Monday, February 23, 2015

Only Thirteen Days - That's All It Took by Fran McNabb


All the old ladies in the neighbor said it would never work. My friends rolled their eyes and said, “Really?” My parents didn’t know what to say.

            It’s amazing how a girl can ignore everyone around her when the love bug bites. That’s what I did when I decided to marry my husband after being with him for only thirteen days.

             We met in a rather boring way. A blind date. Everyone had them. Some worked out. Most didn’t. I was starting my senior year of college and my blind date had just gotten out of Air Force technical training and was on his way to Bitburg, Germany, for three years. This was during the Vietnam era, and he was glad that’s where he was being sent.

            I’m not even sure who fixed us up, but two of my cousins went with me. The guys stepped out of the car and one of them had on cowboy boots and a cowboy hat. I told my cousins I was not going to be stuck with the cowboy (This was the 60’s in a college town and NO ONE wore western attire. NO ONE.). One of my cousins was bigger than I was and she stepped in front of me and grabbed the normal-dressed guy. I got stuck with the cowboy, but I did get him to leave the hat in the car before we went into the nightclub.

By the end of the night one cousin decided she liked the cowboy, danced with him and sat with him on the way home, but after we all said goodnight, he found me and asked me out for the next night. That was the beginning of a wonderful two-weeks together. We spent every possible hour with each other, and when I went with his family to drop him off at the airport, I sent him off with the possibility of marriage when he came back in nine months. He asked me to date to make sure before I said yes.

For Christmas he sent me a ring, but before I received it, I had gone out with a guy and for the first time since our blind date, I had a good time. I was confused. Was I ready to marry a stranger? I wrote to him, explained my dilemma and asked for a little more time.

Too late. The ring was waiting for me on Christmas morning. Yikes. Knowing how awful he must have felt, I cried and cried and cried. I didn’t know how to get in touch with him. No email, no cell phones. In fact, I didn’t even have a phone number to the barracks. We only communicated through airmail letters and an occasional reel-to-reel tape. (I still have all of his letters in a decoupage box.)
After a lot of deep thought, I put the ring on— in spite of the heads-shaking and whispers of the ladies in the neighborhood. I met him at the airport the following summer and within two weeks we were married and he whisked me off to Germany for two years.

He might’ve been a stranger in the eyes of my acquaintances, but in our hearts we knew we were right for one another. We’ll celebrate our 45th anniversary this summer. (I think I’ll pull out that box of letters to see what promises he made to me all those years ago.)

Fran McNabb lives with her husband on the Gulf Coast where they raised two sons. They now have two grandsons. Fran loves to hear from her readers at or at


  1. What a sweet story, Fran. Some things are just meant to be. Congratulations on your 45 years.

  2. Wow! Talk about a whirlwind romance! That's amazing, Fran. Congrats to you and your husband for defying the odds.

    1. Gina, we only were with each other for the 13 days but we did write for 9 months! It's amazing what you can learn about a person in a letter.

  3. Hi Fran--
    I love your story and I love your box. "It's the real thing!" The heart knows what the heart knows :-) Congratulations to you two!