Though it might sometimes seem that we've known each other all of our lives, the bride and I actually met about 18 years ago this week. It was either on Monday the 16th or Tuesday the 17th, just a couple of days after Valentines Day. Here's how we came to be:
I'm walking around the lobby of my former employer one day, minding my own business. I was 22 and had been in Nashville for about seven months. One of the employees was going through some pictures on her desk. She came across some pictures of college roommates, and there was this girl in one of the pictures with pretty green eyes, dark hair and a great tan. I said, "Hey, she's cute! Why don't you fix me up with her?" Within a couple of days, I had her phone number. Our first conversation lasted about 90 minutes. A few days later we decided to go out. Just in case I was some sort of a serial killer, the bride made it a double-date with the girl who set us up and her fiancee`. We went to a middle school basketball game, where the bride's friend's fiancee` was a coach. She took a chance and assumed that I was not a mental case, and we went out for dessert alone so we could talk and get to know each other. Being the classy guy that I was back then, we went to Shoneys. Shoneys. Let me type that again. Shoneys. 18 years later, I hate Shoneys. Not because we went there on our first date, but because the food stinks. But we went for the hot fudge cake, and I have to admit that it's very good. Then something happened that I feared would seal my doom with the bride.
Now, remember, I was 22 and pretty immature. We're sitting there talking, and the waitress brings out our drinks. I was being casual, things seemed to be going pretty well. So I go to remove the wrapper off my straw - why, I'm not sure, because I don't use a straw. Something came over me, and I instantly became 9. I tore the tip off the straw wrapper, and proceeded to blow the rest of the paper off of the straw. Yep, good move. But it gets better. See, when you're 9, you want to shoot the straw wrapper and hit your opponent somewhere in the face area. If you hit them in the eye, that's the most points. The wrapper from my straw didn't hit her face. My straw wrapper made impact about 8 inches south of the bride's nose. Uh-huh, right there. I think my face went completely red within less than a second. However, being the mature individual that she was (and still is), she played it off like nothing ever happened.
Evidently she excused my miscue, because we've been together ever since. I knew within that first week that she was the girl for me. In about two months, we will have been married for seventeen years, and we get to know each other a little better every day. In some respects I'm still that immature guy from eighteen years ago. I always tell the bride to think about how boring her life would have been if she had married some boring guy. Sometimes she looks off far away and smiles, as if she's imagining a life like that, but she snaps back to reality quickly and says that she loves me just the way I am. Then I pop her on the behind with a towel and she reconsiders......
Happy Valentines Day!