How I Met Your Mother

The story of the kiss and the date

So, you now know the story of how we met from an earlier post. The next piece of the story is…

…the first kiss.

I had a party at my apartment one Saturday night in the Summer of ‘77. It was a backgammon party. Backgammon was the rage, the most ancient of games on a resurgence and providing an excuse to hang and party. While folks were facing off at the multiple game boards set up in my apartment, Julie and I went outside and strolled across the green lawn in between the apartment buildings to the parking area. We found ourselves leaning on her yellow VW Super Beetle. 

In just the few months that we’d lived side-by-side we were getting to know one another. What did we like about each other? What was making that spark? Were we friends, just friends or could we be more. 

There were so many clues. 

I remember early on thumbing through the collection of albums leaning on the floor and finding an album by Long John Baldry, an obscure 6’ 7” English blues singer, called “It Ain’t Easy.” One side was produced by Elton John, the other by Rod Stewart. Nobody that I knew had that album. Nobody. I looked over at Julie and her roommate, Diane, and asked, “Who owns this?” Julie said, “I do.” I said to myself, this is kismet. 

That alone could be enough to lead to the night of our first kiss. But there was more. Like the WSOC lake party. The station owned (forever leased) land at Lake Norman and had a boat ramp, dock, a covered picnic area and, importantly, a bath house. Staffers were free to use it and boy they did. Camping on the grounds, swimming off of the dock, those with boats skied and sailed. And, each summer, they barbecued a whole pig. My rookie summer at the station I was “volunteered” to pick up and cart the pig 40 miles north from Charlotte. I used a station supplied Suburban, tan and brown with the EYEWITNESS NEWS logo emblazoned on the sides. I asked Julie and Diane if they wanted to go to the lake? They said yes. I told them there would be a pig pickin’ and that we needed to make a stop on the way. I didn’t exactly explain what we were stopping for until we got to the meat plant, backed up to the loading dock and the guys slid a 90 pound porker laid out on a piece of plywood for the trip into the back of the wagon. He was uncovered, his head towards the front. Julie and Diane’s reaction was priceless. I worried that maybe I had really made a big mistake, a mistake that we had to ride with for almost an hour. Turns out, it just made a long-lasting memory for us all. That we could handle surprises. Do things we’d never done. And handle it with humor.

So, back to the party night. We were leaning on her car, talking the talk that eventually led up to our first kiss. I remember looking into her beautiful hazel eyes and I melted. I mean “melted” right there in a puddle next to the car. I remember the softness of her lips, the smell of her hair and the warmth of her body next to mine.

Wait a minute. That’s exactly how my dad described his first kiss with my mom!!! But actually, it is, in fact, the same. The kiss that sealed the deal. Mom and Dad’s lasted their lifetime. I expect ours to do the same. I knew that I would never forget that kiss on that night in late June in Selwyn Village. 

Shortly thereafter, it was time to get back to the party that I was hosting. But before going inside I asked Julie if she would go on an official date with me. She said yes. YES!!! And we set it up for the next Friday night. July 1, 1977. 

The first date…

We went to this terrific Japanese Steak House in Charlotte called Nakato where we sat at a table that could hold about six to eight people. The table was also the cooktop. The chef prepared the meal right there for you in a performance that rivaled anything I’d ever seen before. 

A few years after we were married, we returned to Nakato to celebrate our first date as well as our marriage.

We drank Saki. Marveled at the knife work of our table chef as he flipped shrimp in the air and caught them behind his back before spreading them out to serve each individual. We ate steak. We drank more Saki. We toasted our table mates. Our table chef. And each other. We toasted to desert.

We never left each other again. 

And here we are, together in 2020, 43 years later, toasting our first date and how we’re on the greatest of rides…together…and running up to our 40th wedding anniversary.

More to come on the story of us.  

Happy 4th of July.

With the year that we’ve experienced in America, this is a very special holiday. Beyond the fireworks. Beyond the romanticization. I’m going to find time to think about our country. How it serves me. How it serves those like me and unlike me. We’re at a moment of truth. How we face the many truths before us will determine how great this country is and can be.

And how, when we dig just under the veneer, we are more alike than not alike.

5 thoughts on “How I Met Your Mother

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