Paladini Potpie

Adventures within The Crust!

Spiladini: Monica and Dan’s Love Story


“Bruno?  Can you see me?  I’m right here by the Southwest counter.”  John was coaching Monica on their elaborate ploy to make it appear that our 15 year old was not traveling across the country alone.

Monica was to walk around the airport talking into the dead cell phone, ostensibly staying in contact with her big, burly, tough, powerful, bodyguard. Eight years ago cell phones were still pretty rare – at least in the Paladini world.  Someone had given our kids an old one to play with, and we were all enjoying the novelty of it.

Speaking with Bruno on the cell phone was all in fun, of course, but we were seriously a bit cautious about our little girl traveling to Florida alone. She was going to Pensacola Christian Collegefor a two-week speech and drama camp. She had made the trip the previous summer, traveling with a friend, but now she was going by herself – except for the imaginary Bruno.  We made her promise to call us (on a real phone) at each stage of the journey, and we reminded her that we’d be praying for her.

We didn’t want any “bad men” to grab her; little did we know that she would be grabbed by a “good man” – but I’m getting ahead of myself.  That part of the story would not happen until eight years later.

Monica came home from Florida full of stories of the fun things she had learned, the new friends she had met and the old friends she had reconnected with.    

There were so many names of kids, and they were from all over the country.  It was hard to keep them straight in my mind. I don’t think Dan Spilman even made a blip on my parental radar – yet.  But I’m getting ahead of myself again.

Monica didn’t go back to Pensacola, but her network of friends was set. Over the next few years we had visits from several of them and Monica went to visit their homes as well.  Every once in a great while she’d have a long phone conversation with Dan Spilman, taking advantage of the “free nights and weekends” on my old sea-green Nokia brick. She always had to prompt my memory: “You remember Dan Spilman – I met him at Pensacola. He lives in Maryland.”

There was no particular reason to remember Dan in those days, so again and again, Monica reminded me of who he was; and told me he was really nice. They had a lot in common, but Dan was a true-blue east coast boy and would never leave Maryland. And Monica was determined to live and die “a California girl”. Besides, Dan was a rabid Orioles fan and Monica loved the Giants. There wasn’t much potential for a relationship.

However they did make a plan that if the day ever came when both of them happened to be “single” (not dating anyone) they would get together and go on a date.  

And over the years Dan told Monica from time to time that he was going to marry her someday…to which Monica laughingly and noncommitally agreed. 

  To be continued


Author: paladinipotpie

Welcome! My name is Andrena Paladini and this is a blog about family and love and faith and fun. I call it Paladini Potpie because a potpie is like an adventure in a crust. You never know what might come up, but it’s always going to be good! Think of the best potpie you’ve ever eaten…hot flaky crust holding a rich savory sauce and all kinds of pieces of meat and vegetables…and who knows what? As a family, we’ve chosen to live within the parameters of God’s love and protection. This is the crust of our Paladini Potpie. The crust never changes. Within this crust, the savory sauce of family love binds it all together. That is also fairly constant. But beyond the crust and the sauce we can add just about anything! Good ideas come our way and we’ve adopted and adapted them to add to what John calls our treasure box of memories. These stories and ideas from John’s treasure box of memories are the ingredients I’m putting into our Paladini Potpie. (Okay, so this ridiculous mixing of metaphors about treasure boxes and potpies is exactly what I’m talking about. Silly and ungrammatically correct. But both illustrations work… so we’ll mix them together and it’ll be just fine!) John and I have been married for 30 years. Our children have wonderfully doubled in number since David married Amanda, Monica married Dan, and Matthew married Sarah. And the newest little treats that have been added to our potpie are six adorable grandchildren - Ethan, Angelina, Nathan, Audrey, Maleia and Caleb! I hope you’ll subscribe to my Paladini Potpie blog, and keep up with all the fun new ingredients I add. Hopefully you’ll enjoy our stories and ideas, and find something you’ll want to put into your own potpie! Bon appétit!

6 thoughts on “Spiladini: Monica and Dan’s Love Story

  1. Aw! I love this! 🙂 I guess I should have taken him more seriously…he swears he meant it all along…

  2. I think it was perfect this way. In the words of an old song…”A guys chases a girl until she catches him…♪♫”

  3. Pingback: Spiladini II – The Love Story Continues | Paladini Potpie

  4. Pingback: Spiladini 3: Orange and Black Victory | Paladini Potpie

  5. So awesome to read of Monica’s ‘beginnings’ of East meets West (coasts)! I guess I’m fascinated with the above because of my little contribution when the mailman delivered a couple notes to Monica some years past from myself. We are so very glad for Dan and your daughter to be connected now. May the future be just perfect with the guidance of our Heavenly Father in their lives. (Bet John and you had an exciting and interesting trip back east (our meeting in WalMart that day)!

    • Monica was so thankful for your notes while she was back east, Darlene. “Like cold water to a weary soul is good news from a distant land” ☺

      And yes, we were able to wear our Giants’ shirts (our Wal Mart meeting) to an Orioles Game in Maryland.

      Our adventures in Maryland are here on the Potpie under the category of “The Sauce Thickens” but I have not (yet) written about going to the “wrong” orange and black stadium while we were there.

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