I'm getting remarried in about a month, April 29th, to be exact.
At 3:00 in the afternoon, in my little Presbyterian church, two much-revered pastors emeriti, will join a wonderful man and me in holy matrimony.
Having been married since I was twenty, and the second, "real" time for over 31 ½ years, I had not ever thought of true love happening a third time.
My oldest son says I've "managed a hat trick," whatever that is, as they sometimes do in hockey. Ha. Ha. He's a riot.
The youngest boy says Darling, (that's what I call him), and I, better brush up on our belly-rubbing, booty-hugging dancing, so he won't "outshine" us. I think he's just talking though, because he'll probably be plastered to the DJ all evening, well-removed from the floor.
It all began about 8 months ago, when I frantically complained on Facebook that a local tree service wanted a $1000 to cut down a 25-foot dead tree in my front yard, far away from the house.
On Messenger, he immediately offered to "help me out," and came by one morning about 9:30, chainsaw in hand.
My heart jumped when I first saw him - a knight in a silver Dodge - tall and handsome, with a beautiful smile and sky-blue eyes. The chainsaw was just his weapon.
After the tree was down, we sat and talked and talked. He'd only have ice water, despite my urging to "let me fix him something." And that exact scenario happened at least six more times until I got him to at least try my iced tea.
And here's the clincher. In addition to being so attractive, intelligent, and kind, he also seemed to like whatever I wrote and posted on Facebook. He'd make thoughtful comments and cogent connections. So first, he loved me for my brain, and limited talent, which I have to say, are my prized personal possessions. How could I NOT be smitten?
All last summer, he actually "courted" me. We went to see Oklahoma and ate at Beamie's, where I nervously tipped over the table, trying to pull it out a bit so he could get in the booth more easily. But he never skipped a beat, just laughing and putting the salt, pepper, and vinegar back, while I prayed to disappear post-haste.
We saw Sully and shared a meal at The Village Deli. All the wait staff, who pretty much know me well, kept giving us surreptitious glances and thumbs up behind his back.
We propped up our feet at the new theater off Riverwatch, viewed The Magnificent Seven, and chowed down at Longhorn's.
We saw Hacksaw Ridge with Sister and her husband, and scurried to Sconyers afterward.
During all this absolutely magical time, sadly enough, Darling and his family also had to go through the last illnesses and deaths of their beloved mother and younger brother. It was incredibly hard to tell them good-bye, even though we knew it was temporary.
We clung to each other through it all, and I came to love his folks, and he mine.
Our spouses, his dear wife and the mother of his daughters, and my remarkable husband and the father of my sons, died in 2008 and 2009, respectively. We both accepted that our "golden years" would be spent without that kind of romantic love we'd both cherished and enjoyed for so long.
But then, miracles happen everyday, and we did fall in love. He asked me to marry him, and I said yes, without a moment's hesitation. Now I wear a new engagement ring on my left hand and a smile on my face. And sometimes, I catch him looking at me with the sweetest expression, and smiling too.
Early on, one of our favorite songs became "Bless The Broken Road," by Rascal Flatts. We've both traveled that worn and bumpy path in many ways. It's often been one filled with pain and tears, but now morning has come, and with it, the joy of seeing Him at work, loving us all along.
And Darling is still quietly and gently carrying on, with strong shoulders and a brave heart, that I never thought I'd find again. He plants vegetables, fixes loose tiles, tolerates my rambunctious puppies, and claims everything I cook is "delicious."
And now the chainsaw is in my shed, just where it ought to be.
Mindy Jeffers, a former English teacher, is a long-time resident of Columbia County. You can e-mail her at mindyjeffers @hotmail.com.