The first time I met Steven. . . well. Let me back up, because like most good stories, this one actually begins with a couple of wonderful people.
Yes, my parents are definitely included here. But perhaps we can fast forward at least to high school. I’ve known the Iverson’s for a very long time, and you could say they are a bit like adopted grandparents to me. They pretty much started not only our church here in Fallon, but also the wonderful Christian school that I teach at now. When I went to college, they were behind my decision to go to NSA. I boarded at their house, learned a ton about planting trees (ha ha), learned a ton about being a better person, and met my two very best friends in the world there. And in retrospect, with all the good things that happened there I really should have seen the whole courting thing coming.
But I didn’t. This was because it had been five long years at NSA and while it wasn’t like I had gone to NSA to get married, I figured it would be something that would happen along the way, all casual like: “Hey, I’m a guy who goes to NSA, and hey, you’re a girl! We should get together!” This, to my surprise, did not occur. As my classmates graduated in pairs without me (I needed to retake several classes and would be there another year) I felt something had gone dreadfully wrong. This was compounded by the fact that I was now 22. My mom had gotten married at 22. It was true that Julie, my roommate/best friend was 24 and unmarried, but then, Julie was pretty nearly perfect, so it would take awhile (hi Julie!:) ).
So, to skip ahead, my second Senior year went by without a hitch. Literally. My other roommate/best friend of four years (Helen, for all of you wondering who that short girl I hung around with was) got engaged. She was 21. 21! How unfair, I thought. As I turned 23 (which, interestingly, was one of my very favorite birthday parties ever) nothing continued to happen. I decided to try boldness. I went in to Mr. Iverson and suggested that if Mr. Right was here, for Mr. Iverson to please find him for me. I believe Mr. Iverson was, if I read the situation correctly, fairly enthusiastic about the idea. The long and short of this was that nothing came out of it, and now to skip ahead to less embarrassing bits! I graduated, summer came and went, life moved on, and it was good. I decided what I wanted to do, and worked in that direction. I had two jobs that I liked, was working toward a degree in graphic design, and things seemed like they were about to settle into a pleasant, if monotonous, post college life. Then we went up to Idaho to take my sister back for her Sophomore year of NSA, and suddenly, inexplicably, things abruptly happened.
The Iversons knew our plans were to leave Saturday night, but invited us to stay Sunday so that I could meet this guy they knew. He was funny, nice, godly young man, and all that stuff. Or so they said. I was not very impressed. You might say I was skeptical. In my very heart of hearts, I was absolutely positive that nothing would come out of this Steven guy except an awkward evening of “So, what is your major?” and “What do you teach?”. Thankfully, I’ve never been more wrong in my entire life.
Things started off as usual. When Steven came in the door of the Iversons, I did exactly what I usually did around guys that I didn’t know: I became a nervous wreck. I dropped several things, muttered things, and just generally did my best to be a complete goofball. Strangely, Steven didn’t appear to mind. He sat down next to me at dinner, and we actually had a pleasant conversation with the others at our table. I was quite surprised by his friendliness and his easy going personality. He wasn’t just focused on me, but he made a genuine effort to keep me in the conversation. My biggest surprise was that it wasn’t really that awkward at all. After dinner, he stayed and spoke with Dad, Mom and I. This means that he and dad talked a bunch and mom and I listened. Afterward Mrs. Iverson told me that I seemed very laid back. This was, I believe, because I had entered into a state of shock. At the Psalm sing that night in Friendship Square he stood next to me, and I realized he had a very good tenor voice. That made me happy. After the Psalm sing he asked me for my email, and that made me even more happy.
Needless to say, I didn’t sleep at all that night.
Because Steven went on vacation right after that, it took him about a week to write, and our first official writing was on August 23. I know this because I wrote it on my calendar, ha ha! I returned his email the very next day. That very night he answered me! We began writing every day. We talked about all kinds of stuff, everything from cars to music to philosophies on marriage. We talked about the past and the present and what we did every day. I don’t know what the actual word count was, but it was considerably more than my thesis for NSA! I’m sure most of it would be very tedious reading to the casual observer, but we sure had fun. 🙂 Every day I became more interested in him and his life, and I learned a lot from him. The next few weeks turned into months, and then it was October. . .
* As a bit of a side note, Nancy informed me that the first time I met Steven was at a pinochle party. I vaguely remember him as a kind of shy, non-talkative type of person. The only thing I knew for sure was that he had dark hair. I’m still haven’t quite forgiven myself for this rudeness. I’m not sure what was wrong with me, I was probably ill. I blame Helen (Long ago Julie and I decided that everything unfortunate was her fault. Somehow.). 🙂