It was five years ago today that my wife and I went on our first date. Even if she didn’t realize it at the time.
The picture you are seeing now was taken back in March 2007; about a month after our first date… already so much in love.
But how did it all begin?
Jill Tuttle was the only one of my friends who wanted to go with me to see John Mayer in concert two hours away in Huntsville, Alabama.
This was convenient for me because I had a huge crush on her for the past four months, since meeting her at a CMT taping of the show, Crossroads.
I had been deliberately nurturing an authentic friendship with her by initiating a Sunday night tradition of meeting at Starbucks to “catch up.” We had both talked about our mutual love for John Mayer’s music. I knew that her favorite song of his was “Back To You.”
So I made the most of this concert opportunity. This was my chance.
I knew she liked Lenny’s Subs and Twizzlers. So that’s the dinner I packed in a picnic basket for us; we dined in my Honda Element in the parking lot before the show.
When we got back to Nashville around midnight, I put the car in park, looked her right in the eyes, and told her straightforwardly:
“Conveniently, next week is Valentine’s Day. And I really, really like you. I would like to take you out for Valentine’s.”
And the rest is history. We married about a year and half later; then about two and half years after that, our son Jack was born.
That’s the story of us. You could say it all started with us both responding to an email about participating in the taping of a TV show for CMT, as audience members. Or that it all actually started at Starbucks. Or the John Mayer concert. Or even Valentine’s Day 2007.
But ultimately, it started with me taking the initiative to pursue her, carefully and patiently. I wanted to marry my best friend. So I did.
Now I look around the room and see pictures featuring the memories of the mutually shared past five years of our lives, along with a corner of our living room filled with the noisy plastic toys of a blonde haired, blue eyed little boy known to many as “Jack-Man.”
Sure, I believe God orchestrated it all. He caused our paths to cross.
Yet still, when I survey my life of Jill and Jack, I can’t help but think, “Man, I made this happen. I convinced this girl to fall in love with me five years ago. Now we not only have a life together but also a son whom we love like crazy.”
I forever changed Jill Tuttle’s life. I just couldn’t leave her alone. I pursued her and won over her heart.
Of course, it will be an ongoing process. I’m not finished falling in love with her and I never will be.
Cheers to my favorite season of the year, Autumn! With what drink do I make this toast? Well, of course that would be an “off menu” item none among us inconspicuously clued in as the “Dirty Chai Latte” at Starbucks. It’s a Chai Tea Latte with an added shot of espresso.
Why am I promoting it for free? Am I getting a lifetime supply of Dirty Chai’s out of this deal? I wish.
With all the great things that emerge with the fall season, my sinus and allergy problems are among them- especially here in Nashville. Some days, like today, when I accordingly get a headache so intense I nearly get nauseous, no pain reliever will heal me other than a $4 Dirty Chai.
Will you like it? There’s a good chance you won’t. But I definitely do.
It’s made with cinnamon, anise, ginger, cloves, cardamom, milk, a little bit of sugar, and of course, a shot of espresso. So it’s earthy, spicy, malty, rich, and just sweet enough for me not to feel guilty.
By all means, the Dirty Chai is a drug; but at least it’s a legal one. If you are feeling sick, its warmth and caffeine will mask your pain. If you’re feeling stressed by the reality of parenthood, it will lift you up. If are already feeling good, it will make you feel even better.
As parents, we have our vices. This is one of mine. There’s just something about drinking a Dirty Chai amongst the company of strangers at Starbucks who are lucky enough to “work from home” on their laptops that makes me feel like all is well in the world.
Passing the Mic:
I’ve shared my favorite drinkable Autumn vice with you. What’s yours? Do you have an “off the menu” item to introduce to me?