When I was a Senior in college, a very good friend of mine invited me to join him for dinner with his wife, and one more person.
“He just started working at Ludwig with me,” he said, “a real nice guy.”
“A piano tuner?” I asked.
“No, an organ technician, a real nice guy.”
“Yes, Jim, you said that already.”
“Well he is.”
“Jim,” I said firmly over the phone, “you know I never take you up on your blind date matches.”
“I know, I know…but he’s a—“
“—real nice guy, I know,” I laughed.
So for some strange reason, I said yes, and finished packing to go home for Christmas break.
It’s funny, I don’t know why I never took Jim up on his blind date matches. Maybe it was the whole “blind date” expression, a term too close to home, since he and I were both actually, physically blind. He was sweet, though, always trying to fix me up with his buddies, almost like a real big brother, which is how I saw him. Jim was eight years older than me, and things just didn’t jive that way between us. Now he was happily married, living with Chris in their little apartment in South. St. Louis.
This blind date would be driving me, himself, however, and when he phoned to get directions to my house, Jim’s words came rushing back to me. He sounded like a “real nice guy.”
The evening was lovely, and dinner was delicious—-although we arrived somewhat late. My date and I were so engrossed in conversation that he drove us into Illinois by mistake. A good sign…?
He walked me to my door, and we made plans to see each other in a couple of days. I can’t remember what we did, though, because it was our third date which sealed our fate.
It was New Year’s Eve, a bitterly cold day even for St. Louis, and intermittent snow flurries had been falling for hours. We spent the afternoon with his grandmother, a couple of aunts and a whole slew of other relatives. All I remember from the gathering is that every other man there was named George. As evening came on, we joined his parents and a couple of his siblings for dinner at their home.
Then the ice storm started. Freezing rain mercilessly assaulted the region, wiping out power for hundreds of households, and dangerously glazing neighborhood streets. I was told there was no way he could drive me home, he had just fallen on the ice preparing to warm up the car.
Imagine my quivering voice as I phoned home to notify my parents.
“I’ll need to spend the night here,” I told my mother.
“Where are you?”
“At his parent’s,” I said.
“We haven’t even met them,” my mother did not sound pleased at all, “or him.”
But what could anyone do?
I hung up the phone, accepted the nightgown his sister loaned me, and readied myself to sleep on a cot in the den. The family house was so huge, a Civil War Victorian house which had once been divided into 6 separate apartments during WWII. There were still a couple of extra kitchens, andmore bathrooms than I could count. So I felt quite cared for behind the French doors of the spacious den. And as I drifted off to sleep, I kept telling myself, “Someday this will make a really good story.”
The next day there was still no electricity, none at J’s, none at my home, none across most of St. Louis. But I made it home. We bravely came inside for a cup of cocoa with my parents, and the rest is history.
J and I married the following August, and on December 23, we will have known each other for 40 years.
Thanks to Patty http://www.campbellsworld.wordpress.com
for the nudge to venture down memory lane!