Laura and I met on July 30, 2001 at her cousin Missy’s wedding in Burns, Oregon (where I was living at the time). We talked, danced, and at the end of the night we exchanged phone numbers. The next morning she went on her way to Newberg, Oregon where she was living for the summer. We talked on the phone for weeks waiting for a time where I could get away from firefighting and visit her. August was a busy time for firefighters and it wasn’t until the end of the month that I was able to get a couple days off, just in time for her to head back to Spokane, Washington to start her last year of college.
When we both decided to meet in Pendleton and drive to Spokane in one car, I didn’t think about the current wildfires on the Umatilla National Forest my drive would intersect on my way to Pendleton. Needless to say, the trip that should have landed me in Pendleton around 10pm got me there about 1:30am. I was detoured through parts of eastern Oregon I didn’t know existed. Since neither of us had cell phones, I stopped to make pay phone calls to her parents on a couple occasions to tell them that if Laura is wondering where I’m at, I’m still on my way. When I arrived at our designated spot of Burger King on the outskirts of southern Pendleton, she was asleep in her car. I tapped on the window and woke her up. Later on, we would both talk about how we really couldn’t remember exactly what the other looked like because we had met for such a brief time a month earlier. Of course upon laying eyes on each other again, we knew the other was pretty damn hot/sexy, depending on who your’re speaking with. Together we made the 3 hour drive north to Spokane.
We rarely slept those two days because of the little time we had. We explored Spokane, talked into the wee hours of the morning, and spent time hiking. It was during our hike at a local park that we took the picture featured on this post.
After she drove me back the 3 hours to my car in Pendleton, we said goodbyes in hopes of seeing each other soon. All the way home I thought of Laura and her beautiful smile, the engaging conversations, and her wonderful kiss. As the stars sparkled overhead and I was lost in thought about her, I took out a deer 10 minutes from town. Unfortunately the deer didn’t make it and the car was replaced two weeks later, but I found my future wife.
Read more about our chance encounter on our Family page.