Bracy Cross sought a chance to see Terri Fowler again after meeting her at a party. His blessing came in the form of an overflowing toilet.
Bracy, then a student at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, went to the friend’s girlfriend’s birthday party with a friend while he was in Little Rock for the Christmas break in January 2005.
Terri was the girlfriend’s roommate.
“She greeted us at the door and she had the biggest, brightest, wide smile on her face and big bright red lips and she was the most welcoming, friendly face I’d ever seen,” says Bracy, who became shy quickly. “I think I hid in the corner for most of the party.”
Terri thought he was cute and tried to check on him occasionally throughout the evening, although she was distracted by the other guests and a cake she was busy making.
Bracy spent the next day coming up with ideas that might bring him back into her presence. Fortunately, his friend’s girlfriend called, distraught over a plumbing problem at her home, and Bracy was offered a solution.
“He said, ‘Call Bracy, he can fix anything. He’ll come over to help,'” Terri says.
Terri was delighted to hear that Bracy was on her way, but she had lunch plans with her family that day.
“I called a friend and I said, ‘I met this boy last night, very sweet and nice. His name is Bracy and he’s really cute, and he’s fixing the bathroom at my house and I had to leave'”, she says.
Bracy was gone by the time she got home, but he, her roommate, and her roommate’s boyfriend had made plans for them all to go to the movies that night.
“I didn’t sit next to him because I was too nervous,” Terri says.
Terri and her roommate invited Bracy and a few other friends to hang out the next night, which gave them a chance to get to know each other before leaving for Fayetteville the next day.
“I was a little disappointed that he didn’t ask me for my number or anything like that,” she says.
Bracy had more plans in the works.
“I had talked to my friend and said, ‘We need to travel together,'” he says.
Gold Strike Casino in Tunica, Miss., was intended as a meeting place for several groups of their friends. Terri planned to stay with a friend in Oxford, Miss., and drive back home with a friend.
“Somehow it ended up with us again, just hanging out and walking around,” Terri says. “We ended up — we laugh at this — at the nickel slots and The Price Is Right.”
It was Bracy who took her home the next day.
“I’ve given a lot of people a lift,” he says, “but she was the last one to deliver it.”
They spoke on the phone daily while he was at school afterward, and they saw each other every weekend.
Bracy spent the summer in Little Rock taking online classes, while Terri, on a break from her full-time teaching job in the Little Rock School District, worked part-time for Central Arkansas Library System.
He invested in a fixer-upper boat called “Naughti-cool” and repaired it. They took it out almost every weekend.
“Her sister had a place in Hot Springs and we went camping at Lake DeGray, we went to the Buffalo, the White River… we just towed that boat everywhere,” Bracy says.
In December 2007, when Bracy completed his engineering degree at the UA, he planned a trip for them to New York. Terri had told him she wanted to see New York all decked out for the holidays.
“I took her to the top of Rockefeller Center,” Bracy says.
He was concerned about the engagement ring in his pocket that set off the metal detector alarms and ruined his surprise proposal, but he managed to pull it off.
“I let her go first and I winked and hoped for the best,” he says.
They married on June 7, 2008 on Petit Jean Mountain in a ceremony co-performed by Terri’s youth pastor and Bracy’s grandfather. A brass quartet including Bracy’s father provided music. Artwork by one of Terri’s first grade children graced the wedding program. Their reception was at the boathouse of the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute.
The Crosses have two daughters, Lila, 10, and June, 7.
Terri’s roommate had invited her to a New Year’s Eve party in 2004, just days before the birthday party where they met, with the intention of pairing her up with Bracy. Terri declined the invitation, but a few days later everything seemed to have gone exactly as planned.
“I would have met him then, but it happened more naturally in the end,” she says.
If you have an interesting story about how we met or if you know someone who has, please call (501) 425-7228 or email:
The first time I saw my future husband:
She says, “I immediately felt comfortable and happy.”
He says, “She had a beautiful smile, a very warm, welcoming smile.”
On our wedding day:
She says, “That night as we left, he said, ‘That was the best wedding I’ve ever been to, and it was mine.’ It was just fun. It was real.”
He says, “It was just a great party.”
My advice for a long and happy marriage:
She says, “Make marriage your priority.”
He says, “Keep working on it.”