It was the summer of 1981 in a small town in Central Texas. I was a rising freshman at Lampasas High School and finally allowed to hang out at Storms Drive In with the High School crowd. I cringe at the thought of letting my daughters do the crazy things my parents let me get away with, but it was a whole different world back then. I was obsessed with The Police album “Ghost in the Machine” and was finally able to go “riding around.” “Riding around” was the only form of entertainment in Lampasas. Basically you would hop in the car with an upper classman, who was likely drinking and driving, and make loops through the very small town waiving at friends or stopping to chat if a cluster formed at one of the hot spots. My friend Beth Taylor had been dating this guy Roger Boone for months. Rodger was a rising senior, which meant he could drive, and this made Beth extra cool.
Beth and Rodger devised a plan to set me up with Rodger’s best friend, this red-headed guy named Chris McCaig. I had seen Chris around. He seemed nice enough but I thought he was kind of goofy. One Saturday night while standing around at Storm’s Drive In, I saw Chris, whom they all called blind man, actually eat a styrofoam cup! What a strange guy. Chris was the kind of guy that everyone liked. He was the guy that would give you a ride home when you drank too much or who would cover for you when you lied to your parents about being out all night.
I wish I could say it was love at first sight, but I don’t think that would be true for either of us. He saw me as a needy air-headed freshman; the last thing he needed as a senior planning his escape from this small town. And I saw him as a bit too strange for my mature tastes in men at the age of 13. However, Beth and Rodger persisted in making sure that the two of us were thrown together, despite our persistent pushing away.
One evening, we decided to all hang out at my house because my parents had gone out. We lived in an old colonial with several balconies. Beth and Roger had gone back into my room, and Chris and I were standing on the balcony when he made his move. Yes, our first kiss was on the balcony outside my bedroom window. It was magical! He swept me off my feet and I have not landed yet. (Girls – You are never to kiss a boy until you are at least 18! Do as I say, not as I did.)
Today, June 11th, we are celebrating our 22nd wedding anniversary. A lot has changed. We no longer live in Lampasas, Texas. We have three beautiful daughters who are now teenagers themselves and are hopefully much wiser than their mother was at their age. Chris’s hair, or what is left, is a bit darker and I am a bit thicker, but he is still the love of my life, my very best friend, and he still makes me laugh.
He stopped eating Styrofoam cups but just tonight, he felt compelled to play with my asparagus pretending to be Junior from veggie tales having a talk with a larger “dad” asparagus. I finally matured enough to recognize the value of laughter and appreciate his quirky sense of humor.
My advice to my girls is, “marry someone who makes you laugh,” this is one thing I do hope they imitate. Life is too short and there are far too many things in life that will make you cry. We all need someone to make us smile, even if it is a bit embarrassing some times.
In my book, From the Sanctuary to the Streets, I interviewed Chris about the many sacrifices he has made to support me in my role at Embrace Richmond. Below is an excerpt from that interview:
“I never would have imagined Wendy making her career out of caring for homeless people. But all this happened so incrementally, one little step at a time. I have never had a call to work directly with the poor like Wendy does, but
I do nonetheless have a strong call—a call to support Wendy in what God has called her to do. Sometimes it takes me out of my comfort zone, but it all goes back to my primary call to support Wendy. It has nothing to do with Wendy, but more my commitment to God and to do what God called me to do in supporting her. God put us together for a reason. Military history teaches that success in battle has as much to do with logistics as it does with the people on the front lines. Without a good support system, you will lose. I am not called to the front lines; I am called to make sure the people on the front lines have what they need to succeed.
While Wendy has wanted to walk away on occasion, I never had that desire. My goal was to help her get through those tough times, knowing that God has called us to this journey together and put us together to help one another through the hard times. I am not involved in the day-to-day operations of Embrace; I am involved as any husband should be—in supporting his wife, or as a wife should be—in supporting her husband.”
No, I did not coach him or force him to say such wonderful things. That is just who he is. He is the silent rock that no one sees, the one who never gets any credit, but the one whom I cling to when the waters get rough.
My prayer for my daughters is that they find someone who loves, respects, and honors them as much as their dad loves and supports me. But just as important, I pray they laugh as much as Chris has made me laugh.
Happy Anniversary, you old nut! I love you!