Today is my 8th anniversary. Cami & I met for the first time in June of 2004. We had a rather awkward first meal together with a family of six, and another single guy at a Chinese buffet. I can at least say it was memorable. She was planning on moving to Cleburne to work for a friend (the dad in the family of 6) and handle his accounting.
I had been the Youth & Family Minister at Central for a little over a year and had yet to meet anyone in Cleburne I really connected with. I was discouraged and thinking I needed to find a job at a bigger church with a singles program. We walked away from lunch that day thinking we would never go out, friends sure, but dating never. The next time I saw her was July 28th when she was beginning her new job, I remember the date because it was my birthday.
The next week her boss and his wife were heading out of town, she was going to house & baby sit while they were away. Her boss gave her my number; she got board and gave me a call. We talked a little and I even went over one evening to hang out with her and the kids. Later that week we talked on the phone several times, one night for three hours. The next week, she was getting settled into her house and I decided I wanted to go out on a date.
I had just bought a house and our secretary at the time gave me, as she called it, “a house wetting present.” A 10 week old black lab puppy I named Kramer. Knowing no girl in their right mind could resist a puppy, I used Kramer to my advantage. I called Cami and asked if I could swing by and show her Kramer. Also, the day before my sister had offered me 2 tickets to see the Rangers and Yankees, second row behind the Rangers dugout.
If you know me, you know I love baseball, especially Rangers baseball. I said yes and I knew exactly who I was asking, Cami. After all, I had always told my parents, I will know the girl for me when I ask her what she wants to do and she says, go watch baseball and eat a steak. So I went to her house, armed with a 10 week old puppy and a pair of tickets to the Rangers game. It was can’t miss!
So I show up, and trying to get up the nerve to ask her out, and just before I made my move, she says, “My brother-in-law is in town performing in an opera and I wanted to know if you wanted to go with me?” I said sure and she tells me it is the same night as the game. Oh man, I had to make a choice. So that night I went home and called my sister to tell her I could not go to the game, I was going to the opera. Haha When we hung up the phone she called my dad and said, “I don’t know who he is going to the OPERA with but Gary is going to marry her.”
Now, I love baseball, but I could not tell you what happened between the Rangers and Yankees that night, but I can tell you I went on my first date with my future wife. We did eat steak that night but no baseball, and I don’t regret it. The past eight years have been amazing.
We have 3 amazing kids, Gracie who turns 6 this month, Ryan who is 4 and Caleb is 3 months. We love life, love ministry (most of the time, haha), love our family and church family. Best of all, I am married to my best friend, a beautiful woman and an amazing mother. I love you so much Cami and I am so thankful for the past 8 years and look forward to many more to come.