Jayson and I met at BYU (Brigham Young University) where we were both going to school. I was the Teaching Assistant for an engineering statistics class that Jayson was taking. All thost numbers can be soooo romantic! About a month into the semester, Jayson started walking me home from class (it was a night class). Then he started coming to all the other lab sections that I taught and walking me home on those nights too. Half-way through the semester he asked me on a date--or rather he asked me if he was allowed to ask me on a date. Since I just taught the labs, and didn’t have a lot of influence on the actual grades for the class, I figured it was okay.
On our first date, we doubled with Jayson’s roommate. Jayson made an authentic Thai dinner (he lived for two years in Thailand while serving a mission for our church). It was awesome! He even used a tablecloth and a centerpiece. I was highly impressed! After dinner we went to see a production of “The Secret Garden”. When he took me home, we were walking past some shrubs on the way to my apartment and he reached his arm into the shrub and pulled out a beautiful purple iris that he had hidden there earlier. I was so surprised! That pretty much did it for me---I was hooked.
From that night on, we were together as much as we could be. I felt like things were moving fast, but Jayson didn’t seem to think they were. The end of the semester came quickly. I was graduating with my bachelor’s degree in Statistics and my parents came for the graduation. The night before graduation, Jayson went to my dad and asked him for my hand in marriage. Before my dad gave us his blessing, he made sure Jayson knew what he was getting into. He warned Jayson that I am a lot like my mom---very opinionated. He also told him that my room was always a mess when I was in high school (which it was---my organizing obsession didn’t kick in until later), so he wasn’t sure what kind of housekeeper I would be.
The next day my graduation convocation was in the morning. After it was over, Jayson asked me help him run a few errands. First we went to see Karen, his old boss when he worked as a janitor at the Tanner building. I had never met her before, but she was so bubbly and friendly that it didn’t totally surprise me when she said she liked Jayson so much that she had gotten me a graduation gift. She then pulled out two cows---a girl farmer and a boy farmer. At this point, I didn’t suspect a thing.
Next we went to say goodbye to Jayson’s cousin, Chris, who was leaving on a summer internship. As we were leaving, Chris pulled out a gift---a BYU Cheerleader cow. As you can guess, the rest of Jayson’s “errands” led us to different people who all presented me with a cow. By the evening, I had six cows.
That night, my Grandma and Grandpa Rappleye were celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary with a big reception. When we went to my grandma’s house to get ready for the reception, she handed me a box--another “graduation gift”. In the box was a bride cow.
Of course by this time I knew exactly what was going on. “Johnny Lingo” was one of my favorite church movies as a kid. In the movie, Johnny pays eight cows for his wife, which is more than anyone in the village had ever paid. So I knew that there was one cow left. (To read a short synopsis of Johnny Lingo, click here. To watch the movie on YouTube click on the following: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.)
Jayson asked if we could go for a walk. Since we were already running late, we walked to the church where the reception was being held. Jayson took me to a secluded spot, then he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. In his hand, he held a groom cow (the 8th cow) with an engagement ring tied around its neck. Of course I said “YES!”
Our four-month engagement was spent almost entirely apart. Jayson went to Illinois for a summer internship, and I went to Arizona for an internship. We racked up some good phone bills that summer!
We were married on August 14, 1997 in the Salt Lake LDS Temple. My parents and grandparents were married in the same temple, and I had always wanted to get married there. The Salt Lake Temple is a popular place to get married—our ceremony was scheduled for 8:20 in the morning, and we were the 7th couple to get married there that day. We were officially pronounced husband and wife at 8:45 am. To read more about Mormon weddings, click HERE.
After the ceremony, the rest of the wedding party headed to a luncheon that Jayson’s mom and aunts put together. Jayson, my mom and I stayed behind to take some more pictures. Somehow, communication wires got crossed and when we were done taking pictures, we realized that no one had left a car for us. This was back in the day before cell phones, so we were stranded at the temple, unable to get to our own wedding luncheon! Fortunately, some family members got hungry enough waiting for us that they decided to come back and see what was taking so long.
That night we had a beautiful reception in a friend’s backyard. The next day we boarded a plane and headed off on our Honeymoon to beautiful, tropical….Wisconsin! Yes, you read that right! Jayson is an engineer, after all, and although he was quite romantic when we were dating, his sense of practicality kicked in when he was planning the honeymoon. We had another reception planned at my parent’s house in Chicago a week later, so he figured Wisconsin was nice and close. We went to a place called “The Dells”, which is a little tourist town nestled among beautiful sandstone formations on the Wisconsin River. It actually has quite a lot to do—from museums, to water parks, to shows and we had a great time!
After the reception at my parent’s house, we headed back to BYU, where Jayson had two years left of his undergraduate degrees in Mechanical Engineering and I started working on my Master’s Degree in Statistics. And the rest, as they say, is history!!
Even though we dated for only a short seven weeks until we got engaged, the past twelve years have only reinforced that Jayson is the perfect man for me. He is so patient with all my shortcomings and he is a wonderful father to all of our children. He steps right in and starts helping the minute he gets home from work and is always willing to let me have a girl’s night out whenever I need it. He has a great sense of humor and a laugh that is infectious. He happily watches chick flicks with me and he can tear up the dance floor with his amazing disco moves. I can honestly say that the past twelve years have been the best! We may not have the typical "fairy tale" story, but we are living "happily ever after!"