Krazy Is A Perk | I truly know what it means to fall in love

Krazy Is A Perk | I truly know what it means to fall in love

By KRISTA VANCE

On June 19, Thomas and I will celebrate our 26th wedding anniversary. There were those who said we were too young to tie the knot, but we scoffed at them. I mean, please, we were in love, and you can't put an age on love. Although a glass of Champagne at my own wedding would've been nice.

I did have to sell my parents on the marriage idea. "Mom. Dad. I think we can all agree that it takes a very special person to even consider marrying me. I've been trying to hold a rein in on my southern crazy, but it's really hard. Before long, Thomas is going to figure it out. If I don't get hitched soon, I might never find anyone, which means I'll have to live here ... with you ... forever."

And then plans went into full swing. Before long, Thomas and I were saying our "I do's" and going through the Burger King drive-thru in a tuxedo and wedding dress. Hey, all that promising to be good stuff (we all know I was lying) made this fluffy white marshmallow hungry.

Initially, I wanted an outdoor wedding, specifically at The Cabin, which has been in Thomas' family for over 55 years. It's also where I first knew, without a doubt, that Thomas loved me.

Way before I came into his life, Thomas and his friends spent many weekends at The Cabin. They did the usual outdoorsy things: hiked, jumped off The Rock into the Cooper River and enjoyed each other's company around the campfire. The Rock wasn't the only thing they jumped off ... and on my first trip to The Cabin, I, unfortunately, learned about it the hard way.

Soon after Thomas and I met, a gang of us crammed into his car and drove up the mountain to The Cabin. We crossed a river on an old wooden bridge, and Thomas pulled off the road.

"What are we doing?" I asked.

"Jumping the bridge," he said.

"Into the water?"

"It's more fun than onto the rocks. Wanna jump?"

"Pass," I said. "Don't feel like drowning today."

That river water was cold! Like straight off the mountain cold. Like you could see the snow around the second bend upriver cold.

Besides not being able to swim, I was not keen on freezing. I don't care how warm the July air was, mountain-water-cold gets in your bones ... like straight to the marrow ... and I'd heard frozen marrow isn't good when it's still in your body.

Thomas and his friends sat side-by-side on the wooden railing, laughing, daring each other to jump first, and talking about that time when ...

They eventually jumped, one right after the other, and all four of them surfaced blowing out air, wiping hair from their eyes and yelling something similar to, "That was great! Man, it's cold!"

I gotta admit, I was a bit jealous, but not jealous enough to jump.

That evening, I couldn't stop thinking about it. I needed to do it. I had to do it. I was going to do it.

Before we headed back to civilization, the guys planned to jump the bridge one more time.

"I'm gonna try it," I said.

"Really?" Thomas asked.

"Yeah, but, can you wait for me in the water in case I have trouble?"

"Sure."

Thomas climbed over the railing. "Sit next to me."

"Ummm ..."

"You can do it," he said.

"OK."

I carefully climbed next to him.

"I'll jump then wait for you," he said.

"Promise?"

"Promise," and without hesitation, Thomas jumped.

I looked at him, the rushing water, and the rocks that were easily seen on the river bottom. "I can't."

He swam to the side and rejoined us on the bridge.I was so disappointed in myself.

"Thomas, I'd like to try again."

"Really?"

"Really."

"OK." He jumped again, and I changed my mind ... again.

Back to the top of the bridge he came. He was really shivering.

Two minutes later, "OK, I'm really going to do it this time."

"Promise?" he asked.

"Promise."

He jumped and while he was treading water, I changed my mind ... again. Except, as fate would have it, I lost my balance and the animals in the forest froze in fear from my screaming.

Unfortunately, I forgot to plug my nose, and when I hit the mountain fresh water, I inhaled about half the runoff. I spluttered to the surface and Thomas hooked his arm around me, lifeguard style, and swam me to shore.

Once my lungs were mostly clear and my teeth had stopped chattering, I professed my undying love. "You're my hero! I love you so much! I'll be the best wife ever! I promise to always listen to you and trust you cuz I know you'll always be there for me!"

OK, the "always listen to you" part was definitely a lie, but I was caught up in the moment.

"I love you, too," Thomas said.

I never jumped the bridge again ... but I've definitely been the best wife ever.

Bless his heart.

Krista Vance is a former Champaign resident. While she now calls northern Colorado home, she spent five wonderful years in Champaign and misses great friends, corn and big-sky sunsets.

Sections (1):Living
Topics (1):People
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