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I Michael, take thee Renee…

May 25, 2014

It was Good Friday, April 6, 2007 and I was already questioning my decision.

Here I was at the bar of the Capital City Grill on the day of our Lord’s crucifixion, having a gin and tonic and waiting for my first date with a South Louisiana Catholic girl.  Given the thoughts running through my head about this beautiful redhead I was about to meet, I was certain I’d already committed more than a few mortal sins.

“Maybe I should have waited until next weekend,” I thought.  “Certainly she would have told you if today wasn’t a good day for her.”  That was all the convincing I needed.

I’d first seen her photo two months earlier on a pop-up menu on Yahoo! Personals.  She sat curled up in white rocking chair on her porch, a porch I would later spend hours with her on, with what I’ll always describe as a come-hither gaze.  She, however, would forever insist it was nothing more than a warm expression.

“Another, sir?” the bartender interrupted.  At that moment my phone buzzed.  A text from her:  “In restaurant.  You here?”  I quickly closed the tab and walked inside.

She was backlit as I entered the restaurant, but her red hair projected a glow that would, throughout our relationship, prompt total strangers to approach her and tell her how beautiful she is.

I shook her hand and she smiled.  I reintroduced myself beyond my web presence and sat down next to her.  Convention says a man should sit across from a woman on the first date, but I really didn’t want to be that far away from her.

Like all first dates we searched for common interests and common people.  Turns out she knew an old childhood friend of mine.  Even went out with him once.  But throughout the wine, dinner and dessert I found myself being more taken by that smile and that red hair.  I found the evening passing much too quickly.

It was wonderful spring night as we left the restaurant and I suggested a ride around town in my new Tahoe.  It had a sunroof and I quickly deployed it as I headed away from downtown.

We stopped at Sullivan’s for a nightcap.  It was there she commented on my Rolex.

“That’s a beautiful watch.”

A moment of truth.  “Thank you,” I said. “It was $15.  Downtown Shanghai.” 

Somehow I knew that truism wasn’t going to be a deal breaker.  This was not a pretentious woman.  We laughed and she never again questioned my watch fetish.

Back at her car downtown I prepared to say goodnight.  No matter how old you are there’s always uncertainty in that moment.  But she didn’t hesitate.  She leaned in and kissed me for longer than I was expecting.  She pulled away, smiled and kissed me again. 

It’s usually an hour’s drive from downtown to Wakefield, but that night, as I returned home, road seemed never-ending.  She and that kiss were lodged in my brain.

And since that April night it’s been seven wonderful years with a beautiful woman who’s shown me nothing but selfless love.  She took care of me during my first illness and I credit her with saving my life.  She now stands ready to do it again.  I know I don’t deserve her but somehow God saw past my gin and tonic that night and has kept her in my life. 

While Renee and I have traveled across the country in our seven years together, winters in Hawaii, summers in Santa Fe, Christmases in New York, nothing can compare to our trip to Paris last month.  We went to Europe to celebrate our seventh anniversary April 6.

The weather was perfect, the food magnificent and the wine beyond compare.  We climbed the Eiffel Tower, strolled the Louvre, ascended the spiral staircase of the Arc de Triumph and, with she as navigator, traversed the City of Lights on foot and by rail.

But what I’ll always remember most about that trip was our walk down the Champs-Elysees.  It was mid-afternoon and sun was shining.  A gentle breeze had most Parisians snugging up their scarves and turning up collars.  As I walked beside her, her spring scarf tied loosely around her neck, her sunglasses covering those beautiful blue eyes, her red hair reflecting the afternoon sun, I realized I was the happiest man in the world.  Right at that moment things were perfect.

For the next three days we returned to the cramped quarters of the Paris Buxelles Hotel, recapping the day’s events in each other’s arms.  We laughed, we loved, we lived. 

My travels over the last seven years have forced me to leave Renee behind quite often.  I’ve set foot in 16 countries on four continents and there have been nights when I miss her painfully.  And now, with the uncertainly of this disease, it grieves me to think I might have to leave her behind once more.

But this woman I’ll marry tomorrow, Memorial Day, May 26, 2014, my 54th birthday, will forever be part of me, my life and lives of my family.  For whatever time God choses to give me, I’ll always have my wonderful Renee and Paris in the spring.


46 Comments leave one →
  1. May 25, 2014 7:01 pm

    Mike that was beautiful. Just like you and Renee. Happy Wedding Eve!

  2. Tammy a Turner permalink
    May 25, 2014 7:01 pm

    Simply beautiful! Congratulations to you both ❤️

  3. Irene robinson permalink
    May 25, 2014 7:16 pm

    Hope your love will always be as wonderful as it is today!, congratulations Mike!

  4. Tammy Danna permalink
    May 25, 2014 7:19 pm

    Fairy tales do come true. I love you both.

    • Rene'e LaCour permalink
      May 25, 2014 8:49 pm

      Love you too sister-in-law.

  5. Bob Mascarella permalink
    May 25, 2014 7:31 pm

    Tomorrow, I will raise a glass and toast to a very long, happy life together… and a return to Paris many years from now!

    • Rene'e LaCour permalink
      May 25, 2014 8:46 pm

      Cheers Bobby. We have more countries to see. Have to get him well.

  6. Janet Wall Bouy permalink
    May 25, 2014 7:50 pm

    Congratulations, Mike & Renee! What a beautiful love story! Praying for healing & many wonderful years & memories together!

  7. Kimmy Netterville permalink
    May 25, 2014 7:50 pm

    Cheers to you both. Tammy’s right and fairy tales can come true. I have mine and you have yours. So I say cheers to you with many many wonderful and happy years together. And Mike, red heads are super awesome women. Don’t you dare let yours go. Lol

  8. Lisa permalink
    May 25, 2014 7:55 pm

    Get well and write the book – I am already laughing and crying – all in a captivating spirit that wants this tale to never end! I won’t be at your wedding, but will have you both in my warmest thoughts as you embark in yall’s new chapter in life as well as creating a magical historical moment in the cancer center that will be shared time and time again!

    • Rene'e LaCour permalink
      May 25, 2014 8:43 pm

      Sharing stories and living life. Thanks Lisa.

  9. Mark Sturges permalink
    May 25, 2014 8:10 pm

    Congrats to both of you! Mona & I wish you many years of happiness.

    • Rene'e LaCour permalink
      May 25, 2014 8:42 pm

      Thanks Mark and Mona.

  10. May 25, 2014 8:37 pm

    You made me cry. I love you both so much and am so happy for y’all!!! Happy Wedding Eve! 🙂

    • Rene'e LaCour permalink
      May 25, 2014 8:42 pm

      Ms.Wiggers, You are like a daughter to me. I look forward to our next visit. Tears of joy!

  11. Dawn Miley permalink
    May 25, 2014 9:18 pm

    My heart smiles knowing how happy you both are. Remember, fairytales DO come true! Wishing you both more happiness than your hearts can stand. :))

    • Rene'e permalink
      May 27, 2014 8:36 pm

      Thanks dear friend. Miracles happen every day.

  12. Debbie & Andy Millet permalink
    May 25, 2014 9:50 pm

    Love you both and we are so happy for you …life is such a journey with all of its twist and turns. Each day we take a ride on our journey, sometimes having to hold on tighter when the bumps are big…here’s to a smooth ride from here on out as Mr & Mrs!

    • Rene'e permalink
      May 27, 2014 8:37 pm

      Thanks Debbie. I’ve been thing a lot about you guys this week. Praying for wellness for Andy.

  13. Gwen Thompson Descant permalink
    May 25, 2014 10:09 pm

    “Love never fails.”
    Hold fast to your love on your journey
    May you continue to never take it for granted. ❤️❤️❤️

  14. May 26, 2014 2:40 am

    Well, like mother like daughter. I sit here in this er at 3:30 am reading and squalling like a baby with happy tears for you and Mike. I’m so excited to see where your roads lead in the future and hopefully we’ll get to share a few. Happy Wedding Day!

    • Rene'e permalink
      May 27, 2014 8:39 pm

      It’s okay Karla. I know they are happy tears. Your family is VERY SPECIAL to both of us.

  15. Raquel permalink
    May 26, 2014 6:23 am

    Happy wedding day to you two crazy kids!! I’ll be thinking of you today – I hope you’re always as happy as you are today!! Love!!

    • Rene'e permalink
      May 27, 2014 8:40 pm

      Thanks so very much, bride to be.

  16. Sandra Fitzgerald permalink
    May 26, 2014 6:55 am

    Beautifully written! What a heartwarming romance. Only the Best wishes for you Mike and my little friend Renee! Congratulations.

  17. May 26, 2014 7:06 am

    So happy for two beautiful people!! Way to go!!! I’m shedding very happy tears today.
    Love you guys!! Carol

    • Rene'e permalink
      May 27, 2014 8:41 pm

      Happy, happy, happy! Thank you Carol and Ken

  18. Chris chapple permalink
    May 26, 2014 9:08 am

    Congratulations. Wow. I love your writing. Such vivid details. Awesome.

    • Rene'e permalink
      May 27, 2014 8:43 pm

      I am sure he will take that as a compliment coming from a fellow J School graduate. His writing has always been one of the things I love about him.

  19. Sally Ramagos permalink
    May 26, 2014 9:30 am

    Happy Happy Wedding Day!!!!!
    God has Blessed the two of you with Undivided Love!! Today, God will join the two of you with a stronger, more faithful bond of love for each other and for Him. United together to conquer anything He puts in front of you. I believe wholeheartedly that God has a life time of HAPPY, HEALTHY plans for the two of you!!
    Congratulations Mike and Renee Danna!!!!
    Our Love and Prayers are with You both!!
    Cecil & Sally

    • Rene'e permalink
      May 27, 2014 8:44 pm

      Thank you Sally and Cecil. We need all the prayers we can get.

  20. Brenda Bossier permalink
    May 26, 2014 12:43 pm

    Man Mike, you sure know how to make me tear up. Your writing is such a work of art. We love you and are looking forward to some good times soon I hope.

  21. Jennifer Reed permalink
    May 27, 2014 9:35 am

    What a wonderful post! I adore Renee and I hope one day I might meet you as well. Much love to you both – Jen Reed

    • Rene'e permalink
      May 27, 2014 8:45 pm

      Thanks Jennifer. We are blessed to have one another. Hugs to you.

  22. Paula Plaisance permalink
    May 28, 2014 4:33 pm

    Congratualtions Mr. & Mrs!! So very happy for both of you. Continuing to keep you both in my prayers so that you will indeed return to Paris in the spring.

    • Rene'e permalink
      May 30, 2014 6:15 pm

      Thanks Paula. Much love to you.

  23. Lori Oster permalink
    May 29, 2014 10:07 pm

    Dear Mike and Rene’e,
    Loved reading your stories. They are so colorful and I had to chuckle quite a bit in reading them. Loved your telling of your trip to Paris. It brought tears to my eyes as it was so beautiful. Rich and I will pray for you, dear Mike. May your road through recovery be swift and not too uncomfortable. As I mentioned to Rene’e in my email, we so enjoyed our time with you on our tour through the countryside outside London. It was so fu connecting with both of you. Although we only met you and spent just one day with you, Rich and I felt a real closeness. Congratulations on your marriage! May you have a beautiful long life together. xxoo

    • Rene'e permalink
      May 30, 2014 6:20 pm

      Lori and Rich,
      I will never forget the scare Rich gave me at Stonehenge. He can keep you in stitches. Such great memories for the four of us. One day is all we needed to make the connection or actually just a few minutes in the bus station. Those great times get us through the painful ones. Keep those prayers storming the heavens. Xoxo

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