Monday, August 10, 2009
A Lost Valley Love Story
Me and Doug smiling after the staff dance - sorry for the poor photo quality. I had to scan them in from my LVL scrapbook.
Doug, me, and Chris all hanging out one night at a staff event (Chris was actually in our wedding).
In the Spring of 2000 Alison Moore and Doug English didn’t even know the other existed. Both were going through personal trials and looking forward to a summer job at Lost Valley Ranch – a place they had never been, a place that represented getting away from the troubles at hand. Neither realized they were about to embark on their own love story with one another.
I remember seeing Doug in the airport in Birmingham, Alabama. It was the cheapest place for me to get a ticket out to Colorado. As I wept, hugging my best friend, Juanita Classen, goodbye I saw a very tall young man hugging his dad and then we both boarded the plane.
I saw Doug again before our connecting flight in Dallas. I believe we were both in line at Wendy’s getting some lunch. Later I saw him on the plane several rows behind me. I wondered if we might be going to the same place.
I found him at baggage claim holding a black guitar case. There was another guy just hanging out after everyone had left and moved on with their baggage. We all kind of migrated towards one another and after small talk discovered we were all headed to Lost Valley Ranch. The Denver International Airport is where I officially met my future husband – in baggage claim.
Doug and I sat together in the back of a minivan as I tried desperately not to get car sick as we twisted and turned around the rugged mountains in Colorado through Pike National Forrest. After about an hour we arrived at our destination and I looked forward to getting to know more of the guys on the ranch.
Despite my desire to meet the other guys, I immediately connected with Doug. We found out that we had friends in common and I felt like I had an instant friend. When I say friend – that is what we both thought – friend. I thought Doug was cute, but immature, so we were just friends and that is all I saw it to be.
As the summer progressed, our friendship grew. We always enjoyed hanging out and we ALWAYS danced the staff dance together at the Tuesday night Square Dance. He worked on maintenance and I worked in the office for the owner. He would come by and see me at the office and we would share a few laughs.
Others saw the romance blossoming but it still wasn’t evident to me until we both flew back to Alabama for a week’s break before heading to Lost Valley for the fall semester. We were actually on the same flight and our seats basically next to one another/in front of each other. We spent the day together and on a couple of occasions I was referred to as Mrs. English (much to my embarrassment). Little did I know that this would one day become my name.
It was during that break from one another that I realized I had feelings for Doug – he later told me this was also when he figured it out. I was surprised when I realized I missed him, not just the ranch and my friends there, but him. We both went back to the ranch and spent the fall working really hard as they were understaffed. We weren’t allowed to date other staff members so nothing happened. We went on being friends and wondering how the other was feeling.
A group of us decided to drive back to the South together at the end of the fall season. I, of course, decided to ride with Doug for the first part of the trip and in Doug’s little green, pickup truck somewhere in the dessert of New Mexico he asked me out. There was much more to follow as I was of the courtship mindset back then, but our relationship began and it all started on that little ranch in a valley of the glorious Colorado mountains. We are one of many love stories that have developed from that place and I feel blessed that God brought us together in a little place of paradise called Lost Valley.
Happy 7th Anniversary, Honey! I love you!