Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Friday, February 16, 2007

How the Chess Champion Met His Match -- I Mean Mate

by Kerry Blair

My husband never had a chance.

Gary and I attended the same high school back when there were 3 billion fewer people in the world. I know this fascinating census tidbit because “population explosion” was the “inconvenient truth” of the 1970s. The dinosaurs had recently become extinct and some scientists – or were they politicians? – predicted we would be next if we didn’t stop multiplying and replenishing. Nevertheless, people all over the earth – many in my own hometown – continued to throw caution to the wind, stubbornly marrying and being given in marriage despite the dire warnings of disaster-to-come. This, of course, brings me to the thesis of this blog – courtship and marriage. (Right? My mind, sadly, is now almost as useful as my pet rock and flowered bellbottoms.)

As I was about to say before I was distracted by global warming (or something), I knew Gary Blair in high school. He was, frankly, the stereotypical boy-next-door. If you’ve ever seen Happy Days think Richie Cunningham and you’ll have Gary pegged. Since I had a thing for Ron Howard way back in the Opie-era, I might have thrown myself at Gary a half-decade sooner except for three things:
• He was president of the . . . shiver . . . chess club.
• He was . . . shudder . . . LDS.
(Unlike my best friend, I didn’t truly believe Mormons had cloven hooves
under their gym socks, but I did believe they were kind of cliquish
and maybe a little holier-than-thou.)
• I was already going with a guy.

The guy I went with was more like the Fonz, but without the leather jacket, motorcycle, and modesty. Still, he was handsome, smart, funny (in a cynical, acerbic kind of way,) and he drove a sports car. What more could one want in a future mate? Besides, marriage wasn’t a big deal. You got married if you happened to feel like it and hung around as long as it was still fun and/or convenient. (The Family: A Proclamation to the World had not yet been written; and if it had been, my family wouldn’t have owned a copy.)

Then it happened. Two know-it-alls in white shirts and conservative ties came along, and the next thing I knew marriage wasn’t something that lasted until you turned thirty. Heck, it didn’t even end at death. It went on forever. (And ever. And ever.) Although I tried to hang in – for almost a year, in fact – I soon began to realize that my steady and I went together about as well as oil and vinegar. (Didn’t I tell you Mormons are cliquish? I think it must have something to do with the font water.) Contemplating home and family – and that simply terrifying eternity clause – I knew I wanted oil, preferably of the consecrated variety.

About that time Gary came home from a mission. Since I was in the clique now (and a natural when it came to holier-than-thou attitudes) he asked me out. We dated a couple of times and then worked together running stage lightning at the fairgrounds. Gary was just as cute and wholesome as ever, but he was also something more. He was a righteous man of God who I admired tremendously. I hadn’t, however, broken up with my longtime boyfriend for good. (All kinds of good as it turned out.) In fact, on the last night Gary and I were to work together, I’d spent the day at the lake with the other guy. As usual, we debated marriage. When he finally dropped me off at the fairgrounds, Gary was just getting out of his car across the lot. My boyfriend said sarcastically, “If you really want everything you say you do, why don’t you marry Gary Blair?”

I slammed the convertible's door hard enough to rattle his teeth and yelled, “You know what? I think I will!”

I did in fact. Ten months later (it took Gary that long to admit resistance was futile) we were married for time and all eternity in the Mesa Arizona Temple. Since the sealer assured us that earth-replenishing was still a good thing, we did that too.

I told you the poor guy never had a chance.


At 2/16/2007 2:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great story, Kerry! Thanks for sharing!


At 2/16/2007 2:55 PM, Anonymous Proud Daughter of Eve said...

Great story. I've really enjoyed this whole series, in fact. Thank you!

At 2/17/2007 6:06 PM, Blogger FHL said...

Thanks, Kerry, that was fun!

You know, in high school, I did think the Mormons (all 3 of them) acted a little holier-than-thou. Unfortunately, my best friend was one of them and soon I became one of them.

Fun bit of trivia: one of the other 2 conducted a séance at Girl's Camp.


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