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I got back to DC and began to search the newspaper want ads for work. On the first scan I saw a job asking for good writing and analytical skills, emergency management experience, and some other job skills I had. I banged out some changes to my resume and applied.

To my surprise, a few days later I was called to interview.

He asked me about my emergency management experience. I offered him details on some consulting work on an emergency management project before I went into the Air Force. Then I told him about that the extra duty I had in the Air Force was helping run an emergency management exercise to prepare the hospital for hurricanes.

He answered, “Well, that’s better than I’m getting from the other interviewers.”

Suddenly, I noticed that he looked very familiar.

“Did you teach a class International Relations at the University of Pennsylvania?”

He looked startled.

“I did. Why??

“Because I took it and it was one of the best classes I had at Penn.”

He laughed and said, “Did you bring any writing samples?”

“I did. Four baseline economic case studies I wrote and a few others.”

“Good. Leave them with me.”

A week later I was hired. Two weeks later I was out in Salt Lake City interviewing the emergency management personnel about how they prepared for and responded to the flood when the Great Salt Lake had poured into the city.

There are no coincidences in life and my meeting a travel agent while working that job was part of His plan from the beginning. Her agency was down the block and I would go down to get my tickets from her as often as I could, once I saw her.

She had long strawberry blond hair, crystal pale blue eyes, thousands of freckles, and a beautiful laugh.

Once I asked her, “What do you do outside of work?”

“Most nights I dance with a dance troupe called Deaf Dimensions. Half the troupe can hear and half cannot. The idea is for the audience to realize that hearing impaired people are really the same but for a difference in hearing.”

“Wow. The dancing helps explain the graceful way you walk.”

“You’ve been watching the way I walk have you?” she said, and laughed a beautiful way that came right from a joyous soul.

“Yes. What else do you do with your free time?”

“Don’t have much, really. This being Fall, I go to my parents orchard in Levels, West Virginia and help them pick apples.”

“No kidding.”

“No kidding. And I am helping a little friend who is fourteen once a week because he has a bad family situation.”

My head and heart went into hyper drive. Beautiful? Check! Sense of humor? Check! Hard working? Check! Compassionate? Check! I didn’t even have to go down the rest of the list.

Several weeks later she came into my office to deliver tickets for the boss wearing a blue corduroy jump suit and high heels.

I was able to see her enter and leave and came out to announce to the women who worked there, “I’m going to marry her.”

“Right. You don’t even know her.”

“Maybe not. But I’m going to marry her.”

About six months later after talking to her when I was back in town, I had tickets to a concert and decided I might be able to find out about that diamond on her finger.”

“Do you think your fiancé would mind if you went to a concert with me?”

“What fiancé?” she countered.

“What’s the diamond ring for? I figured you were engaged so I never asked you out.”

“That’s a ring my grandmother gave me. As you know, this is a Chinese travel agency. I’m the American they stick out front to deal with the Americans. Some of them are wolves. The ring helps keep some of those wolves away.”

“Great. I’ll pick you up at 7 Friday.”

And so my full redemption from the cult began.

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