About a week after our engagement, Mel Tittle, managing editor of the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal called and, after chatting for a few minutes, asked me to fly to Lubbock to interview for a copy-editing job.
I agreed. As Steve drove me to the Austin airport very early the morning of my interview, I told him I was just going to practice my job-seeking skills. I mean, it was Lubbock. (No offense, Lubbock friends, but I had grown up hearing less-than-flattering descriptions of West Texas from family members who hailed from Midland.)
When Steve picked me back up that night at the Austin airport, I told him that we needed to move. (These were the pre-cellphone days. There was no way to telegraph my excitement about the Lubbock newsroom and, let's be honest, the prospect of making $10 an hour, compared to $7.50 an hour.)
Oh, that Steve Damm was a patient fellow. And totally, completely supportive.
By the end of January, we had moved a few things to Lubbock. On Jan. 30, 1994, after we'd driven to Lubbock, Steve flew back to Austin so that he could return to Brenham for a couple of weeks.
It was Super Bowl night. The Dallas Cowboys were playing the Buffalo Bills. We watched some of the game in the airport bar. Then Steve boarded his flight, missing an hour of the game. When he landed in Austin, he caught the end. Dallas won, 30-13.
What I remember most about that night: A huge sense of melancholy when Steve boarded the plane.
Oh, I cried and cried and cried. Though there was promise of good times to come, I felt so very alone. Alone in a new town that isn't at its prettiest in late January. (I did learn to love Lubbock, though never really for its aesthetic qualities.)
We would have many goodbyes to come. In 1997, after Steve graduated with his MBA from Texas Tech, he accepted a job with Arthur Andersen, working as a consultant. Almost every week for three years, he would board a plane -- first for Los Angeles, then for St. Louis.
Goodbyes were never easy, but they became routine. There was always the promise of a reunion in just a few days.
Some day we'll have a different kind of reunion. Until then, there are many, many good days in store. I am thankful for every single one.
For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope.
-- Jeremiah 29:11