In 1979 I was 22 years old and having the time of my life. I was living at home rent free, making good money working for my dad, and quite frankly, living life maybe a little too large. Suffice to say, I was probably not the type of guy you wanted your daughter dragging home to meet the family. Had I continued down the track I was on, it is doubtful I would have made it to 32 years old.
One summer night a buddy and I made our way to a tavern, this one with a somewhat sordid reputation in our town of Chebanse. There were some events that had gone on at that bar, some that I even participated in, that would make your socks go up and down. We can’t discuss that because, well my mama reads these posts. Plus, what went on at that bar stayed at that bar, so I can’t titillate you with any details. Suffice to say, the bar was not for youngsters, dainty women, jocks, men of the cloth, or the faint of heart.
Pulling up to a bar stool we both quickly noticed a new gal busily bussing tables. We were always pretty good at spotting any “talent” at the bar, particularly when it was new. She was obviously very young, but a total knock out! As it turned out, in order to earn a few more sheckles during summer vacation, her cousin hired her to bus tables at night. She had long dark hair and deep brown eyes. Her hair was possibly the deepest black I had ever seen on someone. But the real attraction that was so mesmerizing to me was those dimples that appeared when she smiled. And they appeared often. She had dimples in her cheeks and one on her nose that I found just absolutely enthralling.
So, I was definitely interested. Unfortunately, so was my buddy. Well, both of us considering ourselves lovers and not fighters, we decided the best way to settle this mutual attraction was by flip of a coin. True story! Heads I win, tails he wins. The winner gets to take a shot at meeting this young lady without the other buzzing around like the bar flies we were. My buddy, being a little older and “more worldly” than me, insisted he would flip the coin…although as I recall, it was my quarter he flipped. He also wasn’t very skilled at the fine art of coin flipping, missing his toss completely, the result being the quarter bounced around on the bar, as well as our shots and beers, two ashtrays, and one bowl of five-day old popcorn. (You put enough salt on that popcorn and it wasn’t too bad.) Finally, the quarter landed in front of me, as I recall, right on heads. There was good old George Washington’s stern looking face. My buddy immediately called foul, that he was supposed to catch it and turn it over on top of his hand, which I quickly declined. I think he then wanted to negotiate for the best two out of three, also rejected immediately by me.
It was official…I won that toss. Little did I know how much more I won that night. How could I ever know at the time that I won that flip, I also "won" the love of my life, the mother of my four children, the grandmother of my five, (soon to be six) grandchildren, and a partner for life. When we got married, the odds were stacked so heavily against us that many people predicted it would never work. I was too old and wild. She was too young.
Well folks, this will be our 38th Valentine’s Day together and she is still the love of my life. Against incredible odds, I was the luckiest man in the world that night...and still am.
Happy Valentine’s Day, Dawn. Till mountains crumble to the sea…