I thought perhaps I should have given the rest of the Nolan story before writing about having our first baby, but I think you all can keep the timeline straight!
From the very beginning Nolan and I were on the same wavelength–at least as much as a man and woman can be, considering differences in hormones, etc.! He has always been like the other half of me that has made me whole. It’s not that I was less of a person before meeting him, it’s just that with him I experienced a new completeness I’d never had before.
We spent most of our time together. We ate together, studied together (and were on the Dean’s List to prove, yes, we WERE studying!), attended chapel together, etc. We still had other friends and hung out with them as well, but more and more those ended up being mutual friends and we all stuck together. Being together was the most natural thing in the world for us to do, yet we kept to our decision not to show physical affection in front of others. Later on that led to a rather humorous incident because someone thought we were siblings!
In October, Nolan and I drove to West Lafayette, IN, for the Feast of the Hunters’ Moon, a public rendezvous held at Fort Ouiatenon Park. It’s a great time of stepping back into the time of trappers, traders, soldiers, and settlers. (BTW, it’ll be held Sept. 24-25 this year if you can possibly go–wish we could!) It had become a tradition for my family to go for several years and we planned to meet my parents there so they could meet Nolan.
We got there early and sat in the hotel room waiting for Mom and Pop. When they pulled up, Nolan was the first one out of the door to meet them. He walked up and hugged my mom, then turned around and hugged Pop! Their reaction? Son! They didn’t say it, but they might as well have! From that time until this Nolan is a treasured son-in-law! I jokingly tell people that if we’d ever broken up they would’ve kept Nolan and I’d had to have found a new family! (Mom denies it, but is glad she was never tested!) What is so funny about it is that Pop never was a huggy kind of person, and certainly not with other men. So, he was really impressed with Nolan if being immediately hugged by him didn’t phase him a bit!
We had a great weekend with Mom and Pop. Nolan really enjoyed the festival, especially all the guys walking around in animal pelts! (Nolan did some trapping in high school.) When we all left they assumed he’d be coming home with me for Thanksgiving–and I think they were assuming more than that…By the time Christmas break came, we knew we didn’t want to spend 4-6 weeks apart. So, Nolan invited me to come to North Dakota with him to meet his parents and see where he was from.
It had become important to Nolan that I see North Dakota because it was nothing like Indiana or Illinois. After living in Fort Wayne for about a month he’d asked if we could drive out into the country just so he could see some open sky. So, we drove out of town. Bewildered, he asked, “Don’t you have any gravel roads around here?!” I looked at him a little puzzled, “Um, no, they’re pretty much all paved.” (I’m sure there were some, but I wouldn’t have had any idea where to find them.) He came back to campus just as frustrated as when we left because he still hadn’t been able to see anything–the corn hadn’t been harvested and wide-open spaces just weren’t to be found. I, of course, had no idea what he was wanting and that was why it became so important to him that I come to Langdon.
My parents were okay with me being away for Christmas, so we left for Langdon, hoping to make the trip in one shot. Unfortunately, a major snowstorm moved in and the interstates were closed in Wisconsin and Minnesota. We pulled off at a truck stop, hoping to find a place to rest until we could drive on. Truck stops weren’t my favorites places as truckers always seemed just a little creepy (and probably because my brother and I were absolutely forbidden to go to the truck stop near our house as kids). So, we walked over to a nearby hotel and found they had one room left, but the heat didn’t work in it since the last people who left had shut it off (obviously not Northern people!) and it had frozen up. We assured them it would be fine; we could leave the door open to the hallway to let in heat. At least we had a place to sleep and two–separate–beds. When we called Nolan’s folks to let them know about our delay, they weren’t in the least bit fazed by it and felt it perfectly fine that we were staying together at a hotel. However, they did chuckle and said it would probably be best that we not mention it to others! I assured them I had no intention of letting anyone at school find out!
Finally, we were on our way again the next morning. As we drove Nolan told me more stories about his growing up and young adult years. He told me more about going to Winkler Bible Institute after high school and said that some Friday night we would go up to Winkler for pizza. “You mean we’re just going to go up to Canada on a Friday night for pizza? Just hop on up there?!” He gave me a strange look. “Yeah?” I could tell he didn’t get it, so I just sat there in my own little world of amazement. Awhile later he turned to me, “Canada is a foreign country, isn’t it?” “YES!!! Why do you think I think it’s so amazing we’re just going to go to Canada for pizza some night? Where I come from, when people go to Canada you take off work for vacation time, pack up all your stuff, get someone to watch the dog and make a journey to Canada. You don’t just pop up there for pizza!” Yeah, Nolan is the other half of me, but sometimes it was an odd fit…