Tuesday, November 11, 2014

A Cup of Tea and a Romantic Tale

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.

It was Thursday, 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 first noticed Michael’s dancing blue eyes when we met. And he gave great hugs!

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 Michael, “I’m all by myself. Would you two like to share a table with me?”

Now, I’m thinking since this was our first date, Michael would turn him down. So you can imagine my surprise when he said, “Okay!”

The man’s name was Floyd. I don’t remember too much about him. He was a veteran of the Marines and very friendly—and talkative. Most of the dinner was spent listening to him talk about his troubles with his stepson.

We shared a booth—Floyd on 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! Michael looked into my eyes, and it was one of those moments you see in the movies but never think really happened 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, Michael 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, Michael 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 Michael 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 Floyd always brought us both a smile and a laugh. 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.

The Perfect Pot (or Cup) of Tea
I love black teas, particularly sturdy English Breakfast and smoky Lapsang Souchong. The Picky Eater loved Earl Gray. Many evenings, when he wasn't on his courier route, we would share a cup while watching television.
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 teapot 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.
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  1. Oh Linda! You are, indeed, one lucky lady! Striking gold in a relationship is one of life's most God-sent miracles! Just thinking of the millions of people in the world and the millions of trajectories our lives take, thinking of a perfect match between two people meeting at an intersection of experience is mind-boggling and reassuring. Hope this makes sense ... enjoy your memories and your anniversary routine ... virtual hug!

  2. Hi Linda:)
    What a truly remarkable and romatic love story. I must agree with your sister-in-law in believing Floyd was sent as a messenger to make sure things went along smoothly.

    I think it's hysterical that you went to such a relaxed place that offered good food and a bit of gambling. I don't mind a slot machine every now and again either, lol...

    Your spirit amazes me Linda. I can't say I was as strong or as progressive when I lost my husband so many years ago.

    Thank you so much for sharing, Linda...A beautiful read...kinda ironic, the prove you're not a robot word is celebrated.

  3. This was a wonderful story! Thank you for sharing! How long were you married? I am so glad you got to spend such special years together!

    1. We were together just 3 1/2 years and married 2 1/2. Our time together was too short but also the most loving time of my life!