Jason Davis: How a chance meeting 16 years ago changed my life

Oct. 14, 2013 @ 12:14 AM

Last week my wife Leigh Ann and I celebrated our 12th anniversary.

With hectic schedules, a 4-year-old son and a variety of never-ending home improvement projects going, our “celebration” was modest — a simple dinner out at a crowded family restaurant with our child in tow.

Cue B.B. King’s “The Thrill is Gone,” right? 

Hardly.

As our relationship has grown — we’ve been together, including dating, roughly a third of our lives now — every day has become more of a celebration.

Early in our marriage, like most, there were quarrels, misunderstandings and disappointments almost every day. Life isn’t exactly how Hollywood paints it, after all. Thank goodness.

We were fortunate that, unlike many couples, we’d really gotten to know each other prior to marriage, and therefore, knew what we were getting into before we took our nuptial vows.

For one, on many things we’re totally opposite.

I like going out, being social and spending nights on the town. She’s a homebody, content to enjoy her downtime reading, relaxing and playing games at home. I’m a geek for technology, always absorbed with gadgets, computers, TVs, cameras and other electronic devices, while she’d prefer to ditch the computer for a good book. I love sports, especially football and baseball, while she merely tolerates them.

In a way, it’s a miracle we ever got together in the first place.

We met at a college party. I was in a fraternity and she was in a sorority. She tagged along with some friends to our house, where we were first introduced.

I liked her from the start. She was down-to-earth, had a great smile and was instantly engaging. Not thinking I had a chance, I immediately set her up with a friend of mine. Looking back, I nearly torpedoed our relationship before it ever started.

Fortunately, they didn’t work out. She wasn’t interested in the guy.

A few weeks later we ran into each other again at a neighborhood bonfire, about this time of year in 1997.

After striking up a lengthy conversation on religion, of all things, the sparks started to fly.

We parted ways a few hours later with smiles and hugs, and I was hooked. Unfortunately, I’d totally forgotten to get her phone number.

Panic quickly set it. This was 1997, remember. I couldn’t stalk her down on Facebook or follow her on Twitter. 

What was I going to do? I couldn’t even remember her last name.

Thankfully, I did remember what it sounded like — cauliflower.

Quickly scanning through the university phone book, I saw no names under the Cs that even closely resembled the white vegetable.

In a last-ditch effort I turned to the Ks. Just as I was about to give up, I found it: Kollefrath, Leigh Ann.

Glancing at the clock, 3:15 a.m., I decided to call anyway. We’d parted ways just 45 minutes or so before, and I had to get a date.

After dialing the final digit, however, I had a brief moment of terror. What if she had already gone to sleep? And even if she was still up, what was I going to say?

Strangely enough, I resorted to religion again. Was she going to church in the morning? Yes. Could I tag along? Yes.

Score! 

Sixteen years later and we’ll still together.

Those arguments from the early years are all but gone. We’ve both grown to accept each other’s flaws and misgivings and our marriage is now running like a well-oiled machine, with a handsome 4-year-old son to show for it.

It’s amazing what a lot of love can do. I am truly blessed.