This photo is one of my and Rachel's favorites. I like to call it "youthful bliss." We were just skinny teenagers with stars in our eyes. It was taken at Simmons Baptist Camp in Texas County, at the 1998 Hall family reunion, after a dip in the pool. What makes it special to us, however, is that this photo was taken just a few hours before we were engaged. (Do I look like I have a secret?)
As I recall, we spent the better part of that day at the family reunion, and then went on a date that evening. On my way to pick up Rachel for the big date, I was all slicked up of course. I was to meet Rachel at a certain time, and I wanted everything to be perfect. It was a hot, dusty afternoon. On the way to our rendezvous, "bam," flat tire! Fortunately, I was only a mile from the house. I couldn't take the time to change the flat, so I pretty much drove it back to the house on the rim, and ruined both the rim and the tire. Oh well, that could be fixed later. I left the truck in the yard, jumped in "vehicle B" and off I went to get Rachel. After dinner at El Imperial in Cabool, I drove Rachel back to Simmons Camp around sunset, sat her on a boulder at the edge of the Big Piney River, got on a knee, and asked for her hand in marriage. She was eighteen years old, and I was nineteen. I placed a very modest, solitaire diamond on her finger. (Which I had proudly negotiated the local jeweler down to $300 for.) Rachel still wears it today.
Simmons Camp is a special place to us. It is the first place our lives crossed paths, although we didn't realize it until much later. I was nine, and Rachel was eight, when we were at the same children's camp. We were from different towns, and apparently didn't take notice of each other at the time, but God had a plan. Later on, we returned to that camp as high-schoolers, and served as counselors together. By that time, we were dating, and certainly were taking notice of each other!... Long story short, Rachel Reynolds and I were married in the First Baptist Church of Licking on June 26, 1999.
Tonight (6/23) Rachel and I went on a date and celebrated our anniversary a couple days early. (I have the honor of conducting a wedding rehearsal for a dear couple in our church on the actual night of our anniversary.) Even though we are now ten years removed from that picture, with three children, careers, and a mortgage, in our minds we are still, very much, those starry-eyed kids. We still like going on dates. We still look at the future with awe and wonder. We are still, very genuinely, in love.
Happy anniversary, Rachie.