Friday, May 8, 2015

Love at First Sight - Can it Last?

I saw him on the other side of the rink and wondered how to approach him.   He had been the guest speaker at my church that Sunday; I was smitten.  

@BatteredHope marriage proposal on first date

It was announced there would be a roller skating party for the youth on Saturday night and I attended in hopes he would be there.  He seemed quiet and reserved.  I was all over-the-place bubbly but I was drawn to him.

Eventually I got up the nerve to skate a little closer to him and say "Hi, I'm Carol."  He smiled, nodded and sped off.  

Did I say too much?  Did I scare him off?  What was it about this guy I found so appealing? He was in his twenties and balding but extremely good looking with the biggest, softest brown eyes.
@BatteredHope  Love at first sight - can it last?

After skating, everyone met at a home where we had chili and hot chocolate.  We played group games and I tried not to stare.  He didn't notice me - AT ALL.  I wanted to flirt but couldn't find the opportunity.

A job opportunity brought him from Canada to Minneapolis and he had already made friends with the guy I was currently dating. "THAT'S IT!" I thought -- let's double date.

It was 1970 and young 'sophisticated' women were just starting to openly flirt.  I probably made a fool of myself but didn't care.  Years later, I found out that Paul was turned off by everything about me when we first met.

Soon enough, I knew it was a lost cause

We double dated often and I saw him at various church functions but began to realize it was useless.  He was far too reserved for me.  But, darn it all, there was that inner strength and confidence that I loved about him.  He had a dry sense of humor which made his eyes smile, causing me to get weak in the knees.

I enjoyed his company but assumed he was not interested in me so why should I dwell on it.

Months went by and on a warm Tuesday afternoon in late summer, when I pulled into my driveway I noticed his car parked about a block away.  "That's odd, why is Paul in this neighborhood?" I wondered.  He drove a green 1967 Jaguar XKE convertible so it stood out in any neighborhood.

@BatteredHope Love at first sight - can it last?

No one locked their doors back then.  In fact, I think that most people didn't even know where their house keys were kept.  I went around the back of the house to bring my groceries into the kitchen and there Paul sat.  On my sofa.  In my living room.  Looking sheepish.

Hundreds of thoughts raced through my head and they were mostly negative.  I imagined I had offended him in some way and he was there to tell me off.  What came out of his mouth had me staring at him with my mouth open, unable to speak and looking like an idiot.

"I have been watching you for a long time and have grown to like you very much.  I was wondering if we could go to dinner sometime."

There I sat, staring and looking stupid.  "Uh huh."  I answered nodding in disbelief.

We spent the evening chatting and getting to know each other on a different level and there was no doubt.  This was the guy.  He reminded me so much of my father; strong, confident, responsible, kind, and understanding.  

He called the next day to tell me he couldn't wait for dinner and was wondering if I would have lunch with him - at CHARLIE'S.  This was the most expensive restaurant in downtown Minneapolis and I had always dreamed of eating there.
@BatteredHope Charlie's Care Exceptionale
Charlie's Cafe Exceptionale Minneapolis 1960
After 49 years, it closed July 21, 1982
It was the city's most talked-about dining establishment.

We met at noon.  When the waiter asked us for our order we told him we needed more time.  After coming back three times to take our order we told him we weren't hungry.  The reason?  Paul had just asked me to MARRY HIM and we still had not had our first date. What did I say?  On November 24, 1972 we married in Las Vegas and the rest.........well, you know.


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