Most married people recall their first date with their spouse as a warm memory, filled with romance and joy. The first date between my Wife and myself was an absolute train wreck that lasted an agonizing 6 hours, included bad food, illness, and even rats (yes, rats) but in the end found redemption. Let me preface this first date story by stating that my wife and I are complete opposites for the most part. She is an academic type, raised in the country, and working then as a senior genetic researcher at a large hospital research facility. I am the blue-collar, dirt under the fingernails type, raised in the inner city and then working as a sawyer in a factory.
After meeting and the several telephone conversations that followed, we agreed to make a date for a Sunday afternoon, at about 1 PM. It was not just any Sunday, but Super Bowl Sunday, and my beloved Pittsburgh Steelers were playing the Dallas Cowboys. This was not a problem, I thought, as the game would not start until about 6 PM, and by then the date would be over. I could have a great date followed by another championship for the Steelers, and it would be a tremendous day.
I drove to her apartment and knocked at her door lightly, and I could hear her coming to open it. As she opened the door, I was shocked and thought I had the wrong apartment, because the woman at the door looked like she had died a week earlier and they forgot to bury her. She had the flu – swollen eyes, running nose and lethal cough, wearing old comfortable but ragged clothes, and welcomed me in. We spoke for a few minutes, and I suggested we do the date another time, but she insisted it was okay, so off we went to a local restaurant.
Finally, after arriving, we sat at a table and tried to have a conversation over coffee while we considered our food choices. This was nearly impossible, because every 3 minutes she had to visit the restroom due to her illness. The conversation was a dud until she began to light up speaking about her country upbringing. So, being a city boy but and avid fan of fishing and hunting, I told her of a place I knew that was close, and was an island on a beautiful lake with Ducks and Geese that you could feed. So after eating some really awful food, we decided to go to the island. It was now 3:15 PM.
We got to the lake at about 4:30 because we had to stop to get something to feed the wildlife that inhabited the island. The only problem was I had not been to the island in some time, and in the interim, somehow, the island have been overtaken by rats. I don’t mean the one-pounders that one may see occasionally. These were the Godzilla sized 15 to 20 pounders that had evidently eliminated the island’s Duck and Goose population. The problem was so severe, I later found that the city had hired sharpshooters and paid a bounty for each of these monsters that were killed. So, as we stood at the end of the island bridge that had been fenced off, looking at hundreds of giant rats, my now wife asked why all of the Ducks and Geese had been replaced by the Beavers. As I gripped her elbow firmly and directed her to the car, I explained the situation to her as best I could. Things were not looking good for a second date.
Getting desperate, I figured I’d better come up with something good, and quickly, because she was really looking at me with a sudden disbelief, like I had planned the rat fiasco intentionally. I knew of a spot that had herds of Deer that roamed free, and I told my wife we could go see some real wild Deer in their natural habitat. She was apprehensive, but agreed reluctantly. It was now about 5:10 and daylight was fading fast as it was in Fall. Off we drove through winding country roads.
When we arrived at the spot the Deer were supposed to be, they were not there. It was now just about totally dark, we were miles from civilization, and when I looked over at my now wife to explain she had her hand gripping the door handle white-knuckled, preparing to flee the pervert who had taken her out to the country to do his dastardly deed. As, we rounded the next bend in the road, thankfully, there was a herd of about 25 awesomely beautiful Deer. Her hand released the door handle and the rest is history.
I missed that Super Bowl game in totality, and the Steelers lost. That was over 13 years ago, and the memory of that first date still makes my wife and I laugh out loud every time it is recalled.