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Keri, MY HIGH SCHOOL SWEETHEART AND VALENTINE FOR LIFE
Ever since I met my beautiful wife, Keri, more than 27 years ago, she’s been a constant source of love, strength, and guidance in my life. Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, but I’m not sure we’ll have much time to do anything other than maybe eat some tasty food and hang out with the kids. Still, the holiday is the perfect time to take a moment to recognize just how lucky I am to have such an incredibly warm and caring person in my corner and to reflect on how we ended up together in the first place. Back when I was a junior attending Centennial High School, I was your typical semi-shy guy. So, one day, when Keri — the new girl who’d just moved to Idaho from Nebraska — strolled into class, I definitely took notice, but I couldn’t quite muster the courage to ask her out. “Oh, wow,” I thought to myself, “Who’s this?” In retrospect, I should have actually asked her this question instead of just wondering it, but I missed my chance. Unsurprisingly, there were other guys pining after her, and she ended up dating some other kid for a while.
Over the next couple months, I would sometimes glance over at her while she was playing, impressed by her powerful shots, and, of course, her sheer attractiveness. I got to chatting with her during brief periods of downtime and learned that, miraculously, she was single once again. In March of 1990, I finally got the guts to ask her if she wanted to be my girlfriend. We didn’t know each other all that well then, but somehow, it didn’t matter, and she said yes. We dated all the way through college at Boise State, with only a couple of hiccups along the way. Once or twice, she threatened to break up with me during what I call my “rough and rowdy days,” but I refused to let it happen. Though, it’s worth saying, with a will as strong as hers, if she had really wanted to call it quits, it certainly would’ve happened. I waited until after we were just out of college to propose and tried for weeks to figure out the best, most elaborate way to do it. But one day, after she called me on her way home from work about 15 minutes out, I had a sudden flash of inspiration. At the time, we had a really well-trained hunting dog, a Lab named Jock. I set out a meandering path of dog treats and had Keri follow Jock as he cleaned up the trail. The last one was under the couch, and as she reached under to grab it, she found the ring waiting. When she turned around, I was on my knee, asking if she’d spend the rest of her life with me. Though it may not be the most thrilling “how we met” story, it’s ours, and I’m so grateful everything worked out the way it did. Particularly, I’m glad I built up enough courage to ask my crush out all those years back in high school. Keri is levelheaded, genuine, easygoing, and invested in the lives of everyone she cares about, and it’s impossible to imagine a better valentine.
In those days, sports often occupied an entire class period during the day in addition to after-
“I’m glad I built up enough courage to askmy crush out all those years back in high school.”
school practices. By chance, I ended
up as the teacher’s
aide for the tennis coach, smack dab in the
middle of midday tennis practice. Basically, I was the
water boy, literally filling up these massive water jugs and lugging them out to the courts whenever they went empty. And lo and behold, there was Keri, tearing it up on the court.
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