“Let’s start at the very beginning, a very good place to start. When you read you begin with A,B,C. When you sing you begin with do re mi…”
The beginning is indeed a very good place to start. Though with life as the story line, there isn’t always such a cut and dried beginning. Or ending for that matter. But a good choice for the beginning of the story of this particular family and for this particular journal is when The Pilot and I met. That’s my husband. It’s a good name for him since he is, in fact, a pilot. So, many years ago in a little town called Montgomery, Alabama, The Pilot and I met while suffering through US Air Force Officer Training. We met on Easter Sunday morning, though according to him, he’d noticed me long before that. I can’t believe that to be true: camouflage and combat boots are not how we women typically set about getting ourselves noticed. But that’s his story. Anyway, it was Easter Sunday morning, and in a moment of deep spirituality I decided to attend the sunrise service because of the free breakfast afterwards. And there, between me and my second helping of biscuits, was The Pilot. He tried to talk to me. I said, “Excuse me. I’m trying to get some more biscuits.” And I walked off and that was that.
Thank goodness he kept trying. We proceeded to date each other, from afar, for the next several years (the US Air Force is unconcerned with matters of the heart. We never lived near each other till we got married, and even then we didn’t live with each other for a while). We often made a mess of things- dating someone is hard enough WITHOUT a 1000-mile separation between you, but we muddled through and followed our hearts and what we believed God had for us, and here we are now, 2 kids and 13 years of marriage later. Living proof that God uses even the biggest of messes to do His work!
As you could figure out from where we met, in my previous life I was in the military, and I loved my job. I joined, among many other reasons, because I love to travel. And lucky me, I got to do lots of it. Not as much as The Pilot, but we’ll get to him in a bit. Of course, even before I joined the military I loved to travel and got to do my fair share of it. My mother took me to Paris and London when I was 16, and that was it: I was hooked. I got to go to Austria and Germany with my college choir, and then when I was about 20, I got to go to Russia and Kazakhstan. I decided that I wanted to learn to speak Russian after visiting the country, so Russian school came after that. It was in Vermont, and believe me, for someone born and raised in Texas, Vermont seemed like a foreign country. After I finished college, I moved to New England for a year and then even further north for a year after that to Montreal. In Montreal, though I was studying Russian, I picked up French on the side. Which was enough to get me a fabulous job once I was in the military: a temporary gig as a French interpreter working in the south of France. Ha. What an amazing deal that was- I’m still not sure how I pulled THAT one off…
As for The Pilot, he’s a very interesting guy. He was born in Africa to missionary parents, and upon their return grew up mostly in the mountains of Colorado. You’d be hard pressed to name a place in the world that he hasn’t been to or at least flown over. When we first met (after initial training, of course) he was flying airplanes into hurricanes. Yes, indeed. Into hurricanes. For purposes of weather research, you see. Look up the Air Force Hurricane Hunters sometime and see what those crazy guys do. They are saving lives, and it takes an impressive amount of bravery and skill, or insanity, or maybe all of those things. When our daughter was born, he decided to do something safer, so we moved to California so he could fly U-2s. Look that one up too. Safer? Hmmm. Oh yes- and he likes to do survival training in the wilderness, especially the Arctic, and works out physics equations to relax. See? I told you he was an interesting guy.