A Valentine’s Story – The True Meet Cute Story

Rumor has it that Sunday is Valentine’s Day. What a perfect time to share the meet cute story that brought me and my partner together. This decision has absolutely, positively nothing to do with the whiney hubby complaining about my blogs being too writer-orientated lately and not have enough mentions of him. Nothing at all. So, without further ado, the honest-to-goodness meet cute story of Dena and the hubby.

Right off the bat I’m just going to go ahead and confess that the hubby and I have very different versions of the first time we met. You see we were working together at the time. I was a military policewoman in the U.S. Army stationed at the land forces headquarters for NATO, which were in Heidelberg, Germany at the time. Hubby was a Dutch conscript who volunteered to do a few extra months in the Dutch Marechaussee (that’s the Dutch version of the Military Police and I totally had to look up how to spell that).


As part of the professional army, I didn’t exactly look down with disdain at the groups of Dutch draftees, but I didn’t make much of an effort to become besties after over a year of groups of Dutchies arriving and leaving before I even got a chance to learn their names. The hubby claims he met me in August before I went on vacation to Russia. Obviously not a blip on my radar since I don’t remember meeting him. Oops!

The first time I actually do recollect talking to the hubby was when another American mentioned meeting him and thinking he was cute. She wanted to get to know him. I can help with that I told her and then proceeded to drag her to the Dutch barracks. Unlike the American barracks, where I got in trouble more times than I care to remember for having an overnight guest, the Dutch didn’t care. Or, if they did, didn’t make a big stink about it. I actually got caught once piggy back riding my husband in my undies while he ran down the hallway by the Dutch Sergeant Major and his only response was: “Is that Haggerty? Is she coming to the range with us?” I totally went to the range.

 My American friend thought that the hubby was cute, but way too short for her. (Side note: She’s my height.) I was perfectly okay with that because I was thinking I may give the man a go myself. We talked and joked that night and I soon joined his crew who were always heading off to the Irish pub for drinks and a game or two of pool. Before I knew it, we were a couple. Well, kind of. He made sure I knew this was nothing ‘serious’. Men, huh? *rolls eyes*

Between working and heading to the pub every chance we got, the months passed quickly and before I knew it, the hubby was heading back to Holland as his tenure in the Dutch Army was over. He tried to get his time extended but it was a no go. I still had a few months left in Heidelberg before my two-year stint was up. During this time, we saw each other a few times. I grabbed a ride with other Dutch military pals who were heading home for the weekend a few times and hubby commandeered his dad’s car to come visit me a time or two.

But all good things must come to an end. My time in Heidelberg was over and I was heading to Fort Belvoir, Virginia to sit out the last year or so of my military commitment. The hubby made a last visit to Heidelberg. We headed off to our favorite Italian restaurant in the city center where I got the shock of my life. Hubby confessed he wanted to follow me to Virginia. Of course, I jumped up and down with glee. And the rest – as they say – is history. Next month, we’ll have been married for 20 years even though I’m totally not old enough to have been married for two decades.

dena & jeroen

Our only surviving wedding photo. No idea what that look on the hubby’s face is, but I look skinny!


Our 12 1/2 year anniversary.

And, yes, I do realize that this story is not a meet cute at all. I do hate to do things the ‘normal’ way.



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