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A long time ago in a land far away……I stood in a navy dress with brass buttons and shoulder pads wearing bright red lipstick as my Lee Press-On Nails desperately clutched a chain link fence and tears streamed down my face…..

….and I watched as my new husband sailed away.

Silently I sobbed and cried as the ship got smaller and smaller…..frantically running down the fence with eyes blinded by tears to try to catch one more glimpse before the ship turned the corner and headed out of the harbor.

Hundreds and hundreds of sailors lined the decks of the ship that day….standing at attention with their crisp white uniforms gleaming in the sun and their heads held high….as they left to fight the unknown.

Not one of those sailors knew what the future held.

Not one of those sailors knew what the fighting would bring.

Not one of those sailors knew if they would even return home.

And still they sailed on.

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Days and weeks went by…..and as the country watched….the conflict escalated.

Until one day I arrived at work to see terrifying night-time pictures flashing across the national news with bomb after bomb and explosion after explosion….

….a half a world away.

The fighting had begun.

And when I saw those explosions…..I stood silently as my world crumbled around me.

I was here and he was there…..

…..and the sheer helplessness of the situation overwhelmed me.

I wanted to talk to him….for him to reassure me that he was alright and that he was coming home and that he was going to sail back into the harbor on a sunny day wearing his dress whites on the deck of that ship….

….and that all was right with the world.

But it wasn’t.

And I felt my heart crack in two.

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And then….suddenly……I heard my name over the loud-speaker.  They said they needed me in the office….that I needed to go at once…..that I had a call from an officer.

A call?

Really?

From an officer?

I didn’t want a call.

Not even a little.

All the calls I had ever seen in the movies from officers during a war…..never ended well.

I entered the office and took the phone…..and I think I said hello…..the smallest tiniest hello I have ever said in my life that sounded like a cross between a squeak and a whisper.

“Mrs. Wood….this is a ship to shore call.  We have your husband on the line.  Please be aware that all conversations on this call will be repeated several times to transfer information to the ship.  Please begin when you are ready,” boomed back at me over the line.

I didn’t understand.

A ship to shore call?

I didn’t know what to say…..so I simply said “Hello again.”

And then I heard it…..across the miles of land and ocean……the hello repeated from military personnel to military personnel……over and over and over again.

“Hello again.”  “Hello again.”  “Hello again.” “Hello again.”

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Until it reached my husband half a world away.

And then the message came back from that sailor on a distant shore……”Hi cutie…..I’m fine.” ”Hi cutie…..I’m fine.” ”Hi cutie…..I’m fine.” ”Hi cutie…..I’m fine.”

He was fine?

He was okay?

He was safe?

I screamed and giggled and spun around and the heavens parted and I heard the hallelujah chorus.  And then I shouted into the phone with all of the joy and exuberance and adoration I could muster…….”I LOOOOOOOOVVVVVVVE YOOOOOOOU.”

Except I forgot.

You see….the “I love you” didn’t end there.

It wasn’t just between us.

There were five people listening on the call.

*sigh*

And so it ended up sounding a little like this….. ”I LOOOOOOOOVVVVVVVE YOOOOOOOU.””I LOOOOOOOOVVVVVVVE YOOOOOOOU.” ”I LOOOOOOOOVVVVVVVE YOOOOOOOU.”

….”I LOOOOOOOOVVVVVVVE YOOOOOOOU.”

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They smiled as they said it……those veteran military personnel.

And each of them said it with all the joy that my “I love you” was intended to convey.

And in the end…..

…..I didn’t care if the world was listening.

Because that sailor with the twinkling eyes didn’t miss a word.

And he knew that I adored him.

And would be waiting for the day he returned.

And winging its way back across that ship to shore line with the static and the beeps and the blips via half a dozen scratchy voices….

.….he sent me the sweetest “I love you” I ever heard. 🙂

Happy Valentine’s Day.  🙂

PS  Have a love story you’d like to share?  I’ll be over at the forum this morning with a cup of coffee and I would love to hear it!

Comments

  1. Image for Marisa Frana Marisa Frana

    Doggone KariAnne! It's not even six in the morning and I'm crying happy tears. My hubby was in the Air Force and my oldest son in the Navy and he is in Army Intel now so I am a sucker for a military uniform. So glad he made it back safely. Have a Happy Valentines Day with your loved ones. Big Hugs!!

  2. Image for Lisa~A Cottage To Me Lisa~A Cottage To Me

    What a sweet story! Hope your valentine is with you today and not out on some ship! Happy Valentine's!

  3. Image for Anne Presley Anne Presley

    And he loves you even more today!!! I knew an amazing man who would say there is nothing quite like the love of your youth- a fresh, sweet love that only grows and grows. Have a love filled day that overflows and overflows. I love you.

  4. Image for Cass Cass

    Love this story...so sweet! When I was 18 and a senior in high school I was dating a boy who my parents didn't approve of. I was head over heels in love and whenever I could I would sneak out so we could meet. On Valentines Day that year he put a plastic ring on my finger (not sure where he got it but it seemed like something out of a gumball machine). I thought the ring was such a sweet symbol of our love. We made a pact that we would marry after I graduated high school with my parents approval or not. Such rebels we were!! Well, it is 48 years later and I still have the ring and the guy. My parents came around eventually also. Such memories we make for ourselves that they should all be treasured <3

  5. Image for judy judy

    Every morning you add beauty, humor, inspiration, and joy to my day. Thank you! This was such a sweet story. Thanks for sharing your heart today. Happy Valentine's Day to you!

  6. Image for Jennifer Ferrell Jennifer Ferrell

    Oh WOW KariAnne! ((((Tears)))) What a precious, precious story!!:). I just love you and your family! Happy Valentines Day!!!!

  7. Image for Sandy Sandy

    Awwww KariAnne!!! I loved this post I have tears running down my face. This reads like a movie, you just wrote a movie for the big screen!!!!

  8. Image for Patty Patty

    I met my sailor 45 years ago this April. I knew him a month. He proposed - I accepted - my mother said no. Not until you are 21. I turned 21 on a Sunday and we were married the following Saturday. In September it will be 43 years. It has been the ride of my life and I wouldn't change a thing. We are both retired now and spending each and every day together and I still love being with him.

  9. Image for Kris Kris

    Dang it, Karianne, you are making me cry! What a wonderful story. I knew it would end well and I still felt nervous for you as you went to take that call. Thank your husband for serving his country.

  10. Image for Sharon H Sharon H

    Oh, Miz karianne.....you're killing me! I'm bawling like a baby! Ahhhh....I don't know how many more of these stories my ole heart can take. You SERIOUSLY need to write a short stories book about your delightful love life.... Happy Valentine's Day to you, sweetie.

  11. Image for Shelley Shelley

    Tears streaming down my face. I've been married to my own twinkling blue eyed boy now for 30 years after being high school sweethearts. We met the weekend before my freshman year. There is not a phone call that we have even to this day that we don't end it with "I love You" even if we talk 15 times a day. Happy Valentines Day to you and your sweetie.

  12. Image for Shirley@housepitalitydesigns Shirley@housepitalitydesigns

    I love your beautiful love stories!...as my hubby and I exchanged cards today, we realized that we have done this "44" times...Happy Valentine's Day to you and your beautiful family and I am sure that you repeated that I looovvve yooou" many times to your "sailor" this morning!...

  13. Image for Mary Mary

    My soldier and I said our I love yous and goodbyes at the train station. I was pregnant with our first child. We've been married 48 years. Your story brought tears to my eyes and stirred up a lot of memories and emotions. God bless you.

  14. Image for Jane Jane

    What can I say? I'm crying just like everyone else. That is one of the most beautifully written stories I ever read. Please make a book with a compilation of all your wonderful stories! Happy Valentine's Day to you and yours!

  15. Image for Sandi Sandi

    I don't think the general population realizes the sacrifices our military makes. Thank you for the happy tears. I'm a sucker for a man in uniform. My man was special forces for 20 years. Look forward to your daily entries. Thank you and Bless you.

  16. Image for Joy Smith Joy Smith

    Thank you for the sweet memory spoken clearly from the heart for across the miles he could hear your heart needing to hear his :-)

  17. Image for Lynne E. Lynne E.

    This brought happy tears to my eyes and gave me chills. Happy Valentine's Day to you and Mr. Twinkle eyes! And a great big thank you to him for his service to our country.

  18. Image for kelly@mysoulfulhome.com kelly@mysoulfulhome.com

    So romantic! I have PTA meeting or I would join the forum. Darn, as I do have a great story on my blog today…a story of friendship - a long friendship. And a present for everyone this Valentine's Day. Come on by Karianne & all your wonderful readers. I would love to share my story & the opportunity to win with everyone. www.mysoulfulhome.com xx, Kelly

  19. Image for ANN KOVACS ANN KOVACS

    What a wonder love story. Have tears in my eyes. Thanks to all the military. Love to them all. HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY.

  20. Image for marti marti

    Ain't love GRAND!!!! Everytime I open your email I always hang on for another ride of a lifetime and always with kleenex close. You have been so gifted with words....you need to write a book or be a speaker at women's seminars sharing your life stories of love and redemption! Bring it on Karianne you are fabulous!!!!

  21. Image for Laura Dalton Laura Dalton

    I love to read your stories, especially the love stories. I also was in love with a military man (still am!). On our first Valentines Day after we married, he was deployed. He found a jeep to take him into a village where he found a pay phone and tried to call. We didn't have an answering machine and I missed the call. I was devastated when I received his letter telling me about it. Fast forward 34 years... he is out of the military but still overseas (Afghanistan). This morning he called and told me to check our printer. There was a simple red heart with his handwritren message that had come 8000 miles across the airwaves directly into my home. My, how times have changed-at least the technology-the butterflies I feel waiting for his call, the relief I feel when it comes, and the pride and gratefulness I feel for the sacrifice he makes for the family he loves (as well as his country) has not changed, in fact, it has multiplied. Thanks, Karianne, for the memories and the chance to share my story. Have a sweet, sweet day with your hero.

  22. Image for Martha Duncan Martha Duncan

    Karrianne you made me cry. My blue eyed Valentine turned 65 today.. Been together for 48 years. Wouldn't trade those years for anything. Sure do miss you , Denny, and the kids. First thing every morning I turn on my computer to see if I have another lovely blog from you. Can't hardley wait till the next morning for another one.

  23. Image for Cheryl Cheryl

    KariAnne, That is beautiful! What a great story for Valentine's Day or for any day. I just love the way you tell stories, ever thought about writing a book?

  24. Image for Shannon M. Shannon M.

    I remember the day exactly. My husband is a soldier, they deployed early before the bombs began.. We waited everyday...praying. The day the world saw the shock and awe was my birthday. We have been separated for holidays, birthdays, anniversarys,weddings, and funerals, and everything in between...but a love like ours...just keeps burning bright. Sometimes it's easy to forget we are still a nation at war. Today...somewhere...a military person is missing their love. Thank you for taking the time to remind us love last a lifetime even when you are worlds apart.

  25. Image for Sarah Sarah

    KariAnne, you do it every time! I can rarely read one of your posts without having to wipe away the tears. You certainly do know how to tell a sweet story. Happy Valentine's Day to you and that cute officer! '-)

  26. Image for Sylvia Marie Sylvia Marie

    What a precious story, thank you so much for sharing. 54 years of valentines for us. He still does sweet things that often $$$$ can't buy!Many blessing for you both.

  27. Image for Cindy Ross Cindy Ross

    KariAnne, Thank you for sharing you sweet story you made me cry. My father was in the military (Navy) and my son is serving in the Navy now. My father has passed so I try to make sure that I spend Valentines' Day with my mother so that she doesn't miss my dad so much. When I read your story it reminded me of when my son left for boot camp and how much I missed him and how I waited for a letter to let me know that he was okay. When he leaves for his deployments now I wait to hear from him wondering if he made it to his destination okay. That wondering never leaves no matter if it is your husband or your child. Thank your husband for his service to our country. I hope that your Valentines' Day was as special as your story was.

  28. Image for Laurie Haas Laurie Haas

    Such a sweet story. My parents didn't approve of my spouse to the point where they didn't come to our wedding. They came around and I think they might like him more than they do me. My Mom died in July and in her final days told me skipping my wedding was one of biggest regrets. Also I have to know. ....where did you get that gorgeous pink cake stand with the glass dome?

  29. Image for Amber Amber

    I'm sitting here teary-eyed, making choky-laugh noises with my second oldest son looking at me like I'm crazy. My hubs just returned from his 7th deployment and your story reminded me of so many years when that far-away, tinny, echoey "I love you" were the sweetest words I ever heard. Thanks for sharing your story!

  30. Image for Claudine Claudine

    You are adooooooraable, Karianne!!!!! I have a pile of mails to read and I'm glad I went on to open each one and read your sweet story! Got tears in my eyes!!! Mwah mwah! Claudine

  31. Image for Libby Boyle Libby Boyle

    Okay, I'm crying. My partner is in the Australian Defence Force but, as yet, I haven't had to say goodbye as he heads overseas. It must be soooo hard. http://llibbyslifestyle.blogspot.com.au

  32. Image for Sharon Sharon

    Oh my gosh, this read like a novel! Even though I know how the story ended, I clung to every word. I felt your anguish and your joy. What an awesome story!

  33. Image for Kari Kari

    This is the sweetest story of love I’ve ever read. It made me tear up and smile all at the same time. Thank you for sharing and Happy belated Valentine’s Day!

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