Oh sure, I know that St. Valentine's Day is February 14th, and this is April 25th. But how could I do all this writing and not write about my sweetie, the lovely Mrs. Goodwife, the woman who puts up with me writing into the wee hours of the morning.
I met my Valentine a few weeks before Valentine's day in 1990. I was on a bowling team that a bunch of people at work talked me into joining, but what I was really doing was packing my stuff, one box at time, so I could move back to Wisconsin. Somehow, fate intervened and a dark-haired Italian with mysterious eyes showed up to substitute for an absent team member.
I finally managed the courage to ask her out and on our first date, a double date no less with my neurotic former roommate and his far less neurotic girlfriend, we went to an Italian Restaurant and had the strangest waiter you would ever meet. He wasn't even a waiter, but people jumped when he spoke. All the tables were full when we arrived, and he clapped his hands, had someone bring a table out and set it up, chairs brought and a linen cloth put over the top.
In no time, we were seated and he brought a bottle of wine that he picked out, and then he asked if we wanted an antipasto. Without waiting for an answer, he was off and running and shortly brought a platter that would have fed ten people. It was right after he delivered the antipasto when he announced that he was off his meds and feeling little bit crazy.
Dinner was different to say the least, and halfway through it, our "waiter" disappeared and we suddenly had a real waiter. Very strange indeed.
After dinner, the four of us went to the movies and saw Driving Miss Daisy. Marg and I held hands on our way out of the theater. Then we had an after-dinner drink at the ex-roommate's girlfriend's house. I took Marg home and got a peck on the cheek. It must have been some peck and I couldn't even think on my way home that night.
The following weekend I had to go to Colorado and serve as Chef for my cousin's wedding, but the week after Marg and I had another date and I had a big feeling that my life was suddenly and unexpectedly changing.
Disaster! Valentine's Day, 1990 brought a huge snowstorm down on Chicagoland, and I was caught in the mess of traffic. Despite having a four-wheel drive jeep-like vehicle, I could barely move and for two hours, sat in traffic as I vented my frustration at the world and wondered if she'd ever even speak to me when I finally arrived.
I finally pulled into her driveway, gathered up all my courage, and picked up the flowers from the passenger seat. They had wilted! Could the day get any worse?
Wilted flowers in hand (at least she would know I remembered flowers), I rang the bell in hopes she'd understand.
The door opened and there she was. A worried look on her face and she made me come in, took the flowers, and even though they were pretty much ruined, put them in a vase anyway. One of the pathetic flower heads even fell off and I was so embarrassed. But I knew then that I had found someone extra special and that I had better hang on to her.
Somehow I managed to do that and here were are 23 years later.
Photo by Margaret Williams copyright 2011