Ok, here goes... Dave's part is in red and mine is in blue...
On May 14th, I joined the new dating site, Homeschooled Singles. I did not fill out all my profile at that time, intending to do it the next day, but I did post a picture and a tagline. The tagline read: "Looking for a man! Doesn't that say it all?"
I joined Homeschooled Singles sometime in January of 2017. I had attempted conversing with several girls and had even met one in person, but most didn't even bother to respond and things just didn't seem to come together or work out. Then I saw a profile of a brand new member with absolutely no profile info but a saucy tag line.
The next day, May 15th, when I went to complete my profile, I already had a message. It was from a guy that called himself "Blacksmith Dave"... Anyone who knows me knows that I have been "friends" on Home School Alumni with a person, using that name, for years... So I thought he recognized me from HSA... Anyway, he starts out with "I'm a man! Doesn't that say it all?" Then he introduced himself properly and we started talking...
On my end, I saw a profile that had not been filled out, so I had nothing to go on, other than the sarcastic tag-line. So I decided to take a shot in the dark and play off of it with my intro. I kept it brief; told her where I was from, and that I'd never been to her neck-o-the-woods. Since she had no profile info filed out, I left it open ended and requested that she tell me some about herself if she so wished. It seems on these dating sites that only about half of the girls actually respond to messages. So, to my surprise "SallyGrace" responded not only promptly, but in a way that encouraged more conversation. Within the first couple messages,"SallyGrace" informed me that her real name was not "SallyGrace" but that was the name she would use privacy's sake and that she would tell me her real name if/when she felt comfortable doing so.
As I continued talking to him, I realized that he had not connected me to my HSA profile! So, I continued to sign my emails "~Sally". We emailed back and forth for almost two weeks before I told my sister, Rachel about him... I got as far as telling her his name is Dave, he's a blacksmith and he lives in KY, then she told ME "His older sister's name is Kayla right? And they used to live in Georgia, right?" I was floored!! "How in the WORLD did you know that??!!" I squeaked out. "Oh, Kayla and I were penpals for a couple of years after she left HSA.".... So I asked Dave if his older sister's name was Kayla....
It's crazy how this stuff works out! Since I have not been on HSA in some time I had forgotten about our acquaintance through HSA and did not recognize her. It's odd to know that our paths have crossed years prior and neither of us thought much of it.
After I told him about Rachel and Kayla, I signed my name "~Sarah" and waited to see if he would notice...
When "SallyGrace" told me about her sister "Rachel" I responded by saying it was an odd thing to know her sister's real name before knowing her real name. "SallyGrace" had been in the habit of signing all her messages with just "Sally" at the end so I had become accustomed to it and figured she'd let me know her real name if/when she wished. I wasn't paying much attention to how she signed off.
When Dave said something about getting to know my older sister real name and not mine not being fair, I just told him "So, I just proved something. You are either tired, excited, distracted or do not pay attention to details… Read my last letter C*A*R*E*F*U*L*L*Y…"
I got quite the kick out of that method of telling me her real name. It reminded me of me.....I'd be the type to set something like that up, and so the fact that she had set it up and I had fell for it, amused me.
Soon after that, we moved to Google hangouts and continued talking and getting to know each other... It was helpful to me to see how fast he responded and still be as "lucid" as when he had time to write out LONG emails...
On my part, I had met someone who knows what she thinks and can express it, but is also agreeable to my opinions when I express them.
So we chatted, talked and visited copiously! Finally, we came to that moment that happens in every relationship, when we could not think of anything else to ask without having to make the "decision" of whether or not to go forward...
When this point came, I was ready for it. I had found out what the things that I wanted to find out as much as is possible via long-distance communication, so I was comfortable with having made up my mind.
I finally could not think of any other important question, besides one, so I asked Dave if he could think of any. When he said no, I told him I couldn't think of any either. He asked "Now what?". I asked, "Do you want my Dad's number?"
I really do have the view that relationships should be fairly simple. We had covered the main topics that we believe should govern our lives, so making that forward step was the next natural progression. When she asked (I think even half-way jokingly,) if I wanted her dad's number, I did not hesitate to say that I did.
So, after waiting FOREVER for Dave to get home from vacation, Dave called Dad... I ran and hid in the front room.
I am a pretty straight forward guy. I had no time-frame, no real plan in place other than to state clearly that I was interested in moving forward, meeting in person, learning more, and pursuing a serious commitment. Sarah's dad was cordial, and didn't say much. It was a fairly brief conversation in which we decided to try to think about and discuss options for meeting in person.
After about half an hour, Dad came out (still on the phone) and gestured for me to come with him. He led me into his room and sat me down on the bed, all the while talking to Dave. He finally said something like, "Well, she's right here. Do you want to talk to her? No, it's ok, just a moment!" He hands the phone to me and stage whispers "You put me on the spot, now I get to do the same to you! Hahaha!"
It was a great thing to hear her voice for the first time. The long distance aspect removes many experiences and so you get put in this odd position of talking to someone for weeks or months and never hearing their voice or laugh or how they say things. So we got to talk for a few minutes before I had to go!
I was majorly nervous with the first voice conversation, so I just started chattering aimlessly. It was interesting to me how quickly I adapted to his accent, though I did have to ask him to repeat himself a couple times because he was talking so fast (Gasp! Was he nervous as well?!). I really don’t remember much about what we talked about, but I was sad that he had to go after only about 10 minutes… But the 2 ½ hour conversation we had the next day made up for it!
Dave started talking about the possibility and need for a person to person visit… But also about the fact that his work schedule would not allow him to make time until this coming October…
I wasn't overly nervous, and the nervousness that was there went away when Sarah started "chattering aimlessly." It was so wonderful to hear her and for her not to be afraid to talk. Sarah's accent wasn't as strong as I expected. We didn't talk about anything of consequence, and unfortunately I did have to go rather quickly. The subsequent conversation the following day that lasted for 2.5 hours was quite wonderful. We just fell into it quite naturally. I do dislike long-distance and many of the challenges it presents, and I did feel strongly that we needed to meet as soon as possible in person.
At this point, I had pretty well decided that I could and was willing to insert myself into Dave’s life, I just didn’t know if I would like HIM without the screen in the way. But I was willing to wait to find out, if that was what was needed and I told Dave so.
I am pretty simplistic. I had my hopes up about "this girl" and was excited about how well we seemed to fit together.
Dave kept letting me know that he thought it would be emotionally healthier for both of us if we met in person as soon as possible (and I agreed), so he was kinda asking if I would be willing to make the first trip. I said that I would be willing, but I guaranteed him that my family would require him to make the first visit. Dave still wanted to suggest to my parents that I make the first trip, so I told him to go ahead, but I still guaranteed that it wouldn’t happen.
My work schedule was filled with set-in-stone commitments that could not be moved and did not make a trip very feasible, plus I was in the process of building my house and working on building a new shop, which was pulling a lot of my funds. I made my request that Sarah and some portion of her family make the trip to visit me here. My appeal was that the reason a trip would be difficult for me was not a due to a lack of willingness but rather due to the fact that I was fulfilling my duties here of preparing to be a good provider by building a house and devoting my funds to that. It seems guys are expected to put forth all the effort emotionally and financially to get a relationship going, in addition to being expected to conjure up a way of providing for a future wife. It's rather taxing, and I'm not sure I agree with much of the philosophy, but there is only so much a prospective suitor can do.
I could tell that he was very willing to make the first visit, but felt a deep sense of responsibility to his obligations. I encouraged him to email his suggestion to my parents, as he had planned.
I tried my best to make this part clear. I was willing, I just didn't know how to juggle my schedule.
The morning my parents received the email, I went to chat with Dave on hangouts as usual, but in the middle of the conversation, my parents asked me to not chat with Dave til after they answer his email. Thinking that they would do so that morning, I signed off without telling Dave what was going on.
I was concerned when Sarah signed off without explanation.
That was a VERY busy day at our family business, so my parents were unable to reply til late afternoon. I spent a very stressful day, wondering what Dave was thinking.
By day's end I pretty much knew things had gone south in response to my explanation of my schedule and timeline.
When my parents let me read the email before sending it, I found that they were of the opinion that if Dave “did not have time” to court me properly, then he shouldn’t be talking to me and getting my emotions involved. They told him that until he could come to visit, we would be restricted to snail mail, so that we would both be able to guard our feelings better… They also mentioned that I would “be allowed to keep looking”…
While I hoped beyond hope that this would not be how the situation was handled, I have enough experience in this area to where I pretty much knew this was going to happen. Sarah and I, the last time we had talked, had discussed having to wait, and we had both committed that we were ready to do so, although it was not our first choice.
I was worried that Dave would get frustrated and give up… Dave called Dad after getting the email and they talked for about 20 minutes while I was, again, hiding in the front room…
After reading the email I called Sarah's dad and discussed things with him. Since my hand was forced, and I had no recourse, I determined to move as quickly as possible to visit, and I was happy that her parents were still open to that option.
I was worried that Sarah would be worried, so I ended my conversation with her dad by requesting to talk to Sarah for a few minutes. This was denied! I despise being left in the dark and left wondering what the other person is thinking or going to do. If I was in Sarah's position, I knew that I would be in a terrible way wondering if the other person was serious enough to use snail-mail and hold out. Being unable to re-assure her grated against my nerve.
Dad called me in after he got off the phone and told me that Dave was going to do his best to come for a visit in July and was going to continue our correspondence by snail mail… My surprise and relief was complete…
Me on my end, started trying to nail down a time in July when I could make the 2800 mile round trip.
I figured that if I read Dave’s personality correctly, he would write a letter THAT NIGHT and send it off… I researched how long it would take for a letter mailed from KY to get to ND… I nailed down three possible dates and started counting down the days…
I started writing right away and since I was leaving town the very next day, I stayed up late, finished my letter, and mailed it the next morning. Even though I didn't know much about Sarah, I wanted to do everything I possibly could to shorten her time of worry that I wouldn't write.
Friday, the first day heralded no letter… Saturday did bring a letter… To my parents!! So I had to wait a WHOLE WEEKEND for my letter to finally show up on Monday!
I had decided to write a short note to her parents as well just to establish some communication there. I sent both at the same time, but you know how Murphy's law works.
The letter started out by addressing my first fear. Dave would NOT give up. He was going to try. I was elated! A guy was willing to jump through some hoops to get to know me! I replied to his letter that night and mailed it (Priority!) the next morning.
I had started my letter by addressing what I knew my own fear would be, were I in Sarah's shoes. So I assured her in no uncertain terms that I would still be there no matter what.
The next few weeks were kinda a blur… I kinda knew Dave’s schedule, so I figured that he would try to come the first or second weekend in July…
That was my intention and after receiving Sarah's long and quick response I was even more determined to go and meet her as soon as possible. I did not need to leave from a work stand-point, but I also did not care..... I wanted to meet SARAH!
My parents told me one day that Dave emailed and asked them if he could come calling on July 14th… I said “YES!”, and then realized that they weren’t asking me… They said they already told him he could come.
I was certainly glad of Sarah's parent's willingness to cooperate to make my trip possible.
Dave showed about 11:45am on July 14th… I was on the phone when he and his Mother walked in…
Wow, what a long stinking drive! Haha! And then there was Sarah.....sitting there behind the counter doing her thing. And I just stood there waiting for her to turn around!
I kept my back to them (even though I knew that it was them) and TRIED to finish my phone conversation with some semblance of professionalism. I knew that if I turned around and saw Dave I would forget everything my customer was telling me!
It seemed like a while but it was only a minute or so before she turned around. And there she was! The girl I'd just driven 1400 miles to see and talk to! I was pretty darn excited!
I finally finished my conversation and turned around. I could hardly believe he was there, standing right there next to the front counter. My first thought was “Wow, he came!”… Next was “Wow, he IS shorter than me!” and last was “Wow, I am WAY under dressed!”
I am typically more bothered by the height thing, but I really didn't notice! Sarah was quaintly dressed and I certainly did not think she was under dressed!
I was so nervous at first, only being able to say “Hi!” to the guy who had come so far to meet me…
I guess I was experiencing a normal amount of nervousness for what I was doing! haha
Then Dave’s Mom swooped in and saved the day by giving me a hug!
Isn't my mom just dandy!
After introductions all round, my parents offered to take us all (Meaning Dave, his Mom, me and my parents) out to eat. So Dad called ahead to our favorite café and reserved a table. When we got to the café, the staff had prepared for my whole family, so there was a long table for 12 set up, but the staff pulled one of the tables away so there was only 8 chairs. Dad told Dave and I to sit at one end and the parents sat at the other… With this semblance of privacy, Dave and I were able to loosen up a bit and start talking again.
So Sarah and I plopped down across from each other at the end of the table and with a grand total of one chair distance between us and "the parents." Regardless, we started in talking very naturally and I certainly enjoyed it immensely.
After lunch, we went back to the shop and dropped Dad off. I gave Dave and his Mom a tour of the shop, trying to make a boring subject seem interesting. After that, Dave, the mothers and I made our way to a *cough cough* coffee shop…
Sarah gave my mom and I an in depth shop tour prior to heading to the coffee shop. I really liked this, as Sarah did most of the talking. It was fun to listen to her describe everything about the shop and just watch her mannerisms and learn about the girl I was deciding to pursue!
As a confirmed coffee hater, I had my qualms about entering such an establishment, but having been promised a beverage that would not be laced with espresso nor any other caffeine laden additives, I allowed myself to be lured into the lair of the decoction addicts…
Hmmm, that's really all I've got here......hmmmm
We talked for about an hour over the nasty brews, than my Mom had to run some errands. Dave, his mother and I went to a park and we walked and talked. After we (Dave’s mom) were tired of that, we went to the house…
I was just along for the ride as far as what we decided to do......turns out, there isn't much to do in Sarah's town.
After supper and a game of Pictionary, Dave and I went into the parlor (wood room) to spark (talk).
Pictionary was fun.....I'm not quite an animated pictionary player, but I enjoyed it. Our parlor time was quite pleasant as we got to do some real conversing about important things.
That first night we only stayed up til 11:30pm, as Dave was VERY tired. We stayed up til 2:00am the next night!
The second night was even better, as we had become more comfortable with each other through the events of the day and we just sat and talked and talked and talked.
The entire visit, Dave and I were talking. ANYTHING we could think of. We realized that we did not have much time, so we tried to fit in as much as possible…
It was fantastic. Sarah was chatty, easy to talk to, confident, but spent plenty of time listening too!
When Dave left on Monday, I immediately started worrying about him… Oh! And his Mom! I realized that I was liking this intense, kind and sincere young man…
The drive home was far less exciting than the drive there. It was sad to have to leave her!
As we continued talking via chat and text, I looked forward more and more to talking to him, sharing what was happening, a funny story or the frustrations of the day…
This is one of the things I like about Sarah....we converse even about the small everyday stuff.
I made a trip down to OK in late July and was able, through the lack of work hours, to devote a lot more time to texting Dave and talking to him in the evenings on the phone.
This time was very nice. Just to be able to converse freely and spend some time getting to know each other.
During this time, we tried to keep using the phrase “IF we get married, etc…”, trying to keep things in their proper place. On July 23rd, Dave said “When we get marrie-… I’m sorry, IF we get married, etc…”
I was already to the point of wishing it could be "when" instead of "if" which is why I slipped up. I had made my choice.
I honestly do not know what he said after that… I waited til he was done talking about whatever he was talking about, then said quietly, “Well, I’d like it to be when…” He was quiet for a second, then said “You would?”… I said “Yep! I’m just waiting for a ring!”
This was indeed music to my ears, and kind of caught me by surprise.
I considered myself promised from then on, just waiting for the ring to make it official… When asked about our relationship, I would say that we are “engaged to be engaged”…
I liked that term......"engaged to be engaged." I was 100% committed at this point, so for me it was just figured out an idea when we could get married.
We decided on a date for the wedding, before we were “officially” engaged simply because we considered ourselves promised, might as well get the ball rolling! So we started planning the wedding, ordering invitations and generally putting the cart before the horse, in true Dave and Sarah style!
To our practical minds, this only made sense. So the ball started rolling!
We were able to arrange for my Mom and I to fly down to KY on August 24th. Dave came and picked us up at the airport and I had to try SO HARD not to hug him…
Having some self-installed physical barriers for our relationship was something we had already discussed, but it did seem awfully hard not to just wrap her up real tight when I saw her.
Dave drove us the 2 hours to his home and his family had coffee and brownies waiting! (Oh, they were VERY kind and had lemonade for me!).
I noticed Dave looking at my shoes and then he asked me if I had off-road shoes (I was wearing flats). I said I did and he asked if I could put them on. After I changed my shoes he told me he wanted to show me something and led the way out the door.
We headed down the hill toward the creek, Dave all the while telling me about improvements that he and his family had done, as well as how far the creek had risen in the past few years…
As we rounded a clump of trees, I suddenly knew what he wanted to show me… He had set up a table and chairs next to the creek… There was a beautiful bouquet of flowers and a little box on the table… Dave picked up the box and told me why he wanted to marry me… Then he dropped to one knee and asked me if I would marry him…
I was a freakin' nervous wreck! I had the whole thing planned but was far too nervous to remember any of it.
So I spouted something off that probably came out as clear as a muddy pond, but I think she got the idea. Sarah is the first lady I've ever bought flowers for in the sense of a relationship. It's something I've been saving for one special lady.
I dropped to my knees and said yes, holding his hands in mine for the first time…
Sarah paused just a moment before saying yes, and then she knelt down in front of me, said yes, I slipped the little band on her finger as we held hands for the first time ever and then we hugged. It sure is glorious when it's done right!
So we became engaged and we are looking forward to getting married on October 14th, 2017!