I remember when my boyfriend who wasn’t my husband yet….

…..left for boot camp.

I hugged him tight and wished him well and waved good-bye and told him to have a wonderful life.

And I thought I would never see him again.

He was nice and sweet and kind with twinkling brown eyes….but I had big plans.


I was 21 and single with a prairie skirt and high heels with lace socks.

Watch out world.


And as he walked away….he turned back before he got into the truck and waved.

And he smiled the smile I knew so well and his eyes twinkled one last time for me….and my heart gave a little leap.

But I ignored it.

I didn’t have time for distractions or boot camps or sailors or twinkling eyes.

I had plans.


So my plans and my prairie skirt and I returned to college.

And we clicked our high-heeled-lace-sock-pumps together and scheduled dates and parties and tail-gating events and barbeques and moonlit walks by the river.

And it was fun.

For a while.

Until I heard a joke or a funny story or had a fashion emergency or received an A on a test or came up with a brilliant idea…..

….that only a pair of twinkling eyes would understand.

I tried to ignore it.

I tried to shake it off.

I tried to remember my plans.

But I couldn’t.

So I distracted myself with long phone calls to my mother and brownie fudge sundaes and episodes of Oprah.

Bless my heart.


And somewhere between 27 bites of chocolate and the Phil Donahue show and Oprah lugging in a giant wagon full of lard…..

….I fell in love.


I fell in love with a sailor.

Who I said good-bye to.

Who I had just broken up with.

Who at the present moment was half way across the country….at boot camp…..without a single solitary means of communication.

And there wasn’t a cell phone or e-mail or internet or any way to tell someone that you were silly and you had totally changed your mind and you never wanted to be away from them again and you were totally, absolutely, positively 100%…..

……in love with them.


Weeks went by…..and then one day the phone rang.

A pair of brown eyes twinkled from the pay phone at the other end.

He told me he had waited an hour in line at boot camp and he only had five minutes and he knew I was probably busy……but he missed me.


The girl with the big plans.

He missed…

And I said…..nothing.

I couldn’t.

I wanted to…..but I was sobbing.

So my heart spoke for me.

And right then….on a cold gray February morning on a pay phone with a tender note in his voice……a sailor told a girl he loved her…..

…..and she told him she loved him right back. 🙂

PS  You can read the rest of the story…

And here.

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  1. Image for Debbie Debbie

    I love that story! You always come across so happy and upbeat, I figured there had to be some great love behind all that!

  2. Image for tara tara

    Beautiful love story. I remember well those days with no email and no cell way of communicating at all. Grateful you guys found your way to each other. The sign looks fabulous!

  3. Image for Cynthia @ A Button Tufted Life... Cynthia @ A Button Tufted Life...

    Why do I ALWAYS need Kleenex to get through one of your beautiful stories... girl, you can convey more love and emotion in a few paragraphs than most of the novels I have read... have you ever thought about writing a book?!? Tales from Thistlewood... comes complete with handy pack of tissues !! Love ya!

  4. Image for Babette Babette

    Oh so precious! I either have one of two emotions with your stories! I either giggle/cackle at the funny ones or have to wipe away tears at the sentimental ones! Love reading your blog and getting design inspiration. So happy I discovered you!

  5. Image for Sharon H Sharon H

    Miz are constantly tugging at my heart strings, in one way or another! You have such powerful abilities in your way with words....your poor husband and kids don't stand a chance...... ;))

  6. Image for Shirley@housepitalitydesigns Shirley@housepitalitydesigns

    Who knew that handsome guy with the brown eyes that twinkled, the one who waved goodbye....would be your soul mate for life....I love your stories of beautiful beginnings....I am sure you have these stories beautifully written (as in your posts) in a journal for your children to enjoy for a lifetime...Love the sign!

  7. Image for Donnamae Donnamae

    It's would have been easier if we'd have had cell phones, iMessage, email, twitter, back then...but then, we wouldn't have great love stories! And...yours is a GREAT one! ;)

  8. Image for Angela Angela

    Such a beautiful story! I remember when my soldier hubby was made our love grow stronger! Twenty-eight years later and I still don't like to have him away for even a day! Hope you're doing well!!~~Angela

  9. Image for Betsy(@coastal-colors) Betsy(@coastal-colors)

    What a precious story! I remember those prairie skirt days well! Your stories always make me smile! Reading your fabulous blog is a great way to begin my day!

  10. Image for Regena Fickes Regena Fickes

    Wonderful story, as always. Guess I needed a good cry this AM. Thank you. I was already married to my soldier when the prairie skirt was in and wore it everytime I could My soldier has been with Jesus for 5 years now and I know his brown eyes are twinkling as he waits around that cornor for me. Thanks for this memory.

  11. Image for Denton Denton

    INSIDER SCOOP: Upon hearing this story, my sisters (the twins) were shocked that there was no e-mail or cell phone for Mom to call Dad with. Totally Dark Ages :) -Denton (the oldest) P.S. I'll be giving you the untold details occasionally on Mom's stories, so check back!

  12. Image for Claudia Gronniger Claudia Gronniger

    Déjà vue story..... I fell in love with a high school guy----a wild & sweet Army soldier.... Who tragically lost his lower leg and foot in Vietnam.... Who I lost contact with for years....... Who I married years later.......who has been the love of my life....... my personal hero....and he will still try to dance with me........

  13. Image for Kris Kris

    OK, this isn't fair. I'm sobbing. Between today's story and your story about your father's song for you, I'm a complete mess. I think you need a disclaimer at the top of your posts--"warning: kleenex alert!". I have always loved Could I Have This Dance ... I still have the Anne Murray version of it on a (what else?) cassette tape ...

  14. Image for Regina Regina

    Sigh . . . I remember those skirts . . . . :) You weave a beautiful story, KariAnne! And what makes it more beautiful? The fact that it's TRUE! Have a happy Fall Day, sweet girl!

  15. Image for Jill Jill

    So I decided to have lunch with you and had to use my napkin as a tissue. I loved how you set the scene with the sweet sign and Anne Murray crooning in my mind. What a wonderful story. Once in college during a vacation my boyfriend sent me a postcard of a giant crane with a wrecking ball. All he wrote was "The weather is here. Wish you were beautiful" signed Love. He couldn't figure out why I wouldn't take his calls. He later told me that he was afraid I had been put off by his declaration of love. He thought he was being funny. I laughed at him. Thirty one years later, he still makes me laugh everyday. I enjoy following your love story with your husband, family and life! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Image for Jill Jill

      I forgot a very important detail. We had been listening to a Jimmy Buffet cassette in the car when he dropped me off at my apartment and "The Weather" song was playing. The next week when he was listening to the tape again and heard the song, he thought of us together not the lyrics. He thought he was being romantic. Bless his heart.

  16. Image for Carmen H Carmen H

    Wow, I did the same thing with my high school sweetheart. He went to UT and I went to Uof H. A year later I woke up out of my delusion! We are now married 29 years.

  17. Image for revi revi

    Karianne, for another side job, you should write for Hallmark, or coffee commercials, or something! I've got black under my eyes now... -Revi

  18. Image for Pinky Pinky

    Oh how I love your stories of beautiful beginnings. Your children will have this "journal" to keep forever too. Joe and I are coming up on our 46 anniversary. I am so glad I have had this dance for all of my life!!! XO

  19. Image for Beth Beth

    Sweet story KariAnne. I started reading the sign and realized it was the words to Anne Murray's hit song from 1980. The love of my life and I were married in 1981 and this was our "first dance" song. Probably every bride in Nova Scotia danced to that song when it first came out, because Anne is from Springhill, NS. I just love yor blog to bits, even if it makes me cry sometimes.

  20. Image for Kathy Kathy

    Wonderful story - it too reminded me of our love story - how I fell in love with a laugh...and have been laughing ever since. Thanks again for our talk! I hope you have a blessed weekend, Kathy

  21. Image for Sydnie Sydnie

    Of course I read this right before walking into an oversight meeting and of course I rushed right back after and read the rest of the story! Absolutely beautiful story and beautifully written! You have such a twist with words and voice that is all your own! Love reading your blog!

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