Love in the Time of Dengue

We know that today is St. Patrick’s Day, but for us it’s even more special. It’s our Wedding Anniversary.

We were crazy-in-love college seniors at the University of Kentucky, working low-paying jobs and taking full course loads. After four years of dating, we knew that we were ready to jump the broom. So we determined that Spring Break was the perfect time to tie the knot. We just had to keep it simple … really simple.

Financially we were just barely scraping by, so it would have to be a serious “budget wedding” if we were going to pay next semester’s tuition. When my parents offered to host our nuptials at their house in our hometown, Glasgow, Kentucky, it was ideal.

James decided that all he needed was a new pair of dress pants because the old ones were way too short (growing boy, and all). Then my wonderful housemate, Pam, offered to help me make my wedding dress – nothing ornate, just a simple, unadorned ivory gown – the only embellishment was my Mom’s pearl drop necklace.

We wanted to write our own vows, so we went to work amidst studying, working, and sewing. Since our Spring Break started on a Saturday, we set Sunday March 17 as the date – not even realizing it was St. Patrick’s Day.

On Friday we drove home from school, knowing that the next time we saw each other would be at our wedding on Sunday.

Saturday, James encountered a hiccup. He’d left his shoes back in Lexington! Yikes! His brother John came to the rescue, packed James into his new Camaro, and they headed 150 miles back to Lexington where James retrieved his shoes. While they were driving back to Glasgow, James said that he had a nagging sensation that he was forgetting something, but just shrugged it off as pre-wedding jitters.

A beautiful Sunday dawned and everything was mayhem at my house – sisters, dogs, flowers, jokes, tears – it was wonderful.

Before I knew it, I was walking down the stairs on my Dad’s arm. The first person I saw was James, looking handsome, happy, and nervous. The next sight was my brother-in-law Eddie sporting a bright green tie! Ah, that’s right, Saint Paddy’s Day.

Our best friends, Carla and John stood up with us – thanks again, you guys! James and I exchanged our vows, with each of us bobbling a few words and helping each other out.

When the ceremony ended and we were kissing and hugging, James whispered in my ear, “I’ve got some good news, and some bad news. The good news is I forgot my shoes, but John took me back to Lexington to get them.”

“So what’s the bad news?” I said.

James looked sheepish and said, “I forgot my new pants!”

And sure enough, I looked down and James was wearing his old “high-water” pants that were four inches too short. We laughed until we cried … and that’s how it’s been ever since. For us, the most important words in our self-styled wedding vows were,

“I promise to honor and tenderly care for you, for as long as we both shall love.”

And we still do … bigtime! Given James’ recent dance with Dengue Fever, no truer words were ever spoken.

Love, just Love,
Terri and James

Photo Credit: 1.  Steve Halama  2.


We're Terri and James Vance - high school sweethearts who went on to international careers and became world nomads. Today, 65 countries later, we're still traveling ... and still in love. Check out Our Story for more of the backstory at

16 thoughts

    1. Thanks Sara for the very nice comment. I guess that it is a romantic story, and we both realize how incredibly lucky we are to have each other. We’ve had a fairly non-traditional lifestyle, and it’s only possible because we’re best friends and so simpatico. Thanks again for stopping by the blog

      1. Thanks for stopping by mine and leading me to yours. I think that is the essence of romance for me – being best friends with the one you love. It’s great that you have that =)

    1. Thanks Lu and you’re right about laughter. It as gotten us through so many scrapes I’ve lost count. Recovering from Dengue Fever was one of them. At the time, we chuckled a bit about the strange side effects (e.g. losing my warts) LOL

    1. Hi Kaye, and thanks so much! We realize we were really lucky – thankful for it everyday. And tomorrow’s our anniversary so there will be some serious celebrating going on! All the best, Terri

  1. This is a beautiful tribute to true & lasting love. (Please tell me anniversaries are celebrated in ‘high-water’ pants!) You two are an inspiration to all us high school sweethearts! 🙂

    1. Miranda, I haven’t read the statistics, but from our responses, I guess that high school sweethearts are a rarity these days. As I’m sure you know, there’s nothing on earth like a loving soulmate. The comfort of a long-term, shared history warms the heart. ~James

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