12 January 1992
I was a senior in college when I met Diane. She had previously attended the Life Community meeting at Trinity Episcopal Church, but I really didn't know much about her. Her boyfriend, Mark Smith had been a friend, and had occasionally invited her to the meeting. Late in the life cycle of the Community, Alan Kilpatrick, Ted Williams, Lee Lassiter, and a base player had formed a Christian singing group. We were looking for another female voice and Diane was interested in singing. She came out to Cold Springs Baptist Church where we were practicing, in order to " try out" for the group.
I did something that night which I have never done before. I went up to Diane between songs, and after talking for less than 10 minutes, I asked if she would like to go out to a movie that week. She agreed. She later said that she was taken aback by this guy that was brazen enough to ask her out on a date at a gospel singing group.
We went to a movie in Cincinnati, and afterwards we walked the elevated sidewalks for some hours just talking about life. It seemed we could talk and share very well. Within a week I asked Diane if she would like to go to "the land" that dad had bought in Wolfe County Kentucky. She agreed, but was even more concerned about letting me drive her three hours away from home, walking a couple hours into the underbrush, and all without a chaperone.
I was glad we didn't have that chaperone, because it was there, under the protection of an enormous rock house that we first kissed. I will ever remember the dripping rainy day, the green first coming out of the trees, the small creek cascading over the rock house and that kiss.
We continued to date, and our relationship moved into the summer of 1975. I left for Disciplined Life in Christ (DLC) at the Inn of the Last Resort, in Franklin, North Carolina. While there, I received daily encouragement from Diane through letters. Our letters began getting steamy, and it was obvious that we were drawing closer and closer together. Fortunately, we were also moving closer and closer to the Lord.
During medical school, Diane and I had decided it was obvious that we were eventually going to get married. (At least that is what I thought we had decided.) We had not quite said so. During the summer of 1976, Diane I were sitting in her parents backyard after a date. I well remember the moon overhead and the sweet smell of the plants all-around. Everything was very peaceful-until Diane said that she was leaving.
She said that she had been giving the matter a lot of thought, and that since we were not moving on in our relationship, she thought she would go to Miami, Florida and attend a Bible school for a year. This did not please me at all. I thought we both well understood that the reason we had not decided to get married earlier, was a strange rule at the University allowing me to get free tuition (as a dependent of my mother who was afaculty physician.) We certainly did not want to make our beginning in life, having to put me through school when I had such a great deal for free tuition. (Getting married stop my dependent status.)
It took that summer night to get me over my inertia and finally the ask this beautiful creature to marry me. She said yes. When I woke up the next morning I had mixed emotions. It was about the most exciting day of my life, and the least certain. I really was certain that I had just made the best or the worst decision of my life. Then I had to figure out how to break the news to my family that I was betrothed. It ended up being a lot of fun. Everyone else always knows that someone is about to decide to get married before the actual person does.
The problem was not over. Since I was still early in medical school, I was still certain that Diane and I should remain engaged for the full term of school. After this long three-year engagement, we would finally wed. Therefore we had a long time to find an engagement ring, decide when we were to get married, etc.. Wrong again! Diane quickly let it been known that if we were going to get engaged she was going to have something to prove it. It was time to dig down deep and get her a ring.
About this time, we were both very involved in a Christian couples group of young medical students. It was an outgrowth of the Christian fMedical Fellowship chapter that we formed in class during the first year. Tom and Beth Dryer were close friends. In discussing this topic of rings, etc. with Tom I went one step further. He suddenly sat down with me to sketch out what financial resources would be necessary for us to get married much sooner than the date of graduation. We sat down in his dining room with paper and pen and he persuaded me that would be possible to pay for rent, school, and some food on Diane's salary as a nurse in Covington. We would have to find a local apartment that I could walk to school from so that we could keep only one car. It could cost no more than two hundred dollars including utilities per month. If all this could be done then we could get married and not get a student loan.
We did just that. I briefly flirted with the idea of joining the Air Force, but could not stomach the idea of a four-year payback for two years of medical school. Finally, we decided that in the summer between second and third year of medical school, we would get married. We went out to a friend of the family and followed my dad's advice to spend as much as I could afford on in engagement ring. He had told me, "Remember -- even know it seems like a lot of money now, that Diane will be looking down at that ring for a lot of years and remembering the one who gave it to her. You don't want to buy something now that will look cheap then." I spent nine hundred and fifty dollars of the one thousand dollars I had on the earth on that ring. I hoped that Diane was pretty good at making money.
We found in apartment on Shields Avenue, off of Vine Street. The neighborhood was mostly a black residential area, that was integrated by the medical students living in the area of the school. We were conveniently close to the medical school and veterans hospital. The rest of the hospitals were just a short bike ride from the apartment.
The day finally came on Aug. 12, 1977 when we "left our fathers and mothers" and cleaved to one another. That Friday morning I had my oral examinations in obstetrics and gynecology. We went to Cumberland Falls State Park for a two-day honeymoon and I returned to a psychiatry rotation on Monday morning. We were off. We have never looked back.