Writer Wednesday: What Makes a Romantic Date?

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My idea of a romantic date? What’s a date? Oh, yeah, I remember. Vaguely. It’s been a long time. But we’re talking about ideas here, right? So I’d vote for a good meal and a long conversation.

That’s not exactly how my first date with Jack went, several decades ago.

We’d met, at least enough to nod and say hello, in an 8 AM anthropology class at Florida State. It was a graduate level class. I was a senior and had the prerequisites to be there. Jack was a junior (although he was twenty years older than me, a returning student) and didn’t belong in the class. I have no idea how he managed to register, but he could talk his way into (or out of) just about anything.

I think the class was Ethnology 401, rather sleep-inducing at that hour, and I paid very little attention to the students around me. Jack noticed me, but when he decided to look me up, he ran into a problem. My name wasn’t spelled like it sounded, and he couldn’t find me through the registrar’s office. So one day he followed me home from school. Today that sounds like stalking, but back then it was funny, not strange or scary.

I’m sure we talked a bit, maybe had a coke or something, but our first date was a visit to the North Florida State Fair. That was fine with me—junk food, animals, carnival rides, the fair had it all.

We started out by getting in the wrong line. For everything. No matter where we were, the other lines moved faster. But what the heck, it was a lovely fall night, and we were in no hurry. We wandered around, admiring enormous hogs and baby lambs, and watching the other people, as many local folk as students. We ate junk food. We went on carnival rides.

I love carnival rides (well, I did back then—it’s been quite a while), the music, the feeling of flying through the air. I didn’t find out until much later than Jack hated them. While I was soaring through the heavens, he was frantically examining the structure, looking for loose bolts or tie bars about to fail.

We topped off the evening with a flat tire on the way home, on a country road with no artificial light and a moon that insisted on hiding behind passing clouds. Good thing Jack was driving a little two-seater Fiat at the time. I watched him change the tire while I held a cigarette lighter to illuminate the detail work.

Jack, circa 1992It probably says something about our marriage that in later years he watched me change a tire or two. That first date may not have been traditionally romantic, but it was the beginning of a relationship that lasted thirty-three years, until Jack died in 2002. We must have gotten something right, to share all those Valentine’s Days.

For more Wednesday Writers and their ideas of Romantic Dates, visit Tamra Baumann, Priscilla Oliveras, Shelly Alexander, Sharon Wray, Jean Willett, KD Fleming, and Wendy La Capra.

16 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Sharon Wray
    Feb 10, 2016 @ 08:26:08

    Kay, I love hearing about your life with Jack and can only imagine how much you miss him. Twenty-three years together simply isn’t enough. At least you have some wonderful memories and I think they’d make a perfect memoir. Any chance that’s something you’d like to take on? 🙂

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    • Kay Hudson
      Feb 10, 2016 @ 10:40:15

      Hi, Sharon! No, I don’t think I’d ever write a memoir–my stories aren’t that organized. But I’m sorry I never could get Jack to write down his stories–he had so many from his Army career, long before I met him.

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  2. shellycalexander
    Feb 10, 2016 @ 10:50:21

    The LONG conversations is a superb idea. There’s nothing better than talking in my book!

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  3. tamrabaumann
    Feb 10, 2016 @ 11:18:45

    The state fair and a flat tire sound like the perfect first date, Kay! (Could be in a book!) Happy Valentine’s Day!!

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  4. Cheryl Bolen
    Feb 10, 2016 @ 11:52:56

    I knew about him following you home but not about the first date. He was such a sweetie. I love a guy who loves cats

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  5. Priscilla Oliveras
    Feb 10, 2016 @ 12:04:42

    “I watched him change the tire while I held a cigaret lighter to illuminate the detail work.”

    Boy, did that sentence grab me! I can see you, Kay, a younger version of the beautiful woman you are today! It jumped at me like a scene from a movie.

    What a wonderful memory, thanks so much for sharing it with us. Isn’t it funny, nothing world-altering seemed to have happened that day. Yet it did. It was the beginning of a long and amazing love story for you the two of you.

    I’d say that’s pretty remarkable. Hugs

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  6. Wendy LaCapra
    Feb 10, 2016 @ 13:17:05

    Oh, Kay! That is just about the most romantic first date I could imagine-a fair, the rides, the team-work tire replacement. I agree with Sharon-your stories are memoir-perfect.

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  7. KD Fleming
    Feb 10, 2016 @ 14:14:06

    Kay,
    I love that story. Jack sounds like a wonderful man and your perfect match. I know you miss him, but he’s still smiling down on you and keeping your heart warm with his memories.

    My hubby is 15 years older than me. We’re cursed with the “wrong line” syndrome too. But like you, I wouldn’t trade him or our extra time waiting in line together for the world.

    Hugs and Happy Valentine’s Day.

    Karen

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  8. Lark Brennan
    Feb 11, 2016 @ 09:26:46

    Great romantic story, Kay! Thanks for sharing!

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