butter??? That’s pretty much my happiest college memory right there.) I was writing a paper about Pre-Raphaelite painters at the time and not only did Mister know what I was talking about, he told me which Pre-Rapahelite paintings he’d seen in London when he was there the year before. Any man who can speak intelligently about art gets an A+ in my book. He was also a returned missionary (Mormon girls are groomed to assume that any guy who didn’t go on a mission when he had the opportunity is a loser. There is more truth to that than you might think.)
When Mister dropped me off afterwards (a polite goodnight. No kissing on the first date!) I was incredibly surprised that I had had such a nice time. A really nice time.
What I came to find out over the next eighteen months that we were dating/engaged was that he is the kindest and most thoughtful person I’ve ever met. He has a silly and outlandish sense of humor that still makes me laugh every single day. He loves God and tries so hard to do what’s right. He is more patient with me than I deserve, even when I called off the wedding half a dozen times. He’s very passionate and opinionated (sometimes to the point of being infuriating) and has taught me how to have an open, unselfish heart (well, he’s trying, at least). I’m grateful
every most every day that Mister had the tenacity to keep looking until he found me. He has made me a better person in a hundred different ways.