She’s Got a Great Personality…

“At the blind date,
deafen your ears
to hear the words
spoken with her eyes.”
― Khang Kijarro Ngu

My friend, Sue, had been trying to get me to go out with a friend and co-worker of hers for months. I’d just had one of the worst blind-date experiences ever a few months before we had this conversation–I swore I would never ever ever go on another blind date.

The picture above was taken this past summer when we were in Denver. That is our good friend and matchmaker, Sue, on the left. We love her.

I knew Sue. She was not going to give up. We’d known each other for years, meeting when she sold our department a new ultrasound machine. We were both young, alone, and single in Denver in the mid-eighties. But Sue’s life was about to change. She’d left the ultrasound world, working for a company who manufactured isolettes and warmers. Not only had Sue had a job change, she was in the process of moving back to Michigan and planning her wedding.

Sue and I met for dinner one last time before she left Denver. I was excited for her but I was very sad she’d be so far away.  As a way to get her off the blind date subject, I agreed to talk with her friend after I returned from my 20th high school reunion. Great, Sue said, he’s on vacation now, too. She said she’d leave him a message when she got back to Michigan and to expect a call from him.

Going home to Iowa was just what I needed. I was able to see my family as well as old coworkers and friends. The reunion was well attended, reuniting people from near and far. The halls of West High had been in our past long enough we were more interested in really talking with each other again than trying to impress each other.

I returned to Denver feeling I’d experienced closure on some old high school and other life dramas. I was ready to move on with my life.

Tuesday, August 13, 1991, I was in my office when the front desk called. DeeDee, one of the front desk staff, told me I had a call–a guy named Michael, could I take the call?Well…that was the name of Sue’s friend…I said yes.

I talked with Michael for a few minutes. He asked if I could go out for lunch? He apologized for such short notice. He’d just returned from vacation and had to come down to Children’s for an appointment. Would that work for me?

I checked with my co-workers and they were thrilled to hear that I had a lunch date. Yes, we all knew each other very well. They’d gladly cover so I could go out for lunch.

I told Michael I could go. He said he’d be there to pick me up at 11:30.

I quickly called the front desk, telling DeeDee I had a date for lunch. Her hooting could be heard without the need of the telephone connection–something that I should have heeded and taken into account when I made my next request. When the teasing subsided, I asked her to give me a number when she called back to tell me he was there–a rating of how he looked to her–a number between one and ten. I was feeling pretty smug in my game plan and went off to finish my morning schedule.

At 11:30 on the dot, my phone rang. I answered and I heard–again without really needing the phone connection, ” BARB, HE’S HERE. I’D SAY 5.” 

Well…that was subtle. Maybe he wasn’t listening or wasn’t paying attention to the Olympic style grading system going on at our front desk.

I did a quick mirror check, smiled at my co-workers, and headed to the front lobby. DeeDee nodded her head toward the chairs along the far wall and I headed that way.

Honest to God, it was like time went into slow motion. He was looking at his DayTimer and looked up as I approached. I remember his white shirt, khaki pants, and pastel, Monet type tie. When our eyes met, I felt as though I’d met an old and very important friend. We shook hands and headed off to lunch.

What I didn’t know was Michael had worked at Children’s when he first came to Denver as a respiratory therapist. He knew many of the physicians I worked with better than I did. When we walked into the restaurant for lunch, the large table in front was full of many of the neonatologists from the hospital–all shouting greetings to us both, commenting, “Wow, we did not know you two were dating.”

We both laughed, explained our first date status, and hurried off to have lunch–generous as my co-workers were–our time was tight.

Our conversation was so easy because we shared so many common things. From our mutual friend, Sue, to all the docs we both worked with in the past and now, and stories about our recent vacations, time flew quickly.

As he walked me back to the office, he asked when we could have a “real date.” I told him I was on call and really didn’t want to go out when I was on call. The odds of me getting called in were just too high. At that time, we covered call for a week at a time. I suggested we get together next week. What I really wanted to say was, “How about tonight?”

I walked into the office and I swear I swooned. I looked at my co-worker, Ruthanne, telling her I felt I’d just met the man I was going to marry. This was coming from a person who swore over and over again, she’d never ever get married again.

I did not know what to expect. I’d resigned myself to the fact I’d see him in a week. On Thursday, he called and asked if we could go out over the weekend. As luck would have it, the department was going out Friday after work because one of the old Irish pubs downtown was closing. I asked if he’d be interested in joining us–especially since he knew so many people anyway. He agreed.

And that, my dear friends, was the beginning of our twenty-six years together.

This is what I wrote in my journal the evening of August 17, 1991:

I met a very important man Tuesday, August 13. I do believe I am already in love with him. We went for lunch Tuesday. He met me after work Friday and had drinks with the people from work. How wonderful to have a man look at you all night and continue to tell you how beautiful you are! To quote Michael, “Wow-oh-wow.” We ate at Marlowe’s–had a carriage ride with “Peggy and Bob.” This is how it’s supposed to be~

So–yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus and there is such a thing as love at first sight.

I am…

B…simply being…

Love and Peace, my friends. God bless.

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