A decade together, many more to come

“There’s more here than what we’re seein’
A divine conspiracy
That you, an angel lovely
Could somehow fall for me”
“God Gave Me You” - Dave Barnes

Many won’t recognize the artist mentioned, but may recognize the lyrics as being part of a song by the same title, released by Blake Shelton. Barnes, a Christian artist, wrote the song and released it in January 2010. Shelton picked up the song and added it to his 2011 Red River Blue album.

While the song peaked at No. 13 on the Billboard Christian charts in Barnes’ release, Shelton reached the top of the charts in October of 2011. The song was ranked as the No. 19 country song in singles sales in the entire 2010s by Billboard.

It was among multiple songs that my very, very talented uncle and cousins performed as part of my wedding.

The month of June holds some special memories for me in my wife and I’s relationship.

We were married in August, but did not take our honeymoon until the following June - days after moving into our first home and leaving for the honeymoon on the day that my first grandparent passed away.

Tuesday, I received multiple memory reminders on social media that I had attended a monumental baseball game on that day during my honeymoon. The entire day would be one that lent credibility to our young marriage.

We took a bus trip as our honeymoon. On the trip, we saw 10 baseball games over the course of two weeks with stops at Niagara Falls, the MLB Hall of Fame, multiple days in New York City, tours of buildings in Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, and Boston, among much more also part of the trip.

June 20 was a Saturday that year, and our group was scheduled to catch a game between the Washington Nationals and Pittsburgh Pirates. Former Minnesota Twin Francisco Liriano was on the mound for the Pirates, which had the attention of many of our bus mates, who primarily hailed from the upper Midwest.

Opposing Liriano for the Nationals would be Max Scherzer, enjoying one of his best seasons as a pitcher, but due to a poor won-loss record, it would prove to not be one of the three seasons that he’d finish with the Cy Young award as the league’s top pitcher.

Through three innings, the game was scoreless and both pitchers were impressive. The Nationals got a run in the fourth, then took advantage of some location issues by Liriano to put up four runs in the sixth. That would be more than enough for Scherzer.

He entered the ninth inning without a single baserunner allowed. Two outs down, Scherzer squared off against pinch hitter Jose Tabata.

Scherzer attempted to establish the inside part of the plate, and Tabata, equipped with enough padding on his elbow to protect against a howitzer shot to the joint, leaned into the pitch and the perfect game was gone. Three pitches later, Josh Harrison lifted a fly ball to left field to end the game, giving Scherzer a no-hitter - and more importantly to me, a no-hitter viewed in person on my honeymoon!

The game was notable due to its intense heat and humidity, and the skies opened up with a fierce storm before the bus could get to our hotel for the night.

Of course, I’d already dealt with plenty of sweat in the trip, and I needed to wash some clothes to make it the rest of the way home.

The issue was trying to get to a laundromat in the midst of a torrential downpour. My wife accompanied me, but we were both soaked, cranky, and not big fans of one another when we returned to the hotel room, leading to a...heated discussion as we dried off.

We joke that night is as close as we’ve ever been to calling it quits…and it wasn’t really that close. We ended the evening laughing hysterically at our own stubbornness - and the soaked memorabilia that we absent-mindedly brought with us through the rain storm. I still have the hotel room key to remember that night.

The 29th will be 10 years since I put a ring on her finger after she said yes.

My brother left me in charge of bottle animals at his place while he went camping with his family. She came with me to town and then to my brother’s to take care of the animals.

On the trip from his house, presumedly back to my place, I pulled over on the side of the gravel road after a frustrating few moments trying for the perfect tune, then cranked the radio on my Taurus for all it was worth and told the beauty in my passenger seat that we needed to dance.

She obliged, even though she had told me previously that she was not much of a dancer. “Hold On To Me” by John Michael Montgomery was playing on the now-blown-out speakers. At the end of the song, I knelt down in the weeds on the side of the road and presented her a ring.

She said “yes” for reasons yet to be understood.

We then went into town and sat together in a parking lot to begin calling parents and siblings to share the good news.

Fourteen months later, the same song was our first dance song at our wedding reception.

A house, five dogs (one no longer with us), four kiddos, and LOTS of life changes later, we’re still kicking - and dancing.