There’s something about living in the house that you grew up in that’s unexplainable.

It’s amazing and wonderful and poignant all at the same time. It’s like you are living in the middle of a new chapter, and yet? You can see all the chapters that have gone before and know there are new chapters yet to come.

Each room has a thousand stories.

Each room has a thousand steps.

And sometimes? Every so often?

You open a dutch door with brass hardware and a summer wreath.

And right then?

Right there.

In the middle of an ordinary day, something happens that reminds you of all the steps you have taken before.

Last week I had an argument with my husband.

Truth?

It was over nothing.

It was silly.

And ridiculous.

But as most silly-ridiculous-arguments-over-nothing go sometimes, it started small and ended with frustration and hurt feelings and he left for work without it being resolved. My husband is a hospital pharmacist and he’d been called in for extra shifts and he’s been working a lot lately and as soon as he walked out the door?

I realized I was wrong.

Really wrong.

And I missed him.

I stared at the dutch door that had just closed behind him as tears welled up in my eyes. And in that moment? I remembered something.

I remembered those same steps with those same tears staring at that same door all those years ago.

The day he left for boot camp.

We had broken up because he was leaving for the navy and he stopped by the house one more time on his way to Orlando to say goodbye and let me know he was leaving.

I stood at this exact dutch door on January 3 at 6:30 in the morning and hugged him tight and wished him well and waved goodbye and told him to have a wonderful life.

I thought I would never see him again.

He was nice and sweet and kind with twinkling brown eyes, but you see my friend…

….I broke up with him because I had big plans.

Big.

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

Watch out world.

And as he walked through this dutch door, he turned back before he got into the truck and waved. Then 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. We clicked our high-heeled-lace-socked 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 realized I was still in love.

*sigh*

I was in love with a sailor.

A sailor I’d already said goodbye to.

A sailor I’d just broken up with.

A sailor who was currently halfway across the country at boot camp without a single solitary means of communication.

Back then it was different.

There wasn’t a cell phone or an e-mail or an 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.

So I waited.

And waited.

Weeks went by and then one day the phone rang.

It was Valentine’s Day.

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

It was my sailor.

And 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.

Me?

The girl with the big plans.

He missed…..me?

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 payphone with a tender note in his voice, a twinkling-eyed sailor told a girl he loved her…..

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

PS  Ten minutes after this dutch door closed?

My phone rang.

It was my husband.

He called to tell me he missed me and I told him I was wrong and what was I thinking and that I was sorry and silly and ridiculous.

And that when he walked back through this dutch door tonight?

I’d be there.

Just like all those years ago.

Waiting with open arms. 🙂

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Comments

  1. Image for Robin Robin

    The heart doesn’t lie! My daddy was in the Air Force and stood in line to make that special call to my mom. She would tell him, I love you and he would say, me you too! It’s those moments of sweet memories that find a safe place in our hearts.

  2. Image for Lyn Lyn

    Love it! Just yesterday my long long long married husband and I kind of snapped at each other about something as ridiculous as sunglasses! He left the house for his daily 5 mile jaunt, and when he got home he walked in the door with his usual big smile on his face, and it made me ask myself why did we get upset over sunglasses!

  3. Image for Be Be

    What a wonderful story and great story of example. I had just heard a song saying that you can walk the talk or talk the talk, but the walk the talk spoke volumes. Thanks for walking the talk for all of us today. Luv luv

    1. Image for Stephanie Brown Stephanie Brown

      I had no idea you had so many sweet friend! I have been out of the loop sorry but will try to stay in the loop again.

  4. Image for Donnamae Donnamae

    These are the stories that move me. (Now, I’ll go back and look at all your pictures.) Love always wins out, my friend!! Hope you have a terrific day! ;)

  5. Image for Diana Diana

    KariAnne this warmed my heart and reminded me so much of my marriage of 51 years. It is the kind of love that swells inside and you can't imagine the world without them. Loved hearing your story

  6. Image for Gina Gina

    Thank goodness there is grace for us in times when we are wrong. Love your heart. And to think the girls are around the same age you were.

  7. Image for Nancy Bergan Nancy Bergan

    Those are the reasons why we are married 43 years, how we think I’m going to do this but really happens I’m doing that with you. Thank you for making me remember why we are still happily married.

  8. Image for Dana Dana

    That is one of the best love stories I have ever read (and I’ve read a few😉) Absolutely brilliant and beautifully worded. Your next DIY project should be writing a book. Love and prayers for you and your sailor and the rest of your lives together!

  9. Image for Linda Lee Primeaux Linda Lee Primeaux

    And God said: But the greatest of these is Love. It is a gift to be shared. A beautiful love store indeed. 😊

  10. Image for Va in NC Va in NC

    We are so fortunate to have our memories; even when our loved ones are no longer with us. Keep those memories close always. Thank you for sharing this with us. Blessibgs,

  11. Image for Barbara Barbara

    Such a good story of you and your twinkle eyed hubby!! I too kept reading the story as fast as I could scroll and then went back for the photos (which are always perfectly beautiful). Love the love ya'll have and your precious family. I know I'll never meet you in person, but I feel like you are a friend and that's enough!

  12. Image for Stephanie Brown Stephanie Brown

    Oh how I have always loved your heart stories! Pancakes, press on nails, and prairie skirts I have loved all your stories since way back when... because I could relate to so many of the things listed here.. and so many others you have jotted down and shared as well. I too try to write down our love stories.. to not only remind our children parents are indeed people.. but also how much I love my handsome fellow with the twinkling eyes. I have even teased you that our two guys favor! Trying so hard to pick up the pencil again myself... since we both know those pictures are never going to get hung or this house decorated. We have lived in our new home eight years now. Right when I met you online. Oh how I looked forward to your blog every morning after moving back to my hometown after 30 years. You had moved too.. and with each word you shared you reassured my heart that this move was indeed the right thing to do. A few years later you moved back home. God puts us where He wants and needs us sweet friend. Bless you for listening to your heart to go home as well. Our Diet Dr Peppers have been replaced by more water as the years keep passing by.. but I feel like giving you a toast each and every time I read another story or accomplishment. So very proud of you! 12 books really? And wow taking care of yourself too? Inspiration you are. You were on my mind last week, Just this last Friday I was blessed to be one of the 14 writers who submitted a story entry to be invited to attend a master writing story class with best selling author Bren McClain. I thought of you on and off all day. I thought of your blog story about attending your first conference and laughed as I too had on sparkling sandals oh ok fancy flip flops. I almost ran away and did not go in the building too. But oh so glad I did. Warm welcome for all writings and a great day sharing stories to not only improve my writing but my life as well. As I left, I just knew you were whispering in the strong breeze in TN... "You did it. You are a rockstar!" I am far from a rockstar! But bless you sweet girl for sharing your words and heart... because years later you are still touching my heart with your words of wisdom and laughter about life as well. Keep shining!

  13. Image for Revonda Stordahl Revonda Stordahl

    What a wonderful story even though I am sitting at in my office with tears in my eyes. I love how relatable your stories are. You are an inspiration and your posts always make my day (even if I cry). Thank you for being you!

  14. Image for Celkalee Celkalee

    As I sit here with tears rolling down my face, I relate. In many ways. Thanks for reminding me. After 53 years of marriage, the little moments get lost with time.

  15. Image for Elizabeth@pineconesandacorns Elizabeth@pineconesandacorns

    This story is what I love most about your blog. Yes, I love the DIY and tutorials but they are not something that I really don't do too often, no talent for it, no tools, etc.. YOU and your stories are what live, love and family are all about. Thank you for sharing! xo

  16. Image for Teresa Edwards Teresa Edwards

    This story has made me cry! On Sept 27, 2018 I left to work after my beautiful husband of 13 years, who was on dialysis and sick the entire night, demanded I not stay with him and go to work. He said “ I handle this”. I remember stopping, before getting in the car, thinking that was a strange thing he said as I went on. I tried not to panic during the day when I couldn’t reach him, and got annoyed with him again about how he wouldn’t keep his phone on him or tune out the phone call while he was watching TV, making me a nervous wreck. I came home to find him laying on the floor. He was cold and I knew had been gone since early that morning. I suddenly couldn’t remember if I had kissed him goodbye before I left. I’m so glad you had the opportunity to speak to your husband again and tell him you love him. I am so much more conscious to make amends and tell people I love them now.

  17. Image for Kim Kim

    Thank you for sharing your story. Your transparency is one thing I just love about you❤️. Your story quickly reminded me of my own. When I was a young woman of 20 years of age my boyfriend asked me to marry him. We were together all of the time and loved being together. But then it hit me…..was I making the right decision?? Fear and doubt crept in. But then I had a friend say to me these words, which I have never forgotten. If you were to give him back your engagement ring today and walk away, would you be able to live with the thought that you may never ever see him again? I said absolutely no way would I want to be without him in my life. We married a short time after that. We have been married almost 41 years and he is the Love of My Life❤️ We have 4 grown children with their spouses and 5 Beautiful grandchildren who call us Nana and Papa☺️☺️ God has Blessed Beyond what I could have ever dreamed.

  18. Image for Laura Laura

    You are so, so lucky to have someone to argue with. And, later, make up with. So many of us are all alone. Wonderful story my friend.

  19. Image for Terri Herman Terri Herman

    That is the sweetest! So glad you are able to recognize and respond with an attitude of joy even when wrong! Truly a Prov 31 woman 😀

  20. Image for Mary Mary

    What a delightful love story with a lesson! How wonderful that through your writing and books your stories and life will be preserved for generations to come. What a beautiful legacy!

  21. Image for Jan McKenzie Jan McKenzie

    i lost my father when I was just 4 years old, he died in his sleep at age 41 of a massive heart attack. My Mom always told my sister and I never to go to bed angry at one another and that's always stuck with me, however I've added never walk away angry at one another. Life is too short. My husband also left to go to Navy boot camp, although way before yours did, we've been married 55 years this year. We had lots of those phone calls where you're only allowed 5 minutes and you wait in line for hours, that made them even more precious. I remember my first Mother's Day when he called from Greece and I was across the street visiting my aunt. My Mom didn't come get me, she spoke to him for the 5 minutes instead, it was torture to hear that. He didn't get to see his little girl till she was 6 months old as he left two weeks before she was born. Things are so much better nowadays with Face Time, cell phones, email, etc. but we survived and maybe we're stronger for it. Couples today seem to be too self-centered in my opinion, marriage is give and take, not just one sided. You can't always have your way and it's taken too lightly, something you can dissolve if it doesn't seem to be working. That's not how God meant for it to be, it's a covenant with Him to have and to hold, for good and bad, sickness and health, till death comes. Your message today was such a good one for all to hear and take to heart. Hopefully all you fans out there will remember it the next time they have "words" with their spouse. Prayers for you, and your husband and family, God bless you all.

  22. Image for Linda Linda

    My husband went out our door one day as well. Never to return. When I got that phone call that he had died suddenly my whole world changed. I was so thankful I had kissed him good bye like we always did when one of us left. Disagreements are a part of our every day life. But making up and seeing them come back in that door is a true blessing in ones life. Take care of each other. Life is short. We had 44 years together. Looking forward to seeing him again in Heaven.

  23. Image for MARY-ANN (FROM CANADA!) MARY-ANN (FROM CANADA!)

    So precious, KariAnne! God has truly blessed you and your dear hubby -- even if there are some "words" at times! Have a blessed week!

  24. Image for Katy Katy

    You should write a book about life and lessons and love KariAnne! Adored this share and am “typing” through happy tears. You got a good one GF…he’s a keeper! Blessed to have a brown eyed keeper as well. Hugs, Katy

  25. Image for Jodena Beale Jodena Beale

    Your story today created more replies and comments than I ever remember seeing on your column. ALL said what all of us were thinking. I cant compete with that. SO, I send you this, Im sure you can feel my heart. 😥💘😊

  26. Image for Jo Jo

    Precious and poignant! A reminder how really connected we are to the ones we love and who love us. You are a beacon!

  27. Image for R Newton R Newton

    Loved your story and had tears as well. After almost 47 years with a special blue eyed sailor, he went to Heaven. I've been very lonely for 13 plus years now and have met someone who has been alone for only 2 1/2 years. While we seem to have a lot of love and fun and good times in our "long distance" romance, I know he'll never love me quite like his late wife, and I know I should never expect anything more than we currently have. While we both had wonderful lives with our first spouses, life must and should go on. I don't think God meant for us to be alone, so I just try to enjoy how much of him I currently have and try not to think of anything more permanent.

  28. Image for Lynne Lynne

    Very lovely story. We've been married 52 years and my husband is the sweetest person. Everyone loves him because he is so kind and nice. Sometimes though, I get annoyed with him because he's so laid back and I like things to be done a certain way. But, I realise, that's my problem, not his. For instance, I am usually the first one up, I let the dogs out, open the curtains, put the drying on, bring the dogs in, feed them, tidy while our drinks are brewing etc. This week we've both been sick with Covid and he's been getting up first. When I get up, the curtains and blinds are usually half open or all at different levels, the drying is still in the machine and I find it hard to understand how he doesn't do things neatly. But, what does it matter really! He has Covid too and is not feeling well, but he's bringing me hot drinks (make that sometimes not so hot) in bed with a big smile on his face and checking on me every half hour even though he doesn't need to. He's out in the kitchen now chatting away to the dogs, telling them it will be nice once the sun comes out (nearly winter here where we live in Australia). We're very lucky to have such nice people in our lives, aren't we? And, life is too short not to appreciate every moment. I can relate to another comment from Jan about her father dying at 41. My mother died at 41 too. I left the house grumpy with her over something silly and never saw her alive again. I will always regret not saying goodbye to her. Lynne x

  29. Image for Amy Amy

    💕 😌 the truth of love. I love how you connect the past and present. It’s almost like a dejavu. Thank you for keeping it real and that you are both still in love.

  30. Image for Cristie Cristie

    Goose bumps, girlfriend!! So sweet, be still my heart. Oh and btw if you remember me.. I told you how much I loved the Basket/Hat/Coat rack you showed on “Whay I bought Wednesday “.. well I HAD it in my Antique Booth with baskets for sale.. and today someone just Had To Have It, even though I told them they could get it on Amazon.. I added a very small profit and they took it home.. and I just ordered another one! Go figure,huh? Thanks so much for your shotios! Oh and I love the lip stick that stays on all day long 🥰

  31. Image for PJ PJ

    KariAnne, what a beautiful story this is! I sometimes wonder what different turns my life would have taken if we had had cellphones in my earlier days. Thank goodness for the pay phone in your story and that the guy with the twinkling eyes had the courage to call you!

  32. Image for Janette Janette

    Oh my Kerianne you and your wonderful stories. I am crying, its beautiful nd I felt it all.......so happy you realised your 'Sailor' was the one for you, bless you both.xx

  33. Image for Jayne Jayne

    I love that HE called you !!!!! ... give & take, take & give, what a lovely dance you two do together !! ... what a wonder example of what commitment and respect and concern for one another should be. ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh, love !! Jayne

  34. Image for Tammy Tammy

    Oh my goodness, I am sobbing at the moment reading this KariAnne. What a beautiful story to share. Loved it so much! You two are so precious together. So glad that brown eyed sailor with the twinkle in his eye became your "big plan". Hugs to you my friend.

  35. Image for Vicki Vicki

    I love your beautiful story and all that you share with us. Made me cry today -- but that's OK. Thank you for making me stop and think about how lucky I am to be married to my husband after 54-1/2 years. I love your posts. Bless you and your family!

  36. Image for Lynn Mosher Lynn Mosher

    Oh, sweeetie, you are definitely a story teller. Thank you, KariAnne's father! Tears streaming. I love this. You are the bestest! 😍

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