In the past, I've written many times about how The Picky Eater and I connected on Match.com and met for our first date in a grocery store parking lot. But I've never told you about the other man that was a part of that first evening. So, sit back with a cup of your favorite tea, coffee, or hot chocolate and let me tell you about our dinner with the other man…and how magic movie moments can happen in real life.
By the way, I’ll give you tips on making the perfect pot of tea at the end of this post.
November 11, 2010—Veterans Day. After spending the day at the Montessori
preschool where I taught…and spending a few moments after work in the teacher’s
bathroom fixing my hair, touching up my make-up, and changing clothes…I headed
to the Dillons Supermarket in North Topeka to meet Michael.
We had talked on the phone for hours the previous three nights, but now it was
time to meet face to face. Needless to say, I was nervous.
I followed him in my car to the Prairie Band Casino and Resort for dinner. That may seem like a strange place to go on a first date, but I was excited. I had heard great things about the food (always a plus with me!) and was looking forward to checking it out. Plus, I didn't mind trying my luck on a slot machine or two.
After we arrived, we headed for the Longhouse Buffet. Since veterans could eat free that day, the line was long. As we neared the front, the man ahead of us turned and said to
all by myself. Would you two like to share a table with me?”
Now, I’m thinking since this was our first date,
would turn him down. So you can imagine my surprise when he said, “Okay!”
The man’s name was
don’t remember too much about him. He was a veteran from the Marines and very
friendly—and talkative. Most of the dinner was spent listening to him tell
about his troubles with his stepson.
We shared a booth—
one side and Michael and I on the other. At one
point, Michael excused himself to go to the
bathroom. When he came back and sat down, I put my hand on his arm.
It was magic! Electric!
looked into my eyes, and it was one of those moments you see in the movies but
think never really happen in real life. He put his hand on mine. My heart was
racing and I’m sure my face turned bright red. It was overwhelming.
I moved my hand to my lap and everything returned to normal.
Later that evening,
and I were talking in his car. He had his arm around me, my head was on his strong,
comfortable shoulder, and a Kenny G Christmas CD was planning in the
background. He said, “I could see myself married to someone like you.”
Three days later, on our second date,
told me he loved me and, again, he could see being married to me. What did I
say? I pointed at him and said, “ Don’t you
dare propose to me! You hardly know anything about me yet.”
His response was, “I know what I feel.”
I said, “But we need to get to know each other better. Besides, it’s the holiday season when everything is sparkly and romantic. Let’s see how we feel in the middle of January when it’s cold and
Then I added, “I tell you what, if you still feel this way in the middle of January, and I feel the same way, then I’ll marry you on Christmas Eve 2011.”
And that’s just what I did.
One evening, sometime after we were married, I asked
if there was a moment when he knew he was in love with me. He answered, “When
you put your hand on my arm at that first dinner with Floyd.”
I guess he felt the magic, too.
Remembering our dinner with
always brought a smile and a laugh to us both. My sister-in-law thinks Floyd
was an angel sent to make sure Michael and I
fell in love.
Today, four years later, I’m spending the day with my memories of how The Picky Eater and I joined our lives together. He always made a big celebration of our first-date anniversary, even more so than our wedding anniversary. I kept the e-mails we exchanged in those early days and we would spend time every Veterans Day reading through them and remembering how our love began. After
Michael died, I was
going through his e-mails and found he had saved the one from Match.com that
was my response to his interest in me.
That’s the kind of man The Picky Eater was.
I was a lucky girl.
I want to keep
tradition, even though he’s gone. (Tomorrow it will be five months since he
died.) Today I’ll read those e-mails and drive to the casino, with a quick stop
at the Dillons parking lot and Kenny G playing on the CD player. I still adore
him, and miss him desperately, but I don’t want to be too sad today. So, I’ll
think of Floyd, the magic of a touch, and
meeting the love of my life.
The Perfect Pot (or Cup) of Tea
I love black teas, particularly sturdy English Breakfast and smoky Lapsang Souchong. The Picky Eater loved
. Many evenings, when he wasn't on his courier route, we would share a cup
while watching television. Earl Gray
To brew the perfect pot or cup of tea:
- Bring cold water to a boil. (Cold water has more oxygen and makes a better tasting tea. Also do not let the water boil for too long or it will release the oxygen and the tea will taste flat.)
- Fill the tea pot or cup with some of the boiling water and let stand for a moment or two to warm.
- Empty the pot or cup, add the tea leaves or bags and pour the boiling water on top. Allow the tea to steep for three to five minutes or until the tea reaches the desired strength. Note: Steep green tea for only one to three minutes to prevent bitterness.