Writer Wednesday: What Makes a Romantic Date?


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.

Writer Wednesday: Secrets of the Desk

WW MayThis month’s Writer Wednesday prompt is “show us your favorite item on your desk,” and my first impulse was toward one of the stuffed animals in my writing alcove (once upon a time the dinette area, which explains the chandelier). The desk is really a six-foot long all-purpose table, the kind with collapsible legs, long enough to hold all my computer equipment (tower, external hard drive, monitor on a stand, keyboard and mouse, and printer). Then there are containers of binder clips and paper clips, a mug of pens and markers, assorted flash drives (six at the moment—remember when they were exotic and very expensive?), scattered business cards, a stapler, stacks of those note pads that come with charity requests, a folder containing the pages from my last critique group meeting, and so forth.

 The inventory doesn’t even include the cards, certificates, calendar/clock, and assorted keepsakes on the window shelves behind the desk, or the old computer desk to my left, with plants, notebooks, box of charging cables, another box of music CDs, reams of paper, spare toner cartridge, mail rack, and a box of light bulbs (for the chandelier).

And the stuffed animals: a fat bumble bee watching me from the top of the tower, a small dinosaur on the window shelf, and a cheerful yellow creature of indeterminate species, covered with multi-colored polka dots, supervising from the old desk.

But my favorite little item, I realized as I went through the list, is a small pin-back button, mounted on a binder clip, which has sat near or below my computer monitor for more years than I can remember, through several computers and multiple desks.
Keep Smiling

I have half a dozen other Sandra Boynton buttons pinned to a strip of seam binding hanging from a bulletin board, including the very appropriate “I’m Not Messy, I’m Creative.” But “Keep Smiling” has held a place on my desk for a very long time. Jack probably gave it to me—he liked buttons and funny post it notes and, for that matter, stuffed animals. And heaven knows we managed to Keep Smiling for a lot of years.

To visit the desks of the other Writer Wednesday bloggers, check out the list to your right. And see below for Her Hometown Reporter, a new release from our own KD Fleming, and the schedule of upcoming Writer Wednesday topics.


HerHometownReporterThe reporter is looking for a story that’ll be his ticket out of his small Georgia town. With her political connections, legal assistant Gina Lawson could help Toby realize his aspirations. Their friendship is just an added bonus, but falling in love isn’t part of his five-year plan.

Gina’s devoted to her family and community, and doesn’t plan to ever leave. Though she finds her favorite reporter maddeningly irresistible, she must guard her heart. But when a betrayal of trust threatens to shatter both their dreams, will Gina and Toby learn that they share the same values after all?

Pick up your copy at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Harlequin!