Once upon a time, in Montgomery, Alabama, there lived me. And Woody. I was a rookie fresh out of graduate school starting a new job at a CPA firm in town. Woody had been out of college three years and was a senior auditor at the very same firm. At this particular firm, a different division of the company took the rookies to lunch every day of their first week at work. One of the days in question, another newbie and I were taken by the utility division group to Tomatino's pizza for lunch, a crowd favorite. We were escorted by a manager and two staff members, Woody being one of them. As we rode along in the car, we all laughed and talked the usual get-to-know-you talk of young professionals in the South. Such as: where are you from? What football team do you pull for? After discovering that Woody and I were on the same side of the gridiron, the manager, who clearly enjoyed humor at Woody's expense, suggested that this may be the springboard of a lot we had in common. We both laughed it off. Upon arrival at the esteemed pizza joint, the manager looks down and discovers that when Woody takes off his coat, he has popped a button on the cuff of his dress shirt. Woody, having already been aware of that fact when he got to work, had cleverly "tied" it together with a paper clip. The manager apologized profusely to me saying that he would have a hard time convincing me how good the firm was when his top senior was wearing a paper clip for a cuff link! It was clearly meant to tease Woody, but my future husband never missed a beat. He replied, " I just thought that you would praise me for my ingenuity, not every firm has staff this smart." The quickness of his retort earned my admiration, but it wasn't until several months later that the spark would turn into flame.
|Caroline snapped this picture of us all by herself at Disneyland. I felt inclined to include it in this blog.|
So on February 22, 2002, Woody proposed. We were in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, celebrating the end of our busiest season. He had told me that the trip was my Valentine's present and I was completely surprised. He had gotten me a card for Valentine's that read, "I was going to write something sappy in this card, but I thought that just wouldn't be me. Love you." That was one of the sweetest things that I had ever read. It said to me, "I know that you love me just the way that I am" and I did.
When it came time for planning, Woody did not want to be involved AT ALL. To reinforce this point, one day I asked him did he have any song suggestions. He suggested that the bridesmaids come in to "It's Hot in Here", and I come down the aisle to "Man on Constant Sorrow" from the soundtrack of "Oh Brother, Where are Thou?". It worked. No more questions came his way, and the Constant Sorrow song story traveled far and wide through the family, making it now a staple of the West family folklore. Even today, eight years later, Woody has it on his phone as my ringtone. I can't complain, it could be "Fat Bottomed Girls".
There you have it. The beginning of the sitcom that has been the marriage of Mandy and Woody. Since Constant Sorrow, we have had two beautiful children and still laugh and carry on today just like we did back then. We still share the same love of sports and our favorite date is an Alabama football game, bar none. On a more serious note, Woody makes me a better person. He is a strong Christian and loves the Lord. He would walk on glass for the kids and I, for our happiness has always come before his own. He is smart, funny, and yes, handsome. He is a hands on Daddy and loves playing with the kids. And he still thinks I'm beautiful...even after two kids. (at least he better!)