*The following was scripted by Andrew late 2011 as we were planning our upcoming nuptials (March 4, 2012). This is the beginning of our story…
We met in January 2010 at a homeless day shelter called Room in the Inn (RITI). I was working there as an Americorps volunteer while attending Vanderbilt Divinity School. Rebecca was living in Nashville at the time working on prerequisites for nursing school. She began volunteering every Monday for Foot Clinic, an RITI program where we wash and scrub the feet of the homeless. Rebecca quickly became one of our most faithful volunteers. Every now and then I would have to help Jeff Moles run Foot Clinic, and even though I noticed her from day one, it was evident that she wasn’t interested in fraternizing with staff. The joke in the office soon became that I went to Foot Clinic with alternative motives. Guilty as charged.
After a few months of having all of my flirtatious comments refused, I simply decided to ask her out to coffee. I quickly learned that she would be moving back to Memphis and she had trekked through the mountains of Nepal so I retreated in astonished defeat. Yet, before she left Nashville for Nepal and almost for good, I made two last ditch attempts at some connection. The first “outing” was honestly platonic (she made this clear by somehow not touching me as we both rode on my motorcycle) as she was just a really cool girl, but it made me realize I better get my act in gear. The second was a desperate attempt to ignite the same interested feelings in her that had developed in me.
She would tell you I failed, but for the month she spent in Nepal we carried on quite the email conversation. These cherished letters had done a strong disservice to me in that I was unable to accept her fate in Memphis. When she returned to Nashville she had one day before she would leave for Memphis. Thus, I threw everything I had at her. The first evening I took her out to Nathanael’s (my oldest brother) farm to care for his animals and the necessary tour of the land. Despite rejecting my offer to date long distance, the night went exceedingly well. Still undeterred, I convinced her to stay one more day so that we could go sailing on Chris’s boat (my second oldest brother). If you have ever dreamt of a perfect day for sailing, swimming, cliff jumping, and sunsets this was it, and my fate was sealed. (Hers not so much).
Shortly after her move to Memphis, I invited myself to come help her move into her apartment. After showing both of us that the 200 mile drive through West Tennessee wasn’t so bad, I had finally convinced her to give me a shot. From here our relationship blossomed into something incredible. We both had incredibly difficult schedules balancing work, school, our relationship and community life, and soon I realized that I could not carry this on until we both graduated school in May of 2012.
In the winter of 2010, I secretly began plotting a way to move to Memphis. One part of my plan was to have an alternative living situation that would make the move to Memphis and back to Nashville much easier. (And maybe the addition of a certain woman in the middle!). Trying to avoid three potential moves, I started to look at homes on wheels. Airstreams were always a hobby of my brother, Chris, and at the beginning of March we pulled an old beat-up 1954 Airstream Cruiser to Nashville for a total overhaul. Over the next 3 months I secured a job in Memphis, quit my job in Nashville, finished my semester at Vandy, and gutted/restored the Airstream with Chris. At the end of May, Chris pulled my shining stream of aluminum to Memphis for me to live close to my love.
The move was the best decision we ever made for our relationship. Our time together, right next door to one another was the best of my life. Thus, on October 14th, 2011, on bench #54 in Radnor State Park I asked Rebecca to marry me. I presented her with this book
during the proposal in which I had described the commitments of our relationship that we made long ago. Now we are looking forward in anticipation to be wed and start the adventure of a lifetime together.