A Sunday morning love story

Since I am tired of writing about “he who shall not be named,” let me offer a quick love story. It is all true and happened to a good friend and his charming and funny wife, who passed way too early.

My friend Jack was divorced with two sons. He was also a talented consultant who was devoted to his clients. He traveled to an internal two day meeting in the headquarter city of his company.

There he met Paula who was in for the same meeting from a different office three states away. They hit it off extremely well, but the flirtatious relationship was limited to just that. They returned to their cities parting on good terms.

Just before the seminar, Jack had shared his frustration with David, another consultant in a different office, who was delinquent on an assignment for his client. Again, Jack was devoted to his clients.

David felt badly for slighting the client and Jack, so he sent him a card saying “You are in my thoughts,” signing it with a big scribbled “D.” The card arrived after Jack returned from the seminar.

The card made Jack wonder who had sent it. To him, the scribbled “D” resembled a “P.” He was not certain, but hopeful that it was from Paula. So, he sheepishly called her and asked if she had sent such a note and, if she did, the feeling was reciprocal. Paula said she had not, but wished that she had. She had similar feelings.

So, with a misinterpreted card about a different issue, two kindred spirits had the most straightforward of conversations. They remained in love until she passed away. They were a delightful couple. My wife liked Paula so much, they would get together when Jack and I traveled.

When I think back on this, it is like an adult’s version of anonymous Valentine Card. It wasn’t until later that Jack learned of the real author of the card. As I got to know the author later, he liked to retell the story as well. Everyone likes a good love story.

She said yes

She said yes. I proposed thirty Valentine’s Days ago and the answer was yes. It still is. We will be celebrating our 30th anniversary later this year and will be empty nesters to boot. We will not know how to act sans children under the roof. We will miss them greatly as they are away at college and working, but we will actually be able to do more impromptu escapades.

My wife still is the “girl who holds the world in a paper cup” the wonderful phrase coined in “Danny’s Song.” People would describe her as genuine. She is that and more. She is a great listener and our kids feel comfortable telling her things that they may not with another mother. If she has a fault it is being there too much for others, sometimes making their problems, hers. Sometimes, she attracts people who need an audience having worn out all their other audiences. This can wear her down on occasion.

Yet, she has good friends who she relishes being around. She loves her lunches with the girls and they will be out for hours. I am sure the waiter will be looking at his watch when they are having a fun lunch. My old school friends and their wives love her as well. When we get together when I return home, we have been known to have three-hour lunches catching up, laughing and crying over old stories.

We yin and yang well together. She is easily the best half of the family and makes me a better person. We are imperfect people and parents, but we tend to be consistent with our conversations with our children discussing who needs to nudge or ask a question. We have had a wonderful journey together so far and look forward to the next chapter. She said yes. Yay, for our team.

Two Love Stories

I was telling one of these stories the other day, so I felt it might a nice way to celebrate the day, with two love stories. The names have been altered, but the stories are otherwise true. I will add that neither story is about my wife or me, but I personally know all five participants. And, as Forrest Gump would say, “That is all I am going to say about that.”

Arriving Late for the Game

The first story is set in the early 1950s. Dave and Betty both went to a small college where everyone seemed to know everyone else. The future couple was no exception and had met in class. Yet, on this night, at the big basketball game on campus, Dave was on the court. He was a good player on a good team and was known for his hustle. Betty was a pretty young lass from a rural area. Calling where she grew up a town would be a stretch.

On this night, Betty arrived late for the game which was underway. The home team fans usually sat right behind the team with the bench being opposite the door she came in. If you can picture those wooden fold out stands that telescoped from the wall, you would have a correct image of the gymnasium seating. Since play was underway and the players were coming toward her, she sat down immediately on the lowest bench near the floor. During the rush of action, the basketball bounced her way, with Dave in pursuit. After diving for the loose ball, Dave wound up in Betty’s lap. Embarrassed grins and laughter followed. After the game, Dave was smart and bold enough to find Betty to apologize and the rest shall we say is history.

Good Handwriting is not always a plus

Jack was a hard-working consultant, devoted to his clients. Pam was the same way working for the same company, but in a different town. They had never met until they went to the company training event in the headquarter city in the late 1970s.

Before traveling there, Jack had shared his frustration with Darren who had let one of Jack’s clients down on a deadline. Jack was all about client service and wanted the same level of attention from anyone he brought in to work on his clients. Darren was saddened that he had let his friend down, especially since he could not tell him face to face. So, he did the next best thing and sent Jack an apology note with the words inscribed “You are in my thoughts. D”

While this note was being penned, Jack and Pam met at the company training event and hit it off. They bonded during the social and team building exercises. Yet, outside of having a marvelous time together, there was no romantic involvement. After they traveled back to their respective cities, Jack’s thoughts drifted toward Pam. After a few days, Jack opened his mail and saw Darren’s note of apology. Yet, there was a problem. Darren’s note had been separated from the envelope by the Administrative Assistant, so Jack did not know who sent it.

Jack’s reading of the note and its less than stellar handwriting led him to interpret the “D” as a “P”. Maybe he wanted it to read that way, but he thought it was from Pam. So, he called her and said, “I may be presumptuous, but did you send me a note saying ‘you are in my thoughts’ because if you did, the feeling is mutual. Pam said she had not, but wish she had. After getting together again and starting a long distance romance, she transferred to the same city and the rest is history.

I have spoken to all five participants in these two stories, even the poor scribe, Darren who confirms his role in the matchmaking. I wrote this morning in a comment to a post by www.lilypetal91.wordpress.com that “love, like life, is a journey.” What I did not say is the journey can start with the oddest of beginnings, so never be surprised by opportunity. If you have not seen the movie “We Bought a Zoo” there is a very powerful moment that occurs twice in the movie. The most poignant moment is when Matt Damon’s character got the nerve to ask the most beautiful woman he had ever seen “Why on earth would someone like you ever consider talking to someone like me?” Her response was “Why not?”

Dave was bold enough to go up to Betty after the game. Why not? Jack was bold enough to call Pam and make his query. Why not? Any person who has had sweaty palms over speaking with someone knows this feeling. So, it does take some gumption. Life is too short to not ask. Why not?

Happy holidays everyone. May the new year bring good tidings and good answers to your many questions. Best regards.