Thursday, February 7, 2013
Jim and I may not have had any Valentine’s Day memories at all if it
weren’t for that first date -- which almost wasn’t. But on the 14th we will have
celebrated 59 of these occasions together. Well, almost together. It started
when we were courting in 1953. We’ve observed this special day along the
Atlantic and Pacific coasts a well as in the Midwest . We’ve exchanged heart-
inspired cards in the south and in the north as well as in Europe, and even
when we were separated – such as when the Air Force sent him to Iceland and
Viet Nam, or he was sitting alert or away on TDY (Temporary Duty).
We met on a train travelling from Illinois to Georgia for Christmas break.
Most of us spent the journey in the club car getting acquainted and singing
carols. I spent all that time sharing a red leather booth with this really neat
guy. When we reached Atlanta I got off and he went on to Augusta. We
shook hands and he said those three little words this college freshman wanted
so much to hear: “I’ll call you.”
Of course, back on campus, I told my college friends all about this brief
encounter and we all waited for “the call.” I lived on my dorm’s fourth floor
with a couple dozen other students, all sharing two hall phones. Every time it
rang there was a stampede to answer and the air vibrated with shouts
summoning the recipients.
Finally! My name was called and about a dozen classmates followed me
to the phone saying “This is it. This has to be it!” When I picked up the
receiver they encircled me, clasping hands and bobbing up and down. It was
him! I gave them the thumbs up and they signaled a touchdown. They all
hovered, eavesdropping and wanting to get the news first.
“Well,” said my caller, “can you go out Saturday night?” Could I! But I
restrained myself from that enthusiastic response and allowed as how – in
what I hoped was an offhand casual reply -- that it just might be possible.
“Good!” he said, “Would you like to go to the basketball game and the dance –
with my roommate?”
As my heart sank, I fully understood the meaning of the term “dull thud.”
Then I stuttered and stammered maturely while he added blithely, “Well I
already had this date but I thought we could double – and you’ll really like Bill
– and then we could spend a little time together.” I didn’t know whether I
wanted to hit him or hug him.
But after all, he was tall and handsome. And after all I really didn’t have
plans. So, after all, I mumbled “yes.” My friends, of course, were aghast
and offered 12 different opinions of what I should have said and done – some of
them not exactly Christian.
Then two days later he called again and said would I mind going out with
him after all as he and his date had a fight and they cancelled out. He also
cancelled Bill out. This was in January. By February 14th we were a steady
couple and by summer, were engaged. We savor these memories every year at
this time. Try reminiscing next week with that special someone about how you
It really gives Cupid’s arrow an even better target.