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Life With Livingston Dental
e G e n
How We Met
Chance, Fate, and a Woman Who Follows Her Heart
there. She had many dance partners, and I was so reserved I didn’t get a chance. I left disappointed. Then, there was a preference dance, to which the young ladies invited the young men. I was Jeanelle’s choice. We went to the dance on a double date with my good friend Stuart, who had been invited by Jeanelle’s friend. Our budding romance flourished. Jeanelle and I dated for just over a year. By the last day of finals that April, I knew I wanted to marry her. We really loved each other. We’d talked about marriage, so I spoke to her father, got permission, and proposed to her. Soon after, we picked rings and she bought her dress. Four months later, on August 21, 1981, Jeanelle and I married. Everything went beautifully. The first song we danced to at the reception was Air Supply’s “You’re Every Woman in the World.” So much had to happen for me to be able to meet this incredible woman and for the rest to follow. Call it chance, fate, luck, or perseverance — I’m the lucky one. I consider our successful marriage and our five kids and eight grandkids to be the greatest accomplishment of my life.
A week later, I finished my work for the day, got cleaned up, and headed to the dance. Jeanelle was there, and we buzzed around the dance floor for over an hour. It was wonderful, but around 10 p.m., she told me she had to go to work — the night shift at the hospital. I was disappointed she had to leave but told her I was glad she had come and that maybe (I hoped) I’d see her at church the following weekend. After she left, there was no one else I wanted to dance with, so I left too. But there was a twist: she was engaged. Little did I know, though, she had gone home and called her fiance. “The wedding is off,” she told him. “I met someone at church, and this is wrong. I can’t have feelings for him and still marry you.” As you can imagine, her fiance was dismayed. He drove five hours to Edmonton, hoping to change her mind. When he couldn’t, he drove to her parents’ house to speak with Jeanelle’s father, Grant. “You have to talk some sense into your daughter,” he told him. Grant pondered for a minute. “You don’t know her very well, do you?” he asked. “What do you mean?” the former fiance replied. “I’m not going to change her mind,” Grant said. “When she sets her mind to something, no one can change it.” Later that summer, Jeanelle and I met at another dance. I wanted to dance with her, but as it happened, so did every other guy
The story of how Jeanelle and I met is both improbable and, in many ways, ordinary. We met, we fell in love, we got married, and we built a beautiful life together. There are probably tales more thrilling than ours, but this is our story, and it’s important to us. I don’t have space in the newsletter to recount every single detail, but here’s the story as I remember it. I met Jeanelle in church one day as I was innocently minding my own business. I worked with my parents on road construction projects during the summer, and on this particular weekend, we were about five hours from home in Edmonton, Alberta. It didn’t make sense for us to travel all the way back home since we’d resume our work on Monday, so we stayed in Edmonton and went to church there that Sunday. An elderly woman from our community had moved to Edmonton, and she knew my family. She also happened to know Jeanelle, who had just graduated from nursing school. Our mutual acquaintance introduced us and suggested that Jeanelle could show me to Sunday School. We were supposed to learn about the Bible, but honestly, we learned more about each other. At the end of the meeting, they announced that a dance would be held for young adults the following weekend in the church. I asked Jeanelle if she liked to dance. “I love to,” she said.
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