|Roxanne and Mike|
This Saturday The Mess welcomes the guest I have known the longest. Roxanne and I go back to our school days. We sang together in choir and shared a few classes as well as a love for writing. I've mentioned in other posts how my junior year we started the literary magazine Spindrift at my high school. Well, when Roxanne was a senior she became the editor of that creation. This guest post sees her back into writing after having had to set it aside since college and I am hoping it's the start of her picking it back up and sharing her stories with us.
Thank you, Roxanne, for joining us here at The Mess. I'm sure our readers are going to enjoy your story as I did. It's a prime example of what I keep saying. Life is short. Don't wait to go after your dreams and we owe it to ourselves to make the most of every day.
And now, here's Roxanne!
Mike’s Hard Lemonade
I remember past generations always saying, “If life hands you lemons, make lemonade.” Seemed to me like solid advice from those that had experienced much more in life than I dared to think I ever would. Funny how those sayings come to fruition when you become an adult.
I met my fiancée, Mike in an online chat room (yes a chat room), circa 2001. The ironic tidbit to this was that I had known a few folks that had met “online” and I was horrified. My thoughts in those cases ranged from “Are you serious?” to “He might be a serial killer, what the hell are you thinking?” Nonetheless, when there is chemistry, there is usually a reaction. The reaction, in this case was me moving to Lakeland to be with Mike. The first thing that attracted me about him was his sense of family. The best example of this was when he invited me into an online game room to play speed bingo with his mom. I then realized his sense of humor came from his mom and like another old saying goes, “A good way to a woman’s heart is through laughter.”
The usual life events passed with as much frequency as the years: Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and our “anniversary” of being a couple. His family embraced me with open arms as mine did him. Things pretty much settled in our corner of the world with one exception – we weren’t married. Unlike Mike, I had been down the “marital aisle” once before and knew that I didn’t need a piece of paper to know who my partner was. Much to our families’ chagrin, that sentiment wasn’t exactly what they had in mind for either of us. The first lemon had been handed out: “When are you getting married?” The lemon was already being squeezed into a pitcher as I jokingly told everyone the world would have to end before he ever proposed and he told them it would have to be a cold day in hell before he ever got married.
Most eventually gave up on any type of marital party and we all went about our daily lives as we had for the past 11 years. In the last year, however, a prediction and a life event would turn that one pitcher of lemonade into a full blown stand: the Mayan calendar and Chronic Kidney Disease. Mike was diagnosed with CKD in 2011 and while that would normally stop most folks in their tracks, Mike seemed to go about this with his usual humor and goofiness (which he is well known for in these parts). A couple of Mike’s hobbies are astrology and history and there was much hoopla in 2012 about the end of world per the Mayan calendar. We both got quite the kick out of watching the “believers” stock up on supplies to survive the impending doom and even the one guy who quit his job, sold all of his belongings and began travelling the planet. Never in a million lifetimes did I think this “doomsday”, December 21, 2012, would affect me in the slightest.
That day was like any other Friday for me: work and work. This Friday, however, Mike tells me we have to go to a local park for a family reading of a poem he wrote for his mother to remember lost loved ones during the holidays. As fate would have it, I’m running behind and I can hear the exasperation in Mike’s voice with every phone call that we’re going to be late. I commute to and from work via I-4 and anyone who has ever driven on this parking lot of a highway can tell you, on the Friday before Christmas you’re not going to get anywhere in a reasonable amount of time. Luckily, I make it home with time to spare and as we walk around the park taking pictures, I’m oblivious to the surprise I’m about to get. It’s unusually cold this night (34 degrees) and as I talk to Mike’s mom and sister I notice she is wearing a Detroit Tigers shirt. I think nothing of this as Lakeland is the training city for the Tigers and Mike’s mom likes baseball. Anyone that knows me knows I am from Michigan and this was his Mom’s way of honoring me. We walked around for a good 30 minutes and out of nowhere Mike announced it’s time for the poem. What I didn’t know was that Mike had messaged all of our chat friends, called his family and mine to let them know he was going to propose and he had been waiting for my sister to arrive at the park so she could witness the proposal. Captain Oblivious (me) is amazed at the family poem Mike has so lovingly written for his mother that it still doesn’t dawn on me as he is nearly finished with the proposal that he is actually PROPOSING to me!
Needless to say I accepted Mike’s proposal and our wedding will be on the day of our 12th anniversary as a couple.
As our lemonade stand is now complete, Mike and I will be celebrating our future together in the truest way possible: with Mike’s Hard Lemonade.
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