I met Cheri right at the beginning of her freshman year in college. She was the second of four kids in her family. Her older brother, Dave, was a grad assistant where we went to school. Her younger sister, Becki, was twelve, and I thought she was a really nice kid. Her younger brother, Andy, was five years old when we met.
We went to school at
Bob Jones University, a small Christian university in . Cheri’s dad was a pastor and the principal at the Christian school that was started by their church in Greenville, South Carolina . Their family had come down to Waukegan, Illinois to a conference at the university, and I met them all on the exhibit floor of the conference. When I met Andy, he looked up at me and asked, “Are you a giant?” This was the first of many interesting questions he would ask me over the next few years. He wanted to know, “How big is a giant’s swimming pool?”, “Can you touch the ceiling?”, and “Why are the holes in your nose so big?” I took it all in stride. I wanted to make a good impression on the family, and especially on Cheri. Greenville
Because the dating rules were so strict at school, I valued every bit of time I could spend with Cheri. There was a rule that said we could only walk together if we had a reason to go to the same place on campus. We came up with a lot of different reasons, as did most dating couples. But while her family was there, Andy made sure he walked between Cheri and me. He may not have been aware of the significance of this, but I have a feeling that he probably did.
I visited Cheri’s family in
the summer after her freshman year, and had the honor of attending Andy’s kindergarten graduation. He and several of his classmates on stage were just getting over their bouts with chicken pox. Their family had an Atari, which was the latest and greatest gaming device, and we spent hours playing, or rather watching Andy play Ms. Pacman. Andy was pretty good, and held his own while trash talking his dad and his older siblings. Waukegan
Andy had a way of appearing out of nowhere, a skill that can be quite unnerving to a dating couple. I remember one day, as I was getting ready to leave their house and head back home to
for the summer, Cheri and I were standing at the back of my car. I had been loading my stuff into the trunk, and was holding Cheri in my arms. All of a sudden, we heard Andy’s voice saying, “Are you gonna kiss my sister?” Cheri ordered him into the house, and yes Andy, I did kiss her. Tennessee
Andy lives in NYC now, and turned 36 today. He shares a birthday with my youngest son, Tyler. Happy birthday guys! And Andy, I’m gonna go kiss your sister now.