Sunday, April 29, 2012

Five Years Ago:Of Dating and the L-Word

Since their first date a couple months back in mid-February, the Harrington duo as we now know them would have spent the past few months dating and awkwardly letting their friends and family know that they were in a serious relationship. As many may know, Mike and Melissa had a relatively quick dating era since they'd previously worked together at a summer camp and traveled in a third world nation together, they figured they more or less understood the others strengths and weaknesses and general character. Not to mention, Melissa's gut instinct had kicked in and convinced her that Mike Harrington would become the man of her life and sweep her off to far away lands...such as South Korea.

But, before all of that played out, dating progressed. And typical to the dating scene, M'n'M spent many nights watching movies, grabbing bites to eat or simply studying across from one another. However, a few dating moments (or more accurately, moments from the months of dating) stand out and bring forth warm and pleasant memories of days long ago.

Early in the dating lives of M'n'M the couple made their way to Ten Sleep, WY for a Cabin Spring Break Extravaganza. Beginning with a stop over in Wheatland, WY to celebrate Easter with Melissa's parents, grandparents and three of many-soon-to-be-cabin- spring-break friends (Caylee, Jordan and Andrew), the day included receiving stuffed bunnies from Melissa's grandma and hiding plastic Easter eggs for grandparents to find.

With the holiday celebration concluded, M'n'M and friends continued onward to the Harrington Cabin which lies just 5 miles outside of Ten Sleep, WY (home of the great, Nowoodstock Festival). For the week that followed, M'n'M enjoyed the company of various friends coming and going, home cooked meals, snowshoeing adventures, dumpster diving behind thrift stores and plate-licking good Pi Phi (grasshopper pie). If M'n'M weren't sure of their feelings for each other before this March 2007 Spring Break outing, then by the end of the break they were well convinced that not only did they fancy one another's company, but they found that the potential in-laws were equally agreeable individuals.

Photobucket As the spring semester of 2007 progressed, M'n'M's love began to blossom as things in the spring do. Between study and movie dates at Mike's shared apartment with his sister Katie and
Melissa's shared house with over 50 sorority sisters, the couple constantly found some way to ensure entertainment and good times regardless of approaching deadlines.  A favorite past-time (which continues to manifest itself in strange, little ways even 5 years later) was to dig into the sorority costume closet and either prance around the large white house or take the shenanigans to the town bowling center. Either way, crazy outfits were always a sure fire way to make studying less intense and laborious and give a bit of laughter to the couple and any friends or family who were lucky to be caught up in the moment.

Photobucket Perhaps, of all the dating moments however, one of the most memorable (for Melissa at least) occurred five years ago as the couple celebrated Melissa's 22nd birthday. Always loving a walk in the woods and a sleep under the stars, Mike planned a birthday weekend outing for him and the lady near Elk Mountain. Having driven his old mini-van out into the woods and prepared a pack for each of them, Mike led the way to a perfectly remote and peaceful location to set up camp and enjoy a late April camping adventure.

As the night progressed and conversation flowed a bit of sentiment worked it's way into the nights words. For weeks, Melissa had been a bit straight forward about her assurance that the two would someday marry, and if Mike at any point thought he wasn't up for such a thing then the entire relationship should be called off immediately. However, amongst all the talk of future weddings, Melissa had overlooked one small detail. And on this night, as they thought about the future, Mike didn't laugh off marriage or avoid discussions of the future, but rather pointed out the small detail saying "I think it's strange to talk about such things when you haven't even heard me say 'I love you.'" And with that, he claimed his love for the girl whose future plans were playing out quicker than her ability to claim what was right in front of her, love. So for five years now, the couple has boldly and proudly claimed their love for one another, a word that entered their relationship on a remote mountain under the big ole Wyoming sky.

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