Ran for it around noon on Friday, spent the afternoon home with my fiancee and stepson, watched knight rider, then headed to the inlaws for some bbq… Saturday, managed to run some errands in the afternoon, got our registration done for various wedding gifts, lunch at the diner, dinner at friendlies… Up again at 5am the next morning to go fishing. I haven’t been fishing since I was 14, still have my tackle box, all my lures, and a really nice rod and reel, I just never bothered to get a license and go out for the past 16 years. First stop was Glenmere over in Florida, NY. Pretty big and WEEDY lake, I got one bite on the hook but that was about it for nearly 5 hours of fishing. Got a pretty good workout (and sunburn) rowing around though. Next stop was the Wallkill river off of Oil City Rd outside of Pine Island, NY, managed to land a single small mouth Bass but that’s about it.
As for Monday it was the first time we had a big family dinner with my fiancee’s family and my own. It was an outstanding feast, we all caught up, shared stories, and had a wonderful time.
Memorial Day though, that’s a special day for me. God bless the vets – but I have my own reason to remember that day. See, 18 years ago, at the ripe age of 12, I finally worked up the nerve to ask a girl I liked to the school dance. I had liked this girl pretty much since the first day she arrived at my school, just something about her caught my eye and wouldn’t let go. After longing from afar for years, I decided that on Memorial Day 1992, I was going to do it. She was in the high school marching band, so I knew she’d be in the parade. My plan was simple, follow the parade, watch her perform, then when it was over ask her out.
The last thing I remembered for nearly 15 years was pulling down onto South St from Main St in Warwick, only to wake up in the hospital hours later surrounded by my family. All I’ve been told is that I was found lying in the middle of Second street, between St Stephens church, and Christ church. My bike was on the sidewalk of St.Stephens on its side. Completely incoherent, I was there enough to tell the paramedics my name and telephone number… they actually pulled my ambulance from the parade.
I spent half a day at St Anthony’s hospital getting stabilized, then another 2 days at Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla, NY. They weren’t sure that I’d come through OK, as I had a significant skull fracture, and the part of my head that got clobbered would affect my vision and olfactory senses… I was also out of school for 2 weeks. My folks had contacted the school to get me some homework so I could catch up, but when I returned – everyone had thought I moved out of town…
So back to the girl… Since I was out for 2 weeks, I missed the dance, I missed my shot. I spent the next few years of school back in the corner, admiring from afar, never working up the nerve to say more than a few passing words to her. Eventually high school turned to college, where I had dropped out after 6 months to return to work, and my life kinda continued on its rambling path until a few years ago when I was browsing MySpace and found her again. The second I saw her photo, everything came back. I was in my late 20s and feeling like a kid with his first crush all over again. Eagerly I clicked through each photo, read every blog post, and tried to see where she went after we parted ways so long ago… and then, I simply said ‘why not?’ So I emailed her and told her the story.
A day or two later I get a response… “Wait, what? Are you sure you’re talking about me? Is this a joke?” That did it however. We started talking, sharing recipes, being friendly…. I was loving every minute of it! Now a few times I had asked her to meet, just hang out, get some coffee, etc… But I never really got a firm response until I asked if I could stop by when she was getting a tattoo done. So I got there, she was getting inked, and we proceeded to chat for a few hours, catch up on a lot of stuff, and it honestly felt like we had known eachother the entire time. We just started talking and kept going, I left the place that day feeling like a rock star, like ‘holy crap, I actually just talked with her!’ This was my dream girl, my unicorn, the one that got away… and I was finally catching up to her.
So some more time passed, and I tried to get her to come out to dinner with me… in the mean time I had also begun going to the same church as her family. For a long time I had been talking about going back to church, but my standard RC upbringing just bored me to death. After one visit to Christ Church, on her recommendation, I was hooked. With very few exceptions, I am there every Sunday – a fact my parents are still shocked about. Now one of the big things this church holds each month is a potluck dinner on the last Wednesday of each month. I had missed the first one, she was there, and I – in a panic – left before it started since I was afraid to actually be near her – I was THAT nervous… scared senseless that I would say or do SOMETHING that’d make me look like an idiot.
But time went by, and we began the process of smack talking, as we were both exceptional bakers, at the July pot luck – with some prodding from her sister – a challenge was born. She would cook an entree, and bake a dessert, and so would I… the winner gets bragging rights, and nothing more… or so everyone else thought. I saw an opportunity to place a bet! The bet was simple, if I win, I get to take her out to dinner. Now I had been trying to get her to come out for MONTHS, so this would be a major accomplishment. Up until the event, we continued to talk, smack and otherwise, but the night came and I was knocked over…
She normally had long hair, but she had gotten it cut short… The moment I saw her, I had tunnel vision. My tongue became tied, I think I broke out into a sweat, and everything besides her became blurry. I honestly don’t think that ever happened to me before, but the evening went on. She made a lasagna and a cheesecake, I made a chili and a chocolate cake. In the end, after all the voting, I beat her by 1 vote. Victory!
So I got my date, and several more… I never gave up hope, I never stopped trying… On November 21st we agreed to be exclusive, and on December 18th, we were engaged to be married.
Many people were shocked at our time frame, how fast things appeared to be moving from the outside… but for us, it was a life nearly 20 years in the making.
I will always consider Memorial Day 1992 as the first day of the rest of my life, as it was on that day, 18 years ago – that I decided to finally live this life that God has blessed me with, regardless of how many times I fall off that bike or crack my head open in the process. Never stop trying, never stop believing, and everything is possible. 🙂