I never really understood the Pythagorean Theorem.


I mean, I wrote it on my paper. I copied it from the blackboard. And after all these years I can even recite it now:

a2 + b2 = c2

But what does it mean exactly? What is the point and why do we need to know the area of shapes and why in the world did anyone care about finding a square in the middle of a triangle?

I still remember sitting in the middle of geometry class with a furrowed brow and a paper covered with erased pencil marks—-contemplating why in the world I needed to know that the sum of the squares of the two legs of a right triangle equaled the square of the hypotenuse when everyone knows what’s really important in life….

…the best way to accessorize stirrup pants.

But truth?

Just between you and me and a right angle?

I owe a lot to Pythagoras and his theorem.

It’s all because of him that I fell in love with an Angry Lemon.

In our highschool’s fifth-period geometry class, I sat two aisles over from a boy with the cutest pair of twinkling brown eyes. He lived in the country and drove his father’s tractor and tended horses and was hands down the smartest boy in the entire tenth grade.

He wasn’t a big talker.

A man of very few words.

He was the strong silent type with dimples and brown wavy hair and big brown eyes that kind of looked like Johnny Depp’s and he had his own Oldsmobile Cutlass…..

…all the really important things in life.

He’d walk into class with a set of drumsticks in his back pocket and somewhere between finding the area and perimeter of a polygon and an in-depth discussion on the how’s and why’s of isosceles triangles…

…he’d take out those drum sticks and beat a rhythm on his textbook.

Sometimes it was Hotel California or I Would Walk 500 Miles or Stairway to Heaven.

The song changed from day to day, but the beat remained the same. He’d close his eyes and hum a tune and softly drum out the song to an imaginary audience and a girl sitting two aisles away wearing red lipstick, an add-a-bead necklace, 4″ high bangs sprayed with Aqua Net hairspray and a prairie skirt with a concho belt.

At the risk of stating the obvious? I looked amazing. I took extra time to make sure my red lipstick was perfect and then my friends and I would laugh and giggle and whisper and try in vain to get his attention

But he never looked.

Not once.

He only had eyes for Led Zepplin.

Geometry class ended later that year.

I barely passed.

He got an A and one of the highest grades in the class.

Two years later, our time in high school ended and we packed up our graduation hats and our dreams and hopes and plans for life and headed to college…

…never to meet again.

Or so we thought.

The next summer I was home on break and a friend of mine invited me to attend a concert in a barn at a local farm miles outside of town. The venue was packed and rowdy and loud and full of smoke and hay and dim lighting and a spotlight on the stage where the band was assembled.

The Angry Lemons.

That’s what the band banner said.

And when The Angry Lemons started to play, I saw my geometry class drummer.

There he was–on stage playing with his eyes closed, lost in a world of music and notes and tunes that swirled around in that crowded, smoky venue with the smell of hay and summer in the air. My friends and I laughed and giggled and cheered and clapped in his direction and tried in vain to get his attention.

But he never looked.

Not once.

He only had eyes for Van Halen.

That next Christmas I was home for break and out of the blue, I got a call from an Angry Lemon with Johnny Depp hair and twinkling eyes and a pair of drumsticks in his back pocket who asked:

Did I want to go out?

Did I want to look at Christmas lights?

Could I be ready in an hour?



Ummmm…yes.  Yes. Yesssssss. Extra yes with sprinkles on top.

I’d only been waiting on him since I figured out that a2 + b2 really does = c2

He drove in from the country and picked me up in his Oldsmobile Cutlass and we looked at Christmas lights and then he kissed me silly under the stars on the curb outside my parent’s house. And on that first date, I discovered something amazing.

All those times I thought he was drumming?

All those times I thought he didn’t notice me or my Aqua Net bangs?

All those times I thought he was listening only to Pythagoras?

I was wrong.

He let me know when he laughed and grinned and told me with a smile full of dimples…

….that he’d been paying attention all along. 🙂

PS I’ve told this story before, but yesterday when my husband drummed out a tune on the kitchen counter looking even cuter than he did in high school with his laughing eyes and the sweetest grin—my heart made me tell it all over again. 🙂

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  1. Image for Tawny Lynn Stoddard Tawny Lynn Stoddard

    Can I just say.... I love this story even more now! Like every single time you tell I just smile and it makes me want to come over and sit next to you, I just know we are friends because I would ask you to slow down and tell me more! LOL PS - This is by far the BEST legacy you could possibly every leave for your children, your love story in print! simply beautiful!

  2. Image for Carol Carol

    I love this story, you need to right novels. This is adorable, even though I have read your story before. We need to see photos of you two way back then to add to your love story!

  3. Image for Kelly Ueber Kelly Ueber

    I love that story so much!!! You took me back to my junior high days were I too fell in love with a drummer boy!! Only my story did not end like yours. But I was so captivated by yours I forgot about mine. You have a way with words that brings me right into your story!! I hope you write another book of stories from your life!!

  4. Image for Debi Duke Debi Duke

    Oh my goodness! That is a Hallmark movie waiting to be made! I love your story & the example you & your husband are for your children. God bless your family.

  5. Image for Kimberly Snyder Kimberly Snyder

    Ok, I admit I thought this post was going to be about falling in love with a rusty old tractor! Which I would totally relate to! I thought this couldn't be about Denny! I would never associate the word "angry" with him! Loved this story!!!

  6. Image for Laura Miller Laura Miller

    What a sweet story! Have you ever thought of writing a book? A series of books? I would read every one of them! You have such a magnetic way of telling a story! Thank you!

  7. Image for Michele M. Michele M.

    Just warms up my heart so much. I so love you two still are in love. That's so rare these days. And I absolutely hated geometry and our teacher was wacka-doodle. I couldn't get past her arms completely full of chalk b/c she'd get all mathspastic and never use a blackboard eraser - she just used her arms on her pretty clothes ALL day. Yes, she was eccentric. Would accidentally wear two different shoes. Often enough it was normal. I learned very little that year in that class - even without a cute angry lemon a few rows back as a great excuse. ♥

  8. Image for Vicki Vicki

    I had a feeling where your story was going -- but it is so precious when you tell it. I, too, have a thing for dimples! Love reading your post every day! Thank you!

  9. Image for Elle Elle

    All I can say is Thank You for this post. I hate it when I cry when I read a post, but I did. I so miss my hubby, a nice Jewish boy from LA that loved me, a too tall blond Swedish swimmer-surfer-dork. Ain’t love grand?

  10. Image for Linda Linda

    Ahhhhhhhh...this sweet story never gets old and I needed it today. There is good in the world. My faith is restored. ;-) Have a fabulous weekend with your angry lemon.

  11. Image for Marlene Marlene

    I love that story and could hear it again and again and get teary eyed. Thanks for sharing it is a wonderful love story.

  12. Image for Margie Williams Margie Williams

    Thank you for reminding us all of the agony and joy of forever love. My knight in shing armor and I celebrated our 50th Anniversary on St.Paddy’s day. He still makes my heart jump for joy….

  13. Image for Sandy Berlien Sandy Berlien

    Aww, so sweet with a happy ending! How long have u been married? Hubby & I celebrated 60 years in August, & love each other more than ever. So lucky to be in good health, other than arthritis!

  14. Image for Alice Alice

    You need to send this sweet story to Hallmark. It would be wonderful to watch one night during the Christmas season. Then..... they could also tell us all about your meeting him when he came home, on leave, from the Navy. All about the Lee press on nails and red lipstick. I think this would be the best Hallmark movie ever.

  15. Image for Linda Linda

    Such a sweet sweet love story. Iam like the lady above. I miss my hubby so much at times I can't breath. Enjoy each other. Life is short. So happy for both of you.

  16. Image for Diana Diana

    Girl I love this story and never get tired of hearing about your sweet love. It takes me back to my younger days too. I felt like I was one of your girlfriends giggling with you.

    1. Image for LisaH LisaH

      A lovely, lovely true story. Can’t get better than that. I too fell for a drummer at 13. It was a couple of years before my parents allowed dating. We married two years after I graduated high school and will celebrate 40 years of music and life together next Summer. Our two children have carried on the tradition with a son that carried drumsticks around like an appendage from the time he was 12. Married now, we have hopes that some day another drummer will be born.

  17. Image for Laura Harrie Laura Harrie

    KariAnne, I wonder if you have a little pair of drumsticks as an ornament on your Christmas tree? You guys are truly a blessing to those around you!

  18. Image for DeMarie Ingraham DeMarie Ingraham

    Nothing quite like a REAL love story. It beats the pants off of any Hallmark made up one by a country mile. Keep telling it as it never gets old.


    You are so precious, KariAnne -- and so is your beautiful love story! May God continue to bless you with a wonderful marriage! You are such a special couple!

  20. Image for Catherine Catherine

    I have never commented before but that is the cutest story. Thanks for sharing it! And charmingly told (is that a word?)

  21. Image for Anne-Marie Anne-Marie

    Oh please, please, pretty please (with sprinkles on top) post a picture of yourself with your bangs !!!!! I thnk we'd all LOVE to see it !!!! it's so wonderful the way you talk about your beau as if you were still in 10th grade

  22. Image for Amy Amy

    You’ve mentioned stories of how you and your just met- but I don’t recall this one. This is precious. Thank you for sharing your stories with us readers and your talent and amazing energy!!! Happy Valentine’s Day! 💕

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