36 years ago today I got out of bed early. I'd taken the day off from working swing shift at a local hospital. I'd been called to do Jury Duty and had to report to the Clark County court house at 8 am to serve. I got chosen to sit in on a statutory rape case. It took most of the day. I had just turned 20 years old at the end of December.
It was cold. I walked home at the end of the day and began preparing for a blind date that had been set up for me by a co-worker at the hospital. The young man I was going out with was her husband's best friend and the four of us were going to go out together. I don't remember taking any extra time with my appearance but I was one of those 'natural' girls of the late 60's-early 70's. I didn't wear make up. I'm pretty sure I wore jeans. Jeans were the staple of my every-day wardrobe back then.
As the time approached for My Date to arrive I remember sitting on my bed in candle light, listening to Neil Young's "Harvest" album over and over again. "Cinnamon Girl" especially. Was I nervous? Not especially so. But I became more concerned as the agreed-upon time of the date came and went. Had he developed cold feet and decided not to come? Had they been in a wreck? But then I heard a knock at the front door and I went out and opened it. In came my friend Betty, her husband Mike...and this young man with flowing dark hair and the most piercing deep brown eyes I had ever seen. Introductions went around. I was incredibly tongue-tied. I got on my coat and off we went into the bitterly cold nite.
We had chinese food, something I'd never eaten before outside of white rice and fried shrimp. I had something called Moo Goo Gai Pan or something strange like that. I picked at my food, terribly aware of this handsome, mysterious stranger next to me. His leather jacket creaked every time he moved. His hands were beautiful.
We went to the movies. We saw "Electra Glide in Blue". I loved the group Chicago and they were in it. I sat next to My Date and every time our arms brushed I felt there was more electra-glide going thru my body than there was on the screen. But we'd barely spoken. Sparks were flying.
We went to visit some mutual friends of theirs. A little mobile home in the country somewhere outside of Battle Ground. But first we stopped at a market and bought beer and wine. Really rot gut wine. I was so nervous I took my bottle and upended it, drinking it like Coke. By the time we reached the friends' house I was already feeling no pain. Anything to loosen me up. I was petrified of what I was feeling. Like a vortex sucking me in with no way out. This instant electric connection to this quiet young man.
We sat on the floor or on the couch. I can't remember which but I know we sat together. We began to talk a bit. I was becoming very drunk. I was mortified. I'd noticed horses out in a field as we'd driven up to the little mobile home and I asked My Date if he'd like to go take a walk. He did. We walked along a gravel road with the horses shimmery in the moonlight puffing and snuffling, jettisons of steam blowing out into the cold air. I wasn't too steady on my feet. My Date put an arm around me. I felt...safe. Protected.
As we drove home in the back seat of our friends' little Volkwagen I knew I was getting sick. And I did. I was beyond mortified. But My Date didn't seem to mind. It took over an hour to drive from the little mobile home to my parents' house, mostly freeway and maybe 20 miles away. As we pulled up to the house I couldn't get out of the back seat I was so drunk and so sick. So Mike and My Date got out and stood smoking and talking on the curb while I tried to gather my wits...and some sort of dignity...about me. I remember drunkenly slobbering to my friend Betty, "He'll never ask me out again and I like him so much!"
Finally, the two men grabbed me under the armpits and hauled me out of the back of that Volkswagen. As I staggered across the lawn My Date steadied me as I got sick again. Then, up on the porch, he pulled me close and hugged me, kissed me on the forehead, and told me it had been fun. He told me he'd call. "Yeah, right", I thought as I opened the door and went inside. I knew I'd never see him again.
As he rode home with his friends he told them, "Some day I'm going to marry that girl". They laughed him to scorn but he insisted.
A few days later he did call. I took the phone in to my parents' bedroom and shut the door for privacy. An hour and a half later I came out and my mother was sitting at the kitchen table looking at me with her eyebrow quirked and a snarky little grin on her face. "Well, I certainly think you like that one!"
Oh, if she only knew!
And 5 months, 4 days later we married.
And that was the beginning of our story.