This is a bit of a change from the usual, but it’s an important one.
In the Fall of 1991, I was a divorced single mom. My little girl and I lived with my parents since I couldn’t afford a place of my own. I was a typist for a clearance office; that is, I typed up information from investigations to make sure a person could get a government clearance. It wasn’t great money, but I had insurance and they didn’t mind if I needed to take off once in a while if my daughter was sick.
There were several of us women in our early 20s in the typing pool, and we became friends. We’d go out to nightclubs on occasion; my mom didn’t mind watching Sarah since she was usually asleep when I’d go out. One night, my friend and coworker Roz and I went out to a bar called Kangaroo Katie’s. That was our go-to place; we had friends there and always had a blast. We loved dancing and we’d be on the floor all night.
I was a little tired that night; it was a Friday and the work week had been long. So I wasn’t really into it and I guess it showed, because a guy sat next to me and said “Hey, smile!” I did, because he was really cute.
That’s how Chris and I met.
We ended up sitting in his car until the bar closed, talking and listening to music. I found out he liked The Beatles, which sealed the deal. Of course, it was much later that I found out that he only likes them, doesn’t LOVE them like I do, but by then it was too late. I was in love.
Our first date was a few nights later. We went out to eat at Bennigan’s, then went to see City Slickers, a comedy with Billy Crystal as a guy going through a midlife crisis whose friends give him a vacation to a real cattle drive for his birthday. It turns out to be more than he bargained for.
It was a cute movie; thankfully, there was nothing embarrassing in it, so no disastrous first date here. I’ll be honest, though – I don’t remember much about the movie. I was nervous and happy and wondering what Chris was thinking. Was he concentrating on the movie or thinking about me? I had never felt that way before with anybody, and it was exciting as well as disconcerting.
After all, he knew that I had been married and had a child, but he hadn’t run away screaming, so that was good, right?
What I do remember of the movie, I liked. Billy Crystal is a funny guy, and so is Jack Palance, even though he’s supposed to be menacing in the movie. Billy Crystal as Mitch was great, especially when he thought Jack Palance’s character, Curly, is insane. Mitch loses some cattle when he makes coffee and scares them with the sound, and must spend the night alone with Curly trying to recover them. Of course, he thinks Curly is going to kill him, but it turns out that Curly has some words of wisdom and insight that help Mitch through his midlife crisis.
We didn’t go anywhere else after the movie; Chris just drove me home since I needed to get up early for work the next day. Plus Sarah still occasionally awoke in the middle of the night, so I wanted to make sure I was home just in case. But that night began an intense and exciting courtship that lasted until we got married about a year and a half later.
We’ve been married eighteen years this past Sunday, and have two girls together, Lauren and Becca. We’re still going strong and always will; as well as loving each other we’re best friends, too. Sarah is 22 and going into the Navy, and Lauren and Becca are 15 and 13, respectively.
At the risk of sounding sappy (which I never am), we have a wonderful, happy life together and I wouldn’t change anything for the world.
City Slickers Trailer