Joy Foster
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Love at First Sight

Two Generations of Love

I grew up on the story of love at first sight. No, it was not a Disney fairy tale that sat on a bookshelf. It was the story of my grandparents. I imagined and hoped that I would have a story like theirs.

My grandparents were born on the prairies in Canada as part of a religious group that spans counties and continents. The communities in the prairies were getting full and land was largely claimed, so it was decided that many families would go on the government provided train west to the wilds of northern British Columbia. It was there that my teenage grandfather saw a pretty blond haired girl with mesmerizing green eyes. He vowed to get off at the stop that she did because that was the girl he was going to marry. Even if his parents got off at a different place, he was determined to follow the girl of his dreams!

A little luck was on his side and both her family and his got off at the same stop. However, they settled on opposite sides of the town. Opposite sides of a river. There were enough families that two churches were established, and they each attended a different church. That did not deter my grandfather. He prayed every night for a chance to speak to the girl of his dreams. Eventually, they bumped into each other in town on a Saturday, and he asked her if she would like to share a pop.

My grandfather proceeded to court his blond beauty, walking from his place to hers every Saturday night. Neighbors said they could set their clocks by my grandfather walking past. He worked in the fields and laboured on the farm during the day, and the thought of seeing my grandmother was enough to power him over the distance between them. They got married the first weekend after he started working for the railway, manning a water stop. That was the beginning of 70 years of marriage before death separated them.

Knowing that it was just the glimpse of a girl on a crowded train platform was the spark of my grandfather's love made sure I tried to always look my best. I grew up with dreams of meeting my true love in a Tim Horton's coffee line-up or perhaps in the stands of the Fall Fair. My story turned out a little differently, and I did not get love at first sight, my husband did.

I created a profile on an internet dating site shortly after my 25th birthday. I would check it somewhat frequently, but regularly, scrolling through the profile photos and bios hoping to have one jump out at me. I went on a few dates, but nothing long term.

When I first received a message from my future husband, I responded politely, but minimally. I was not interested, but didn't want to be rude. He, however, didn't take the hint. He kept messaging me. Short message by short message, he won me over and convinced me we should try a date. He offered to drive the 6.5 hours to my town to take me out for dinner. I set it up that he could stay with some guy friends of mine and it was set. 

The first date was funny and cute, but I was not smitten with this red-bearded and jolly man before me. The next morning he took me out for breakfast, and when my parents invited us to have lunch with them, he jumped for it! Just before walking into my parents' house, he asked me if I believed in love at first sight. I responded by telling him the story of my grandparents. He smiled and looked deeply into my eyes before telling me that he was head over heels in love with me.

Our first date was the middle of January and we got engaged in July and married in October. I may not have had a love at first sight moment, but I was the recipient of it.

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