I first saw her in a college newsroom. She was seated, waiting like a new reporter to talk to the managing editor. “I’m Janet Lowrey,” she said. “Do you have anything for me to do?”
I did: a story on the new chemistry building. And off she went.
Student reporters could request beats to cover, but the final decisions for assignments rested with the managing editor. Every reporter – every single reporter – requested the student government beat. It was the source for numerous stories because of Student Assembly meetings, controversies and the spring elections. She asked for it, too.
She was one of the five students in the reporting class identified by the professor who taught it as the best writers in the class. In addition to student government, she also asked for the religion beat.
She was the only reporter who asked for the religion beat. I was surprised (who would want to cover religion?), but ended up giving her both the beats she requested.
Her requests and my decision changed both of our lives. I could draw a straight line from Janet Lowrey writing “student government and religion” on the request form to my becoming a Christian weeks later.
By the time Valentine’s Day rolled around, we were dating. I decided on flowers, and had them delivered to her dorm: red carnations and a single blue iris.
That afternoon, through the big picture window of the newsroom behind my desk, I saw her coming on the sidewalk across the street. She was beaming, and she was carrying something, which turned out to be my Valentine’s Day present – the soundtrack album for Godspell. The flowers long ago turned to dust (although she did take a few pictures). I still have the album with its red , black and white cover.
Eight months after we met, we were married. It will be 39 years in August.
Today, when I see her smile, when I watch her dance with our grandson, when she gets that perplexed look on her face, and when I hear her pray, I see the girl I met, and the girl I still fall in love with.
Somewhere in the words
somewhere among the flowers
somewhere within the music
somewhere between the sprinkles
of a slight snowfall
it was born