Valentine’s Day

  • Friday, February 14, 2014

Every Feb. 14, Jim and I think about how we met and how our first date went. And how it all almost didn’t.

Cupid’s arrow struck on a train and was nearly derailed by a basketball game.

We were both traveling to our homes in separate Georgia towns from our separate Midwest colleges. There was a gathering of college kids in the club car, complete with guitars and carol singing. I sat down in a crowded booth and this good looking auburn haired guy bought me a Coke.

A little later he treated me to a single serving packet of peanuts. This culinary duo turned out to be both my supper and breakfast, as we talked all night, as did the others. It was only later that I learned that he only had $5 and in the 1950s that would buy the drinks and nuts, but not much else.

We arrived in Atlanta and he thumbed to Augusta. His parting comment contained the three words I wanted to hear: “I’ll call you.”

Naturally, I thought about him over the Christmas vacation and even more when I got back to school. In those olden days I lived on a dorm’s fourth floor with about 100 other girls and two telephones, one at each end of the building. The poor girls near the phones had the job of shouting for whoever was wanted. Finally – and after more than a week, I might add – my name was hollered down the hall.

It was him! After a few pleasantries – how was your Christmas, did you have a good trip back, etc., -- he asked the question I was waiting for. Or so I thought.

“There’s a basketball game coming up,” he said as my heart began to beat faster. “Would you like to go?”

Before I could speak, he quickly added, “with my roommate?”

Said heart stopped for just a moment. Now I know I should have hung up the phone and called him names – or both. I however, was so taken aback I couldn’t reply. Turned out to be a good thing.

“Bill is a great guy,” he assured me, and we’d double date. Could this get any worse? I thought. He went on to glibly explain that he already had a date himself, but really wanted to see me and thought this “was a good starting point.” Was he kidding? Well he was good looking. He told me his date’s name. I knew her – a much too-pretty blonde upperclassman, and one of the most popular girls on campus. Good Lord!

Jim continued to ply me with reasons to go, including dinner and a dance and for the first of a myriad of times – charmed my socks off. So I said “yes,” and worried about it for days.

Redemption was at hand. He called to tell me he and Judy (will I ever forget that name!) had a fight and broke up. He said he also invited Bill to find himself another date. “I’ll pick you up at 6 – and we’ll see where it goes.”

Where it went was going steady almost immediately, marriage, four children, six grands, living and traveling all over the states and Europe via the Air Force, and taking root in our favorite town in the world, Summerville. That was about 60 years ago, so I’d say it went well.

I hope Cupid does as well for you.

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