By Michele Lee
My true story begins with a change in airplane seats…
Before boarding a flight for Oregon last week, I was surprised to receive a text message indicating that my seat had changed from 8F to 4F. How odd, I thought, but at least I was moving up in the world. I boarded the plane and found my window seat next to an older couple. The gentleman sitting in the aisle seat graciously stood up and offered to put my backpack in the overhead. “Thanks,” I said. He then asked me if I wouldn’t mind changing seats with their friend, a few rows back. I looked, the friend waved. He told me that her seat had changed. Another text message alert. Her seat was not my old seat. Strange. Seems there was some last-minute shuffling. I told the pleasant man, “That is fine, just check with the flight attendant, they don’t always like that.” Having witnessed a man get yelled at on a flight last year, for doing the same. Funny thing, a few minutes of talking to me and the gentleman never brought up the request again, to me or a stewardess.
The talking is what revealed a sweet love story, one that the couple gave me permission to share.
Neale and Kathy, sitting in 8D and 8E, were on their way to Florence, Oregon, the same beach town I would be visiting with my friend a few days after my arrival. They were flying from Houston and had one stop in Phoenix, which is where I joined them. After learning where they were from and where they were headed, they excitedly spilled their story to me. Neale was a widow with four boys and Kathy who never had children, had not been married in thirty-five years. They both wanted to meet someone but weren’t sure how to do that. Bars were out and church wasn’t working, so they went online. Kathy was reluctant to do so but with the encouragement of a friend she found a site she felt comfortable with and that is where she met Neale.
They dated for a few months, fell in love, learned about Florence, Oregon through a passing conversation, flew there a few weeks ago to check it out, had a random encounter with a pastor and his wife, a wedding photographer, who became their pastor and photographer. They were recently married on the beach. Kathy was excited to show me her wedding photo and ring – both beautiful. The wedding photographer captured them kissing with a huge wave crashing in the background. Kathy’s diamonds sparkled, but not nearly as much as her eyes. She radiated love and pure joy. Beautiful to behold. I was honored to receive their story and told them so. After their Florence matrimony, they flew home to Houston, put everything they could fit into five suitcases, sold, or got rid of the rest, and were on their way back to the beach town to start their new life together. If the energy they radiated has any correlation to their future happiness, I believe they will do just fine.
I am glad my seat changed. I was changed. Life is full of surprises. Thank you for visiting and reading. Be well. Michele
Photos: all mine except the one of me, that was taken by my friend Patricia
© 2022 Michele Lee Sefton