I spent yesterday of Memorial Day weekend curled up in chairs with sweet tea and a deep conversation with one of the twins.  We talked about everything from how to style a messy bun to painting our toenails to world peace.

No phones.

No electronic devices.

No distractions.

Just hours and hours of heart sharing as the afternoon slipped away.

I was in the middle of telling her about my first dorm room in college and how I bought a moped and drove it around with long-parrot earrings flying in the wind….

….when suddenly she stopped me with a question.

“How did you know you were in love with Daddy?” she said.

“I just knew,” I told her.

“Yes,” she said. “But how did you know?  What made you sure?”

I paused and smiled and said, “It was the brownie fudge sundae.”

I had dated my future husband who was still my boyfriend for nine months when he told me he was coming over to my house to tell me something.  I ratted my hair and put on a prairie skirt and a concho belt and super thick pancake make-up to hide all the wrinkles I had at nineteen and thirty minutes later he stopped by with flowers and an announcement….

…he had joined the Navy.

I stared at him in disbelief.

The Navy?


I wasn’t ready for something like that.  I wasn’t prepared.  I already had my life planned out.  I was graduating from college and getting a job doing something super important and going to work every day in an office wearing super cute suits like they wore on Melrose Place.

And nowhere in any of those plans did I hear the word Navy.

So I told him I was out.

I told him I was done.

I told him I was breaking up with him when he left and four months later when he headed out for boot camp at 6;30 am on a drizzly Tuesday morning, I hugged his neck and wished him well and watched him walk away with his sea bag over his shoulder.  Then I went back to my house and sat on the floor of my room and stared at his picture and cried until his face was too blurry to see.  “You’re better off without him,” I told myself.  “You have big plans and big dreams and a Melrose suit with your name on it.”

Two days later I left for college.

At college, I couldn’t shake the sadness.

I wore that melancholy like a prairie skirt.

It was pitiful.

I’d spend hours curled up in my room, eating brownie fudge sundaes, wearing pajamas and searching for inspiration in the most brilliant font of knowledge I knew…

….daytime television talk shows.

I’d watch people throw chairs at each other and fight and yell and people break up and people discover their long-lost families and people find their one true love.

I couldn’t look away.

It was terrifying and compelling all at the same time.

And then one day–as I wiped up a drip of chocolate off my pajama pants and took another bite of the brownie fudge sundae–I came to a revelation in the middle of my sugar haze.

I was in love.

I loved that drummer boy who kissed me and left to fight for his country more than I could ever have imagined.  I laughed out loud with the joy of it–with the discovery that I loved him with everything I had.  I loved him more than suits and plans and daytime television and brownie fudge sundaes.


Except I couldn’t tell him.

He was half a country away at boot camp.

There were no cell phones.

I didn’t have e-mail.

I didn’t have texting.  I didn’t have a single way of letting him know I was in love.

And then four weeks later the phone rang in my room on Valentine’s Day.

It was him.

He’d waited an hour in line for the pay phone to talk to me.

He said “Hello” and I screamed, “I LOVE YOU.”

My boot camp sailor laughed out loud and told me he’d known all along.

He was just waiting for me to figure it out.

And all it took was hours of daytime television perspective, a drip of chocolate…

….and a brownie fudge sundae. 🙂

PS  He sent me plane tickets to boot camp graduation.

Of course, he did.  But even he couldn’t imagine the rest of the story. 🙂

PPS  Happy Memorial Day to service men and their families everywhere.

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  1. Image for June Gerstner June Gerstner

    The age old question--how do you know. I remember agonizing over it as well. And for me, the answer came in the first kiss. Nothing has ever been the same and his kiss is still the best ever!

  2. Image for Debi Debi

    I'm not sure which I look forward to more Karianne.......your stories or the pictures of your home! Another sweet story and lovely room. I can just see you and the twin sitting there!

  3. Image for Marisa Franca @All Our Way Marisa Franca @All Our Way

    Aaaaawwww!! You have me teary eyed again. I know how the story goes with your visit but I don't care -- I love it and I'll read it again and again. I love every single one of those brave patriots who put their lives on the line so that we can eat chocolate fudge sundaes. My Honey and my oldest son are both military!! I bet you were so cute in your misery!! I'm glad you realized who your life's partner was going to be -- it's amazing how it does hit us!! God bless our troops. Big hugs to you.

  4. Image for Jennifer Jennifer

    Your posts are a highlite to my week! I absolutely love your stories, they always touch my heart! The room is beautiful as well! Thanks for the inspiration!!! Happy Memorial Day to your sweet family!!

  5. Image for Leslie Watkins Leslie Watkins

    What a wonderful way to find out you are in love. Perfect. Another reason to love brownie fudge sundaes. And tell that amazing drummer sailor that I am thankful for his service to help keep us all free. Love to you all, sweet friend!

  6. Image for Donnamae Donnamae

    As usual...I get so caught up in your stories....I have to go back to look at the pictures! How do you know? Sometimes you just do! Please tell "Twinkling Eyes" thank you for his service! ;)

  7. Image for Barbara Barbara

    Oooooh your best story ever! So glad it all worked out:) Thanks for inspiring us and making us examine our own lives- you are special!

  8. Image for Stephanie ray brown Stephanie ray brown

    Oh my sweet story and yep I think I am making hot fudge brownie sundaes tonight! Have not had in years! Love them and still love Prarie skirts haha Still wear them love the peasant look... more me than Melrose place. Oh my choked on my Diet Dr Pepper yep back on the soda instead of water wagon when I read you wanting to be Melrose. Forgot about that show! You could have pulled it off friend, but so glad you went with your heart. Those twinkling brown eyes get a gal every time! Hug your fella and thank him for his service from y family. May God bless him always. Happy Memorial Day!

  9. Image for Denise Cox Denise Cox

    Karianne, I got goose bumps after reading your story... and a tear in my eye! What a wonderful story! Thank-you for sharing such a magical part of your life! And to those servicemen and women everywhere.... Thenk-you so much for your dedication and service to our country!!!!

  10. Image for Sharon H Sharon H

    You truly are the best at what you do, Miz karianne! I almost know these stories by heart by now, and I still love hearing you tell them....What an amazingly blessed love story the two of you share. I know I tell you this every so often, but your children are so blessed to have you both for parents. Happy Memorial Day to you, and a big Thank You to you both for serving our country. many hugs to you.

  11. Image for Kris Kris

    You are so funny and so heartfelt all at the same time. Thank you for reminding us of the sacrifices our military members and their families make on our behalf.

  12. Image for Jere Jere

    When my "Husband to be" walked into the room, I said to my Mother "That's the man I'm going to marry" We had not even met. We were married 66 years when he passed away four years ago. I just knew,yet maybe I had a fudge sundae earlier and didn't realize it. Jere PS. Her was in the Navy 27 years...today is for him.

  13. Image for Sherry Young Sherry Young

    Girl, you are not just a mom, wife, blogger, decorator, on and on I go but a magnificent storyteller! It warms my heart when I read some of the coolest stories you weave and write for us to read! I would just love to be a fly on the wall at your home for a day. I am also a Ky. Native and it seems to be so at home and warm. What county are you in? Keep up your wonderful blog and Kentucky life on the farm.

  14. Image for Jenifer Jenifer

    Wow. This is a new one for me! I love this story- thank you for being such a wonderful story teller! Lucky family! Happy Memorial Day!

  15. Image for Deb Wostmann Deb Wostmann

    You have a sweet and wonderful way of telling a love story and every story you tell. Happy Memorial Day and thank your love for his service to our country.

  16. Image for june june

    I loveeeee your stories...as I try to type this through tears. To be so young and have such a heart so full of love. You should be writing books...start a series. I'm not a book reader but omg girl I can never walk away from my computer once I open your emails. Wishing you a wonderful Memorial Day with you and your family.

  17. Image for Donna McDowell Donna McDowell

    KariAnne thank you for sharing this precious message of love. I love watching your crafts on Talk of the Town. Thank you for wonderful decoration advice.

  18. Image for Lisa Lisa

    Oooooh, you really took me back with "prairie skirt and a concho belt"! I was already married when my guy decided to join the USAF and I couldn't be more proud of all he accomplished and how he served. Happy Memorial Day!!!!

  19. Image for NormaJean NormaJean

    Okay, now I'm jealous! You have that gorgeous back deck AND a screened-in porch? Loved the story AND your inviting, comfortable, mosquito-free, screened porch!! Hugs,

  20. Image for Susie @ The Chelsea Project Susie @ The Chelsea Project

    Yay you! Sweet KariAnne! What a great story for today and for your children to cherish always! So glad I stopped the crazy train long enough to enjoy this most fabulous post! Congrats to you and your sweet Navy fella! XOXO Susie from The Chelsea Project

  21. Image for Dawn Dawn

    I can't wait to see Thistlewood Farms in my email list! Every single thing you post reminds us of the sweetness of life!

  22. Image for Pinky Pinky

    Oh dear, for me it was sitting up all night in chairs at a rooming house at the beach (I was there with girlfriends and he was there to see his sister!!!). We talked all night and then the next night we took a walk and he kissed me....that sealed it. We will celebrate 50 years in Nov.! Nobody gave us 3 weeks. I LOOOOOVE your stories!

  23. Image for Linda Linda

    Dang girl. You did it again...*lump in my throat* time. Thank your sweet husband for his service. Thank YOU for your story. Glad he knew what you didn't know at the time. ;-)

  24. Image for Sue Sue

    What a wonderful story! I have tears streaming down my face. Bless your heart. I am so glad you didn't loose him in all of that. I love your stories, and best of all they are your stories and they are true. God has a plan.

  25. Image for Mary-The Boondocks Blog Mary-The Boondocks Blog

    Thank goodness for all those daytime television talk shows. After hours and hours of them they helped us to realize what we didn't want out of life! And then left the TV behind and went on to leave a real life. Such a sweet story!

  26. Image for Andi Cox Andi Cox

    Patience is a virtue. Beautiful story. It's important to unplug from time to time. I think its good for our souls to go "old school". No doubt a cherished memory was created that day with you and your daughter. I enjoy reading your blog. You are a gifted writer, also stylist, as well as a true Southern Lady. Appreciate your families service. Andi

  27. Image for Lisa Lisa

    What a great story to be able to tell your kids. I love your writing. Memorial Day is a great time to remember our loved ones who served their country and it's also a great time to just remember all the people we love.

  28. Image for Julie Briones Julie Briones

    I'm catching up on my blog reading... too much going on over on FaceBook... stuff that is #soclosetoamazing! I love this post, KariAnne! Isn't it just a wonderful, delightful and downright amazing blessing we are given when our children sit and open their hearts to us, and want to hear us open our hearts to them?! One of the most absolute best things EVER! I want to follow your links in the posts, and follow the links in those posts... and then... you get the pic. ;-) But, I need to use some of that time to read this really wonderful book I just started. You would love it! ;-)

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