Friday Introductions

 I suppose it’s not typical that my last first date ended without a goodnight kiss, but did include a marriage proposal. 

I had known Wade Gaynor distantly as the standout WKU ballplayer and teammate of my older brother. When my brother played matchmaker, it could only mean Wade was either a living saint or a complete nerd. I assumed it was the latter, but was still interested in going to dinner after Wade was drafted by the Detroit Tigers… just being honest. The man with the kindest eyes, deepest dimples, and dirtiest jeans was soon to be the man of all my dreams. When the evening ended with a humble proposal of, “I think we should get married, and we’d be just fine,” I only nodded my giddy, little head: “Yes.” We were married within a year. 

 I will never forget how many people truly loved and supported him (us) throughout his baseball career. It’s rare for someone to have a few authentic encouragers in his or her life, but for Wade, he had many… at some points, I would have argued too many! After many games, I fought through crowds of extended family and friends to catch a quick conversation with my husband before the next prolonged road series of which we would be apart. My heart would be leaving yet again, and I was having to split visitation time with people who were complete strangers to me.

When you’re living in the tornado that is professional baseball, it’s hard to get your head to stop spinning and focus on much outside of the next game. Looking back, those people that supported Wade were probably also praying for him… for his protection, his continued performance on the field, his strength of character, our marriage and growing family. Now, I thank God for those people who showed us so much love. Though my husband had been blessed with this sense of community for his entire life, his rare life experience was becoming my own—and it deepened my awareness for the need of community.

I am from a river town in Eastern Kentucky, the baby of a small blue-collar family with deep roots in baseball and the Appalachian foot hills. Hillbillies (such as myself) typically appreciate the geographical isolation from the rest of the world that accompanies mountain-living. After Wade and I married, we did something different and traveled all over the Eastern part of the U.S., changing our address over 29 times. We are both overwhelmed with joy to be back amongst family and friends in our Old Kentucky Home. 

I’m so thankful to be part of our wonderful, supportive, small-town Kentucky community.So far, it’s been more than “just fine.” 

Author: Neena

Neena is a Kentucky wife, mother, and beekeeper. Her first novel, THE BIRD AND THE BEES, is a Christian contemporary romance available now. Visit her at

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